26 June 2008

Practically Horizontal...

What are good friends for if not to point out when you’re being completely delusional?

I didn’t realise there were any personality flaws left that hadn’t already been brilliantly and publically illuminated upon my grand entrance to motherhood. Patience? Didn’t have as much of that as I’d hoped. Tolerance – no, none of that either. Selflessness – it’s a daily struggle. Materialism – I just like pretty things, preferably luxury goods, purchased in bulk.

But there was one redeeming quality I still possessed. My laid back attitude to life.
“Where shall we eat?” my friend asked as we tottered precariously over the cobbled streets of Bellagio.
“I don’t mind” I replied. “I’m laid back”.
“No you’re not!” she laughed, scanning my face for signs it was all a big joke.
“I am too!” I exclaimed, outraged.
“Name one thing you’re laid back about!”
I took a moment. “Excess baggage charges” I replied triumphantly. I’d hardly batted an eyelid when slapped with a £35 charge and a ‘heavy’ label for my bulging suitcase.
“That doesn’t count! What about the fact you were praying in tongues on the flight and went to the loo six times? ”
“Aeroplanes are unnatural” I responded, cursing as one of my heels got caught in a drain. “And I have a sensitive stomach”. I clung to her arm whilst bending down to yank at my most recent purchase currently being mauled by one of the most impractical walking surfaces I’d ever encountered. I muttered under my breath –“stupid place for a drain...cobbles...rubbish...haven’t they heard of tarmac?”
“You were like it on the ferry too!” her voice badgered me from above, unwilling to let the debate slide.
“Same principle. The science is all wrong. Big, heavy items, constructed of metal, are not suited to floating.”

With an almighty effort, my shoe came free. I spent the next five minutes mourning the savage attack of my innocent shoe and ranting about suing the Mayor and the Town Planners office.

“What about that guy you had a go at for pushing in the queue!” She was back again, like a mosquito desperate for blood.
“He had it coming “. Appearing from nowhere and sidling up to us as if he were a long lost friend after we’d been queuing for check-in for an hour, was a mistake on his part. I merely pointed this out to him, and the people behind us. They told the people behind them, who told the people behind them. There was a ripple of applause as he skulked to the back of the queue, with his little wheelie case between his legs. I smiled all the way home (between toilet visits).

“And the fact you left your husband a 20 page typed and bound manual entitled ‘Housewifery for Morons’?”

I looked at her calmly before saying. “You can cite examples all day, my dear friend, but I don’t care because I’m sooooo laid back!”

19 June 2008

It'll Be Fun! (Not if I have anything to do with it!)

We’ve got to check out Disco RanDan!” my friend’s voice squeaked with excitement.
“We do?” I hated the sound of it. ‘Disco’, ‘Ran’ and ‘Dan’ all sounded horrid.
“It’s only 200m from our hotel”.
“How convenient” I mumbled, wishing I hadn’t given her the website address of our hotel in Italy.

I hate clubbing. When all my friends were out bopping away years ago, I could be found on my sofa, scoffing egg foo yung, eagerly memorising all the items passing by on the Generation Game conveyor belt. Truthfully, I’ve been ready for middle age since I was about ten.

My friends tried hard to squeeze me into lycra and onto the dance floor but the fact I was prone to nodding off amidst all the snogging, still wearing my duffle coat, made me something of a party pooper. My love of comfortable shoes and warm clothes coupled with strict views on noise levels and reasonable toilet waiting times soon found me reunited with Brucey.

“We’re going” my friend said. “It’ll be fun”. I groaned inwardly and then outwardly before looking up to find myself caught in her most serious ‘single woman’ glare. Telling me, without words, that her future husband could be just a RanDan away and I, all selfishly betrothed, was not to stand in the way of continental romance.

I nodded in resignation, picturing the passive smoke clogging my bronchial tubes whilst cheesy Euro pop ravaged my ears and left me humming ‘Macarena’ for weeks. But it was a price I would have to pay. This was my friend who, despite everything I had shared with her about marriage, still insisted she wanted a man.

Having been to Italy before, I researched some useful phrases. ‘Vada prego via (Go away). I underlined it. ‘Penso che sia ora di partire’( I’m afraid we’ve got to leave now). I highlighted it in pink.

Now for clothing. Were velour tracksuits hip in Clubland? Probably not. I reached into the depths of the wardrobe, returning with an oldie but a goodie. Yes, the serious perfunctory blandness of my little black dress made it perfect. It said, ’I am no fun’. ‘No fun at all’.

One week later, I did an excellent impression of a girl disappointed when informed that RanDan had closed down. My friend’s lip drooped further when I pointed out we could now get in an excellent night’s reading.

After repacking the dress, I lay in my bunk feeling slightly sorry that she was in her No-Fun-pyjamas by 9.30pm. “We could try and find George Clooney’s villa tomorrow?” I suggested.

It worked wonders. Her book was launched across the room, instantly replaced by maps and a compass. I rechecked my phrase book, suspecting that tomorrow would require a new approach. George, sei stupendo – George, you look great. George, ecco il mio numero. George, here’ my number. George, posso baciarti...

Yes, I know he’s American but when in Lake Como!

14 June 2008

Little Miss Wincyette

Stood in front of me in the queue at Costa’s was gorgeous girl. Teetering on fabulously high heels, wearing dry clean only fabrics and organising social engagements on her mobile, minus the toddler screaming, "Chickie talk to Nanna" "CHICKIE TALK TO NANNA!". I admit it, I was jealous.

I knew I was being shallow - a shameful state when you're a mother, but, at that moment, I wanted a Furla handbag stuffed with dosh instead of a potty in a plastic bag, I wanted to be wearing perfume instead of Vanish spray and I wanted to be 6 inches taller and 10 years younger. When life still had to reveal who I'd love, what I'd achieve and whether I might have a daughter or a son. It was all there waiting to unravel.

Whilst I hoped all the exciting events of my life weren't behind me, it did feel a bit like the best ones were taken. First kisses were gone, the wedding day done and the sproglet duly extracted.

I watched Chickie stir my cappucino with his finger. Gorgeous girl was accompanied by gorgeous boy and she sat twiddling her chestnut hair, fluttering her long black lashes. I raised a hand to my own eyelashes, stumpy and curled to within a millimetre of their life since the age of 12. I disliked her even more.

Chickie had begun lapping at the froth of my cappucino like a stray cat. Catching my glare, he bolted. Fifteen laps of Costas later and my spirits and eyelashes were drooping. Gorgeous girl never became unseated and her eyelashes were almost touching her eyebrows.

My best friend called me that evening. She’d let her boyfriend go. Commitment phobic and eating into her fertile years, she'd finally kicked him to the kerb.

"I know it sucks now, but, just think, it's all ahead of you" I enthused to her sobs, picturing how exciting her life would be.
"I'm so tired of this. I just want to settle down".
"But you're free. You can go on fabulous holidays, have fun, do whatever you want"
"I want to get married and have babies" she wailed.
"Are you sure? There's snot, lots of it. Not to mention ridiculous amounts of laundry, over familiarity and poverty to consider"
"I don't care. I don't want to be on my own anymore. I want to share my life with someone".
"You've got your budgies" I offered.
More crying.
As I nestled on Accountant’s chest that bedtime, he told me that my Velcro hair rollers were itchy and enquired as to their purpose.

“Volume” I told him, without mentioning it was part of my ‘revamp’, inspired by Little Miss Lashes.
“You look sweet”.
“Yes. Even sweeter than normal”.

My vintage love. Perhaps not as exciting as when it first fluttered, but as snug and cosy as the pink slipper socks and winceyette pyjamas I was wearing.

05 June 2008

My Little Holiday

It turns out Chickie hadn’t given me chicken pox after all. My bountiful spots were just an allergic reaction to the thought of having chicken pox. I therefore remained hopeful enough to forcefully request Accountant stay home and tend to Chickie instead of going cycling in Wales as he’d planned.

Leaving Accountant holding a spotty yet otherwise unfazed baby, I sped off to B&Q to buy provisions. Although tempted, I decided that the full body suit could be seen as excessive, so opted for heavy duty vinyl gloves and a dust mask with contoured nose bridge. I drove home feeling my chances for a healthy future were significantly improved.

It proved quite tricky getting into my face mask and rubber gloves on the doorstep without the neighbours seeing. Trickier still to get from the front door to my bedroom without breathing. Plus the mask was uncomfortable and messed up my hair. In the end I went out after sealing off the bedroom with masking tape.

Whilst slurping my French Onion soup and reading the paper, my mobile rang. It was Accountant.
“Where are you?”
“Cafe Rouge”. I answered, feeling a twinge of guilt.
“Enjoying yourself?” I was rather but felt it best not to mention it. “No, I’m sat all alone and I’m missing you so much” I said, trying to sound genuine.

The next day, I was in Zara, loaded up like a shopaholic mule with a delicious assortment of belts, bags and other essentials, when the mobile rang.
“Where?” said the despondent voice of my housebound husband.
“Oh, just in Brighton.”
“You’re not buying anything are you?”
“No”. Well, it wasn’t technically buying when it was already bought.

Day 3.
“I can’t talk now Sweetheart, I’m under the dryer!”

Cruising home with the windows down, bopping along to Rhythm is a Dancer, intermittently checking out my new highlights in the rearview mirror, I felt twenty two again. I looked over at the passenger seat and placed a loving hand on my shopping bags letting happy little endorphins whiz around my body.

The next day, the mood changed. Chick was no longer amused by his circumstances, nor was Daddy and nor was I. I missed my family. The husband who gave up his holiday for me. The big spotty baby. I rang downstairs from upstairs.

“Love you Sweetheart” I said when Accountant answered.
“Who is this?”
“It’s me!”
“I’m not bringing you any more cups of tea”. I let his cynicism slide.

One week later, with Chickie nicely scabbed over, I resumed my housewifey endeavours with renewed vigour. I even baked cup cakes.

Whilst Accountant sat eating them, I thought it a prudent time to point out the morale boosting benefits of my three day shopathon. However, as fluffy as the cupcakes were, my motion was denied.