28 August 2009

To Do - Lifestyle Review

I love lists. To Do ones. Shopping ones. His and her life goal ones. Accountant looked less keen as I presented him with ‘ourfiveyearplan.doc’ when he walked through the door.

Inspired by a visit to a friend’s pastel dollhouse, I decided it was time for one last push for perfection and jotted down some thoughts before typing up and colour coding our dreams for the future.

More outdoorsey (me)
Triatheletes (both)
Co-ordinated dresser (him)
Smaller boned (me)
Straighter teethed (me)
Gracious, patient, serene (me)
Eager to please (him)
Fluent in French (both)
Grow organic vegetables (expert horticulturist) (one of us)
Shinier hair (me)
Advanced DIY skills (him)
Less spotty (me)
Six pack (him)
Obedient (him/Chickie)

Accountant pulled a pen from his suit and defaced all my hard work. I attempted to read his revisions but he waved them above my head. I made a mental note to add ‘taller’ to the list.

He started reading, “Smaller bottom (her), seasoned camper (her), spatially aware (her), basic arithmetic (her) and buy a caravan (me)”, before thrusting the list in my face and strolling off towards the kitchen. My eyes narrowed menacingly as I noted his sketch of a giant bottom.

Later that night, as I sat reading ‘Growing Vegetables’ whilst listening to ‘Intense French’, Accountant lay wedged in the deepest recesses of the sofa, flicking between Miss Marple and The Professionals.

I paused the French. “Perhaps you should think about getting to work on that six pack, Sweetheart?”

“Yes” he agreed. My mouth fell open as he bounced straight up. I beamed at him lovingly as he walked towards me. He smiled back, gliding past, before coming to rest at the fridge.

He winked at me as he trundled back to his indentation in the sofa, Guinness in hand.

The next night I was reading up on problem complexions, when I looked out the window to see my neighbour’s husband bounding back home from his jog, sports bottle in one hand, buggy and baby in other. I reached for the list. “Multi-tasking – him.” Who knew men were capable of such cunning.

“Sweetheart” I yelled downstairs, eager to update him on his new task. No response. “SWEETHEART!!!” Nothing.

“I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!” I shouted, stomping down the stairs. Muffled oinks greeted me as I stepped into the living room, where my beloved lay sprawled face down, gently sucking the sofa cover in and out of his mouth. A small drool pool at the base of his bottom lip put time of unconsciousness at approximately 8pm.

I returned to the study, watching as super husband did his stretches in the front garden whilst weeding the lawn.

Turning on the computer, I started my column, appreciating as I wrote, how perfect Accountant actually was for someone like me.

24 August 2009

Can't Take The Pace!

As I stared blankly across the table at Patrick, cursing the headache I’d had since the summer holidays began, it took me a few seconds to register that Chickie’s little friend didn’t look quite right. He was rocking gently as Chickie prattled on at him about cheese and light sabers.

“SSshhhh” I said, trying to focus on Patrick, who hadn’t blinked in over a minute. Chickie moved onto flip flops and nobblybobblies.

“Patrick” I said softly, waving a hand in front of his colourless face. He continued to stare ahead, through glasses that now rested at a 45 degree angle to his sunken eyes.

“Patrick!” I said, more insistent as I heard his mother walking back towards us.

Chickie joined in the fun. “PATRICK, PATRICK,!!” he yelled, leaping up and down like a ‘Pop-Up-Pirate’.

The gentle force of Chickie’s interest brought Patrick round momentarily before he fell asleep, once again, with his eyes open.

“I’m so sorry” I said to Patrick’s mother as he collapsed into his plate of cheese and pickle sandwiches. “I gave him loads to drink to compensate for all the sweating...” I trailed off as she lifted his head from the worktop and began picking crumbs out of his matted hair.

She tells me it took Patrick over a week to recover from his playdate with Chickie.

Then came Megan. A sweet little girl, with blonde waves in her hair and innocence in her eyes. At Amazon Adventures, she waited patiently as Chickie changed into his thermoregulation sportswear before skipping off holding his hand.

The next time I saw her hand, it was been dragged in the opposite direction to which it wanted to go, up three levels, through a giant mangler, up the rope nets, to infinity and beyond.

Whilst she was being pushed to her physical limits, her mother and I sipped tea and chatted about her night waking.

Megan would reappear briefly every now and again, each time, her hair slightly curlier than before. She’d gulp down some fluids before Chickie would reappear, much like Jaws, to take her again.

At one point, she broke free, hiding behind her hands, cuddling up to her mummy.

Chickie found her and nodded enthusiastically when asked if the girl cowering behind her fingers was his girlfriend. Megan peered through a gap at her mummy, desperate for it not to be true.

“Let’s go again!” he yanked at her, unbothered that Megan’s core body temperature had exceeded recommended levels.

When we left, Chickie skipping, Megan hobbling, I waved another friend goodbye. Forever.

Or so I thought.

Then a text arrived.

“Megan didn’t move all night! She stayed in her bed! Say thanks to Chick!”

So, if your poppet’s not sleeping, just call ‘Chickie Extreme Sleep Solutions’ – so effective, they’ll be unconscious even when they’re still conscious!

18 August 2009

Officially Middle-Aged

I don’t know the exact moment in time when I became my parents but I think it was around Monday or Tuesday of last week.

I was stood on my neighbour’s doorstep discussing her new self-styled fringe, the left side of which had been a great triumph in hairdressing terms. The right side - less so, looking more like it had been chewed off.

To ease my neighbour’s suffering, I removed the three extra-strong kirby grips on top of my head, allowing the ravaged hair beneath to poke up into the fresh air for the first time in six months.

“I cut it myself too” I whispered, pointing to my “Something About Mary” style tuft whilst glancing over both shoulders to check the immaculately coiffed occupants of No 98 weren’t laughing at us through their net curtains.

“It’s just that hair cuts are so expensive” she said, stroking her severed hair.
“Oh, I know, it’s ridiculous” I replied, strapping down my quiff again.

After that conversation, came the conversation at playgroup about Tesco Clubcard savings. I brought it up. On purpose. I talked about the credit card benefits, the amazing clubcard deals, the best ways to earn points, bags for life and concluded my findings with a Tesco versus Waitrose essentials range cost/benefit analysis. And I wrote the ASDA Lancing Store grand opening on my calendar.

Then, I started darning, without even realising it. One night, I sat happily for hours, with Accountant’s fermenting socks composting in my lap, smiling contentedly as I held up the mended article to the light.

And I inexplicably have loads of money off coupons. I’ve started unconsciously cutting them out and putting them in a drawer. Just like my mother-in-law.

I also read the August Somerfield magazine cover to cover, lifting up the page with ‘Credit Munch of the month’ to show Accountant. “Cod with a Spice Rub, feeds 4 for £4” I chirped.

But the chilling moment when I suddenly realised I belonged in a Doris Day film was when my dad began his weekly ‘roast chicken’ report.

Historically, I have always been blessed with the ability to completely ignore him when he excitedly details the weight and class of the chicken, how he was just there at the right time (3.58:03pm every Sunday), and they were marking them down and he bought 3 for £2.99 instead of £14,72.... BUT last week, not only did I listen but I found myself equally enthralled at the prospect.

So, if you should see me and I start talking to you about fabric conditioner or I’m bulldozing you out the way at the Special Offers cabinet, you have my permission to slap me (gently) with a roast chicken.

04 August 2009

Charity Case!

Accountant seemed unusually pleased with me as he came over to dollop a big kiss on my head.

Confused, I looked round at him from where I sat at the kitchen table. He nodded at the computer in front of me, beaming broadly. I turned to look at the screen, wondering what was going on.

“That’s excellent” he commended, patting my shoulder as he nodded approvingly at the Oxfam website I’d been checking out before he’d wandered in.

I wasn’t sure why it was so excellent but Accountant’s love levels were clearly soaring. It felt like a good time to ask for stuff.

“Any chance of a cup of tea?”

“Of course” he responded before zooming off towards the kettle. Whilst he clattered around, I continued my online activities.

On his return, he seemed less pleased, craning his head towards the computer before enquiring as to what it was exactly that I was doing. I felt it safest to clarify what it was exactly he’d thought I’d been doing.

Fundraising, fighting climate change, organising outreach projects were some of his suggestions.

I nodded as if in deep ethical contemplation whilst casually guiding the cursor towards the minimiser icon in the corner of the screen.

“Mmm” I stalled for time as Oxfam’s Secondhand Clothes Store “1000s of women’s clothes and accessories” became a neat rectangular giveaway on my lower toolbar.

Accountant shook his head. “Shopping is like donating..” I began as his disappointment sent him shuffling off.

A few days later, my charitable nature found me in a clash of wills with a pensioner in the ‘Help the Aged’ shop. At stake, a pair of vintage Carvella shoes.

The nanna won and followed me into ‘Link Romania’, taunting me with her bargain. “Yours for 20 quid” she cackled from behind the paperbacks.

I consoled myself by finding Accountant a pair of shoes for £6. He trotted off to work in them the next day, almost agreeing with me as I wittered on about how my love of shopping and his love of saving could finally co-exist and he seemed pleased with me again.

Until 9.30am, when he left a message on my mobile. “There’s a massive crack in the soles of these shoes.”

A text followed at 10am, “The soles are crumbling all over my floor.”

11am: “There are bits of shoe all over the office.”

And 1pm. “I have no shoes on now and the Partners are asking who it is leaving black stuff all over the office!”

When Accountant arrived home in his socks, he explained how his heel fell off in the middle of a client meeting, landing on the floor, £6-price-sticker side up.

As he wandered away, leaving a trail of black bits in his wake, I decided it might be time for an Accountant Outreach Programme.

All donations payable to me!