Saturday, 10 March 2012

Unprepared but Ready

On Monday, Big G (that's my hubby) and I are jetting off to France for a few days of skiing in the Alps. Some friends (who we have known forever but hardly ever see) will be in the same resort, and I simply can't wait to see their faces and hear their news and lark about and drink and zoom down mountains at top speed and have the need to apply suncream. I can't wait to have a change from my normal humdrum routine. Our friends are staying in a shared catered chalet for a week, but we have opted for a hotel as we will only be there for 4 nights.

I'm going to miss the kids horribly - and I'm sure they will miss me - but Big G and I are long overdue some marriage-maintenance adult time to ourselves. I'm sure the kids will have a nice time with their grandparents: My mum will look after them and cook their favourite meals like 'Chicken in Soup' and 'Sausages with Gravy'; My Dad will get his old Meccano set out, and ask them about their lives and feelings. The kids are taking the hamster with them but they will need to come home once a day to feed the guinea pigs. They are nervous about not seeing us all week, and I will pine for them and feel terribly guilty.

My fitness level is not downright atrocious but it's certainly not anywhere near what it should be 2 days before a ski trip either. But hey, I can't be flippin' perfect at flippin' everything. I feel hopelessly unprepared, but at the same time I'm absolutely ready to go.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

No Boyfriend and Scooter Trouble

My 'How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days' book arrived, and of course I'm not going to heed its instructions to the letter ... but I think it will be quite useful in helping me to be more organized and focused in my book-writing method (my current method is to nothing at all except think about writing a book).

And now for today's gossip: My Young Girl (aged 11) was "asked out" by someone in her class - via the boy's eager mate who delivered the message - and she said no. But I think she was rather pleased to have been asked. That was a first!

Also today my Little Boy (aged 10) was called into the Head Teacher's office with 2 other boys and told off, which was a wrenching trauma for him (he cried) as he's usually such a good sweet boy. Apparently these other two boys - the big dumb louts - had been teasing him about his new scooter, so he stuck his middle finger up at them and scooted off. They stuck their fingers up back at him, somebody saw, told the Head Teacher, and next thing you know they were all being firmly scolded for making in foul gestures whilst in school uniform.

I was secretly quite proud of him for standing up for himself, but I couldn't really say that what he did was right. But what I want to know is: What's the Head Teacher going to do about the stupid teasing, pushing and football-fouling my Little Boy has to put up with from these big dumb louts? He's been putting up with it for ages and asking me not to make a fuss - he can "handle it", apparently - but I think the time has come for me to get involved.

Hissing to Myself

I have created a vision in my mind of what I want "future-me" to be like, in around 2-3 years from now. It's my beacon, something to guide me out of this dull boring funk that I find myself in. In order to really become "future me", I have to write and publish my first book. I know what it's going to be about, and I am really excited about it.

Unfortunately however, I am the type of person who - upon deciding to do something different - immediately starts having clattering, self-destructive doubts. (I hiss to myself: "who the hell do you think you are, you can never do that, it's too competitive, it's too hard, you haven't got time, just stop trying to do anything interesting or cool, you idiot", and other such charming, helpful thoughts.)

So I've ordered a book from Amazon, called "How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days" or something like that, to help keep me on the right path.

Job's as good as done, I reckon.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Anticipating Looking Back

One day I might be 100 years old. I might be lying in my future bed, waiting for someone to come and open the curtains and let in some light. I might wish I could still walk around without help. I might know that I've become a messy eater but lack the ability to fully control my fingers. I might wonder where my ageing children are. I might only vaguely remember the sounds of my parents' voices. I might not know whether my old friends are still alive, and be fairly certain that I will never see them again. I might not be able to remember all the places I once lived.

I might look back on my life and think, "well, that went fast". As I lie there, 100 years old and waiting, I might remember days gone by. I might have some regrets.

But I am fairly certain that I will not have any of these thoughts:

(1) I wish I'd spent more time cleaning the bathroom.

(2) I wish I'd always behaved as people expected me to.

(3) I wish I hadn't spent so much time with my kids when they were little.

(4) I wish I hadn't bothered to exercise or eat well.

(5) I wish I hadn't bothered going to any foreign countries.

(6) I wish I had worked more and had less fun.

(7) I wish my house had always been tidy, with all the ironing done.

(8) I wish I hadn't made any friends.

(9) I wish I hadn't laughed so much.

(10) I wish I hadn't written those books - proof that I once lived, learnt, tried and saw amazing things. Proof that I listened, had feelings, I loved, lost, laughed and wept. Proof that I was out there once, engaging with the world.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Surely, many of the things that seem important to me now - and occupy so much of my thinking time - will seem completely insignificant in the future. Surely I should spend more time having fun? Surely I should be doing more good? Surely I should stop fretting about stupid things that don't really matter?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Railway Children

The best thing we did over Christmas was go to the temporary theatre in the old Eurostar Terminal of Waterloo Station (via Noodle Oodle on Queensway for lunch, of course). We went to watch the play of the Edith Nesbit classic, The Railway Children.

The show was in its last week, and sold out. Two train platforms formed the stage, and the actors were so close to the audience that we could almost touch them. It was fantastic, really entertaining. During the performance, a vintage 60-tonne steam train drove along the tracks, much to the delight of the audience - and all of us!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Toad Haul

Toads chirp when they're scared. I know, because this evening at dusk I helped to carry about 100 of them across a road in buckets.

No, I'm not an Eco-Warrier. I just got talked into doing it by my mum, who has both Eco and Warrier tendencies at times (when she's not sat watching a BBC drama with her feet up on the poof).

Apparently, at this time of year, the green warty ones wake up en-masse from their forest hibernation and feel the watery call of the pond on the other side of a very busy road, where they must go and reproduce. There is a huge risk of them getting squished by cars mid-hop. So some keen toad-protectors put up a plastic barrier along the edge of the road and then recruit an army of toad well-wishers in wellies, brandishing torches and buckets, who are willing to scoop them up and carry them safely across to the other side.

As I stood there in the dark, amongst cowpats, shining my clever iphone 'flashlight' app over my nephew as he enthusiastically unloaded the chirping 'mating pairs' bucket near the pond, I must confess I felt a small pang of longing to be in a warm pub, without wellies on, drinking a large glass of red.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Sick Day Squeeze

It is 6.45am and I should be getting up and getting things ready for school and work. Little Boy B creeps into my dark bedroom, lifts the duvet and curls up on Daddy's pillow, sniffing and groaning. My heart sinks - another sick day?

I lean up on my elbow and peer at him through my contact lens-less fuzz, as he closes his eyes and hides his face. We talk quietly about what hurts and where, and the fact that he seemed perfectly okay last night so is he really ill or just tired? Is he worried about something? Does he just not want to go to school?

Sick days are the down side of parenting, especially at this time of year when so many people are coughing and sniffing and puking. Some parents physically can't stay home when a child is sick - they have to open a shop, or make a presentation, or defend somebody in court - and some parents have no family nearby, no partner to share the load with, no money to pay for help.

I am relatively lucky. My work is part-time and I usually have some flexibility in the days I work ... but I still can't help feeling irritated that my carefully planned week has been all messed up again by some dastardly winter virus. Bleurgh.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Quietly Does It

Dear Reader,

I went for a walk to try and get clear on what I want to do with this blog, and to try and make sense of all the things I have been thinking about for the last few weeks. I traipsed around a muddy field. A dog sniffed me, it was cloudy and the birds sang a little bit.

I did make some decisions on what I am going to write about here, and for whom. I have also decided not to tell anybody I know about this blog; it will be our little secret! From past experience, I know that as soon as I know that my friends and family are reading my blog, I water it down and self-edit, which throws honesty and my journalistic integrity right out of the window. So, shhhhhhhhh ...