Monday, 28 February 2011

Lonely, but content

Two children back at school, leaving me with one, who is bored and lonely.
The post just arrived, it gets later every day. A mobile bill for me, a letter for HIM with 'OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION OF AWARD' printed on it in a fake ink stamp font. I've also been lucky enough to get a pile of junk mail, four items in total. My favourite is the Farm Foods mailshot, it folds out to A1 size. The pictures look like a catalogue of foods which are guaranteed to cause bowel cancer, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There should be a government warning at the end. Having said all that, the grub looks just the sort of stuff you fancy when you've got a killer hangover, or you're still pissed.
I've been into town, had to do some food shopping because the car is broken and I didn't have any money on the weekend. I do enjoy shopping for fruit at the greengrocers, meat at the butchers and so on, but it gets very heavy. Supermarkets are difficult places for me, even when I haven't got the children in tow. All the noise distracts me, I eavesdrop constantly on other people's conversations (have done since I was a child) so that is another major distraction. I'm led by my senses too, so end up touching and sniffing everything, going around in circles and falling prey to every marketing ploy going. I come home with bags and bags of stuff, but no real grocery shopping.
I spent £5 in the Air Ambulance charity shop, my favourite because very few items are over £2. A pair of jeans each for the little ones , a T-shirt and  a knitted tunic for me. Toddler was screaming a lot, too cold for him and he refuses to keep a hat and gloves on.

 I now need to tackle all the chores I have put off for two weeks, but I'm sure I'll come up with something better to do.

I'm quite lonely today, but I don't particularly want company. Sometimes I'll invite a friend over for a cuppa and a chat and regret it. Nothing gets done, then I have to rush around late afternoon which is my lull time. I will look back on days like this when I'm working and wish I was a 'stay at home mum' again. Does anyone know a better term than 'stay at home mum'? I don't like it, but I'm not married so 'housewife' doesn't feel right either, even though you can still be married to the house, as I  am.....

Sunday, 27 February 2011

That awful new advert for Disneyworld is on, kids screaming and fighting back tears as their parents reveal they're going there on holiday. I can't think of an advert I like at the moment, one of the worst is the Dove ad with obviously American ladies who've had their voices dubbed with some really cringeworthy regional British accents. I try to press 'mute' on the remote control during ad breaks, but don't always manage. Even the 'good' adverts are only good once. 

My home

I smell vile, I put the oven on, forgetting there was a tray of oil still in there. My hair smells like burnt potatoes, and my clothes smell like the vent from the chip shop.

 My eldest is still at his dad's, middle son has gone out for a walk with my parents, youngest is still relishing the fact he can open and close doors, switch the landing light on, and post debris, small toys and junk mail through the letterbox. 
I tried a bit of housework, but I genuinely find it difficult to clean the house when there are people in and out making more mess.

Shoot from the hip

I'd like a giant skip out the back yard to fill with the entire contents of my house, and to start again with only stuff that  I "know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" as per William Morris' advice. There are very few things I believe to be beautiful, but maybe they'd stand out more if I disposed of the 'ugly' stuff. The sheer amount of plastic in my home is unsettling, but in my defence I have purchased very few plastic items. I try not to buy new toys for the children, there's no need. If all the toy manufacturers in the world stopped production today, it's be about a million years before the world was bereft of toys. I don't buy storage items either, just seem to acquire them. My reputation as a bit of a scrounger means that every Tom, Dick and Harry uses me as their first port of call for dumping unwanted items. Even my eldest son's dad gives us stuff, even his neighbour does. They must think we live in a shack made out of Ikea cast-offs, broken chairs and wonky cupboards (oh, I actually DO).

Waste not, want not

When I worked in special schools, it infuriated me how much furniture was dumped. What made it worse was the 'new' furniture was usually worse quality than what was being put on a skip, left to get wet and rot so it wasn't fit to be salvaged. I also get infuriated by shameless scrounging, in other words 'Freecycle'. People don't seem to understand that by taking something for nothing, it is a two way deal. You get a free item, and the donor gets something taken off their hands without having to drive to the tip, or wait ages to try and sell it. "I'm desperate for new bedroom furniture, must be solid pine, modern, in excellent condition, and I don't have a car,so please bring it to me, carry it up the stairs and put all my brand new clothes in there"  (why don't you just go and steal it instead?)


Time to start lunch, really don't fancy roast chicken today, I'd like beef. I may have to make a cake or crumble too, it's my last chance to eat sugary stuff, I'm not allowing myself to eat like a pig from tomorrow. I have to lose weight because I can't afford new clothes. It's a good job I no longer work with Sam, a boy with Autism who had an uncanny knack of telling you what you DIDN'T want to hear. "You're a big fat lady Lucy, you've got the moustache and 'gusting lips".  I happened to be wearing lipstick, an ill fitting top, and was sporting the tiniest light brown hairs at the corners of my mouth.  The teacher, who was in her late thirties but didn't seem to have changed since her Uni days, wasn't a big fan of showering or using deodorant. Summer used to be particularly unpleasant in the body odour department, we talked about dropping hints regarding personal hygiene. No need, Sam to the rescue, "Sharon, you stink". Honesty certainly was the best policy, a can of Sure deodorant appeared in the cupboard 'for everyone to use' the very next day.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

You Can But Try...

Brookite Harlequin Kite
Let's go fly a SHITE

Today it's been sunny (a bit), dry (mainly) and windy (washing dried on the line-yay).  I am feeling bloated and fat because I have put on nearly a stone in recent months. All my clothes look 'wrong' and even my fat jeans have left welts on my skin.
Took the boys to the park, it was partly successful. A few tumbles into giant muddy puddles, some pointless tears and a comedy landing off the slide (about 5 foot clearance achieved - wet slide + nylon rain suit = zero friction).
After lunch, several failed attempts to entertain the boys. I tried getting them to play 'dressing up' with some of my awful sequined clothes (all bought for me by my mum from charity shops) I failed. Restlessness set in, so I decided to open the kite The kite was a gift from a friend to my eldest son when the middle son was born, it had never been used. I wish I'd left it in the packaging. The strings got tangled within minutes of getting it out of it's sheath. I had visions of the boys watching in wonder as the kite soared high up into the sky. It did soar high up into the sky for around 8 seconds, before coming crashing down on middle son's head (clearly, not his day). I left the tangled kite at the park for some bored youths to break further. We got some chocolate from the corner shop before going home to watch Star Wars.
The house is untidy, dirty, disorganised and generally in a bad state of repair. I joined the Parents Association at my middle son's school and go to the odd meeting at the other members' houses.  The houses so far have all been beautifully presented, immaculately clean and large. The thought of holding a meeting at my disgraceful excuse for a home fills me with terror. Having said that, I didn't wish any of the houses were mine. One was furnished. entirely from the'Next' catalogue and nothing in it looked unique or more than 5 years old. Another, though beautiful from the outside, a quintessential large Victorian semi with well manicured front and back garden, inside was disappointing. Generic furnishing and décor, cheap ornaments, kitchen and bathroom straight out of B&Q's sale. They may as well be in my house if they're just going to turn their house into a well-presented, neutral, modern 'House Doctor' approved space. Bah!
I'm sick of the sound of my own voice on here now, been doing this on and off since 12 pm, it's now 20.45. An amusing anecdote hasn't sprung to mind whilst typing, but several have come to mind during the course of the day.
I really do need to mix with some more interesting people, whoever they are. 

Have just succumbed to temptation and peeled the mis-aligned sticker off laptop, rest of evening will be spent removing sticky residue (ooh-err).

Friday, 25 February 2011

Today's Tale

Neil Diamond
"All Fucking Hell" broke loose

I feel the need to write, but have no idea where to start or what to express. I still have a full mornings' worth of Nick Jr and Cbeebies ringing in my ears, not to mention "Finish; the dye-are-mund standard", "Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace" and the like.

I tried doing some baking to occupy my restless state, but didn't have enough caster sugar to make anything more than 6 scones. My eldest is at his dad's, middle son gone up to my mum's for 2 hours, youngest is in bed.

I could/should be:

  • ironing
  • cleaning bathroom
  • cleaning kitchen
  • tidying up
  • reading
  • plucking my eyebrows
  • filing my nails
  • re-instating my system of small cars, medium cars and large cars in the toy drawers (I must have been pre-menstrual last time I did it)
  • texting people to arrange some sort of get-together (but, I hate 'planned fun')

    None of the above appeals. I wish I got pleasure from completing tasks, but somehow it just makes me feel more tense, waiting for it to come full-circle and needing to be done again.

    It is an exceptionally miserable day weather wise, and the view I have is of wet, drab terraced houses-most have the curtains or blinds closed.

    There's a poorly aligned sticker on my lap-top, it proves a very irritating distraction, as does the dirt underneath the glass of the TV stand. I wonder how many people have been murdered as a result of one too many minor irritations pushing someone over the edge. There are plenty of domestic violence incidents stemming from dinners being at an unacceptable temperature, tardy or at worst, NOT MADE.  I have a tale for everything at the moment, and on the subject of over-reaction, a particular classic...

     There was a boy in school who lived with his grandparents, he was fat and spoilt. The conservatory had been designated as his space and his grandparents were banned from there. It didn't look like a typical teenager's lair, it was a grotesque homage to Neil Diamond. The shelves bulged with Neil Diamond memorabilia and video tapes,  posters of him sneered at you from every wall. 
    One day, his grandfather couldn't find a blank video to record a local news clip featuring him, so he went into the conservatory. Most of the Neil Diamond tapes were meticulously labelled, so he took one with no sticker on and recorded the news. Little did he know "all fucking hell" was going to break loose (to quote 'John Matrix' in Commando, as my other half does all the time). In the evening, (on discovering Neil's latest show-stopping performance had been recorded over) revenge and anger lead to the living room being annihilated, every ornament, photo, treasured item - smashed to pieces. 

    I have two more stories up my sleeve, but I think that one takes the biscuit, don't you?

    Thursday, 24 February 2011

    Exchanging Pleasantries

    Alan Bennett's 'A Woman of No Importance'
    taking small talk to new heights

    Today I had some conversations with strangers. I didn't verbally initiate the conversations, though perhaps I sent out a vibe of approachability, I usually exude standoffishness.
    Firstly, I chatted to a lady who looked to be in her late 60's, she was eating fish and chips alone. The conversation centred around the difficulties of looking after two young children. "I've got two sons, had them close together like you" she said. It was very noisy in the cafe, the road is being dug up outside, this entertained the boys, so it was tolerable. As the conversation progressed, the lady (who looked like a Margaret or Barbara) went on to say my sons were "well behaved". Panic set in, my children aren't well behaved, this happened to be a very rare half hour slot of compliance. I hoped she would go before the truth emerged, I'm just another mum who lets her kids mess around because it's too tiring to constantly discipline them. As she left, she leant in and told me to treasure my time with the children, reminded me of how quickly they grow up, and added "I haven't got much time left". I felt rather sad, I'd obviously reminded her of a younger version of herself.

    On to the most depressing shop in town; B&M bargains, I'd promised to buy the boys a toy with some money my aunty gave me. It's like an upmarket pound shop, a sweet shop, off-licence... the list goes on. People seem to think it's a sort of Mecca because you can leave with a transit-van full of shite and get change from £20. I often see blokes strutting down the main road, fag about to drop it's ash, baseball cap threatening to fall off and large heavy cardboard box resting on their shoulder. It's the male equivalent of 'Mum's gone to Iceland'... 'dad's been to B&M's' (to pick up a black MDF multimedia stand).
    It took ages for the queue to go down, two tills open and about 19 people waiting with baskets brimming with sweets and cans. I joined in the moaning about the queues with the lady behind, but I wasn't that bothered really, I don't plan on frequenting there. £6.87 lighter, we head for the park because I just want to be out even  if it is wet. The park is busier than expected, and I see a mum from the school, I become very nosey and ask about how she met her husband, where he works, if she wants more children and all sorts of other prying questions. All of my questions were happily answered, and we also agreed that being home with your children is worth being skint for (probably because we both had crap jobs before).
    We should have headed home after the park, but I chanced the barbers, imagined it'd be quite a short wait.
    Beating hairdressers at their own game

    This became the low point of the day, youngest son was tired/emotional but middle son was hell-bent on getting an orange lolly for sitting nicely. We waited for 45 minutes, it was stressful and I looked like someone not coping well with motherhood. There was a very attractive lady sitting next to me with her son, he was four, and dressed in the style of JLS. I chatted to her on and off, just eavesdropped when a friend of her partner's came in. From what I could gather (this is mainly based on intelligent guessing) her partner is a well respected drug-dealer. There were numerous statements like "Oh, I know him, he gets stuff off us" and "Yeah, filled him in big time, fucking grassing twat". This seemed a shame, not so much the drug-dealing, but the foul language and vitriol, she really was a stylish, attractive and serene looking person. 
    Hair cut didn't happen, I gave up and was happy to not have to spend £9. 

    On the way home I saw a friend of my eldest's mum. I talked to her for longer than I expected, but remembered she always did have plenty of time for small-talk. I soon started to wonder if I had bird shit on me, my skirt was tucked in my knickers or something-everyone seemed to be giving me obviously dirty looks.
    I passed several more people I'm on nodding terms with, and finally stopped at the corner shop, chatting to the shopkeeper for a while.

     As I sat to drink my tea later on, I thought about Alan Bennett's 'A Woman of no Importance'...that's me, that is.

    Wednesday, 23 February 2011

    Minor Incidents

    My eldest wanted to go to the cinema with his new friend, who's a couple of years older and I've yet to 'suss out'. I moaned and moaned, even though I said he could go, and I'd take them. "It's Orange Wednesday, half term, there'll be nowhere to park, I'll have to take the little ones out of the car to come and buy your ticket, there'll be a huge queue, then they'll see Mc Donald's and want one, I'll have to get money out first..." 

    The build up was quite a saga, the friend couldn't go until he'd got his pocket money from his grandparents who were in B&Q (OAP Wednesday I believe). I just had an uneasy feeling about the whole affair, it seemed like a lot of hassle, and something which could end up being a waste of time.

    The friend's mum came over to run through the arrangements, just as my online grocery order arrived. As I emptied the crates of shopping, she carried on chatting and going over the same line 'I've told him, get your sweets from Raj, it'll be cheaper than the cinema'. Meanwhile, the kids are rifling through the shopping, 2 year old has opened the box of 15 eggs, this didn't seem to signal a cue for her to leave.

    The time to leave arrives, friend still hasn't paid Raj a visit to stock up, so we stop on way. The 2 year old keeps seeing emergency service vehicles and shouting 'woo woo woo', friend keeps rabbiting on and on, not sure if he's got bad nerves, or just one of those people who narrates his thoughts constantly.

    Get the cash out, try to pull on to the main road, car goes BANG very loudly, sounds like a burst tyre. Pull into a petrol station, can't see any sign of damage, but car not fit to drive. Boys walk to the cinema, in rain, just wearing hooded tops. 2 year old screams for the rest of the afternoon, can't cope with any sort of unexplained change to normal procedure. The spring on the front driver side suspension had broken free of the casing, and is sticking into the tyre. This could have been a very different story if it's happened on the dual carriageway (love those 'I could have died if a totally opposite set of circumstances were in place' stories).

    Dramatic, crap, huge queue for cinema, not sure if 2 for 1 code will be accepted, rain, 3 year old needs wee, 2 year old drops teddy I washed yesterday into a puddle of oil, I need a wee. I didn't include all these possibilities in my initial moans about dropping the boys to the cinema, damn.

    Nice to get home, make dinner, wash up, answer the phone loads of times, sort the washing out, and have a cup of tea. Do you know what, I felt better after all this than when I did this morning anticipating what could go wrong.  A bowl, one of my favourites, exploded in my hand as I scooped food out of it earlier too, it's been a funny day since the suicide attempt dream...

    Electric Dreams

    I dreamt last night that I tried to commit suicide by sticking my head in the oven. Electric fan ovens, I'd imagine, are not a popular suicide aid. It was one of those dreams where you 'wake up' but are still dreaming. When I eventually woke up properly, it struck me that other elements of the dream were more disturbing than the suicide attempt.
    It must have been a rubbish sleep, I'm all grumpy and feel 'I want to be alone'.
    I have been eating foods I usually avoid lately, I blame this for my mood. Today needs to be a productive day, or I'll end up in a right state. Thing is, I've got no chance of getting anything constructive done, so I may have to stick my head in the oven after all.

    Monday, 21 February 2011


    I look at my profile sometimes and I feel embarrassed. There are spelling mistakes, ridiculous, pointless statements which I shall delete, and most of it will be deleted at some point. Imagine a bloke had 'kids' listed as one of his interests, now that WOULD be interesting... I dislike the word 'kids' and try not to use it when speaking, though I don't know why it offends me. 
     Parents, irritating at best when it comes to their children, even your own family members' show-boating can drive you nuts when it concerns their offspring. I'm not about to suggest that my sons are anything special, they're just the best source of examples now that I no longer work with children.
    My sons are 11, 3 and 2 years old, so though there's an obviously big gap between thing one and thing two, they're all still very dependant on me. 

    I love this book

    Being half-term, the eldest is still in bed, sleeping off the Powerade binge he had in order to stay up late X-boxing with the rest of his 'clan' (I think that's what his fellow soldiers call themselves). It's disgusting, irresponsible, lazy and shocking that a) I allow him to drink Powerade occasionally, and b) I let him play on his x-box 'til late.
    The little ones have been up hours, and the rain looks set to dominate the whole of half-term, so what to do ? Looking at books, TV, painting/scribbling, fighting, breaking things, telling tales, crying, that's what. 

    They are SO easily pleased, it never ceases to amaze me. When I suggest painting, (which is at best 5 minutes of fun followed by 30 minutes of wet-wiping and filling the recycling bag with soggy brown paper) they jump around the room shouting 'yay, paints'!  I'm not sure if this is a natural response, or a learned appropriate response which I've encouraged in order to add a sense of excitement (probably the latter). The painting is just as I imagined, and it was hardly worth bothering.
    The highlight of the day for them so far, has been something which takes 'easily pleased' to a new level - 'Babybel cheese wax wrapper modelling'. We made a boat, complete with sail, an umbrella, some lips, and a football. They were really impressed, animated, concentrated well and  it worked far better than painting.

    Please, do cry

    Easily pleased and easily upset go hand in hand, and tears have flowed without inhibition at the slightest thing. That's where my similarities to a child are keenest, I too am very easily pleased and have no grand expectations.  I am also easily upset, though most wouldn't know when I'm upset. I don't cry, I can't remember the last time I cried (which is not right) but I do get down very quickly and suddenly.  I reckon little changes emotionally between childhood and adulthood, all that happens is better concealing. That's why one of my interests is 'kids'.  I probably hanker after the time I could get away with being so excited about going to Butlin's I kept thrashing myself wildly around the room for the week leading up. Then I remember the time I was so upset about being picked on, I sobbed all day making the most disturbing animal-like noises. I'll never get away with that behaviour again.....

    Sunday, 20 February 2011

    Sunday, bloody Sunday

    Alan Partridge said it best, "Sunday, bloody Sunday". There really is no excuse for me to dislike Sunday any more though. I don't have work tomorrow, or school. That ball of anxiety weighing down on my chest because I haven't even started my homework (too busy watching Bullseye), or the simmering resentment festering at the workplace to look forward to - no more.

    Yet, Sunday still feels lacklustre, disappointing or even pointless.

    I woke up well rested at a friends' flat in Cardiff after a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable Saturday evening. I was treated to endless tea and delicious freshly made gluten-free pancakes.This Sunday was an exception, a very rare variation on my usual routine.

    The internet lied, said there'd be a train leaving Grangetown at 10:14. There were to be NO trains leaving Grangetown this morning. No worries, I walked to Central station instead, it was dry and quite mild... I missed my train by 42 seconds. If only I'd chanced it at the crossing instead of waiting for the green man, eh?
    On the 11 o'clock train, the thud of Sunday sadness unexpectedly landed in my heart. Everyone seemed lonely, bits of overhead mobile phone conversation were boring and whiny. "I missed the bus", "I'm starving, but there wasn't time to eat first", "I'm soooo tired"...
    Temporary Sunday sadness syndrome

    My hair was greasy, limp. My face; bare, plain, and blotchy from the over-picked zits I am currently sporting. This added to the sense of self-dissatisfaction. 

    If only that were my kitchen and image
    Unfinished chores greeted me at home, along with  a fetid stench of damp from the bathroom. Sunday roast to prepare, but no enthusiasm to help me along. A neighbour passes by the window, I listen out for his inevitable snorting, hacking and gobbing, I hear it. This is stupid, it makes me feel rather sick, but I can't help listening, and tutting. Other neighbours pull endless supermarket bags out from the boots of their cars, magician's hanky style. I sigh heavily.

    How unappetising does that look? 

    I conclude, life is good, everyone is OK, I have no deadlines, there is no pressure on me. Thank goodness though, that 'every day' is not 'like Sunday'.

    Saturday, 19 February 2011

    Pontypridd is Vile

    When other people run my home town down, it hurts. I feel better today for visiting the town centre. Our trip to the park helped to lift the small cloud of doom that was hovering over me this morning. Space, trees, a skinny Robin fascinating my 2 year old and childrens' happy noises. I swung really high on the swings letting out several small yelps as my breathing pattern changed, it was fun. 
    After the park, on to the greengrocers for bananas and spuds, that was pleasant too. Exchanged small talk with the cashier and eavesdropped on the conversation a customer was having about his planned dinner of beef casserole. Walked back through the main street, my partner commented on how 'ill' everyone looked. "Fucking  depressing town" "shit weather, everyone looks poor, bloated and pathetic". "Including us" I added.

    I scanned the crowd as I always do, and imagined everyone as a stereotypical zombie, limping, crazed, vacant. It wasn't a difficult image to conjure, and some people would have only needed 5 minutes in hair and make-up.
    Memories-pretending to be a singer
    'B&M Bargains', huge queues just like Woolies used to have before it. Stout gormless lads in cheap garish t-shirts and hoodies chomping ferociously on chips or pasties. Wailing kids being told that they're 'doin' their parents' head in' (I'm sure the feeling was mutual). Two 'ladies' with a number 2 all over hairdo, top-heavy body shape, butch stance and clothes their faces like a dog eating hot chips staring at the wares on a shite market stall. I could go on and on...

    I had two things left to buy before home; sun-dried tomatoes and some gluten free flour.  I chatted to the owner of the deli (her daughter is in my middle son's class) meanwhile, my two year old screeched outside in the buggy. On to the whole-food shop, more howling and stiffening of limbs from youngest.
    I blend in perfectly with my surroundings, Pontypridd is run-down, neglected, the forgotten town. No leisure centre, no pool, rubbish café's, few decent shops. But it is MY home town, I have good memories, the park is beautiful as are some of the monuments steeped in history. I am still inspired by what I see (even if the inspiration leads to me thinking about zombies).

    I was in hospital for 5 days after having my youngest, and I enjoyed escaping into music during visiting hours. The excitable relatives arriving festooned with balloons, flowers and junk food provided a great backdrop to the music I drowned their noise out with. Headphones in, baby to breast, curtain left slightly open and lie back. Boy Robot:Bass and Booze on the mp3 player, that tune now holds special significance. Watching human behaviour is my favourite pass time, and it doesn't matter where I am, I always feel I'm outside.