Wednesday, 23 June 2010

philosophy is the talk on a cereal box

i’m on a diet. it’s official: prĂȘt sandwiches and buses into work = 3lb increase over 3 months. and i’m a bridesmaid in about 6 weeks; arghhh! the other two bridesmaids are child free, hence not only do they have the benefit of not looking like a now empty giant seed-pod; they also have plenty of me-time to dedicate to sport and activity; and don’t face the trauma of needing to eat fast calorie intensive snacks in order to muster the energy to manage the bedtime process.

so today i had mini shredded wheat for breakfast; a banana for snack, a coffee made by me rather than a deluxe fatty latte, a floppy ham sarnie for lunch (with some school fete chutney for taste and hopefully no bogies) and am now crunching away on apple rice cakes that i’ve stolen from the children’s snack cupboard.

and i also have my, gulp, running stuff with me. my plan is to factor sport INTO my daily routine rather than trying to wedge anything else on top of it. so at the moment i have a rather arduous trip to work involving driving the kids to nursery, driving to a non-parking metered zone of the city and getting a bus in to the centre. today on the way home i plan on running, or rather gently jogging, back to the car. no doubt i’ll be so starving i’ll have to stop to gorge my face with a pastry but i’ll let you know how it goes.

i had a funny seagull moment the other day; it sounds quite philosophical so please do bear with me on this one. i was sitting in a deckchair at home, a rare moment, wearing my sunnies and trying not to sneeze every nano-second due to hayfever being a total nightmare this year. i was somewhat frustrated, albeit guiltily, with husband (#1…) because despite the huge amount of domestics needing doing he was watering his veggie patch. (i know; i was lying in a deckchair, but i HAD just hung out washing...). as i sighed and stared into the blue sky i spotted two seagulls flying; they were in perfect synch, close together, swooping and turning in the late afternoon sun. shocked at their ability i blinked and two became one as i realised a mixture of suncream and blazing light had created this illusion from one solitary gull. and it was a pivotal point of self-realisation because i realised that of course two gulls can’t fly that closely together. if you try to enforce a closely synchronised flight like that all it would take was one piece of independent thought and a shift in direction and a crash would ensue. whereas if you fly close-ish but with room for manoeuvre then you can have a life where two gulls happily glide with fewer crashes but both enjoying the same view. so this is my new take on life: try not to hold everyone too close and force them to take my route because a clash is inevitable. let everyone have room to breathe and manoeuvre and that way we’ll all get there in the end!

i know; most people got there way before me; everyone else sometimes seem to exist in a much calmer state of harmony than the constantly pushing style that i seem to favour; but it was quite an epiphany for me. it reminded me of another morning when, on the bus, i glimpsed a poster for robin hood that i genuinely mis-read as “the untold story behind the leggings”.

talking of which daughter #2, aged 2 ½, has becoming very bossy on the clothing front. she picks out things that have to match; leggings are very IN but have to be in the right colour. trousers are OUT, skirts are a must-have if the correct colour and if the design is not for babies, just for big girls. daughter #1, aged 4 ¾, wants me to predict each nursery morning, with unerring accuracy, exactly what her best friend will be wearing and how her hair will be styled. when i mis-predict it’s not a good day. the morning nursery run is currently accompanied by a lot of black-eyed peas music and i’m not allowed to change the cd. this is an improvement on abba gold that previously dominated the sound waves which had itself been a welcome relief, replacing the Disney princess cd. however that being said, it did have me weeping occasionally during the hard first few months of daughter #2 (particularly the song about being a caterpillar, crawling about in the mud, stuck there, but knowing that you’ll eventually turn into a butterfly and fly around....)

i need to crack on; processes to map and risks to identify. i didn’t get any comments posted last week: have you all gone off me? did i neglect you for too long?! sorry …. i promise to be better!

Friday, 11 June 2010

poo and wee

i just glanced out of the window while i was on a conference call and saw a tramp pooing in a corner off princes street. i couldn’t see detail, but enough to understand that it involved some effort. what is mcdonalds for, for goodness sake? it reminded me why i should always watch where my children wander when we’re out; as it is #1 keeps trying to climb lampposts and from her height the initial chest style embrace and subsequent shimmying action ensures a full drenching of fetid dog urine on her sweaty palms. clearly i try to stop this but daughter #2 has become amazingly speedy on those amazing john lewis scooters, but not so skilled at keeping on the pavement so i’m torn between road monitoring and urine avoidance; and the former tends to edge ahead.

conference call probably sounds quite business like; however i was actually conference calling the other two hen weekend organisers to ensure our day’s agenda is cost effective, appropriately timed out and includes enough dildo action. i think it does.

so i continue in the world of public sector contracting for three days a week; my 8 week contract was happily extended to include change management and became 12 weeks and joy of actual joys i’ve been offered another piece of work to run for another 4 months. from a flexible working perspective it is just perfect and i can’t recommend it enough as a way to bring home the moolah but not feel totally tied to corporate needs. if i don’t work they don’t pay me, but then i also don’t have to feel hugely guilty about leaving to pick up a sick child from nursery; and the to-do list is mine to manage and deliver resulting in no overwhelming nightmarish return from holiday phase combining with the realities of family living.

i did have to leave early a few weeks ago; it was a wednesday afternoon and we were due to fly to mallorca on friday. and the call was to say that #2 looked as if she had chicken pox. which was nice. however amazingly by the next day all the spots had disappeared! it was a lazarus style recovery and we thanked the lord and gaily got on the plane with grandparents and headed to warmer climes, happy in the knowledge that all was well and we’d avoided the plague. unfortunately on day 3 she woke up pickled and truly poxed but hey, at least we were there! i think it must have been a viral rash in the first instance; so in her non-spotty phase we probably infected the whole of ryanair; apologies for that.

i say we were gaily on the plane but clearly the run up to this point had been true mania. is it only me that goes into ubersuperplanning frenzy pre-holiday? i wish i knew how to get a family of four packed and on a plane with less energy having to be expended for two weeks in advance; someone please share. with planning the washing cycle, siphoning off what is not to be worn again, organising in-flight snacks, in-flight entertainment (thank god for where’s wally; or where’s willy as #2 insists on calling it), weighing and re-packing, sourcing insurance, remembering to check in to avoid pointless needless ryanair charges, forgetting to get the new E111 form (£500 on credit card waiting to be repaid thanks to this; hoping insurance covers tiger mosquito bites and pox okay to fly certificates….), forgetting to tell pre-school, remembering to cancel nursery and nanny, remembering to have stuff in freezer for breakfast on return, cooking big lunch for day of departure to get us through to late evening arrival, and being rejected by our local state school to just make it more fun.

so of course adam’s employer decides to run a prototype motivational course for six weeks prior to this, given the working title “how to distance yourself from your family, exist on 2 hours sleep a night, visit london every three days (flying easyjet to stanstead to save money) and grind yourself to actual ash”. i believe the raison d’etre of the project was to test endurance levels of senior management and then analyse the impact on wives. i think i did quite well; i may have lost it a few times but hung on in there, focusing on holiday while doing the nursery drops, pick ups, working, running house, running family, appealing school decision, organising appeal group, planning holiday, endless bathtimes, tea times, morning rushes, urine drenched lamppost climbing etc etc. at last the evening before holiday dawned: #2 was spot free, grandparents had arrived, we were checked in, husband was in london. husband’s easyjet flight was moved from 7pm to 11pm. husband got home; husband then had to work from home all morning of departure day until i detached the blackberry from his flesh and we all got into the taxi.

on morning 1 of holiday when children both made a fuss about their breakfast milk not tasting right i actually lost it. i think i had a mini breakdown and should probably report it to adam’s work for research purposes. i had to sit on my bed sobbing and request that all child micro-management become his responsibility for at least 2 days until i’d regained a sense of perspective. so it was good when 3 days later the pox entered our lives.

so we are holidayed; a bit browner, a bit wearier but it was a lovely place and pre and post poxy bit had a great time. now we’ve just got to claim on insurance and have unfortunately lost our deposit on the accommodation due to #1 having an accident and the mattress being deemed unfit for continuing use; oh well, long may the contract extend!