Sunday, 30 March 2008

Cold Truth

So, 2 weeks ago, it's my last day at work. I've been there almost 17 years, so it's really hard to leave everyone behind. That said, some of the people? Wish I'd left them years ago.

We all went out in the evening. Well, I'd been out at lunchtime too, so it promised to be a good night. And it was. Loads of people came out, some people I didn't expect to come out, which was fab, because the drinking thing, it's not for everyone. Specially, because when I do go out on a night like this, there's not really much of an opportunity for food, unless chips happen to fall in your mouth from a plague of raining chips as you walk from one pub to another. Which I've always sort of hoped for, but it's yet to happen.

One pub led to another. It always does. There were tears, not mine. There are always girls who cry for no reason. Why does that happen? Are we still in school? Good grief.

We ended up in an 80s bar, which is always kind of an end of night thing with us. You know, at the beginning of the night, it's the worst place that you could think of ending up, and you wouldn't be seen dead in it. Halfway through the evening, you start to think about where's a good place that you can all stay late, and some people can have a dance. Come half eleven, it's all "Oh God! Wham! I love this one!" and you're away. We danced me and him, messing around, having a laugh. We may have shared a quick kiss, no big deal, hardly anyone left that had started out with us, and nothing more than a peck anyway.

Fast forward, if you will, two weeks later. One of my friends from the old office leaving to start a new life in Dublin. I went to say goodbye to her. Same old faces, but already I felt like I didn't belong, that I've moved on, I have a different road to take now. He was there and someone commented to him that now his girlfriend had turned up. We were a couple, weren't we? We had, apparently, been the talk of the office in those two weeks, not that he knew anything about it of course. Men don't really enter into that sort of gossip (well, if they do, they don't often admit to it), and anyway I guess that people knew that he'd give them short shrift if they asked him anything about us.

I watched him when he was asked the question. He laughed and said no, we weren't a couple.

And that's the cold truth.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Flip Side of Mothering

Or Why I Need a New Coat.

Is it just me? Or do you only realise when you're at the bus stop on the way to the childminder, that you haven't examined your offspring's face? I mean, don't get me wrong, you look at them all the time. But really examine? I mean, they know the routine, right? Make sure your face is clean before you leave the house. And clean your teeth. And at least wave something over your hair. So you don't need really to examine their faces, do you?

Of course you do.

Even for minor things, like sleepy eyes. (Although it is not unheard of for me to spot toothpaste, jam, chocolate or a combination of all 3 which dates back days). I have a real issue about those bits of sleep that get into the corner of your eyes. I prod at my own eyes with the fervour of an archaeologist and am amazed that this is one of the habits my son hasn't inherited. (Lord have mercy on him, he got my laugh. Which means that he will spend the rest of his life being recognised at a hundred yards every time someone says something even remotely amusing.)

So it's really only when I get to the bus stop that I have time to examine his eyes. And sadly he is past the age where he allows me to stick random digits in his eyes. (ah, those were the days). I am therefore left with the highly unsatisfactory resolution of pointing out that he has sleep in his eyes. When I first started doing this he would perform nicely, like a good boy. Lately, things have taken a sinister turn. He wiped the sleep out of his eyes, and then wiped his finger on my sleeve. I stared at him.

'What are you doing?'

'Wiping my finger.'

'What was on it?'

'Eyeball jelly.'

Eeeeeeewwwwwwww. I mean, just eeeeeewwwwwwww.

He has now stepped up the campaign of horror. Recently, I took the brave decision to point out the sleep in his eyes again. Then turned away to look for the bus, affecting nonchalance. The next thing I feel is his fingers.

Entwined lovingly in my hair.

I turn to stare at him.

'Have you just wiped sleep in my hair?'

He bursts out laughing at the look of disgust on my face, and chortles merrily.

'Of course I haven't, mummy.'

I breathe a sigh of relief, and turn back to look for the bus.

'I wiped it on your coat first.'

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Why I Love Being a Mother - #1 in an Infinite Series

Mother's Day.

A Special Day. For Mothers. Because We Are Special.

It's good, isn't it?

It's one of the things that I like about being a mother. As my son is not with me permanently, there is inevitably a scuffle just before Mother's Day (or Mothering Sunday, as my own mum will insist), whilst said son tries to smuggle in random assorted gifts through the front door, under his dad's supervision.

'Mum, will you go & stand in the kitchen?'

I do. Strategically positioned, so that I can see the antics reflected in the kitchen window. There is rustling, whispering, a bit more rustling, and then thundering footsteps up the stairs. Son returns.

'You know the place where the shower switch is? Where the suitcases are?'

I do indeed. It is the place that I'm going to rent to a vertically & financially challenged person when I fall on hard times.

'Don't go in there'.

I wouldn't dream of it.

I was lucky enough to be woken with breakfast in bed. By a nine year old. This had taken quite a lot of preparation, on both our parts. I thought long & hard about it yesterday. Did I trust him with the toaster? Did I buggery. Could I trust him to get up the stairs with cereal, and more importantly, milk? No, I could not. So what then would be easily managed?

Pain au chocolat would, and stuff the diet. I gave brief instructions last night about how to use the microwave.

'Open the door. Put them in. On a plate. Close the door. Turn the timer thingy to in between 1 and 2 mins. Don't stand in front of it. (Old superstitions die hard) When the timer dings, take them out. Bring to lovely mummy.'

Child's play, you'd think.

I was greeted with his little smiling face, clutching a plate.

'Did you hear that bang?'

No. I did not hear a bang. I felt an earthquake in the week, but I did not hear a bang when my son was unsupervised in the kitchen. Dear God, the house is in ruins. I will need to call the fire brigade. I wonder if the cat has exploded too.

'I think it was when they got so hot that the cellophane exploded.'

Did I remember to tell him to take them out of the cellophane? Apparently not. I'm slightly perturbed that there wasn't molten plastic on them. At least none that I could taste.

Ah well.

Mother's Day. What's not to love?

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Road to Nowhere

I keep being gone too long, I know I do. And I sometimes miss having the time to come here as often as I used to. Lots of you with site meters will find that I still come to see you, even if I don't always have time to leave a comment, and I do still love hearing about what you're all up to. But these days, I just seem so busy, and there's always somewhere else I need to be.

Like Thursday evening for instance. Some work do, where one of our clients took quite a lot of us out for a meal and a drink. They've been doing this for about 5 years now, and always just after Christmas, so we were a bit later this year. These events are now the stuff of office legend. One year someone got so drunk that they fell asleep in their own garden on their way home, and lost one of their contact lenses. (Not me, don't wear lenses). One year we went to a club, and someone threw up, incredibly violently, in the toilets. (Not me, I rarely throw up now from drink). One year, someone drank 5 sambuccas straight down, after lighting them, and then thought they'd gone blind. (OK, that one was me). If you have the stamina for them, they regularly go on until about 5 the next morning.

I do not have the stamina for that.

This year, we left at about half 12 (just 1 sambucca, but quite a lot of vodka & a little bit of wine), and as we sat in the taxi I thought a little bit about the fact that it would be the last one that I went to, because of my new job. Lots of things will come to an end now. And as Manic Mother was astute enough to point out, the new job means that I won't be working with him any more. Are we still doing what we're doing out of habit, because we're there? Is it just because we see each other nearly every day? Will this just become a Christmas and birthday card sort of friendship?

No one knows, not even me, although I don't think it will.

When we got to his house, he gave me my birthday present, which had been ordered and had taken a long while to get here. It was this.

I love this painting. I know there is much snobbery in the art world about Jack Vettriano, but I simply do not care. Is it wrong to like a painting because you can see what it is? Is it wrong to like something traditional, because it is not made out of earwax and toenail clippings?
It's called 'Road to Nowhere'. He chose it because he loved the painting, the fact that the couple looked so damn cool, and that even if it's a road to nowhere, you kind of want to go where they're going.
He also chose it because it's the title of one of his favourite songs (by Talking Heads, if you're not sure).
The lyrics make me smile.
'Well we know where we're goin'
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowin'
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out
We're on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin' that ride to nowhere
We'll take that ride
I'm feelin' okay this mornin'
And you know,
We're on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go.'
I like the idea of being on that road, even if it is going nowhere.