Saturday, 31 December 2011

DEAR BOSS

My partner excels at romantic gestures. This year he bought me a book, wrapped in the prettiest red paper, with the magical word ‘Love’ in the title.  Now I know what you’re thinking. Is it ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Is it ‘Love’ by Toni Morrison? Well no, it isn’t either of these. Great works of literary fiction only claim to change your life; my partner has bigger ambitions. His gift was a self-help book that will change my life for real. A book called ‘How to Get A Job You’ll Love’. 

Thanks baby.

You see, for a long time now, I’ve been worrying that all this pissing about raising my kids is below me. How I’ve longed for a book that will help me get off my fat lazy stay-at-home-mummy ass (covered as it is in great oozing bedsores from sitting down reading stories to my kids) into the world of REAL work.      

Even as I write, there are tears of gratitude welling up in my eyes, blurring my vision. I'm so moved by his gesture that I feel compelled to share with you the list I’ve compiled in response to one of the book’s first exercises; a ‘cathartic’ list of all the things I have disliked about work in the past, which is meant to help me move forwards.     

So here goes:

1.     I don't like meetings. For a start, no one listens to me. My partner reckons it’s because I speak at a pitch that is audible only to whales, elephants, or supernatural beings blessed with powers of super-hearing, i.e Superman/ Wolverine/God. I’m not so sure. On the rare occasion I do say something interesting, it’s really odd and funny how one or other of my colleagues (usually a male) will make EXACTLY the same observation a few minutes later. As if by magic. Lately, I’ve been secretly thinking (although it’s not in the book) that the only way forward for me is to attend any meetings equipped with a massive strap-on cock and shout my ideas really loudly into a fucking megaphone. See if that works.

Alternatively I could get my tits out. Which brings me to the second point…

2.     Recently I have read reviews of a very bad and naughty book by sociologist Catherine Hakim called ‘Erotic Capital’, in which she argues that women should be using sex appeal to get ahead in the boardroom. My feeling is that Catherine Hakim’s strategies might work fine until you’re 30. Taken to extremes, you might even find that fellating your (married) boss on the boardroom table gets you a mini-promotion (although never ever his job). By the time you reach 40, however, you will have realised that wearing a short skirt into the office is more likely to provoke violent gag reflexes. Suddenly you realise you’ve been misled. Suddenly you have to man up, draw on other skills, like the ability to assert yourself. And it’s bloody hard. So Catherine Hakim. Listen with mother. I know I sound a little crazy, a little emotional, a little irrational, even hormonal - but what I think I’m trying to say is this: shut the fuck up, you tedious reactionary.  

3.   I don’t like inflexibility in the workplace. For instance, I drop my kids off at school at nine o’clock in the morning. This is what I do. I like to give them a kiss and a cuddle, and see them off into the world. I'm such a wet. Just because YOU want me to be in the office by nine o'clock in the morning for no other reason than because someone in the US in the 1950s said that business hours constituted 9 a.m until 5 p.m (rather than 9.15 until 5.15, or 10.00 until 6.00), it doesn’t mean it should automatically be that way forever and ever. Does it?  Listen, I would be there if there were a meeting, or something important, but I just don’t get why I have to be there at 9.00am just so that I don’t miss the critical life-or-death moment when the kettle boils and everyone makes their morning tea and stands around for absolutely aeons discussing what they did the previous evening. PS: I’m not lazy. I never take a lunch hour. Look, boss, if we could just talk about it for a minute in the boardroom, ALONE, I’m sure we could come to some agreement…*brings out Catherine Hakim’s book*…

4.    I don’t like leaving my kids in the care of other people for longer than a few hours. Something to do with me giving birth to them and feeling responsible for them. Fucking crazy stuff. 

Anyway, as you can plainly see, I’m making progress. I’m thinking positively. I’m talking myself into a good place. I’m all psyched up. I’m supposed to write approximately ten points before I move on to the second exercise in the book, then I’m supposed to read the whole book, but hell, I think I’m ready! I’m growing huge balls as I write. I’m crushing up all the maternal bones in my body and making cocaine from them. I’m even thinking I should share this blog post with my contacts on Linkedin? What do’ya think? What d'ya think! Fuck, I’m even thinking I’m going to burn that soppy po-faced Oliver James’s book ‘How Not to F**k Them Up' this very minute, and phone a childminder, or preferably, the child-catcher in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', see if he's got spaces...  

It’s gonna be great.




Monday, 19 December 2011

SEX IN A COLD CLIMATE


Normally I’m a fun-loving kind of gal. I like playing mummies and daddies. I like doing the matrimonial polka. I like taking a turn on the hobbyhorse. 

I say normally, because there are three exceptions to this rule. These are a) during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; b) during any episode of d&v but especially when it's that motherfucker Norovirus; c) when it’s cold.

There is NO WAY I’m lifting up my petticoats and/or traditional cotton winceyette full-length long-sleeved nightdress* in this weather.  I like my body the way it is, thanks very much, not all blue and puffy and lifeless. As it happens, I think my partner feels the same way. Yesterday he bought a Dreamland luxury super-king-size heated mattress cover, which has five settings, including a super-fast pre-heat option, a dual control unit that allows each side of the bed to be set at different temperatures, an all-night timer, an elasticated skirt, and an extra foot warmth section. Which says it all. 

You see, there was a time when an electric blanket that you could leave-on-all-night would have been a diabolical health and safety hazard, if you know what I mean.  

It helps neither of us that my personal hygiene takes a nosedive in the cold.

Take a shower? Are you crazy?  Why not water-board myself in the face with jugs of liquid nitrogen? Why not drill myself a bathing hole in the eastern Antarctica ice mass? Listen, I can't even extend a bare arm into the shower cubicle to turn the water on. I say water, but it's not water, not really. It is the Icy Ejaculate of the Antichrist. (Sometimes I try disassociating myself from my arm. No no no, I say to myself, it doesn’t matter that there are horizontal jets of satanic spume pounding against your skin, because it isn’t your arm!! It is a joke arm, a prosthetic limb. Just look at it dangling there, white and pimply, with shameful little brown hairs standing on end, ha ha ha, ha ha ha!!!) 

I will concede, of course, that things are momentarily better once you’re in the shower, once the violent shivering and the mental confusion abates. But then, I have to step out again. Like Captain Oates. 

I find the bath less distressing, but only marginally. You still have to get out, goddamit.  You still have about 30 seconds to acclimatize before you experience total cellular and metabolic shut down. And of course, the towel heater is never on, is it?  

It is an absolute nightmare. So I stay dirty. And not in that way. Not til spring...



* I forgot to say that the winceyette nightdress of which I speak also features a delicate and very flattering pink floral print. (Oh, god, no! Get a friggin tissue for godsakes!) 

PS: My partner has just pointed out that he bought the Dreamland luxury heated mattress cover for me - and me only. There is never any diminishment of his sex drive in the cold, he says. He has never even heated his side of the mattress. Like Bear Grylls, he would probably prefer to spend the night suspended from a bivoucac on an ice shelf in the south pole. What a guy.  

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

An A-Z of Christmas Humbug: C is for Christmas Concert

Today I have a dead ass. A bum so numb I might as well have a) scooped out a load of silicon gel from one of my baby daughter’s sodden nappies, blended it up with porridge, and PVA glue, and hairy chunks of Lego from under the sofa, and injected the whole bloody lot of it straight into my ass cleft, or b) tattoo’d a detailed Technicolor picture of a Stage 4 Bedsore on each of my ass cheeks with a spectacularly dirty needle and then waited for Life to mimic Art.

That’s how fucked-up my bottom is.

It’s all the fault of the school Christmas concert. Of course.

I should have known something was up as soon as I saw one of the other mummies carrying a pair of PINK MATCHING CUSHIONS into the school hall a whole half an hour before the concert goddammit. But I was already misty-eyed at the thought of my little ones, singing their hearts out, solemnly saying their one line, looking for their mummy and their daddy in the audience, and I didn’t register.

In fact, I didn’t really register until I was queuing right up alongside the school hall windows and saw hundreds of TINY CHAIRS arranged in neat rows inside the hall. My first thought was that the tiny chairs might be props. Perhaps we were about to see something different - not the usual nativity play - but a more subversive production, like, oh, I don’t know, a blackly comic play entitled something like Goldilocks Goes Fuckin Ape-Shit*. That kind of thing. Or, perhaps we were expecting a coach-load of Oompa-Loompas, or munchkins, or hobbits.

Of course, I doubt I would have brought a pair of pink matching cushions to the school Christmas concert even if I had known about the size and hardness of the chairs. For a start, I don’t like looking like a total TIT. And I like looking like a TWONK even less. (Even though I almost always do). Secondly, I only own one pair of matching cushions, and one of the pair features a picture of a giant, with a willy, drawn by one of my children in indelible permanent marker. And I don’t want to be sitting on a giant’s willy in my children’s Christmas concert.  (Giant willy, maybe; giant’s willy, no.) To be honest though, I doubt I would have brought a pair of matching pink cushions to the school Christmas concert even if I had to sit on a 6ft cactus, or on one of those medieval Judas chairs, or an electric chair, or a spike, or a friggin Bumbo, or if they were the only things between myself, and a nail bomber. OK, I’ve crossed the line now. I know I have. I’m very sorry.

But this is how I feel about matching pink cushions.

I enjoyed the concert, of course I did. I had to swallow down hard as my little boy, in his ‘carol singer’ costume, sang a word-perfect rendition of a Christmas carol, and dutifully wore his multi-coloured scarf and gloves set, in spite of the centrally-heated school hall. I did the same when my beautiful daughter, in her wings and sparkly pink tights, danced with the other fairies, and said her line, and kept her cool, in spite of the fact that she was bricking it.  

And if my ass dies, as it will, it will have been worth it.

* If anybody wants to commission me to write ‘Goldilocks goes Fuckin Ape-Shit’, I’m available. ‘Goldilocks Goes Fuckin Mental’ would work just as well as a title. The play would of course be a critique of society’s fetishistic attachment to possessions and property, and of our inability to share, a position represented by The Three Bears…

P.S: If you are the person who took the pink cushions to the school production, I’m only jealous. 

P.P.S: This is probably the last in my A-Z of Christmas Humbug installments. From now on, this series of blogs will be retrospectively known as An ABC of Christmas Humbug. I'm bloody knackered okay. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

An A-Z of Christmas Humbug: B is for ...

Operator: Hello, emergency services operator. Which service do you require?
Caller: Something’s happened. I just got home. You’ve got to send someone. You need to send someone quick as you bloody can. Please. For fucksakes ... please...
Operator: Please calm down sir. What service do you require? What is the nature of your emergency?
Caller: I got home. Something’s happened. I think… maybe … there’s a body in the house. Maybe an animal ... I can’t walk in the house I’m telling you …dunno wot the fuck it is. I’m on the phone in the hallway and I can’t walk in the house … it’s too much …there’s this stench from hell … it’s on my clothes on my skin in my mouth in my fuckin throat I can’t breathe … it’s coming at me like this wall of pure shit you’ve got to believe me … you can almost see it…
Operator: You need to calm down sir.
Caller: Its like being tied to a fucking corpse I’m telling you … I feel like I’m gonna black out … you've got to send someone, got to send someone. Oh, no, hang on, sorry, no … What d’you say? What did you say love? My wife’s just walked into the hallway. Didn’t know she was here, swear to Christ I didn’t! What love … you are kidding me? Sprouts?
Operator: Slow down sir. You said sprouts?
Caller: It’s my wife. She was cooking Brussel Sprouts, must have forgotten to put the extractor on and shit, silly cow. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. No I’m fine sir, no really, that’s not necessary. I’ll be ok. Yeah, no, I’m ok.

Happy Christmas 

PS I know the title suggests a daily blog in the run up to Christmas. However, as this series is dedicated to the practice of Total Festive Fuckwittage (see previous blog), and to exploring emotions like disappointment, guilt, and, of course, feelings of failure, it's highly unlikely to happen. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry mummy please love me mummy please I'm so sorry sorry sorry 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

An A-Z of Christmas Humbug: A is for Advent Calendar.

Gosh darn it and bugger, dear readers! It seems I have quite forgotten to MAKE the children an Advent Calendar!!!

In spite of weeks of trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit, including excessive and uncontrollable drooling over vintage baubles, clandestine hoarding of festive issues of 'Ideal Home' and 'Country Living' magazine, and to top it all, seeing troubling visions of Nigella just before I fall asleep every night (her face and head, but with the body of an Outdoor-Reared Organic Goose), I have once again failed to live up to expectations. Yes, FAILED.

It was meant to be the perfect way to start the perfect Christmas. A homemade ‘eco’ advent calendar fashioned from recycled tin cans, decorated by the children as a wintry after-school activity, with naif squiggly dates crayoned on recycled cardboard discs. Just divine!!!! I imagined it sitting there - on the kitchen mantelpiece above the range - amidst sprigs of artfully arranged greenery (from Sunday afternoon family walks in the forest), and homemade bunting made from recycled copies of The Guardian. (If you're inspired to make one yourself, you could use The Financial Times; the red print has a subtle Christmassy character. But please, please, for the love of God and the baby Jesus, please don’t use The Sun, or * sucks teeth with horror, almost keels over just thinking about it* ANY of the red-tops.)

But now, the dream is over, and I have already succumbed to one of the last branded chocolate advent calendars in the local Gro-Tesquo Express range. The window ‘hinges’ are only partly perforated, so I have to use a laser to open them, and there is a further layer of lacerating foil curtain to penetrate. To extract the chocolate, I need to use a pair of precision tweezers. But needless to say, it’s so worth it when you taste the chocolate.

It will be the same with the rest of Christmas, of course. I will probably let all my friends down, and my family, BUT MOST OF ALL MYSELF. There will be missed culinary deadlines, broken Christmas lights, recurring feelings of failure and inadequacy, and worst of all, a tiny misplaced slip of paper featuring the names of those I must buy for in my street’s ‘Secret Santa’ draw. (Yes, dear neighbours, I did consider a face-to-face confession, but blogging about it is less painful, less humiliating…)

On a positive note, there will be a charming musical reindeer from my aunt, and Quality Street, and gravy granules, and the most vulgar electric blue tinsel in the whole of Christendom, and an artificial tree decorated by an excited six and four year old, and a baby. And it won’t be chic, but it will be ours.

Happy Christmas!

PS: Yes I do realise it’s December 3rd and a piece on advent calendars should be published on december 1stBut this is all part of the joys of Total Festive Fuckwittage.

PPS: I am deeply indebted to FellatioNelson’s Ponce-tastic Christmas thread on Mumsnet for inspiring me to write this blog.