It’s a hard knock life baby, but there’s still you, and there’s still me


It’s difficult. And you have no idea, really, just how difficult it will be. To leave your country behind. To leave friends. Family. You look in the mirror and you are madly in love. Your passion and your optimism lead you to believe everything will be just fine. With love like this, your world will just keep turning around and around.

But then issues start to creep in. First his family don’t really accept you. You’re different. Foreign. You can’t speak the local lingo and you have different ideas. Different traditions. A different outlook on life. A different world view. You see life through a different set of eyes. Through a different background. Through different circumstances. He loves you, and as the dutiful husband he grows more and more apart from his family, as you do too from yours.

The children are hard work. They too have their issues. The language. The new customs and traditions. Health issues spring up out of nowhere and sometimes, they have difficulties just fitting in.

You spend hours translating homework. Hours sitting in doctor’s surgeries. And very little time at all doing normal things, like you did before and that’s an enormous loss.

You feel alone. Few people help you. Friendships are rarely deep and come and go. You miss your land, your air, your sea. Things you thought had little consequence suddenly mean a lot more.

Opportunities reduce. Exhaustion increases. Life becomes one long bumpy road. You have a lot of children, but no village to rear them, instead you are out there, alone.

Disapproving looks. Little comments. Repeated rejection. You feel it. In your heart. In your pulse. In your soul.

You begin to be less independent. Less resourceful. You cling to your husband and he takes the brunt of all your anguish, your pain, your deep seated sadness.

You love him, but you crush him. He, too, is overcome with tiredness.

Sometimes there are glimmers of hope and torches shining in the darkness and when they suddenly fail to burn or are abruptly extinguished, you plunge into what feels like a never ending abyss. And worse still, you drag everybody else with you.

Our worlds feel so different. Yet we are joined at the hip all the same. Our love, though repeatedly tested, is still as strong, maybe even stronger than it ever was. We traipse and test new pathways, together, and we falter together. Tumble together. Catch one another. Trip one another up but land joined together, hand in hand.

Another punch has hit us. But we feel the same pain. The same disappointment. The same loss. We unite in a way I never could with another. And that makes it somehow bearable. Somehow endurable.

I am with you in this strange land. With its strange customs. With its strange ways.

I stand with you hand in hand.

Through the hard stares. Through the false starts. Through every battle ground.

Hand in hand. Always.

Watch out for those wrinkly bits!


You know you married a German when your teenage daughter wanders over to you and tells you that your husband is “spachteling” around in the buff. As in completely starkers. Wearing nada. Hanging loose.

People often ask us which language we speak at home. And everyone of us always answers, “Denglish.” Which is a rather confused mix of Deutsch or German and English. The verb spachteln means to fill something in, or smooth something out. Which was in this case with plaster. As native Brits we just love the suffix -ing and half of our Denglish consists of us adding an -ing wherever possible to any German verb, which is a constant source of amusement to our German friends, and is pretty much the only reason we ourselves notice it, as to us, it just sounds so natural. They snigger when we call out, “I’m going einkaufing” (shopping). They giggle at our “spaziering” (going for a walk). And they’d crack up at our spachteling around.

I responded to my daughter that her Papa was obviously taking naturism up as an extreme sport. After all, I have a protective need to wear sturdy footwear when I’m just doing the ironing. I feel positively alarmed at the thought of using actual tools in my birthday suit.

Curious of his bravery, I later approached my husband on the subject. He explained his very simple and pragmatic approach, “I needed a shower anyway, so rather than change into my work clothes…”

Use the right tone with your children and your phone


I am useless with names.

My ex-mother-in-law who very sadly, passed away last year, understood my predicament all too well. Apart from having her own issue remembering the names of her six children, she always used to delight in telling me the story of her old school friend, who not only had an abundance of brothers, but also oodles of dogs. According to Grandma, her friend’s mother would frequently recite all of her son’s names, closely followed by all of her dog’s names before she finally addressed her one and only daughter.

I am blessed with two daughters and two sons. Throughout the years I have frequently misnamed them. And our dog too, of course. I have always been in awe of how, during a telling off, they managed to keep a straight face, when I sometimes yelled, “You, whatever your name is…”

You can imagine my secret joy then too, when our son, who we had originally believed to be our daughter, changed, very thoughtfully in my opinion, his name from Lori to Lawrence, AKA Lawrie for short.

Currently I still have no grandchildren to burden with false names. But that does not mean that I do not grow additionally confused. I have technology.

A couple of years ago, my son, Aden, got a phone he could talk to, not just on. I’d hear him shouting, “Hey Google…” And then asking the phone a question. “What’s the weather going to be like today?” For example.

That same summer, Akasha and I , decided to do a fantastic trip. Travelling by train, first out of Germany, then across France, we hopped on the Eurostar and through the tunnel and then to several spots in the UK, all the way up to Scotland, back down again, with a bit of a detour through Belgium and the Netherlands. Staying with various friends along the way. It was a truly magnificent two weeks which we still often talk about very fondly.

But two summers on, I am still left with a tiny problem.

Two households had a new playmate in their homes. Alexa. They’d whoop, “Alexa! Play [insert name of song].” And she would play that exact song. Well, mostly. Or they’d holler, “Alexa! Turn the volume down!” And she’d oblige. Or they’d ask her questions on all kinds of topics and she’d tell them the actual answers. I was well impressed and somehow Alexa snuggled herself into a little corner of my brain.

We returned from our travels and life continued as normal. I called the dog Akasha and Lawrie and Aden and Joni, before I remembered that her name is Lexi. The dog looked confused and didn’t really know how to respond.

We recounted our journey to anyone who would be prepared to listen.

Then, one day, my mobile gave up the ghost. And my husband suggested, that for the first time in my life, I might like an iPhone? We found an old model which had been on display in a store and decided that that would be my new phone.

My phone arrived a few days later and she had a special gadget. Siri.

She works like this: you call out, “Hey Siri!” she wakes up and then you can ask her a question. Or give her a task. She’s especially useful when you need to be hands free and say, you want to call someone, or you have your hands deep in dough and you forgot the remainder of the recipe.

Problem is, I find myself bellowing “Hey Google!” Then when that doesn’t work, I reselect and screech, “Hey Alexa!”

It has even been known, in our household, for me to complain to my husband, “That iPhone is rubbish. She never answers me.”

The poor, slightly disturbed man, looks back at me, somewhat incredulously.



No bum fun here, little lady!


Last month I had a gentleman’s fingers in my anus. And they were not my husband’s. Not that I am saying that my beloved is into that kind of thing. But I just never really imagined saying that sentence out loud when I was 20 or even 30, for that matter. And now having only just turned 48, that was the kind of congratulatory reward I found myself in for.

No party. Corona times. But a man telling that my butt is stuffed. Quite literally.

I could have told him that. Actually.

So I am getting a pump. Like a little old lady. And a sitz bath. The post birthday gifts kept coming… But the thing is: I may only be 48 (and look a mere 45) but mentally, I’m still only about 30. I’ll give it to you – physically, I concede, I’m probably more 50+. But how the hell did this happen?

Still, I’m embracing the future with much optimism. I have been told, on supposedly good authority, that my life will improve in leaps and bounds. I will be a new woman.

Halle-bloody-lujah.

I am most definitely up for that!!

Reputation Eradication


If I were to list a few adjectives to describe my own characteristics then quite a few come to mind. Like creative. Chatty. Loyal. A little bit impatient. Funny. Friendly. Opinionated. Stubborn. A little bit hot-headed. Instinctive. Passionate.

If you were to ask my husband he’d have a fairly similar analysis: creative, a right blether, loyal, impatient, hilarious, keeps chatting to all and sundry, OPINIONATED, stubborn, impulsive and hot-headed, follows her instincts/illogical, passionate. I think he’d also enumerate: untidy, a good cook, smart, thoughtful, kind and reliable. In private he’d probably also add sexy. But that’s his own, very unique, point of view.

Furthermore, were you to phrase the question to any of my kids, their answer’s would go something like this. Creative. Never shuts up. Loyal. Impatient. Funny. Social. OPINIONATED. Stubborn as a mule (which they’d say proudly). Instinctive. They’d also have their own contributions. Protective – our dragon mother. Tidies up when guests announce themselves. Has a huge laugh that was embarrassing when we were little, but was pretty cool when we got older. Embarrassing in general. A good cook. Wise. Strict. Helpful. Annoying. Unnecessarily anxious. Storytelling. Nosy.

I know all of this well. We often played a game at the dining table that the children had learned at school, where we told each other the other’s characteristics. When each kid hit a certain age group, it became an obsession.

A few months ago I was asked to be part of a panel who answers questions, mostly with regard to advertisements, but based on my own opinions about anything and everything. I get paid for the honour. Literally cents for each questionnaire (I started months ago, do a questionnaire most days and I still haven’t made my first 10 Euros). Obviously, I’m not in it for the money. I’m in for the chance to say exactly what I think. About advertisements. About corona. About supermarket policies. About the government. About holidays. About the media.

But there’s this little issue. I have very little brand awareness. I have a few brands that I know and like but apart from that I just tend to ignore them. So sometimes I’m hit with a questionnaire and I’m really rather clueless.
Then to top it all, this thing happened the other day.

I was sent my questionnaire. I opened it with glee, wondering what I’d be asked to give my opinion on now. (I’m still waiting to be quizzed on what to do about Trump, Brexit, the school system, the neighbour’s constant need to keep drilling – will our semi collapse at some point because there is no actual wall left? Though, to be fair, I have been able to direct some sensibleness with regard to environmental policies within supermarkets etc). Again, unfortunately, the subject was advertising (that one comes up far too regularly, in my opinion) but at least this time they’d tried to make it a bit more fun.
I had to play a game. It was a kind of click game, and at first I had to do practice runs which began with easy steps and then built up to the grand finale. I had to click all over diverse magazine entries. I clicked merrily away on various things that drew me.
Suddenly, my clicking frenzy was over. I’d mastered many clicks. I am after all an internet professional. And, I’ve played many a round of candy crush and am a true expert in clicking.
Swiftly a new page uploaded on my screen, with one single question.

“What was the last film you watched at the cinema?”

I was thrown slightly. I knew that I’d been to the cinema quite recently. To the drive-in cinema. It had been our very first experience of a drive-in. We’d watched a film on the enormous screen. Cricking our necks and wishing we’d brought even more cushions. And maybe some popcorn. And less salty crisps. Perhaps a blanket… What was the film called? It was German… A comedy… I remembered I had specifically looked for a German film because I hate watching dubbed English films. I get totally confused lip reading in English while listening to alien German voices. Nope. Gone. I’d have to look it up. But I had absolutely no idea what it was called. So I typed “German comedy” into the internet. Then I searched. No, no, no… “German film comedy”… No, no, no… “Recent German films”? Ah there it was. Das perfekte Geheimnis!! (The perfect secret – brilliant by the way, really funny, do watch it if it comes to drive-in cinema near you). So I typed D-A-S was that the right article? I doubled checked… Yes, ok P-E-R-F-E-K-T check no? It has an E on the end? Why do they randomly keep adding E’s or ER’s or EN’s even ES’s? Come to think of it, why do they sometimes make the simple A into an Ä? How do I spell Geheimnis? Check. Enter.

My children and my husband may also tell you that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Except when it comes to tidying. And maybe an overthinker?

The screen refreshed and the new question reverted me back to my previous clicking experience. I had to list all the objects I’d seen and all the brands.

I’d been had. They’d distracted me with a simple question and now all I could remember seeing was an onion and a radish. And I’m not entirely sure it was actually a radish. Don’t they know about my storytelling tendencies? Don’t they know, by now, that I would need time to look up the information they required so I wouldn’t make a mistake? Don’t they already know that I don’t really care about brands much at all and what I really want is to tell them, at length, all about my thoughts on Trump and Brexit and the lack of a speed limit on the Autobahn and my disdain at us still using fossil fuels, and that my new favourite author happens to be David Mitchell and that I recently read Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, but I much preferred White teeth. That I believe in the right of abortion, although I would dread having one myself and would find it a very traumatic experience. That I believe you are beautiful if you are homosexual, trans, straight, black, white, religious, atheist, male or female as long as your soul is good and kind. That I think the additional costs to move house are ridiculous. That I love travelling but don’t mind one jolt if I never ever fly again.

The next page was, in my mind, a little sarcastic. It told me that we are all able to forget things. Then it presented me with a huge list of brands and asked me which ones I’d seen in the click exercise.

Was it a trick question? Were all those brands in the game or only some of them? Besides, another of my characteristics is honesty. I actively struggle to tell any lie. So I clicked on just two.

I had to fill out my age: 48.

Sigh.

Now the survey company believes I am a 48 year old woman who has a worryingly high level of forgetfulness. But that I can still spell “Das perfekte Geheimnis”. Almost as if it were my native tongue.

The next questionnaire will probably be a health one.

Corona Diaries Part 2


Phew!

We’re all still breathing, kicking, bickering and plundering toilet roll. Touch wood. I’m not attempting to jinx anything said while slapping my own head ferociously.
My husband doesn’t believe in jinxes. There’s no word for jinxing in German. So he believes it doesn’t exist. But we know. That is, the rest of the family and I. And we are quite accustomed to smacking our own heads if tables/bookshelves/garden fences are unavailable. This does make us appear slightly stranger to our German acquaintances.

Some of you have asked me how I am and I admit, it’s a difficult question to answer.
Mainly because my mood swings have become, quite frankly, erratic. But from talking to other people and watching the news, I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Some days, I am the great achiever. In actual jobs. Not just in online shopping. Other days, the minutes fade into hours and I can’t remember what I’ve actually done. Other than eaten a bit of chocolate, watched a show and washed my hands.

It took me some time, but I came to the realisation that my self-worth is closely linked with my ability and actual activity in doing stuff for others and if I don’t manage to achieve that, my self-worth buggers off to the bottom of a cliff somewhere.
I’ve not managed to completely sort that out yet. Let’s call it a work in progress.

Way back in March I stopped working, as many did. I buckled down with homemade soups, crossed my fingers and my toes and sometimes held my breath. Our battle plan was how to avoid coming into contact with the virus and how not to contaminate anyone else, should we get it. We avoided people. We remained in our own little bubble and used more soap in a few short months than we would normally use in a decade. We consumed the news. We became experts in reading and interpreting graphs and statistics. We gardened. We missed our children and our friends. I missed work. My husband, on the other hand, revelled in his new found home office and worked even more than he normally does. I attempted, at random times, during the day and during the night, to find a possible delivery slot for our supermarket shopping. I read. I discovered new shows. I nodded off during the day and sometimes found that I couldn’t sleep at night. I got the scissors out and chopped away at my daughter’s hair and it turned out not too badly.

So far, touch wood, no one I know personally has been really sick. There were a few precarious moments, like when my son needed to be tested. At first, I wasn’t too bothered as I was really sure that he was suffering from pretty bad hay fever and I thought that the doctor’s were being rightly cautious. But while we were driving to the GP’s outdoor testing centre in the carpark, my son nonchalantly admitted that the wife of a colleague had tested positive and the colleague had been sent home. My son had forgotten to mention it previously. My brain imploded, right there and then. But after a few seconds I managed to pick up all the pieces and glue them back together while simultaneously driving the car. And in front of the doctor we appeared relaxed and unvexed.
The test was negative. Hay fever was the cause of his itchy eyes, sneezing and loss of smell. Wine was drunk in celebratory merriment.

PHEW!!


My life has changed beyond all recognition. I have discovered my own green thumb giving life to extraordinary vegetation and colonies in the garden. I say extraordinary because the potato plants that thrived in the high bed turned out to be rape seed (how does that even happen?) and the broccoli and cauliflower shot but never produced any broccoli or cauliflowers. The lettuce did it’s best to take over the garden. The coriander flourished while the chives and the rocket just decided not to grow. Not only that, the whole garden seemed to develop some kind of mass growing competitiveness. I keep having to cut back the wisteria as it’s continually venturing into the neighbour’s garden as soon as I turn my back. The neighbour can’t stand us already, without our vines invading his territory! The apple tree, despite being considerably hacked back by me at the beginning of spring, has sprung so many apples it’s in danger of toppling over. A pretty weed seeded itself next to the rose arch, it seemed so innocent at first… Now its thick wooden stem has massacred the clematis and we have no idea how we’ll detach it from the archway. Maybe a chainsaw… Then there’s the ants. I found these ‘stones’ in the high bed. Nope. Not stones. Ant nests!!!

Lack of human contact has seen me talking to the dog even more, who often appears confused by my tales. I also try to banter with the plants. But unlike the dog, they rarely respond.

I find myself even more agitated by the neighbours. It’s one thing not to speak, even when we’re in a crisis. But one neighbour got chickens. Live chickens!! And my problem is, I can hear them, but I can’t see them. I drag the dog all over my suburb in pursuit of visiting any old farmyard animal and now I have chickens opposite my house!! Only being able to hear them is deplorable.

I have discovered I am still terrible at sewing. I have made mask upon mask. Each one takes hours because I spend so much time fixing them. And they have so much stitching they look more like thread than actual material. Now, as my daughter has returned to school, they are being thoroughly tested by the washing machine. And they are not always passing muster.

My health so far, has been unaffected by Covid itself, but because I’m not constantly coming into contact with germs, my asthma has greatly improved while my Crohn has been exacerbated considerably. So much so, that it’s become difficult to leave the proximity of the house most of the time or think about starting to work again. But I will see a new doctor next week. So hopefully we’ll find a way forward.

How are you doing?

Corona Diaries


08.00, Thursday 19th March

Total cases Germany: 12,327

Total deaths: 28

Total recovered: 105

I am doing my utmost not to leave the house. There are two reasons for that. One, I do not want to help to spread the virus. Two,  I do not want my family or I to catch the virus especially as my husband, my daughter and I myself, all have asthma, so we’re considered high risk.

♦♦♦♦

I am one of those people who consumes news. That is, I read the news, a lot. I watched the virus from afar, in China, and I was horrified. And I felt trepidation. My children call me their dragon mother. They always proudly recant stories of me, puffing up my chest and blowing out my flames at any remotely dubious character who would even dare to glance in their direction.

So I started rabbiting on to my husband about that proper larder I had been planning on installing in the cellar for the last couple of years. He readily agreed that it wasn’t actually a bad idea.

Then the numbers in our almost neighbour Italy, suddenly shot up. And luckily, I was ahead of the curve.

It seems to me that Germans (at least in my area) haven’t quite got the concept of supermarkets. They still tend to go shopping most days. Whereas I’m a buy in bulk kind of lass. Partly because of my British heritage. Partly because I have four whole children. And going shopping with four whole children is a mammoth task. Two of my children are ‘blessed’ with ADHD, one of those is also sprinkled with autism. Growing up, our shopping trips meant once a month, a big, massive shop with two overflowing  trolleys and then, every now and then an attempt at nipping out to top up milk, bread and other fresh stuff. Even that became a bit too much at some point. So I started having our milk and yoghurt delivered and a fruit and veg pack for a while too. Those deliveries may well have saved my sanity.

As the years went by, kids started moving out, and I starting relaxing and going shopping alone more and more often. I love cooking, so I would really let the food inspire me.

But experience is experience. So before almost anyone else started ‘hamstering’ as the Germans call it. I was standing in line, once again with my two trolleys full to the brim of things we regularly eat and drink, but have a long shelf life (the shop assistant looked rather surprised). I had decided, before the shit hit the fan, I would get myself together and sort my larder out once and for all! Not only that, I would give my two grown up children who have moved out, but live on a pittance, a few bits and pieces to keep them going  too. Let me assure you: I am not greedy. I did not buy anything we would not normally use and I did it at a time when the shelves were full and everything was in abundance. And since then, I have only bought regular levels of shopping.

I am organized. I am one of those irritating mothers who has an itinerary planned for a holiday.

I’ve also realized that, any time I hit a crisis my reaction is to feed people. Be it a death, a storm, or a virus.

I think it’s how I take control.

Last Friday
They announced the schools were closing as of Tuesday. I was so glad. The numbers of ill people had been rising day after day. My asthmatic daughter was squashed like a sardine on the bus and I was fearful. So fearful, I had started losing sleep.

I just wanted to have her at home and put her in a cocoon. And stand guard over her.

I might be the dragon mother but this dubious character, who wants to attack my family is invisible.

Saturday
I cooked. Soups mainly. I thought,  if we get the virus we will need something healthy. I stayed up late until they all cooled down and then I put them in the new freezer.

On Saturday I also cried. A lot. I cried about my grown-up children. Who have stopped coming to visit because they are scared to infect us asthmatics. I cried about the people in Italy that I do not know. I cried about the people in Italy that I do know. I cried about my dad, who died, 40 years ago – the anniversary was the day before, on the 13th of March, – and when he died, he was the same age as I am now. Just 47. I cried about my mum and my step father who are not nice people and who want nothing at all to do with me, but I know there’s a high chance they would not survive this virus, should they get it. I cried about random acts of kindness. I cried about my daughter losing her job, her income and her premier the night before in the theatre. I cried about her happy bubble bursting and her insecurities awakening. I cried for friends who have diabetes, heart conditions, asthma and cancer. I cried for people I do not know and have never met. I cried for people who are alone and sad and scared and lonely. I cried with fear that I may never see my children have their own children and that I may never be able to be their dragon grandmother.

And then I dried my face and I started to cook.

I tried to plan how I could stay home as much as possible. How I could try and help people from inside my home. What could I offer? I wanted to go out and do my bit. It’s quite a hard realisation when it suddenly dawns on you, you can’t be the protector anymore. You have to be the protected.

So I called people. I wrote to people. I tried to see if everyone was OK. A lot of people were not OK.

Monday
Akasha had to go to school. I had cancelled work completely for the following five weeks. So we juggled things around and my husband drove her back and forth, so she at least didn’t have to be a sardine on a bus.

♦♦♦♦

Friends call. They offer to deliver food and help in anyway they can.

I start to see my invisible foe everywhere. Is he on the box the postman just delivered?

I read somewhere that the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours. Is it fake news? So I take the box in. And leave it sitting for 24 hours before I open it. I wash my hands, saying the alphabet twice. Just to be sure. You may think that I am paranoid. But the very next day two postal workers in Italy die from the virus and unions are demanding the closure of postal services. The day after that our postman has gloves on.

There’s no cheery banter at the door. Not much more than a brief thanks in that sudden, momentary contact.

I feel sad. It’s hard to motivate myself to do anything. I am so tired because I have trouble sleeping. And I have a persistent cough that I know is just from a previous bad cold. But I want to be healthy, so if I get the virus, I can fight it with all my might.

♦♦♦♦

Tuesday
My mood improved dramatically. I felt more normal and motivated again. I realized that I probably went through a few stages and it seems to be happening to a lot of people around me.

The first stage is denial: I cannot believe this is happening. I cannot accept this. From my perception this is a longer stage for the young. When you’re young you feel invincible. And most likely, you haven’t experienced much death. Also, with this virus, the young don’t seem to be as badly affected as older people. At least, so far.

After that comes acceptance and with that often some kind of crisis. Maybe you feel angry, or can’t sleep, perhaps you cry a lot like I did, or start to be really anxious. This stage is horrible. But I think it’s important not to suppress it. Once you let it out you can get onto the next bit.

For me that’s definitely take control. Do something. This is a good stage. I don’t know however, what comes next.

We are all, suddenly, in the same boat. Young and old. Across the nations. Some of us are at earlier stages, others at later. This is our war and we need to fight it together.

I wish you all strength. I wish you all courage. I wish you all patience. Above all, I wish you all to feel the love from and give the love to one another.

Stay safe.

10.15, Thursday 19th March

Total cases Germany: 12,343(+16)

Total deaths: 28

Total recovered: 105

 

 

 

 

 

Oops, I keep doing it again!!


You’d think that I have great, big, massive size nine’s. Seriously. Because I always, always, always, always manage to put both of my enormous feet right into it.

And then I dig.

And dig.

And dig.

And the hole just gets bigger.

Honestly.

And I have no way, whatsoever, of climbing out of it. I just make it worse.

Another man, had bought me a tiny present. Just a little thing. A small token of appreciation for the friendship I’d offered him. Knowing how it is to be a foreigner in a strange land.
Who knows, perhaps his thoughtful gift was even meant for both of us.

I’d sensed a slight stiffening when I’d mentioned it, in my own blase way.
So I tried to make it better. Having experienced the rising of that old green monster myself, on many an occasion. Even when there was no actual cause.

So I explained that we’d been chatting on the internet. The stiffening stiffened further and the eyes narrowed.

So I said not to worry. That one relationship for me was quite enough.

Further stiffening.

Plenty. I declared. Plenty. One relationship is plenty. One relationship requires so much effort, I’d keel over with exhaustion if I had to be involved in two…

Board-like.

You’re the only boy for me! I tried, weakly.

Boy? His eyes attempted to remain serious.

I’m too forgetful nowadays… I wouldn’t manage it. I added, deep in thought… Can you imagine, all the presents? I’d have to give you both the same gifts all the time, so that I wouldn’t get confused…
And that wouldn’t be very personal, would it?

But what I really should have said is:

Husband – I love you because you are you and I am me,
And we fit together
just like a lock and its key.

I love you because you let me be
who I can be
even when
that’s someone
who’s slightly
freaky!

And I should tell you that:

You make my world
complete –
For another
I have no need!

Because you are my soul mate!
You are my friend!
And without you
My whole world would end.

Merry Chair Day


It depends what circles you move in. If it’s in my 13 year old daughter’s, then today is the stupendous, worked-hard-for-months, glorious, Dance Gala Day. If however, you happen to find yourself in my husband’s circle: today is Chair Day.

Though, to be fair, we had a prerun at Chair Day last week.

We rose and shone at 7am. I know. At the weekend. OK, OK, maybe shone is a little excessive, maybe it was more like, we flickered. But still… We hoovered and mopped, we removed the old chairs (luckily not to the recycling centre, given that we were, in actual fact, only anticipating the real Chair Day). We dismantled the ever-growing mountain of things from the table. And then, I even polished it! And the table oohed and aahed, and realised what a special day it really was, because under normal circumstances, it just gets a quick wipe.

And then we waited.

And waited.

After our slotted time had been and gone, we called the furniture shop and they kindly informed us about my husband’s little misunderstanding and that the seats were actually due to arrive next Saturday. As in, today.

We melted like old, used-up potato sacks, into the floor.

Then slowly (we were exhausted, we’d schlepped ourselves purposefully out of bed at 7am on a Saturday morning) dragged our once skinny arses into gear and returned the broken, fortunately-still-there chairs to their table and rammed them into place.

“What’s another week?” we queried.

After all, we’d waited almost a year.

Well, we’d argued for almost a year. I’d picked an amazing (fabulous, glorious, comfortable, splendid) green bench and my other half had picked a set of brown chairs. Every time the local furniture shop had a sale on, we rushed over, only to find ourselves with the exact same scenario: neither of us could budge from our favourites.

So, as all good married couples do, we decided, after a year of disagreements, that the only option was to compromise.

For one side of the table we purchased the bench and for the other the chairs.

Simple!

Our house is interesting.

♦♦♦♦

Good luck Miss 13 with your Dance Gala. I know you will nail it and dance beautifully. Just like I nailed the bench. Even Dad chose to sit on my bench before his chairs…