I’ve had a strange couple of days. Not least because the sun’s come out to play again, which means starting to have contact with real people after a forever lasting winter of illness and cold and grey.
I say real people. I actually mean friends. Rather than doctors and receptionists and coughing people sitting opposite me in the waiting room and people I just nod at in passing.
In the winter, two, even three months can pass and I can suddenly realise that I haven’t physically seen a friend and sat down and chatted with them face to face. And it does me bad. As in, the opposite of ‘it does me good’.
I’m good on my own for a while. But then I start to find I’m going slightly mad living with my own company. I’m not all alone, of course. I have four children and a husband. But my man arrives home late every night and is tired. He wants calm after hours of meetings. He wants mush after highly concentrated work. And I understand that. But at times, I really need to be heard.
So yesterday, I had a Tupperware party. It was a funny excuse for a get together. But it worked.
Of course, before I could even consider opening the door to hundreds of guests (OK six), I needed to clean my house and bake a cake.
I couldn’t decide which cake to bake so I delegated and begged my husband to bake one for me, while I nipped out and bought him a box of Celebrations as a wee thank you.
In the morning I really cleaned my house. So much so, that I felt like I’d put in more effort than a full body workout requires at the gym.
It looks like shit again now, of course.
It was during the cleaning spree that I started to believe that I may well be my own worst enemy.
I set fire to the oven. Proper fire. As in, with 5 inch flames. Olive oil is supposed to be healthy. It’s not quite so healthy though when it spouts out thin black smoke. And let me tell you that a burnt smell is not particularly welcoming to guests either. Never mind, at some point I got distracted by my 20+ year old coffee table, so battered and bruised (Akasha even took a bite out of the wooden leg as a crawling baby, how does that even work? It’s solid wood), that I thought it was time to try and put some colour back in.
I remembered the salesman saying something about shoe polish… Or was it tea bags? Well, I opted for brown shoe polish. It doesn’t look perfect but the improvement is noticeable. Also, the shoe polish smell mingled rather nicely with the eau de fire.
Then, in an attempt to decalcify the sinks I walked into the room with good intentions and a glass bottle filled with vinegar. In truth, I first walked into the door frame, breaking just a small splintery shard of glass right from the bottom of the bottle. Vinegar spluttered out onto the floor then left a little trail all the way to the sink. I deposited the once full bottle next to the plughole where it emptied itself in ten seconds flat.
I am thinking of starting up my own ‘Home Scent’ company…
My guests arrived and oohed appropriately at the cake and aahed sensitively at the cut I’d managed to add to my finger while transporting a folding table downstairs. They didn’t mention the ‘smells’, though they avoided leaving items of clothing on the specially polished table. They bought lots of Tupperware enabling me to rejoice in the knowledge of the upcoming acquisition of more bowls (though my cake-baker is currently rolling his eyes and shaking his head and saying softly, like he’s speaking to a mad woman, “Why?“).
Today I pushed myself a little further. I took various kids for a walk. The plan, originally, was for a walk to a nearby spot to feed the ducks. But plans, it seems, are meant to be hijacked. Two ADHD boys, an overtired girl and three scooters later, we set off.
There wasn’t so much scooter riding. There was a bit of pushing. A little bouncing on the said scooters. Some attempted ramming of scooters in drains. Several close calls with oncoming vehicles. All watched and duly noted by a five-year old, looking for a new set of tricks.
We abandoned the scooters near a lovely stretch of water and walked through the thicket. It wasn’t really the best idea I’ve ever had, to be honest:
- The semi-autistic one got hung up on the abandoned scooters and an angler/cyclist/random passer-by stealing them (despite them being pretty much hidden behind a tree).
- I had bare legs.
- All three children seemed to me to be unnaturally fascinated with trying to fall in the water. As in, they tested every plank/stone/bit of log tempting them off the safe land.
The ducks, were already well-fed and on our every approach, swam off as fast as their webbed feet would take them. Finally after over an hour, we found a young swan. I warned each of the children to stay back. They warned each other, repeatedly to stay back. A swan can break a man’s arm you know! But no one, NO ONE warned me not to step in an ant’s nest. You know those big ants? I just looked down and saw them running around the bottom of my leg, over my foot, and into my shoe. I screamed and almost fainted. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad, but only minutes before I’d already had a battle with a massive beetle on my leg. My son, who’s always ready to join the party, realised he had ants inside his trouser leg. We both let loose with some kind of extensive jig, which included shoe flinging and partial trouser removal. Passing cyclists thought we were practising for an upcoming ceilidh.
Ant free, we headed home. Me carrying the scooter for the five-year old. Well, that is, until I swung the lump of sharp-edged metal around, in a move that, had I been a Ninja, would have come in handy to destroy my opponents kneecaps.
The damaged child squealed over my apologies and through my promises of chocolate the whole way home.
I am starting to suspect I may even be the children’s worst enemy…