Friday, 25 June 2010

Party Party Party

Oh how lovely it is to blog again. Even just to use my laptop again feels amazing. You see Husband got a DS game machine for his birthday in January. It sat perched above our dining room cabinet for many a month while he claimed he was getting it 'set up.' Then a friend and her family came to stay and her Husband offered to 'set it up' and asked where the all important R4 card was that made it all happen. Turns out Husband had rammed said R4 card far into the depths of one of my laptop's little orifices. Nice. so last week he took my trusty laptop into his work to get the card removed. The operation went well and the IT boys in his hotel also cleaned it up - a little botox along with the op. It looked spick and span when it returned and I began to type. That was when I discovered that it wouldn't let my password log in correctly, oh and the letter 'n' no longer worked. Joy. Ever tried writing a book with no 'n'? N is in 'aNgry' and 'aNNoyed' and 'HusbaNd is a kNob.'

Back went the laptop only to discover we now needed a new keyboard. After much faffing - it is back, replete with new keyboard. The letters are not as pronounced as they were, but I won't be picky. It works and I have an N. NNNNNNNNNNNNN. Feels good.

Life at the mo? Is one long party party party. Yes, the social calendar is jammed for the next few weeks - with parties. 5 in 3 weeks. 7 in 5 weeks counting Sproglet's own. Yes, I am talking of course about kid's parties. The bane of my life. Sproglet's was last week - Husband says it is his last big shindig until he is 18 as it cost us an arm a leg and a head. We had balloons, pass the sodding parcel and an animal man who came with a skunk, tarantula, giant lizard, hedgehog, cockroachy thing, tortoise, chinchilla, owl and 2 snakes - one of which the kids wore round their necks. Followed by pizza, crisps, a mound of chocolate covered home baked stuff (all the food groups covered I think?) and then an enormous if somewhat phallic spiderman cake. Next day Sproglet complained that animal man hadn't brought a frog (which he usually does when he hosts the same show at Husband's work's kid's Xmas parties). At that point I wanted to strangle the small spoilt child. We served Pimms to loosen up the somewhat stiff parents and also to calm our own nerves - what if no kids turned up? At one point it looked like animal man was a no show and my blood ran cold imagining me entertaining 20 4 year olds with finger puppets for 2 hours...

Now popular wee Sproglet has a load of parties to attend himself and unfortunately I have to go with him. I HATE these things more than life... Lots of Mothers standing around in little cliques talking inanely - or, as I found at the last one I went to - lots of Mothers ignoring me. These 3 kids at Sproglet's school had a joint party and not one of the parents said 'hello, I'm X's Mum' when I arrived. The Southern English - so warm. NOT.

One of these Mothers cornered me at school and announced 'You do know that you are having you son's party on the day of the fete?'

I looked blank.

'Obviously not' she said.

'What fete?' I asked.

'The school fete.'

'What time is it on?'


'Well my son's party doesn't start until 2pm, so people could do both.'She still looked completely unimpressed.

The day before Sproglet's party he got an invite to another kid's party - but we hadn't invited this kid to his. EEK. What is politically correct in these circumstances? I quickly grabbed a nice Northern Mum I know and asked her. She told me not to worry, you can't invite everyone - at which point class representative, fete warning Mum chipped in with 'you should just have invited the whole class, that's what you do in the first year.'

WHO IS THIS FUCKING ANNOYING WOMAN??? What business is it of hers?? I replied that Sproglet had mates from the old nursery he went to and friends outside school and then wondered, why am I even bothering to answer this Nazi woman? At Sproglet's she swept in at the end and sounded surprised that her son had had a good time. She has since gone back to ignoring me at the school gates. Bliss. She is however, organising a 'Mum's night out' in July. I would rather give birth naturally every day for a year than go. (And we all know how I feel about birth....).

I did have a gleeful moment however, when I took Sproglet to the fete to show the old busybody that you could indeed do both - and as we went to her stall, Sproglet piped up 'where is X (her son's name)?' She shifted uncomfortably and said he should be here by now... But he wasn't. And we were. And we still managed to hold a party on the same day. God, listen to me, why do I even give a flying feck?

Honestly I hate the daily school drop off/pick up more than anything. People mainly treat you like you are a leper with a bad case of BO to boot. Although I have noted that most of the Dad's arre pretty nice - chatty, funny and much warmer than these ice queens. Am hoping that the next run of parties are 'drop offs' - where you can dump your kid and run. The thought of having to stand around like the kid at school who is the last one picked for team sports makes me want to reach for the vodka and being up the duff - I can't. Sproglet now has a room stuffed with more toys than Hamleys and has started talking about his 5th b'day party. Little does he know it will be with one mate eating gruel on toast.

NNNN. Sorry. I just had to.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brutal spring cleaning of life

God I itch to spring clean. Not my house, but my friendships. Being the world's greatest procrastinator (as I am now, instead of writing my book which I am so behind on it is frightening) I spend far too much time on facebook (and eBay looking for cheapie maternity clothes, but that is another story) for my own good. Here is what I do: I feel disappointed when I have no messages. I read with interest tedious status updates from people I worked with about twelve years ago in telly and haven't seen since. Nor do I want to see ever again - yet, here I am reading about how they went to friggin yoga, or are predictably hungover or have some inane poetic drivel to spout to fill their clearly vacuous lives. I trawl through wedding, holiday and even random photos where my 'friends' might only be tagged in one of the 57 pics - yet I study them all. Why? Then I write some equally tedious update about my day - when in reality - who gives a fuck? Out of my ridiculous 300 mates how many are my real mates? 30 tops? Why am I on this damn thing? To connect with folk? It connects me with people I don't actually know. Or care about. Acquaintances that once passed through my life, but not friends, not the people who you can call mid meltdown on a Saturday night during X factor...

Flicking through my phone the other day I felt the same urge. So many numbers are of people who I no longer even remember, or worked with in 1999, or folk who are supposedly my mates, but who in reality never pick up the phone or at best send some well meaning text about getting together in some vague non defined time in the future. Why have I got all these meaningless numbers? To make myself feel as if I have stacks of mates just waiting to have a rip-roaring time with? In case I ever need them again for something? I understand that there are lots of friends who fulfill various roles in your life - friends you grew up with and who know you best (or the old version of you at least); friends who you loved working with and you mean to see more of but life gets in the way and slowly you don't have stuff in common any more once the work framework dissolves; friends who you became intensely close with at a certain period of your life and just as quickly the flame that burned the brightest went out; party friends; friends who through close geography became your day in and day out buddies; friends who you can ring sobbing and they will stop everything to be there for you; friends who know all sides of you and still love you; friends who served a purpose at the time but now are are more of a chore to see; friends you've lost touch with but know you could see again in two years and it would be as if no time had elapsed.

I remember reading that if you have 5 friends, 5 true honest, loyal, on your side for life buddies, that you were rich. I always stuck out my hands and swelled with pride as I counted many more than that. But the older I get, when life throws curve balls like losing my job, coping with loneliness, depression, isolation of motherhood and all the other stuff I vent about here on this blog, it has been an eye opener to see those who have reached out, offered support, a comment, a phonecall or even an email to say - I'm here. There are less fingers to count, that is for sure. But in my heart I know who they are. And actually, although I have never met lots of regular readers of my blog, their small messages of support from all sides of the globe have meant so much. Sometimes you get these little rays of kindness from the most unexpected quarters.

One of my resolutions this year was to devote more time to those that mattered and less time to those who didn't. It's time to get off facebook. De-junk my phone. Pick up the phone myself and make more effort with those I should. Try not to be so disappointed with my family and their lack of interest. I don't need 300 cyber mates, I don't need a phone stuffed with irrelevant numbers; I don't need to cling on to tired old friendships on their last gasp. I need to be grateful for those that I love and who reciprocate it, and that my friends, is all.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Husband is fed up. He has fair reason to be. He works bloody hard - many hours toiling away in a bar frequented by the uber rich (he introduced Sproglet and I to one woman last week who hailed from Oz and had a diamond on her hand the side of a duck egg. She inherited 400 MILLION from her late husband. She loved Sproglet 'he looks so handsome, just like his Daddy' she flirted, and I offered to trade him for the ring - she didn't crack a smile. All money and no humour). He gets a good wage - no, better than good. And mid month onwards we are broke. I'm not working, but the bills they keep a comin' - gas: £160 a month, telephone £250 a quarter; electric £160 a quarter; council tax £125 a month; mortgage - not small - credit card £100; loan £150; mobiles; life insurance; insurance for the house contents and house; insurance so Sproglet is provided for; tv licence; food - christ we seem to piss away money daily on food for the 3 of us - and Husband is rarely here. And on and on...

We get by but we aren't comfortable in the way we were when I was presenting and we had a flat, no kids. We're in the old money trap - bigger house, bigger outgoings, one child, one on the way. Sometimes I wonder if I am making a huge mistake having baby no 2. I make no apologies saying this. I worry about how we will cope both financially and emotionally. We have no one around us to ever lighten the load - to ever say - 'hey, let me give you guys a break.' My Mum is in N. Ireland, Husband's Mum is in Oz. My Dad - in Belfast, well, whilst he runs around and does everything for my step-sister's kids - including having them to stay every Sat night since they were born (!!!!!) he hasn't even made it over to see me or Sproglet in England and I've been here almost 20 years. Don't get me started. I rang him to tell him I was pregnant and he said he was busy driving - he'd call back that evening. He didn't. Three days later I called him - seems he had forgotten. But he did tell me about his other Grandson's cricket and school and this and that. Could he name you Sproglet's school? Could he heck. God I have stop writing this as I feel my blood boiling.

So Husband and I end up frazzled and irritable and angry at each other for never ever getting any space, any time to ourselves and yet we are going to bring another person into all this. It feels somewhat crazy... possibly romantic, a notion about what family is, or should be and all the while we erode our sanity, our marriage.

He feels he is on the treadmill and he doesn't know how to change it as to change careers would mean a salary drop we cannot afford. Gawd only knows how I can get work - up the duff and with TV drama imploded - even if my old show did win a BAFTA award last night (hurrah!).

The grind continues - Sproglet refusing to eat dinner, my life all about laundry. I married for love - not money - but I can see the appeal of doing so, shallow as that sounds. I don't covet things, I am not materialistic - you can keep your fancy designer clothes and swish cars - no, all I would like is someone to do my fecking sodding never ending bloody washing. Separate the piles, load em, hang em out, fold away and repeat until you are ready to climb on in that machine and put yourself on the fast spin cycle just for a laugh!!!! Oh and to have an au pair - how funny is it that the richest folk with the biggest houses can spend a measly £50 a week on an au pair - while the rest of us don't have the room. Oh to have someone else entertain Sproglet for just half a day. Just for me to, well, read a book, or wee in peace, or do some goddamn writing.

I'm sorry if this post got all 'Carrie' i.e. 'my diamond shoes are too tight and my wallet is too small for my fifties Mr Big' - I'm just having one of those days when my recent haircut is depressing me (Noel Edmonds' do in 1977 anyone?), no clothes fit me any more but I have no money for maternity ones and everything I have put on ebay to make a buck aint selling. Plus Husband is venting and we are both spiralling down the plughole... The old money trap. How to get out of it? I even bought a lottery card on Saturday... Times are getting desperate.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


I'm really digging Sproglet at the moment. Not that don't usually - I do, but there is something so magical about the age he is at - on the cusp of four. He is his own little person: testing boundaries, choosing best friends, expressing opinions, discovering more and more about himself and the world around him.

He had his first swimming lesson last Friday which he was beyond excited about. Once he had shoved on the obligatory fetching purple swimming cap and been weighed down with so many floats I could barely see his face, he jumped on in and was off! Whilst other kids held back and refused to go it alone - he gave me a swift kiss goodbye and wasn't phased at all when I was relegated to an upstairs cafe window to watch the proceedings. He loved every splash filled minute. I couldn't have been more proud. Watching your child exploring all the things that you once loved just takes you straight back. Some feel having kids ages you - when in fact it makes you so much younger at heart. Haggard looking and sleep deprived yes, but the spirit soars.

His taste in books is pretty cool - Dr Seuss is a big fav at the mo. Try reading Green Eggs and Ham when you are shattered mind you... getting your tongue round it is a whole new feat. He talks to the baby - but his way of doing this is opening my mouth and shouting into it 'Hello baby, want to play with my toys?' He wants a brother. Everything is a climbing frame - his Father especially. He talks endlessly about his up-coming party and who is invited, what the cake will be and what will happen at it. If this is 4 - god help me at 18...

At night his favourite activity is for me to join him in the bath. Such a simple request and one that brings him such joy - as he soaks me and we play with empty bottles and pretend to have mini tea parties. Then I wrap him up in a big towel and hold him close and every night I think of the little girl in his class who died a few weeks ago of meningitis. I can't imagine what her parents are going through. I hold him so tightly and smell his fresh skin and thank god that I still have him in my arms.

Then we do stories as we both lie on the bed with his assorted menagerie of stuffed animals. And I'll kiss his soft perfect nose goodnight and feel his lashes tickle my face and he will snuggle under the quilt and be in the land of nod in seconds. I will watch him sleep and be amazed at how much I can love something. How he has my heart in the grip of his tiny sweaty little palm. Parenthood is relentless and sometimes boring and often repetitive and also utterly amazing.