Monday, November 16, 2015

help. our neighbour is evil.

With the world going mad, Paris, everything else, our upstairs neighbour decided to flare up again.

I absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, believe that this woman is pure evil.

For over two years we've endured her. She's rude, she stomps up the stairs and on the floors above us, so much I wonder whether she will fall through the floorboards, she Hoovers at 10pm at night every night just to be difficult, and she screams.

Boy does this bitch scream. On Friday, at 12:30pm, we woke up to her screaming obscenities to her husband above us. Sebastian didn't wake up; but we certainly did. Ranting on and on in French-English, (but choosing to say 'fuck' in English a thousand times), we wondered what on Earth her wet lettuce of-a-husband had done now.
Or was it us? Or was it upstairs above her, because they'd had a quiet dinner party?

Basically, what the fuck had pissed her off so much that she'd become practically bi-polar with rage in the middle of the night?

The irony wasn't lost. The Paris attacks had happened 3 hours earlier, and here she was shouting to her husband at the top of her voice, screaming "they have no fucking respect for me!" which made me think two things:
1) she wasn't angry because of what had gone down in Paris;
2) what about Paris? Have some respect yourself! Surely something hadn't ticked you off more than what had gone down in your home city??

Then on Saturday, we got the blockbuster. Out of nowhere.

Not quite happy with waking up everyone on Friday, she went mental on Saturday. Sebastian woke up crying - possibly from a bad dream, possibly from his tooth hurting him, at about 5:00am.

We got up to give him Calpol, but it took him a few minutes to settle.

Well, she only went and fucking lost it.

She woke, up, started screaming, "Shut the fuck up! SHUT THE FUCK UP!" and then, started banging on the ceiling/her floor with something loudly and over and over while screaming.

I'm not going to lie, I was terrified. So was Seb; he stopped crying immediately. The Brit pounded the ceiling back and told her to shut up, but i can't lie to you - I am in shock.

Who does that? If my child was old enough to understand those words and heard someone telling him to "shut the fuck up" I would claw her eyeballs out myself. My husband keeps telling me to calm down about this, because it'll only escalate, but I am absolutely livid.

How can she get away with being so nasty? Who does that to a baby? It's not like he cries all the time, in fact, Sebastian is a pretty good sleep er when he's not teething or in an unfamiliar place.

We have to share a communal area with this evil woman, and now I am fearful of leaving and entering my own home. Nevermind tip-toeing around our house in case we piss her off.

I don't know what to do, or where we should turn. Can we do anything? Or just continue to assume she is unhinged and try to lay low?
Any advice?

(Besides egging her house or doing the obvious - the woman is completely unreasonable, and God knows what she'll do if she's really provoked.)

I thought we had a nightmare neighbour.  But we are actually in a nightmare.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

south african sebbatical

I am back!

Three weeks of sunshine, friends, family, a stressful wedding and everything else can take it out of ya, but it was actually, for the most part, a wonderful break.

Here are some things that happened and what I learnt.

An alarming number of my friends are on anti-depressants
Perhaps people don't talk about this in the UK, and a lot of the medicating is because many have had post-natal depression, but there's a lot of happy pills being thrown around the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.

I realised that it's time I got on some of those. Not because they're all doing it, but because I am depressed. With the Brit's mum dying, my endless journey of grief for my Molly, lots of obstacles in terms of what I want to do next, I feel like I just can't experience any sort of joy at the moment.

There are moments when I laugh, smile and compartmetalise my sadness. But mostly, I feel flatter than a pancake.
This was only compounded by the stories I heard and was told by people in South Africa about poverty, rape, babies dying, stillbirth, and all the things that happen in this world that in the past I'd mostly be able to ignore, but now I can't. Hearing other stories of death and awfulness is apparently meant to make me feel better because then I don't feel so alone (as one person put it), but it doesn't. It just makes me all the more depressed and jaded about being on this Earth.

So there's that.

I'm tired of feeling shit. Bring on the Prozac.

My son is talking
So many sentences and words and things - it's such a delight. He was cooed over and doted upon by his grandparents, and his vocabulary is astounding. New words come out of his mouth everyday.  
He is even starting to string them together. His first actual sentence is, "All gone!" after a meal.
He is a strong, willful little boy, with tons of character.

While he has temper tantrums that can be nothing less than terrifying, in the same breath he can smile, and give "mummy a diss" as he leans forward and plants a big, wet kiss on my lips.

He is just wonderful. I am so grateful and proud, so goddamn PROUD of my boy.

 He is obsessed with cars. Everything is a 'gar', and he will sit and inspect the wheels of a car, look underneath real cars and play with them endlessly. I hope this means he will be an ENGINEER one day (not a mechanic - fine line).
 He also loves animals and bugs. He sees things that we don't. Maybe this means he will be a SCIENTIST. If he's not an engineer. Or an ENGINEERING SCIENTIST.

The berg is the most underrated part of the country
It really is, you know. I realised that for all the times I went to the berg as a child, I haven't been back since I was 18. We drove, just the three of us, down to the Cavern, near the Amphitheatre, where we checked in for three nights and had the proper break we were hoping for.
A dedicated play room. With laughing, lovely nannies. All meals, plus tea, catered for. Play areas, and gin and tonics.

 (Hiking takes it out of you when you're the dude in the backpack.)
I had a spa treatment everyday for three days. I mean, I can't quite describe how wonderful that was. Even the Brit had a facial. Just don't tell him I told you.

We will be back. Next year, and drag some friends along with us.

The berg is so beautiful, and we weren't really even in the thick of it. There's a mystical kind of energy in the berg - perhaps it's the wind and the mountains and the quietness. But I just loved it.

We also went to the Waterberg (in fact, I was there twice - the first weekend for Dove's hen weekend.) It was also wonderful, just to be in the quiet, humming surroundings of the bushveld.

The country is going through one of the worst droughts of the century
...while beautiful, the berg was so dry. Riverbeds, like the Tugela, usually full and bubbling had totally dried up. It was a bit heartbreaking. Pretoria and Johannesburg were so hot, with no thundershowers, it was a thick, crazy 30something heat that makes you want to sleep all the time.

(And that we did. Sebastian included.)

And South Africa isn't the only one with drought issues. The BBC news last night said that the entire world's temperature has gone up by 1 degree - everything is warmer than ever before; the last time it was like this was during the Industrial Revolution.

Work is going well
I place a lot of of my self-worth, self-esteem and sense of purpose on my work. It's important to me that I do well, and it's important to me more than ever to succeed: it's all for my family. When things go wrong, or I don't feel like I am getting anywhere, I feel pretty frustrated. At the moment, things are good. And I am happy at work.

Now, just to survive Christmas.....

And finally, the poonami to end all poonami's

This is a picture of my husband wiping my child's bottom on the side of a road.

Emergency evacuation.

Given the sheer and immense size of what it was that had come out of Sebastian's naughtus, it was an event in itself. We were meandering through the windy roads of the beautiful Golden Gate Park in the Free State, when the unmistakable smell of toddler byproduct came thick and fast.

We stopped. The smell was pretty intense; we couldn't wait for the next town. As we hauled him out of the car seat, a great big ladle of pooh escaped his nappy and shorts and fell out onto the road. For those of you with brilliant eyesight, you can actually see the thing lying next to the nappy. About twenty-five wet wipes later, and lots of sweating and open doors and pooh everywhere, we managed to clean up the mess.

I mean, it was an Uber Dump. It's like he had stored up every pooh he had never had, and decided to open the floodgates right there.

Once we had wiped off the pooh from ourselves, him, the car seat and his clothing, we even had a laugh.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

introduction to the pig

It's funny, as you head towards a holiday, even if you haven't had one for like 6 years, it's the week before the anticpated break that things suddenly start to really wear you the fuck down.

Just the week, I've looked at the increasingly metabolic inbox, and thought on numerous occasions, even when it's a stupid little email asking for something seemingly small: "I don't need this shit. I need a holiday. This person can literally go and fuck a tree for all I care, how DARE they ask me for that."

Or. "Oh good. Another marketing email. HOW ABOUT NO. I NEED A HOLIDAY?"

So, tonight I fly out with Sebastian to Johannesburg, and the anticipation of the 12 hour flight pretty much leaves me colder than a wet rag on a frosty Moscow street, but here we go.

I've henceforth decided to take this as the seminal opportunity to introduce Sebastian to screentime for the very, very first time.
That's right. Sebastian has never actively done anything on a tablet before now. He has seen me on my phone, and he has seen an extremely small amount of television, but we have never played a game or watched anything on a screen before.

Now is the time I will introduce him to this phenomenon. In a flight that I require him to sit still on, and not climb over the random [and frankly, unfortunate] stranger sitting next to us.

One mother in my workplace couldn't believe that I didn't know whether Peppa Pig was a game or a story. ("Your child has never watched Peppa Pig??" ('Incredibly, Adeline, no. I have no fucking idea what Peppa Pig actually does, so tonight will be a discovery for the both of us.')

"So, for the full 18 months of his life, you've never shown him a tablet?"
In fact, could you recommend some, and does Peppa Pig come as episodes or as a game?
"Episodes. Download them from Google Play by the dozen, and Thomas the Tank Engine, although he's not as funny as Peppa Pig..."

"Are you guys Mormon?"

No. I just wanted to control and delay screentime as long as possible. And for dire occasions like tonight.

She looked at me in bewonderment.
"Does he watch TV?"
Not really, no.
"How do you get anything done?"
I usually don't. Or I wear myself out.

I also do realise that my son will one day use a tablet regularly - because we are of the modren world, I work at an Internet services company, tablets are a way of life, etc etc - but I hope to try and manage this as bite size chunks as best as I can.

Perhaps I'm deluded or completely naive, time will tell, but for now, no I don't know my Peppa Pig from my 'CBeebies' and so forth.

Tonight, I will find out.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

3 week holiday

It occurred to me that we haven't really had a holiday this year. Since I came back from maternity leave in January, and save for a few long weekends here or there, we haven't really had a holiday this year. for what feels like 8 million decades.

And God only knows we need one. Far, far away.

In a week I fly to South Africa with Sebastian, and the Brit would've joined us a week later. In that time, I would be hen-partying, bridesmaid-dutying and marry-helping my best friend, The Dove, so it wouldn't really be a holiday holiday.

So I've changed our tickets back, and given us an extra week in South Africa, totalling three solid weeks of October and November sunshine in my motherland. I have the leave, I would've just finished off a load of big projects at work, and it may be the last time we head there before we pay full fare for Sebby.
It just had to be done.

I am getting ridiculously excited. It's just starting to get cold and grey around here, and we've yet to turn on the heating (pyschological barrier), but I think a good injection of Vitramin D would do us the world of good. A

I am in the middle of my citizenship application (application4Dayzzzz. It's now been almost 3 months of processing, and usually, I'm told, it should take 2. So God knows when I'll eventually see my British passport...), but as a result I can't really travel to Europe. Because all of the pages in my Saffa passport are taken up, and so I can't even apply for a Schengen visa. Which means, I am perpetually kind of stuck on the island for a while.

And of course, everyone I know went to Greece or sodding Croatia this last summer.

My dreams (viz below - even the strangem reoccurring ones) have been overtaken by dreams involving the Bahamas, and crystal clear blue waters, and cocktails and swanky airport lounges. We just need a BREAK. From life.

And yes, any Caribbean holiday companies offering amazing deals to Saint Lucia or the Dominican, I'm all ears.

One week until I fly. Crawling, and pulling and forging my way towards Wednesday next week. When I take on a 12 hour flight with a toddler on my lap.

I've been told to keep my "expectations extremely low" for how this might pan out.

And take a tablet and lots of stickers. And a tranquiliser gun.

How on Earth will my squirming little worm-child sleep for even five minutes on my lap??

Monday, September 28, 2015

those dreams

For as long as I can remember, I have had vivid dreams.

Recurring, vivid dreams.

Same subject matter.

I know why I have them; it's very obvious by their nature that my sub-concious is desperately trying to make peace with things that have happened in my past. They're not necessarily overly traumatic experiences, but there are the same things and same people that I miss that continue to appear in my dreams. Over and over again.

The first is my childhood home, which I have written about aplenty over the last ten years. This house respresented everything stable about my childhood, and according to the Internet, each room I dream about represents a certain area of my life. Sometimes the rooms are haunted, and it's terrifying. Sometimes there are secret passageways. Sometimes the entire house is overgrown with weeds. And always, I have to move out of my house and hand it over to soemone else. It's always traumatic; I always wake up crying.

Make of that what you will.

There are certain people that I dream about too. These recurring dreams - houses and these people - happen on an almost weekly basis. Sometimes months will go by and nothing, then I'll have solid weeks of dreaming about my house and the same person(s). The person belongs to my past, the old me, the me from another lifetime.

I have had the person dream almost constantly since I moved to the UK. But now, lately, over the last year or two, I have it pretty much every week. I think of this person a lot; so I suppose it's just my brain's natural way of processing these thoughts.
The outcome is always the same; I wake up and feel like I haven't managed to 'fix' what I was trying to get across or trying to achieve in the dream. This dream comes with anxiety and and a desperate sense to connect, and yet at the same time, I feel a sense of peace. With each dream I can talk to this person again, although it comes with its set of complications.

Last night, for the first time the person dream came with a soundtrack. A U2 song, that I admittedly do really like and it does mean something to me, but haven't really heard or listened to in ages, but is kind of symbolic. The lyrics played themseves loudly in my head in my dream and as a I woke up, and it was all really weird and shitty.

I've had it in my head all day. Just one-of-those-days-after-a very-vivid-dream day. Where for a second, after waking up, you're not sure where you are and what is real.

"The Ground Beneath Her Feet"

All my life, I worshipped her.
Her golden voice, her beauty's beat.
How she made us feel, how she made me real.
And the ground beneath her feet.
And the ground beneath her feet.

And now I can't be sure of anything.

Black is white and cold is heat.
For what I worshipped stole my love away.
It was the ground beneath her feet.
It was the ground beneath her feet

Go lightly down your darkened way.
Go lightly underground. I'll be down there in another day.
I won't rest until you're found.
Let me love you, let me rescue you.
Let me bring you where two roads meet. Oh come back above.
Where there is only love. Only love...
Let me love you true, let me rescue you.
Let me bring you to where two roads meet

Let me love you true, let me rescue you.
Let me bring you to where two roads meet

Reality is kinder and nicer to me than my dreams.
Although dreams are limitless.

Friday, September 25, 2015

18 months

Sebastian is exactly 18 months to the day, today.

It's hard to believe that one and a half years ago, I had just given birth to my twins. Looking back I had such a long, hard journey to navigate. Dealing with the death of Molly; and dealing with a newborn miracle, who refused to be put down and who had colic for the first three months of his life.


I read back through my twin archives the other day, and realised a few things:
1) I have come far. It was so painful and so raw and so shit a year ago. 18 months ago. It was inconceivable that I'd ever be able to be 'normal' again.
2) Time heals, and it helps. But is NEVER goes away. The death of a child is something you learn to live with. It just is a part of you and you begin to accept it. It doesn't define you, but it is a huge part of you and who you are as a result of it.
3) I think about Molly everyday. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about what she would look like, how she and Sebastian would be interacting, if she had my hair or the Brit's, how they'd fight over toys, if they had their own secret language and the twin outfits I'd dress them in.
4) The milestones hurt. Like today. These are the moments I let myself sob away in the kitchen, or reach out to friends who know how I feel (mostly because they've gone through the same horrific thing.)

But today, like all milestones, it's bittersweet. Because while what was meant to be never was, I am absolutely besotted with my little boy.

I am the ultimate helicopter, doting parent. And I'm not even sorry.
He throws tantrums, frowns, giggles and smiles in equal measure, and I love him more everyday. If that's even possible.

He is my absolute joy and sunshine; he is the reason I carry on everyday. The reason I do anything, ultimately comes down to him.
Pissed that I interrupted his reading. Then two seconds later, delighted to be alive. Oh, to be one and a half!

 He knows what a selfie is. Why would he be smiling like that, right?
 He feeds himself with the wrong end of the spoon in the mornings. I've tried telling him otherwise, but he just lobs oatmeal at me.)
 When he concentrates, and the little lip pops out, and the eyelashes fall across his cheeks...I could watch him all day.
 I love him. So so hard.
 He is an actual boy.

Me and my boykie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

snakes and reflextion

I have three weeks to haul ass before my best friend's wedding.

That means getting back on the saddle, and burning serious calorie everyday, while investigating something I've never investigated before (a high street spray tan. Oh my God I can't believe I may have to resort to this), and doing my arm exercises.

Because nobody wants arm ham. Even if they aren't the bride.

I've also decided to go holistic. It's been a while since I explored the alternative side of things, but the last time I did acupuncture, I found it terribly relaxing. I'm not sure if it did anything, (or what it was meant to be doing at the time?), but I've decided beyond eating healthily and exercising, I want to address everything else in my body, and everyone RAVES about it, so why not?
If it helps me deal with stress, gets me to relax, gets 'everything flowing properly,' 'unblocks my channels,' then frankly, sign me up.

Me: I've decided to start acupuncture. And reflexology.

Friend: That's great. I get it for my back. Worked miracles.

Me: I did it when I first came to the UK, by some little Chinese man whose speech was unrecognisable, so I'm not sure what it did, but I always felt relaxed when I walked out of there?

Friend: What are you specifically trying to address?

Me: My channels. My flow.

Friend: I don't know what that is, but usually acupuncture helps real ailments. Of real organs.

Me: Surely it can find my real ailments? And therein find my flow? And take all the negative energy out of my channels?

Friend: I don't quite think that that's what it does.

Me: Well we shall see about that.

See? That's what's so great about alternative 'healing' and medicine. Define it as you like, because there's no actual medical science behind it, is there? If it makes SOMETHING better, then it's worked. Whose to say what it will make better?

I figure the same with my feet. I walk on them all day. They shoulder all my worries and burdens, and they deserve a break.

I'm going to be one of those weird 'alternative' people for a while. And see how this works out for me. (And my bank balance. Being into this shit doesn't come cheap, lemmetellya.)

I'm starting to get excited for the sunshine and going home to South Africa in just over 3 weeks.
My mum has booked us for a three day getaway to the Waterberg after Dove's wedding, so that we can chill. In a lodge, in the middle of nowhere. Where there are animals and shit. Pure bliss.

You have to love an African problem though:

From: Mum
To: Peas On Toast

We've decided to book another lodge completely, something quite far away from the one we discussed before.
The new one has an indoor pool, plus our own pool and a jungle gym for Sebby to climb on.
Oh, and while walking around the last place to check it out, we saw a long spitting cobra. He said there will be tons of snakes around the actual hut due to its location. It was slithering towards the hut.

Anyway have to go, toodaloo.

Er...mum, I think you've been living in Africa for too long, because you've only gone and buried the lede there.

Also, don't these fuckers hunt in pairs? And like to sleep in children's beds? Where did I read that once. It wasn't even the Daily Mail. Sebastian picking up the cobra and pointing, 'Mummay? Stick, Mummay?'
No, not a stick my darling, a potentially lethal neurotoxic poison injecticator, that you don't even need to touch for it to swathe you in it's venom juice. Put it down, set the hut on fire, start flying.

It may be cold and rainy outside, but in my may be spring. Soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

beware the porcine flu strain

Here I am, 35.

In the past week alone, I have:
1) Been to Dublin for three days;
2) Caught the worst strain of flu I have had in about 20 years;
3) Spent a weekend in Surrey, plucking wild black berries from bushes and recovering from flu and old age among England's greenest hills.
 At least the sun was shining in Dublin....I mean, whaddoyouknow.

I set off for a conference in Ireland last week, and managed to contract something on the plane or thereabouts, but it kind of lay dormant in my body for a few days. Stealth-mode.

No sniffles. No endless shoelaces of snot, no anything feral basically.
I just felt like my body decided to stop working. I was more tired that the tiredest motherfucker on Earth, and staying awake past 9:00pm was nothing short of an ordeal.

You know what conference weeks are like. Or maybe you don't. There are sessions and bags and bags of crisps, lots of small talk, and binge drinking into the late hours. You usually rip the ring out of a conference.
Well I was having none of that. While Dublin promised to be a short break away from the grind of work and being a mum, I ended up just yearning for more sleep on the trip. I didn't tear it out of Dublin; and it certainly didn't rip me a new one either.

On returning, the virus within me decided to awaken, and with it, bought an unprecedented amount of physical aching of every joint in every bone in my body. You know the type. Or maybe you don't. Where your fingernails ache. Your back. Your legs. Your eyeballs. Paracetamol only just takes the edge off. One minute you're on fire, the next you're so cold you wonder whether it's possibly to die of hypothermia while encased in cashmere blankets in an otherwise temperate setting.

And when you have a toddler who likes to climb all over you, or shove a book into your face or pound your head with a truck first thing in the morning, well, you really do wonder if you might actually die.

Now, my husband has it and is lying in bed pretty much reading the verse "As I walked through the valley of the shadow of death," because when men get sick, it's 1 000 times worse than when women do, and I am at work catching up, but also now feels like my entire chest cavity has caved in on itself and I am having trouble breathing.

Worst flu ever? This has to be some fucked up animal strain, surely. Porcine. Or Bovine. Way too weak for Avian.

So enough about that.

It was good to get away. Just to recover, sleep and do some country walks.

Pictorially, this is how we spent my birthday weekend:
 A trip to a local Saffa store. Because Zoo Biscuits look cute on Instagram.
Sebastian has suddenly become one of "those" toddlers. A toddler. In every sense of the word. One minute he is genuinely angry, forwing and screaming and using two words at loud volume together in a public space ("No no no! Mine mine mine!") and we cringe and avoid eye contact with everyone around us. Temnper tantrums have officially started.
The next minute he is giggling and lovable and saying "mum-may" and "duck" and "woof" and running with his little bandy legs everywhere, it's hard to imagine that he was writhing about red-faced and having a shit fit just a few moments before.
His moods go from happy to pissed all day. Our little baby has officially become a Twonager. A new chapter, a new ride of emotions.
Sheep. We looked at some.

 Boys playing the fool.
We went to Bockett's Farm, a sort of mad, working farm created especially for kids. Tons of animals, amusement-style play areas and Touch & Feel things, plus Feeding Time and all of that. Sebastian was in his element. He is animal obsessed at the moment. He stuck his little finger in the chicken run and got pecked (there were tears), but for the rest of it he was in heaven!
 Watching baby piglets feed.
 Feeding the goats.

 We stayed at a quaint little hotel at the foot of Box Hill. (Which we hiked up. Duly unprepared, but we made it to the top.) Sebastian liked to wedge himself next to the toilet. A lot.
Our hotel was near Dorking, a cute little town in Surrey filled with antiques shops and cosy coffee places.
 From the top of Box Hill, overlooking the Surrey Hills.
We dragged our toddler over hill and dale. Eating apples and black berries from wild trees and bushes along the way.
 A shepherd's hut. A vintage 'must have' in the English countryside.
 Legging it up winding roads.
 Our hotel for the weekend.

And, back to concentrating on not being depressed about being middle-aged.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

the dark place

So I'm in kind of a dark place right now.

The death of my mother-in-law has spurred on a lot of things relating to mortality. Hell, I've been thinking about life and death pretty much every day since Molly passed away, but now it's hit me from the other side.

Infant mortality is one side of my anxieties and sadness; but now it's parental. The older generation. The fear of losing my parents, the fear of getting old and dying myself.

(This all collides nicely with my steady slide into middle age. I will be 35 this month. And it is with fear and dread, alongside a heavy nostalgia of what I have done and what I haven't done up until this point, with which I anticipate this event.)

It's kind of depressing, but these things are constantly haranguing my brain right now:

Being a parent means that every awful thing that happens to a child in the news is 10 000 times worse in your head
Pictures of the Syrian mother trying to save herself and her baby as she swims across the English Channel. Stories about a truckload of migrants found dead in Austria, some because they suffocated.

The tube advertisement depicting the wide-eyed portrait of a crying boy, with a tube up his nose that says, "Louis has cancer and needs your help. £1 a day means he could live to see another day." 

The ad on the telly calling for people to donate money to the mother in Africa who has to walk 20 miles a day to pump fresh water for her children.

The Twitter feed that depicts everything happening, live, at Reading Festival last weekend, showing the horrors of teenagers doing unspeakable things on drugs I didn't even know existed, like eating their own vomit and drinking out of porta-loos while "fucked on Mandy" ("Mandy" is ecstasy, FYI). That's someone's child!

Basically, ANYTHING. Take any story that has something to do a with a child,  and it will haunt me so badly, I actually just don't know what to do with myself. I can't even cope.

Because the moment I see little Louis' face on the tube, or imagine the children in the back of that lorry, or think about the migrant mothers desperately trying to get her children out of Syria, something inside me breaks. Because all I can think of, and all my brain automatically turns to is, "That could be Sebastian."

It feels like something stabs me directly in the heart when I see/hear/imagine all the horrible things that happen to children every day, on this planet, at the moment.

And the world has gone mad!
 There are unspeakable things that seem to be happening everywhere; and because social media shows us every ticking second of it, it's impossible to bury my head in the sand.

Sometimes I just want to scoop up my family and go and live on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. In a treehouse. Where we eat coconuts and wear clothes fashioned from palm fronds. I can barely take living in the 'real world' right now.

Three years ago it was my beloved aunt, my "family" here in London. 17 months ago it was my Molly. About 3 months ago it was my colleague in marketing. A month ago it was my mother-in-law.
Also hearing more and more stories of mothers losing full-term babies all the time now.

It seems to be everywhere. Someone is here; then they are not. A child exists; then it does not.

Life is cruel. All I feel at the moment is that life is scathingly unfair and brutal. With no rhyme, reason or justification.

There's no method to the madness. It's random. When your number is up, it's up. But as philosophical as you can manage it all, it's hard to swallow when you feel like there's no compassion from the Universe.
We go to work, we come home, we see our children, we go to bed. And we repeat that cycle, for what we hope, is 65 years. Then we imagine the golden days of retiring when we can take a cruise and play bingo.

We are told to be healthy, but at the same time life is short so live a little. Eat this or you'll die, do this or you'll die, make sure you eat this/keep that/action this/foster this or you'll get sick. Remember to fill your life with family, but only spend time with those who boost your energy.

Surround yourself with positive people, but tolerate, respect and visit your grumpy grandfather. Meditate and do yoga and read and do things for yourself, but keep busy. Keep on top of your expenses, admin, life. Drink wine, but don't drink alcohol.
Love your work, but not too much, because you need balance.

Life is a complete and utter hypocrisy. It's full of hate and shit and things that make you panic. Constantly. And when you're a mother, the panic rises to a crescendo where you can't help but imagine your child in the same positions as all the other unfortunate and innocent little mites of this world.

So, I'm jaded. Everything is a little dark. But as I've always been told "Nothing stays the same, some days you'll be sad, some days you'll be happy," I suspect this applies to years too. Some years I'll be sad, and maybe someday, or some year, I'll be happy again.

No coincidence but:
It's now Autumn,; winter is kind of here - there's a crispiness in the air, and people are starting to wear a lot of aubergine. 
We haven't had a holiday all year. As in, we haven't had a real break. Where we get to lie on a deck chair in the shunshine for an hour. Or sip a cocktail while we stare into the distance.
We can have a night off once in a while when we get a babysitter, but these are few and far between.

Everyone around me has been to a variety of places like Portugal, Greece or France for the summer - and i am waiting for my citizenship papers to come through before I can step foot in Europe again.

But what's that in the grand scheme of things? A fucking first world problem, that's what. 

I'm not complaining. I am very protective over Sebastian, probably overly so. He is my miracle and and I don't like being away from him for more than a few days.

But a holiday where someone can be around to take him for a few hours for a few days (grandparent? Certified and lovable nanny?) would be absolutely amazing. Just so that we can sleep.

We've been getting up at around 5:30am to 6am every morning for about 6 months now. And because we haven't had an official holiday, I am completely and utterly burnt out.

We go to SA in October, which is very exciting as it's Dove's wedding, but I am as equally as excited to spend time with my folks and have them take Sebastian for two weekends.

Then, I think, we need to think about booking one of those holidays where everything is inclusive and they offer daycare for a few hours while we get massaged/eat at a restaurant/have a nap/swim. Or something.

Very soon.

Negative-sounding post over.

PS: I love my family so very very much.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

stuff you buy when you're drunk

It continues to be bleak, sad and generally dismal times in my house, in my world, so I'll do what I do best:
Compartmentalise it and talk about something else.

She Who Also Loves Tweed waltzed into work the other day carrying a package under her arm. With glee she announced that "her new coffee cup" had arrived.

While I imagined it to be something like this:
You know, cute, portable, practical, can stand up on it's own, it turned out to be this:
 Woah......what is that?
"It's my portable goat horn coffee mug. With shoulder strap, leather holster and hessian sack. All the way from Slovenia!"

Well, obviously this desishe was made when you were drunk, right?

"I might've polished off a bottle of pinot."

It can also double up as a conch shell, Viking claw, weapon, calabash, musical instrument, a Druid relic....

Tweedy is being strangely adamant in using it, even though it doesn't actually stand up on it's own, and I've bet her £20 (the actual value of the thing) that she won't be using it next week.

This got us talking about stuff we've bought when we've been drunk.

I bought a piano. By mistake. After an exceptional bottle of Diemersfontein pinotage. Which turned out to be a pretty fucking expensive mistake.

This is what other people around me have bought, and for added fun, I'm going to rate it from 1 to I Bought A Piano of worst things to buy when intoxicated (WTTBWI) scale.

Flared white 'fashion' trousers in Milan
"I got caught up in the hub-bub of being in the fashion capital of the world!" he protests, in his usual garb of twill grey pants and brown knitted cardigan. "I was in Milan! I was on the Aperol Spritz, everyone was wearing incredibly tight trousers, and I felt like I needed to step it up a notch and fit in."
So, he went to a designer store (there are only designer stores in Milan), and bought himself some skinny - but flared at the bottom - white tailored pants. And wore them there. Even after the Aperol hangover had passed.
"They had this slight, but now very obvious white sheen. If I'm honest, this is what attracted me to them in the first place. It's like my entire personality and preferences changed, because, really, [hands flailing wildly as he reaches the crescendo of his story], these pants were very unlike like me at all!"

They cost a fortune, and later when unpacking his suitcase back in Britain, was asked by his wife whether his "Elvis impression" was well-received in Italy. WTTBWI rating: a solid 6/10.

A ukelele
"Unsure of whether this was a ukelele or banjo at the time," said the dissident. "But thought it would be really cool to learn to play it after drinking whisky sours and listening to Alabama bluegrass all evening."
Thanks to Amazon Prime, the strung instrument was on her doorstop before the hungover had even kicked in, and at [fairly] minimal expense. WTTBWI rating: 6/10.

A wagon wheel.
"I fucking loved my wagon wheel," this one says, before anyone has the chance to discuss whether a wagon wheel is very authentic or in fact, very kitsch.
"My ex-girlfriend tried to throw it away and I found it next to a tip one morning. Needless to say, our relationship is no longer," he says, still rather fired up.

The wagon wheel was purchased after a heavy session of craft ale drinking in deepest darkest Hackney, where one finds shops selling wagon wheels and rollerblades, simultaneously.

The thing is said to be an original piece "Great Trek memorabilia", plucked from the foothills of Isandlwana. (I totally made that up, but I imagine the sales pitch was as such.)
"It's also fucking heavy. The entire thing is encased in a lead bracket, so while I thought I'd lift it to hang off the ceiling, it's still sitting in my garage."
How did he carry it home?

He doesn't remember. And no remembrance of the price tag either, but given it sounded like it came off Piet Retief's wagon himself, I'm guessing it was "show me the benjamins" expensive.  WTTBWI rating: a 7/10.

A decorative ladder.
Similar to the tale above, but slightly more out there object. The plummy girl from Notting Hill said she walked past a shabby chic gallery shop on the Portobello Road after too many Skinny Bitches (vodka + soda water + twist of lime), and decided to buy what she describes as 'an artful ladder.'

"My friends thought it was the most outrageous thing because my flat hasn't been decorated in years. I don't have any art on the walls, no matching linen, and yet, here I had this £900 ladder leaning on my bedroom wall.....that I couldn't even climb because it" 

A ladder that leads to nowhere. Artfully made to look like the paint on it is peeling, and can be leant up against a wall for no reason whatsoever. A 8/10 on the WTTBWI.

A one way flight. To Beirut.
The Canadian in my office did this. In the dead of night. And actually went.
A good few hundreds of pounds later, three new time zones, one continent and an airplane meal later, this rates a cool 9/10 on the WTTBWI. Assuming it meant she had to also buy another one way ticket back to London after the fact. 

So next time you buy a room burner, or reed infuser, or a porta-pool, or a snakeboard or a three pack of plaid shirts online, when drunk, you might not feel so bad now.