Let us speak of my glamorous life.
This week, rather than lunching at the Halkin, having a sashay around the Matisse exhibition, doing a little light purchasing in Liberty and seeing some ground breaking, experimental theatre at the Trafalgar studios, which is what I would like to have been doing, I have been doing all of this:
Sitting around an overheated, grubby school swimming pool watching my son fail to learn to do breast stroke and wondering if I could suggest that if they had Wi Fi for parents, the time would fly by much more easily for all concerned.
Trying not to be a pushy parent with regard to said breast stroke failure, but failing as utterly as he was failing to learn the stroke. This was achieved by me shouting futile instructions whilst making elaborate arm gestures in the style of ‘breast stroke’ and then putting my head in my hands and wondering why I bother. My comeuppance was swift and painful, as I banged my funny bone against one of the struts holding up the pool walls whilst gesturing at him to scissor backwards. I have the bruise of shame to prove it. And the accusing stares of other parents who insist on praising their children to the skies even if that child is still screaming as they go down for the tenth time.
Forking out twelve of your English pounds for all the swimming accolades he has so far achieved. I hope there is one for not sitting on the bottom of the pool looking mystified. He has finally weaned himself of that habit. Thank the lord. There is no badge for breast stroke. That is pending.
Overseeing Tallulah’s singing lessons – Still fecking from a fecking distance – tra la. Cliff – I blame YOU.
Overseeing Tallulah’s first holy communion lesson. She has yet to mention the frock. I await this conversation with increasing trepidation. We discussed it in the staff room yesterday. The general consensus is that she will be gunning for Big Fat Gypsy wedding stylings. Blimey. I cannot disagree.
Trundling backwards and forwards to the maths tutor. We are knee deep in SATS paper preparation. I love the enthusiasm of the tutor, who persists in telling me in depth about what they have been studying like I actually understand her. When I say I don’t understand her, she smiles at me in that way that says: ‘I know you do really. You’re just being anarchic and difficult.’ I smile back in the way that says: ‘No. I am genuinely as dumb as a sack full of hammers when it comes to this stuff but you get ten out of ten for bloody minded persistence.’
Waiting, waiting, waiting, like Patience on a Monument for garden furniture deliveries.
Building a great deal of flat pack garden furniture. I thought this would be but the work of a moment. It turns out that this was as deluded as the maths’ tutor thinking I actually understand her. Two hours later, with grazed knuckles and an enduring hatred of alan keys I had reached my goal. The greatness of my achievement will never be marked anywhere but in these annals, but let me tell you, if I were a man in ancient Rome, poems would have been written in my honour. I am thinking something along the lines of the Aeneid. The stanzas where the cat climbs into the workings of the sofa and has to be continually ejected would be particularly moving. The section where Tilly insists on taking my instruction not to bear down on the arm as an instruction to put the full weight of her fourteen years behind it and add grunting noises would rouse anyone to thoughts of war.
Recycling huge amounts of cardboard packing from said garden furniture and forcing it all into small, orange bags that the council deem appropriate for the purposes of recycling. This was Dantean in its hellishness.
Taking Tilly to have her braces removed. The dentist is a love. He is nice and kind and brilliant at his job. He also lives forty minutes away. The dental appointment, which I had forgotten until the actual day itself, was achieved on the same day as the building of flat pack furniture. I thought I had time for both. I did. Sort of. I finished the furniture, abandoned the garden and drove like the devil to the dentist. We made it with one minute to spare. Tilly misses her braces. Odd child.
Ebaying like a woman possessed. The post office are giving me my own chair. It will have a small brass plaque on it. ‘Katy Wheatley died here. She hated this place.’ The eulogy will be read by the woman who says ‘Cashier Number Three Please’ in that sing song tone that is so compulsive and yet so irritating.
Giving reading lessons to the daughter of a friend. Marvelling at the fact that children everywhere are always so busy that they didn’t have time to read this week. I explained how I had already heard this particular line from 193 other children under my tutelage, and would she care to elaborate exactly what important things stopped her reading for ten minutes a day? Last week she loved the lesson. This week I think she is less enamoured. We will see how the relationship breaks down over the next few weeks. I give it a month before we part the ways and decide to remain friends rather than tutor and tutee. My expectation that all children should read fluently and with comprehension of what they are reading are as baffling to her as they are to every other child I have had this conversation with over the past two years.
Having many conversations with my husband via the power of Face Time. I continue to hate this medium of communication. I have ascertained that having a badly streamed, slightly stop motion film of a person in front of you as you speak is absolutely not the same as having them actually with you, and for me, in fact, increases the frustration that they are not there with you more than a regular telephone call. It also, because of the persistent breakdown in technology, does not help with things like misunderstandings that come from not being properly face to face, because what you are saying to each other, and what your faces are doing, do not match up. Yesterday was a particular case in point when we had a stupid misunderstanding about something we would never have had at home because we were both tired and I could not read his face properly. I cried. It sucked. At that moment it felt like he was a thousand miles away, and not in fact, coming home today.
Failing to sleep properly. I have woken in the early hours of the morning every night this week, convinced that something or someone was crashing around the bottom of the house. It is likely that whatever noise woke me was Derek, doing whatever Derek does in the wee small hours that involves galloping around like a herd of bison being pursued across the plains. I am shattered.
Failing to lose half a stone. I am heavier now than I have ever been, except in pregnancy. My trouser zips keep undoing. I do not want to be a lath. I just want to not have to spend all day perpetually worrying about children whose heads only come up to my arse, watching in rapt fascination as my zip slides down revealing my very stylish, George at Asda, Snoopy pants for all the world to see. This quest was going quite well until yesterday, when the relentless nature of the entire week, and the stupid conversation with my husband, led me to fall face first into the biscuits. This morning I have had a bowl full of Shreddies and two chocolate digestives. It is not helping the zip issue. I have overcome this by the clever application of a wrap around skirt with about forty yards more material than I actually need in a skirt, and nary a zip in sight.
My self satisfied air will no doubt be entirely undone when I reach school, only to step on the hem of the skirt and reveal my pants in a new and hitherto unseen way.