Back to the corridor of ennui today (when did this blog get so RUBBISH? It's just a soul-deadening litany of 'what I did in my holidays'. Shall I tell you what I had for my lunch too? Roger Federer branded yoghurt and cake offcuts, actually. We need toys! Or vegetable action. Or, you know, something. Suggestions on a speculoos please). Horrible day of chaos, but at least one with cleanish clothes and shiny red shoes. It helps, really it does. Until you are knee deep in dog shit in the Parc du Caca and your eldest child has just inadvertently peed on the dog, that is. (I could not make that up. I wish I had.)
Part of me revels in the contrasts of my life but most of me wants to crawl away and die. I won't though, because I am idiotically fond of the image I like to think I project. One minute I can be talking about antitrust fining policy (not that I give a shit about that, let's be clear, but I like posing as a coherent and incisive legal brain. I can't do it for long because my facial expression sags with boredom and my short term memory is decimated by meals based on M&Ms and crumbs) and clicking purposefully down the corridor of ennui holding pieces of paper, feeling all businesslike and professional. Then the next I am juggling a cake on a tray, two school bags, a sock and some bone shaped tripe flavoured dog treats. Gosh, how do I do it! The hilarious contrasts between my two lives! The finely balanced chaos! Allison Pearson has nothing on me. I like to think of myself as some advert superwoman, tossing my shiny shiny hair, kissing each child tenderly and rushing off to do something complex with divestment undertakings or full function joint ventures.
IT IS NOT LIKE THAT EMMA. Get a grip. Take today.
6h00 - Take dog to parc du caca before CFO leaves country. Up until midnight night before finalising parrot and playing on internets. Wait around until crying with frustration as giant hound tries to squash pathetic trembly weepette, who is so traumatised thereby it gets instant faecal retention problem. No caca.
6h30 - CFO leaves country, fire up internet, sit hunched like malevolent goblin tippy tappy typing until spawn appear, refusing all suggestions of clothes, breakfast, etc. Prepare "collation". Sharpen numerous essential crayons. Spend 20 minutes searching house for pencil sharpener. Put in school bags. Refuse to assist in putting 800 Pokémon cards in order by colour.
7h30 Offer sweets to anyone dressed by time I come down from getting dressed. Very effective.
Come back down feeling smug and well dressed. Poster paint on sleeve, but barely noticeable. Children dressed, yay, dog has eaten 2 rice crispie bars and slice of cake out of school bags, not so good.
7h50 Fuck around looking for more snacks. Children are eating lollipops and behaving like spawn of devil. Decide 'incentivising' getting dressed in this manner unwise.
7h55 Lose keys. Shout at children. Perpare dog prison room for day with chew toys, food, water, try to remove all valuables. Dog starts crying uncontrollably.
8h05 Find keys. Children still no shoes. Shout more. Discover dog has hidden shoes in secret place.
8h10 Leave house. Forget cake. Go back to house. Get cake. Children disappear. Find children down bottom of street punching each other in general direction of busy main road.
8h15 Dump children and cake unceremoniously. Run for tram.
8h30 Still waiting for tram.
8h45 Get tram. No time to stop for coffee but stop anyway. Coffee. Teeny tiny croissant. Guardian. Best part of day, lasts about 3 minutes chrono.
9h15 Arrive at work (late). Exhausted. Sit in stupour nodding at (hopefully) appropriate moments as euroboss gives extensive instructions for Important Conference I am apparently organising tomorrow. Forget them all instantly.
.... [Day continues in this fashion. Too much Twitter. Too much swearing. Terrible short term memory problem creating armfuls of disasters. Failure to leave desk for straight 8 hours, eat some horrible assembly of chocolate and pencil sharpenings, EU Directives for pudding. Will draw a veil over the details, since it's not called the Corridor of Ennui for nothing]
17h00 Run for tram. Watch it disappearing round the corner as distracted by GIANT BLUE BRAIN that has appeared in sky over Brussels. Wonder if hallucinating. Have plenty of time to wonder as no tram for 20 minutes.
17h40 After pondering eternal "who first, dog/children/cake" question, pick 'dog' and take it to collect children in stark defiance of gulag rules. End up dragging dog, cake tray (too big for a tin), two bags, several chocolate wrappers, children, to parc du caca again, just in case. Oscar still traumatised, made even worse when he accidentally wanders into Lashes' line of fire as he wees, Mannekin Pis style, into hedge. Wet, smelly freaked out dog. Hysterically laughing small boys. "Moi aussi!" clamours Fingers whipping his zizi out. Shiny red shoes sinking into mud/shit combo. Weepette hares off, neck muscles bulging. Drags me behind, tottering hopelessly. Leave tray in parc du caca. Have to go back for it.
18h00 Get home, all tied in knots with weepette, tray, bags, pieces of paper. Wash weepette. No time to change, Philip Lim top must do dog grooming service. Have time to observe that weepette has eaten two pan scourers and the Yellow Pages today. AND laptop not working. Tight knot of panic forms in chest.
18h15 C'est l'heure de la dictée! Youpi! Ineffectually clear a corner of kitchen table of Weetabix crumbs and assist profoundly unenthused Lashes in writing "Il est petit et moche" (He is small and ugly) three times. Difference between est and et. Neither of us cares much. Scree scree delicious torture as Lashes laboriously sharpens eighteen pencils and writes something vaguely approximating 'he is small and ugly' in strange looping French cursive script. [HURRY UP DAMMIT! Thinks my brain, loudly MUST CHECK LAPTOP]
18h30 Ten minutes of crazed junkie panic as try to work out what is wrong with laptop as spawn sit in front of Manny and his fucking outils. Ouf. Just damage from when Oscar pulled it onto floor. Junkie twittering. Look at prospects for dinner with no enthusiasm at all. Settle on reliable bagel, saucisson, cucumber, Pringles combo.
19h00 Eat the now cold and hard bagel noone will eat. Discover why spawn not hungry when find empty packet of shortbread hidden in sofa. Remove third pan scourer from Oscar's jaws. And is that..? Oh yes. It is. No need to go back to parc du caca then. I am supposed to be at a drinks reception now, but babysitters flee the house like a leper colony.
19h40 Give up on the endless, mind-numbing 'two more bites' etc etc thing and send children upstairs to get pyjamas on. Share remaining leftovers with dog, not keen after filling lunch of Yellow Pages, Rice Crispie bars and pan scourers.
20h00 Wrestle children into pyjamas. Pokémon cards fly everywhere. Turn blind eye to inadequate toothbrushing. Story. Refuse to make one up. Heartily sick of the endless adventures of Fleecy the Lizard, the exuberant Brazilian adventurer, and his posse of helpers whose names I always forget. Wailing.
20h15 Go downstairs and play on internets, ignoring fact house looks like nineteenth century slum tenement. Horror everywhere. Cannot cope. Soothing welcome of internet. Mmm. Twitter twitter, type type.
23h00 (I am guessing, could be later) Start to clear up house. Horrible. Kitchen especially. Oh, look, have had no dinner. Too late.
0h00 (or later) Go to bed. Or maybe clean cupboards (because obviously they, and not the overflowing bin, shredded pan scourer coating all over all surfaces, emptying dishwasher, are priority). Possibilities are endless. Why sleep?
I don't know how she does it? BADLY. VERY VERY BADLY.