Monday, 11 May 2009


I am late, I know. Late and inconsiderate. There are lots of emails I haven't replied to yet and I haven't replied to your funny and touching comments on the last two posts either. Will it make you feel better if I tell you that I haven't listened to my work voicemail since January? That I can't get it together to get undressed for bed most evenings and just sleep in whatever I'm wearing or can locate on the floor? That I'm mainly eating dry crackers and vitamins? Yesterday night Prog Rock made the dinner, presumably in despair at the thought of more takeaway. Trout (result of household Fishing Expedition, no I didn't go, I would rather claw my own face off) stuffed with baby garlic shoots and a salad. It was easily the most nourishment I had had in weeks.

"This is one of the easiest possible dinners isn't it? It's SO EASY!" he said.

The CFO burst into barbed laughter.

"You've never met Uncle Ben's Microwave Rice, have you?" he asked.

I was similarly hysterical.

"Real fishes? With fresh things inside that needed chopping? Ha!".

Suffice to say our home is not the domestic idyll I painted seductively to the CFO when I went part time. The CFO and Prog Rock shared lots of anecdotes about my domestic ineptitude during the weekend. How they both laughed as they remembered me telling the cleaner in Paris the hoover "must be broken" when in fact I had just never used it and had no idea how to switch it on.

"But was it a new hoover?" asked Prog Rock delightedly.

"No! We had had it for three years!" replied the CFO laughing (but there is pain behind the laugher).

"Sally used to sweep little piles of dust in the centre of the floor" reminisces Prog Rock later "they used to drive me crazy. She was many things, but a housewife was not one of them".

"I would settle for little piles of dust" says the CFO sadly "that would be a huge improvement".

But wait, usually I neglect my house and my responsibilitites for my blog. What on earth is happening if I start to neglect my blog too?

It would be nice to say that I am taking time to appreciate how precious the smaller things are (as suggested by womens magazines everywhere) . Imagine this scene in a slightly golden soft focus: I am blowing bubbles with tousleheaded laughing children, running in the shallow waves on the beach with a demented but elegant dog, reading an improving book in a deep lavender scented bubble bath, doing a soulful watercolour of a kitten, wearing a pretty smock and a dreamy, nurturing expression.


Or! We could suggest that I am deep in a particularly tricky section of the Great Belgian Novel I am writing. That things are going so well that I cannot bear to leave my precious manuscript for a second.

We could say that. It would be a lie, but we could say it.

We can also rule out: expansive DIY projects. Socialising. Important cultural events. Charity work. Study. Paid work. It is none of these.

No. The truth is, I am simply being EVEN MORE OF A MORON THAN USUAL. Sorry, sorry. You may line up to kick me now. Berate me in the comments box. Remind me of all the things I have said I will do and haven't. There are lots I know. I have scrabbly bits of paper with 'lick a painting' and 'waffles torment me' written on them.

In an attempt to get myself back on track, I have vowed to go to the Post Office next week. Those of you I remember I owe presents are: Potty Mummy, RedFox, Fat Controller, M, Katyboo. Others, make your claims in the comments. I probably owe half the readers of this blog a present, don't I? I will make it up to you, my lovelies. Tomorrow I take my camera to school for Pamela Anderson's floats. I will try and make contingency blogging plans for my week in London, even if it means going into the giant mother pod of ennui.

Tonight, however, all I have to offer is this frankly terrifying photo of Fingers and his fish. Am I the only one who thinks this is the first step on a slippery slope that will end with all three of them in camouflage fatigues reading 'Guns and Ammunition'?

The subtext in the CFO taking the children fishing is clear, to me at least. It's a warning. Unless I get it together he is taking them both off to live in a survivalist camp full of weaponry somewhere in the Ardennes. There will be no little piles of dust, and no dogs sitting on €400 coats. No moths. His eyes go a little dreamy when I suggest this. Should I be worried?


GingerB said...

Jaywalker, I think you can safely stop worrying about survivalist camps. Be glad you are not white trash, red neck Americans, because then your nightmare could become a reality. Your family members have too broadly ranging interests in various things that would not be accepted by survivalists and people who fear conspiracy. Free jazz? Tortoises not made into terrapin soup? Fingers is already too well-educated to join up and Prog Rock is too well read. You are safe. And anyway, you do have a demented but elegant dog, and even if you don't paint kittens you make a pretty fine cake. Send me some Belgian delicacies (not Thierry Tapeworm) and I'll send you the Tidestick and Oxi-clean spray.

monk said...

The trout is wrapped in an attractive purple towel. I think guns and ammo subscription is still a way off.

Post me the parcels that need posting and I'll brave the post office for you (double whammy of facing your fears and allowing both of us to procrastinate). In exchange I'll post you my tax returns and then they can be twice as ignored as they are now.

@eloh said...

Humm, as a white trash / red neck, I would tend to agree with monk. The fact that the child is avoiding direct contact would lead me to believe that he is pleasing someone other than himself or Mr. Fish. My, that is a lovely towel. Hope it wasn't part of a set.

Mrs Jones said...

I really want to see the soulful watercolour of a kitten wearing a pretty smock and a dreamy, nurturing expression. I insist you do one as penance.

Kim Velk said...

When you do the soulful watercolor of the kitten let me know and I will buy it.

kathycastro said...

I think you have your internal expectations set WAY too high. Think about this: I live alone, I am currently gainfully (and unstressfully -- this is important) unemployed, responsible for nobody but my relatively low-demands self, and I don't/can't seem to accomplish half the shit you do. If the tortoises depended on me, they'd be belly up in the bushes. So stop beating yourself up and enjoy the things you do make the time to do! Oh, and if you could get around to the inflatable dinosaur meeting on the Corridor of Ennui, I would quite enjoy that...

On another note entirely, I see that Prog Rock's reading corner is updated. Is this the stuff he reads for FUN? Because he sounds like a really lovely man and I find myself wishing he were mine, rather than the man who legitimately claims the title of my father, and then I see the list of reading and wonder -- how can a man with such highbrow reading tastes properly appreciate the lowbrow?? Would he giggle through an episode of Nouvelle Star? Does he appreciate The Apprentice? And then I think about the fact that he is thoughful enough to have given you your mum saying, "Emma?" and I realize he can read whatever the hell he likes, no matter how un-intellectual it would make me feel (but does he *never* slip an Ian Rankin in there?), he is a total jewel. He sounds absolutely amazing and you are SO lucky to have him.

WV is Pande, being rolled slowly back and forth from Brussels to San Francisco, until the Dinosaurs snatch him from us for tea.

mothership said...

surely this is just a homemade, Belgian version of the Woodcraft folk? No need for alarm. Let them go off and be all fishy and boyish. Stay well away and eat some biscuits.

Lydia said...

You are an anthropologist, carefully charting and exploring the depths of the Waffle Menagerie. Do you think Jane Goodall rolled socks while in the jungle?

westendmum said...

Send them paintballing, and get the cleaner in for an extra day you slattern. I'm equally as bad, at least you manage to dress in the morning, I've managed a floral T with fair Ilse cardi and pink Berkenstocks (eugh) today, and am having a very bad hair day, I suppose preferable to a no hair day. I expect you're worrying about your brother, so domesticity is absolutely allowed to slip.

Jenny said...

Compare Fingers' expression here with his parrot dressing-up face.I think you're safe-and I don't think Lashes will morph into Fishes either.

Helen Brocklebank said...

Lovely lady, 'dissipated' just improved my day by - ooh - at least 40000%. You should be getting presents, not the other way round

fabhat said...

Lashes looks too sardonic for survival camp. they definitely don't allow anything apart from GRRRRRRR MACHISMO in those camps, so I think you'll be fine...

Mrs Jones said...

To prepare for your future white trash existence, I suggest you refrain from baking aspirational cakes and instead go for this - a pirate ship made entirely from meat!

Mutter said...

You don't need berating, you need comfort food, and someone else to do the domestics. Out-sourcing is the only way forward. Life is too short to commune with the Hoover.

Teena Vallerine said...

I've been a bit busy. I only popped away for a mo. Didn't think I"d miss toooo much. 23 POSTS! And you think you're being neglectful?! Crikey I can't keep up if you do more! Chill. Take your boys to the beauticians for a facial and manicure - the survivalists will never let them in with painted nails! t.x (why the towel? was the fish slimy? hmm. maybe the manicure would be overkill... seems they still have city sensibilities to keep them sane!)

tragicanon said...

my cleaner saved my life.. i can't remember how i survived without her.. she's cheap as well.. same price for the week as it used to cost to get my nails done.. but i can sacrifice pretty hands for being able to see my floor.. also i have a question.. can you recommend a decent hotel in the centre of brussels with a mid-range price tag?

The Spicers said...

No berating here. I have two kids and no job at the moment and still don't get around to making waffle capybaras and fanciful cakes. And as for hoovering: when my husband and I first moved in together he requested that I stop on my way home from work and pick up a hoover for the apartment. Having never observed one up close, I mistakenly purchased an entirely different appliance, some sort of rug shampooer, which he then returned for the proper item.

Potty Mummy said...

Really Jaywalker, don't worry about posting me stuff. I do not want to add to your list... As for the survival camps, they probably wouldn't let pokemon in, so I don't think you should be worried.

lisahgolden said...

I see you in gauzy white, flowy costuming for your beach fantasy. I mean, that's how I see me, too, when I have that fantasy. And those towheaded children? I don't know to whom they belong, but I bet they would never tell their mother to "hang on" when she liltingly asks them to tell Nanny to (fill in the blank).

I really must switch to something stronger in my water bottle......

Nimble said...

Mrs. Jones link to the meat ship has blown my mind temporarily. With meat pirates, and a Union Jack no less! And I think that's what you need - more silly tangential projects. Starting useless art when chores ought to be done is a source of tremendous inspiration.

redfox said...

Heaven knows that I want you to write all the time, more more more! But I agree that you are still well on the safe side of neglect.

I keep thinking that I will someday manage to write regularly about my tiny adventures, but somehow I keep failing. They are too tiny, and not nearly adventuresome enough. I am glad yours are not and that you so often succeed.

(Damn this damned Blogger identity thing! It does not matter how many times I tell it to sign out, when I come back I am signed in again. How did I ever let it know who I was in the first place? Why?)

Fat Controller said...

Wow! A mention already! I had quite forgotten. As one who abhors bureaucracy, form-filling or even talking to people on the telephone I completely understand your reluctance to set foot in the post office. You are the an inspiration to the rest of us; it's just good to know that we're not alone or weird or anything.

Why do you always have the most interesting word verifications? This time it's 'Panniapp'. My Finnish is a bit rusty, but I think it means 'Capybara'.

Waffle said...

Ginger - you think we are safe? It's a deal.

Monk the purple towel came with the fish, provided by the man sitting next to them, so I fear is inconclusive.. Mad props on fish identification.

elohssanatahw - old man at lake's. imagine he took it from home without asking though..

Mrs Jones - on a cake?

KSV - It's a deal. I absolutely will.

Kathy - he does read lower brow (esp. detective stuff, so Ian Rankin was right on the money) but doesn't EVER watch tv. Has to leave room after about a minute. He liked Father Ted. But nothing since. I doubt you'd kill the tortoises. you have painted toenails. The two are incompatible.

mothership - nothing ever got killed in woodcraft! It was all cooperative games and protest songs. No killing.

Lydia - you are quite right. Thank you. It is such a relief that you are now in Belgium as my strange event research fellow.

westendmum - they always want me to come on their grim boy trips. it's a terrible trial. gah. get used to it, soon you'll be down queensway ice rink wishing for death yourself.

Jenny - it is some reassurance. Thank you so much.

Mrs T - you are too lovely.

fabhat - I mean, what IS that expression? I have no idea. It is impenetrable. I feared blood lust

Mrs Jones - that is absolutely extraordinary. I may never sleep again.

Wife in HK - the hoover and I have never seen eye to eye. no chemistry between us.

KP - see above, towel came with the fish (not caught by any of them, it transpired). I hope I am safe for now..

tragicanon - yes. Is it weekend? There are loads of good deals at weekends. Hotel Manos or Manos Stephanie are good in upper town. If you want something in lower town would need to think a little. email?

Iheart - the scariest bit of that story is that your husband had two floor cleaning appliances. brrrr.

PM - but I have the burn of shame. I will truly try.

Lisa - Please share water bottle supplies. very necessary.

Nimble - you are absolutely right, those are what inspire me most. I have a couple of vague ideas I must work on.

redfox - you may have noticed that nothing actually EVER happens here either. Just endless verbiage from me. Write! I will read it.

Fat Controller - it simply must be. It has quite the right ring to it, doesn't it?

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