Monday, 2 November 2009

Half Term 101

I have been so busy swirling around in a flurry of practicalities in the last couple of weeks, that I have forgotten to be sad. I am today. I'm a complete mess, actually.

It's been precipitated by a day of utter chaos; no childcare when I'm supposed to be working and can't be away from my desk, Prog Rock trying to chat, boys beating each other senseless and depositing plastic crap all over the floor, dog getting underfoot and everyone, but everyone, orbiting in a tight circle around my chair that entirely fails to respect any concept of personal space. I have lost count of the number of times someone has fallen over a length of cable. As I type, in the corner of the sitting room (the wifi connection is still buggered, so I'm tethered), Fingers is wrestling with the dog, Pokémon Battle Dimension is liquefying my brain and Lashes is sitting on the arm of my chair pulling at parts of me in some kind of monkey grooming ritual. There are scissors and walnut shells everywhere, mystifyingly. I am like Joyce Grenfell on the verge of a nervous breakdown, part brightly encouraging with an edge of mania ("yes, your mummy made of a milk bottle and sellotape is very realistic darling!"), part sneaking off for crying jags and an overwhelming desire to punch myself in the face. I actually hope I'm getting flu, because if this is purely in my head, it's scary.


Any minute now, the CFO's parents (who know nothing about the current state of affairs, helpfully) will arrive to a scene of shameful devastation and sit in it doing Sudoku. I just sobbed involuntarily thinking about it; I have nothing to feed them and no idea what to say. The kind of emotional mess we are in currently is total anathema to them. I remember back in 1997 they came to stay in London when I was coming off Prozac and I disgraced myself by crying and stropping hysterically. I get the feeling this week might be the same.

Bugger.

It's all normal, I know. These are the very last days of the ancien régime; they are bound to hurt. They bloody well should hurt. It's only a fortnight until I actually move out.

"I think we ought to have a little scene where I throw some of your stuff out on the street and shout a bit" said the CFO this morning, before he left for some obscure European destination. "It would make it more real".

Maybe we should.

Any other ideas?

37 comments:

Liberty London Girl said...

Prog Rock cooks right? As opposed to the weird shit the in-laws like? Can he do cooking-cum-entertaining spawn in the kitchen? (Before which taking spawn to buy groceries there by removing from yr lovely hair, and pre-empting possibility of having to eat in-laws idea of nutrition?)LLGxx

Jaywalker said...

Sadly, LLG, he was very poorly and had to lurk in the corner most of the time, poor thing. And now he's gone. He'll probably need a month in bed to recover, poor thing.

Ami said...

I think you should throw some of the CFO's stuff in the street. No reason for him to have the fun, especially if it's his parents and they have no idea. Otherwise, you have every right to fall apart, and you should apologize to no one.

Changing of the guard always hurts, but you will come out better than you think.

L. said...

Ami beat me to it. You should at least be fair about it and take turns throwing each other's stuff out on the street. Or one of you could throw stuff and the other shout abuse, etc. Oscar could throw both of you out on the street. (I know, he's too cowardly, but the alternative was both of you throwing him out and he sounds as if he'd never recover, even if you welcomed him back right away.)

Honestly, you are right, it's bound to suck and I suppose that, in a way, it would be weird if it didn't. Nonetheless, I hope it gets better soon.

For the in-laws, does it have to be cooked by you? I would strongly advocate take-out or possibly eating out at some middling restaurant. Otherwise I am terrible at simple cooking, especially because we don't eat much meat, but I hear roast chickens make the basis of many excellent speedy dinners. Plus you could surreptitiously buy one elsewhere and no one would be the wiser.

M. said...

Just bring the guillotine out, blow up some part of the house (I recommend the moth cupboards), and do a bit of marching while brandishing a pitchfork and singing the carmagnole. DOWN WITH THE ANCIEN REGIME!!!

Ah ça ira, ça ira, ça ira.

Liberty London Girl said...

oh poo. Wish I cld teleport to Belgium to help. LLGxx

the witloof said...

show them your blog or your twitter (site, just to avoid any potential confusion about what i meant there).

RML- Being More Through Having Less said...

Hmmm, if they are now doing sudoku maybe you can slink off for a bath, or a cry or a gin?

Stacy said...

Gut in himmel.
I'm just so sorry. I love reading you and think you are the most clever, glittering thing the internet has birthed.
CFO is a funny guy, I like his suggestion. It sounds like good,clean,emotive fun.

Veronica Wald said...

"These are the very last days of the ancien régime; they are bound to hurt." Been there, done that. It's MUCH better on the *other side* but it can take a year or more to GET there. And yes, telling people is one of the hardest parts, but surprisingly, some people you think wouldn't get it turn out to be the most understanding. So hang tough!

justmeagain said...

Oh horribleness......am I right in thinking the in laws arrive with tins of horror? Let them cook themselves up a mess of nastiness,and feed the spawn too, while you pop out for some gin and chocolate?
Poor POOR you! Virtual strokes and hugs.....
This too will pass.....

Anonymous said...

Sending a virtual hug in your direction. You're an inspiration. Hang in there.

@eloh said...

Hum, I do sudoku... because it stops the mind.

If they are sudoku (ing) in front of people... they are either rude or want very much not to deal with the here and now.

BTW, I only sudoku in the can..the loo, the small sitting room...the head....the water closet...

fountain pen sue said...

After the August I put down with my family, the only thing I can offer advice on is have your meltdowns in private. At least that way, you cannot be held to account or blamed in any way for what is going on now. I had mine in private and certain members of my family now see me in a completely different light. Take some time out from the grown ups and let them cook for themselves, you are not running a restaurant and I am sure m-i-l is more than capable of opening a tin. Scream into your pillow when it gets too much and hide a bottle of vodka in your room, just in case. Am thinking of you xxx

Anonymous said...

Tell them the house is unsafe with leprotic tarantulas running amok, dropping their limbs into any available receptacle which include cereal boxes, pockets, open mouths whilst sleeping, mugs and handbags. If that doesn't put them off, tell them that you're nipping out to get a few groceries and run away to...erm... Gent?
Fran

Iheartfashion said...

So so sorry, Jaywalker. I have no useful suggestions, just sympathy for having to deal with in-laws who are unaware of the situation and try to be cordial and entertaining. Retreat to your bedroom to cry and/or drink or eat chocolate often.

Z said...

It's a horrible situation for everyone and I hope the parents will react with respect and sympathy - though I realise that it may be reserved for the children and their son. Mine is with all of you, because I love you all, unreservedly.

Takeout, surely. Or ready meals, if Belgian supermarkets do such a thing. And some decent wine to start with. I'm so sorry about all this, my love, and I hope that all your instincts for a fresh start in your own space are right and that you and the CFO, separately or together, become happy and secure.

Lisa said...

And look how you can still make us laugh (despite the guilt it causes us)....there are no prescribed responses to what you're going through right now. But your sense of humor is a good start.

Red Shoes said...

Ahhh fuuuuuck. Why have they come to visit!?!???

Anonymous said...

Z you are lovely. Please please adopt me. I'll be good.
Fran

Z said...

Fran, dearest, you are welcome in my family at any time. I'm not good on wisdom, but I'm loving and there's always a drink on hand.

MargotLeadbetter said...

If I had any advice for you it would probably be too late by now. Luckily I haven't.

(Just, get yourself outside some booze and quickly, obvs. Goes without saying really.)

I am admiring the way you and the CFO seem to be remaining quite matey in the face of all this. That must help. Hope it lasts.

Anonymous said...

You're both going to be rather crazy for a while. Howling at the moon. And in pain. And there is nothing anyone can say or do to make him feel less bad about being left, or you to feel less bad about leaving. This is amputation. I speak from experience.

So I would recommend gin to help you through it - nature's own anaesthetic. Sometimes making yourself numb is the only way to cope.

Sorry, that sounds facile. It's not meant to. Gin & nurofen - worked for me (on a short term basis, obviously). Things get better in the end, but it does take a while.

Laura and Ben said...

Won't they bring their usual supply of random tinned goods? Surely they can't trust that Belgium wont have run out of food???

screamish said...

UH??? bloody hell!!!!

you've been busy in the 8 weeks since i had the internet. are the inlaws there tonight?? by the time i read this no doubt many Things have happened. Or are happening right now. Or not, if they're into Sudoku Denial. Sounds like you and CFO are still talking, bravo...you're both pretty amazing...

screamish said...

PS maybe you should throw THEIR things out in the street...

Sarah said...

Anything sensible I was going to say has been entirely blasted from my brain by Screamish's genius suggestion. That's the answer!

Sorry it's all being so tough. Hang in there - we're thinking of you. Not as much use as cooking from tins for the in-laws, but hopefully its own small form of internet comfort.

Anonymous said...

Poor Jaywalker! Sometimes you just have to stagger through one day at time, looking at your feet, not ahead, because it's too scary to look ahead. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, ignore the in-laws, and remember that all of us out here in cyberspace are sending positive thoughts.... No chance of the Weepette running amok and biting the in-laws, I suppose?

Jenny

@eloh said...

BTW, my heart really goes out to you and the children. I pray there is peace and mountains of love in your near future.

I'm a very faulty human...while I pray for you and the children, I would very very much like to slap the living shit out of the CFO...that makes me a bad person, I know.

Xtreme English said...

good god. your post reminds me so much of a visit from my inlaws after i had just given birth to the 2nd child in 14 months. mountains of laundry everywhere, kids crying. i was not up to it. inlaws should arrive like santa claus bearing gifts and good cheer and swooping everyone off to the nearest good restaurant. playing sudoku? you should throw THEIR stuff in the street.

WrathofDawn said...

Could you not come down with a case of the swine flu? Say you got it off the Internet, they'll never know.

As Veronica Wald said, it's much better on the other side, it's just the journey that sucks.

Take heart in the fact that this is an amicable split. Having an adulterous, controlling bastard who throws a spanner in every legal proceeding and drags the whole thing out for FOUR YEARS (when it was his idea in the first place - "trading up" or so he thought) is much less 'fun,' I can tell you for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, sounds like really bad timing, the in-laws arriving and the CFO leaving before they come.
:( I presume you are going to let him break the news to them? After all, they're his parents! :)
Meanwhile, just carry on regardless, smile at them benevolently and suggest they take the kids out for a meal/ to the zoo/ park/ wherever, but away from the orbit of your table. Explain that you are behind on your work and that it would be very helpful if they could take over looking after the kids for a while.
Bribe the boys with promises of new little plastic thingies (better still, make buying these objects another excursion for the beaux-parents with the kids). In the evening, ask the in-laws to teach the boys the intricacies of Sudoku. Hey, there are even little electronic sudoku games. Now, there's an idea!
Once they're out of the house, take a long relaxing bath. Prepare yourself an effervescent multivitamin complex (better than gin, in the long run at least) and chip away at the pile of work that no doubt awaits you on the computer.
As for throwing things out the window: the CFO sounds like a really nice guy (don't agree with Eloh) and your split sounds incredibly mature and sophisticated, like in one of those thoughtful French films. It's bound to hurt, but it's bound to get better, too.
Hang in there. There are alot of people in cyberspace that are really and truly rooting for you, for what it's worth.

Mrs Jones said...

Pleased to see your dad supporting Prof Nutt! Yay for sensible bearded elders!

Mrs Jones said...

I'm sorry, my last comment sounded really random but I've just read him on the BBC news online webpage.

What everyone says about how painful splitting up will be is correct, but you've definitely got a head start by (hopefully) still remaining friends. The tentacles of your interwined lives will take some untangling and it can't be rushed. That old cliche of time being a great healer really is true. If, like me, you've been part of a couple since you were 14 years old (not always the same boyfriend, I hasten to add, but there always was a boyfriend), then suddenly finding yourself without adult male companionship in your mid-thirties can be a bit startling but then it becomes liberating. So enjoy yourself. Personally I think you should throw a really big fuck-off housewarming party and we'll all come and bring lovely things and get you veh, veh drunk...

dragondays said...

I'm sorry to be so dumb - but what is the Pic of the Week 'Prototype'? It looks like a knitted cosy for the top of a mineral water bottle, but it can't be that ... can it?

Anonymous said...

I have been lost in your blog for two whole days - two whole days! I'm a mature (42 yr old, mother of 3)student, currently on reading week, who should be absorbed by Clarissa and The Jew of Malta but I'm absorbed by your blog instead - it's brilliant. Honest, poignant and very funny - I laughed out loud many times (the comments on the bazaar shop window, the hippy festival in the woods, the 'I'm going to buy MBT shoes' conversation with you colleagues). V v funny. Thank you. Wishing you lots of strength and support in the coming weeks of change.

Should try harder mum said...

I have been lost in your blog for two whole days - two whole days! I'm a mature (42 yr old, mother of 3)student, currently on reading week, who should be absorbed by Clarissa and The Jew of Malta but I'm absorbed by your blog instead - it's brilliant. Honest, poignant and very funny - I laughed out loud many times (your narrative about the bazaar shop window, the hippy festival in the woods, the 'I'm going to buy MBT shoes' conversation with you colleagues). V v funny. Thank you. Wishing you lots of strength and support in the coming weeks of change.