Monday, 9 November 2009

Obliquely weekly review

If I tried to do the weekly review thing for the past seven days I would end up sticking my head in the shredder. Let us instead do what I do with bank statements, my arse when accidentally spotted in a badly placed mirror, and correspondance with the Tresorie Public - look fixedly around the edges, not allowing our eyes to stray for a nano-second into the forbidden zones where Bad Things lurk. At least, not unless we are holding both hands in front of our face for protection. In Belgium, when you want to withdraw money from a cash machine, it cruelly insists on displaying your balance at the bottom of the screen. I have become expert at putting my wallet in front of the offending pixels. With our wallets firmly pressed against the screen, let us proceed with caution.


A rogue bank holiday catches me out and I am imprisoned at home, alternately snapping and bribing the spawn to let me work. At the end of the day, when we all hate each other and the dog is cowering in his kennel, hiding both from the sound of me shrieking like a demented harridan and Fingers sitting on him and attaching 3 rolls of sellotape to his tail and ears, Team Sudoku (the CFO's parents) comes to the rescue.


La la lalalalalaa.
Very cold out.
Wine? Thank you, I don't mind if I do. No, no glass, just open the tap on the giant wine box, papy, and I'll put my head underneath it, thanks.


We go to Switzerland and stay here, pretending momentarily to be rich. It is nicely womblike and has lamps shaped like jellyfish. Approximately 47% of guests appear to be Russian hookers. I eat a steak that is considerably larger - and tastier - than my head and drink stuff made with lychees and vodka. The CFO and I get drunk and I cry sporadically. Because there is a minibar entirely stocked with FREE soft drinks (FREE! Included in room rate!) I do not suffer unduly from the drinking because I am better hydrated than at any time in my adult life, stubbornly filling myself with free Fanta and Perrier until I feel like I will explode. Maybe this is why rich people look so much better than I do? Free soft drinks?


After stuffing our bags with everything we can steal and filling our pockets with snacks from breakfast wrapped in stolen shower caps, we spend the day wandering round Geneva. I finally buy the CFO his long-delayed 40th birthday present. It's the oddest, saddest, day. There is a definite sense of finality as we part at the airport.


I go to Scotland. After what feels like a week on various small trains staring at fields full of sheep, I eventually reach Edinburgh. M and I stomp around saying "cock" and drink cocktails and eat cake and laugh at hippies and poke things in shops. She laughs cruelly when my shoes make a sound like seagulls farting on the marble floor of Harvey Nichols. My hotel is bizarrely seedy and employs a sad Eastern European girl to droop on the stairs spraying foaming chemicals and dabbing at them ineffectually.

We are particularly amused by the "Eco-erotic Emporium" selling organic and sustainably sourced erotica. M takes a picture which she will send me soon, please M.


I wake up with a knee the size of Belgium and can barely hobble as far as Jaeger to stalk a dress that looks exactly like every other dress I own. Thankfully they do not have it in stock, though they have a large number of other very desirable things that I have to violently prevent myself buying. Jaeger is verrrry, dangerously, good for people like me who are short and fond of elegant black dresses despite having problems with basics of elegance like hosiery without holes, and fingernails. Oh, hang on, I appear to have turned into my mother. Also, having persued the "New Arrivals" section on line, it appears to be full of mad clothes that Joan Collins rejected in 1983, and PLUS FOURS. FOR WOMEN. Words are inadequate. I hobble to Hawkins Bazaar which is the best shop in the history of the world ever and buy luminous disco ducks, dinosaur eggs, slime, wind up snails, jumping beans and other exceptionally cheap tat for boys.

I spend the rest of the day alternating between having baths in my new Elemis muscle soak, which is made of magic, watching shitty tv and napping. It is very, very nice. However when M comes round, I realise my knee has locked at a 45° angle and I can't move it. This is not important, thankfully, as M and I are so overcome with fumes from the special foaming cleaning product that the mournful girl is applying to the carpet outside the room, that we end up watching 'Paris Hilton's New Best Friend' and giving ourselves spectacularly shit manicures.

Finally, M (5 feet of fierceness) has to practically carry me to the bus. Noone even glances at us, since they just assume I am drunk. Soon after that, I am.


I am awake all night weeping into my Halloween pumpkin knee. (well, not strictly into it, which would be disgusting) and watching X Factor repeats. This means I am up in plenty of time to take the Sheep Express back all the way across Scotland.

Very many hours of low rent travel later I get back to Brussels and we finally tell the boys we are separating. The next few hours are among those I would least like to live again in my life. It is at least done, though.

Haiku version:

Sustainably sourced
Organic tofu sex toys
More fun than break up

Your turn.


Juci said...

Sounds like a shit week, especially toward the end. So sorry about that. Hope things will get a little brighter bit by bit.
Won't tell you about my week because it was boring. Sometimes boring is good, though.

Views from the UK 2006 said...

I can understand knee problem, it seems as I get older it takes more time to get out of bed!! Aches last longer and just want a nice cup of tea, also its a migration thing in hotels, London, Aberystwyth full of Easter Europeans working in hotels, at least things cant get worse!!

Anonymous said...

Glad you had M to cheer you up. Despite the pain of the conversation I have no doubt the children will be just fine. You are wonderful.

My week as follows:

Monday - Drag myself to work scowling at anyone who is foolish enough to meet my eyes. Have oddly itchy legs (as I always do when sad/worried) and every time I am alone I take great pleasure in scratching at them until red raw. Should add here I am wearing tights which I have to remove each time I want to get at legs.

Go home to cook for birthday of housemate and friends. Eat twice what anyone else does which is either a sign that I am terrifyingly greedy or that the food is gross to all but me. Either way, fail.

Tuesday - Dress up especially for special dinner with "special" friends, which is promptly cancelled. As such I spend day in oppressive dress and painful high heels and decide to lie whenever those around me ask after the special occasion I am dressed up for. Have fun creating different lies "Date with new boyfriend", "Dinner with old professor with whom I had sordid affair", "meeting long lost twin for first time" until I lose track of who I told what to and decide to hide in the loo until everyone else has left. Go home and fall asleep at 8.

Wednesday - Have awful, painful, hate inducing meeting where I am undermined, patronised and eventually spat out like a chewy bit of offal. Decide to resign immediately, until I am distracted by twitter and then shopping and finally when I come up for air notice the bank balance is so alarmingly low I can barely get the bus home - let alone make myself unemployed. Buy two bottles of wine on way home, drink one in bath and other in bed while watching 6 episodes of True Bloog and wondering where everything went so wrong. Also eat whole box of cheese straws and shout at best friend.

Thursday - Awake a stronger, better person (I decide) and slope off to see my grandfather who is living out his last days in a Sussex care home. Enjoy everything about our time together, including the moment in which he tells me my mother was an "easy lay" both before and after marrying my father. Have two white lady cocktails in the evening with friend and then return home to pack for my impending trip cross country.

Friday - mediocre day in office, mainly spent on blogs and reading stories of tragedies which have struck poor, hapless individuals. Also spend several hours on wikipedia reading about every shark attack that has ever happened for no reason whatsoever.

Spend evening on train to minibeak at friends. When they anounce an hour delay I begin weeping and do not stop for 2 hours. A combination of difficulties at work, other people's tragedies, a tricky relationship and the incompetence of First Great Western has got too much for me. Everyone stares but I just can not stop. By the end I am quite enjoying the tears running down my face and the odd looks I am getting.

Weekend is spent drinking a disgusting amount of booze, eating cheese with no regard for the punishment it is wreaking on my thighs and mainly having conversations with a large, bear like newfoundland.

MargotLeadbetter said...

Oh, that's tough. *gulp*

The good thing is that it's done now, and they will cope because children are resilient, and so will you and the CFO because grown ups can drink booze and buy themselves shiny things to help them feel better. And then one day you'll all feel better anyway.

(Is my psychology degree showing? No, thought not).

indigo16 said...

Relentless spreadsheet
Infinitely more pleasing
To domestic strife

I broke up with my previous partner when my two eldest girls were of a similar age to yours now. I don't think they really took it all in at first. Without being the harbinger of gloom and doom, it was some months later the real tears began.
All I can say is that they both have had and continue to have a far more positive relationship with both their parents than if we had stayed together. It justs takes a while for them to see that, but it may help to know that.

Alison said...

I am sitting upstairs, supposedly working, and downstairs in my living room is my wonderful, kind and well adjusted 16 year old stepdaughter. She is warming herself by the fire and watching back to back Waterloo Road - I said she was well adjusted, not endowed with good taste! 11 years ago her mother and father had the same conversation with her and her older sister. Dad moved out into a flat and then a couple of years later met me. Their Mum and I ensured that their relationship with their father endured and now it is one of the great satisfactions of my life to see them together. Things will move forward now and they will get better - and you, the CFO and Fingers and Lashes will find a new way to live. Not worse, just different.

J said...

Lingering to watch
First snow under moonless sky
I schlep gritted path

Betty said...

Monday: Wake up in a foul mood, struggle to find something to wear which is "business smart" for work, as well as comfortable. At 11 o'clock I realise the bad mood is actually misinterpreted illness, so go home and fall asleep instantly.

Tuesday: Wake up after seventeen hours of sleep and don't feel quite so cross/poorly. Eat far too many ready salted crisps at an evening work event. At end of long day wait for twenty minutes at a bus stop on Oxford Street before realising no traffic has come past in all that time. This is due to the Christmas lights being switched on. I take the tube home instead.

Wednesday: Take a day off in lieu. Plan to spend much of the day in bed sleeping/reading/drinking tea. A planned powercut to my block of flats (which I didn't know about) means there is no electricity to make tea or toast and the fire alarm in the hallway is beeping intermittently to let me know the power is out. I leave my flat and seek refuge at Westfield.

Thursday: I don't think anything happened on Thursday.

Friday: I have been persuaded by my oldest school friend to go to a Scottish dance for single people in Camden. The menfolk are neither attractive nor charismatic, but we have a fun time despite this fact.

Saturday: Three school friends (one of which I haven't seen for two or more years) come to my flat for dinner and we spend hours stalking other people from school on Facebook.

Sunday: The dancing takes its toll and I find I am unable to hobble, let alone walk. I spend the day listening to Radio Two, and not doing the ironing. I discover at the eleventh hour that the meat I have taken out of the freezer for dinner is bad and I weep a bit as my kindly flatmate cycles to a small Tesco's nearby to buy something else. The meal is rescued but some of the vegetables have burnt in the meantime. Simon Cowell ruins my evening and enjoyment of X-Factor.

justmeagain said...

How painful...... But things can only get better now. Your lovely children will be fine. The CFO will be fine. You will too. Look forward to the good times ahead.
Oh, and , I don't like to nag, but you really MUST get something done about that knee!!

Mrs Jones said...

I've been traipsing round the concentrated cultural smorgasbord that is Budapest. Even though I'm in the company of my 72-year old mother (who takes so long to 'just look round' clothes stores that I want to stab myself repeatedly), it's actually pretty cool. Luckily I have broadband where I'm staying otherwise I may well have flung myself into the Danube so am able to blog about it, with loads of pictures. Hmm, I realise there's a lot of potential suicide in this comment but I'm not really about to top myself, not while I've yet to photograph St Stefan's zombie hand....

The Divorcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GingerB said...

Sweet Jesus Waffle!
Your week was a pile of shit
mine was much better

happier than usual
hope that comes your way

The Divorcee said...

I am weeping over the laptop for you. I remember very clearly my own version of your conversation with Daughter, aged 4. A dear friend said that I had to take a deep breath and go under for a while and that it might be sooner and it might be later but that I would come up for air again. 'This too shall pass'... and I did, as it did and Daughter was probably the most adjusted and best behaved of us all.

With much love and best wishes x

Nina said...

Toddler has virus
Or demonic possession.
No mercy or gin.

Veronica Wald said...

Telling IS the hardest part (that is, after finally admitting to yourself that it's the only way). You're over the biggest hump (telling the babies) now.

But isn't it funny that when we're at our lowest low, our nadir below which there isn't any more low, our bodies betray us? Just a little MORE punishment for feeling so bad emotionally, layering on something crippling like a majorly bum knee, or disgusting like a dripping, sneezing cold so noisy and gross that people actually move several seats away on the bus when you start to hack? Ahh, this too shall my verification word says, "unksomp"

Ami said...

As others have said, it is better for children to have two sane, separate parents. My parents divorcing was the best thing they ever did - other than having my charming brother and I, of course.

Good choice in not looking too closely at the painful bits. Denial and avoidance have helped me many times over the years. Take good care of yourself and drink as much as you need to. (Hope the knee gets better, too.)

Bryony1963 said...

I feel for you all. Truly.

I would be sympathetic about your knee were I not in plaster myself - 5 weeks into an achilles heel rupture and I am being vile to everyone.

Am demon on crutches
But not enough caffeine
To bring relief


Kate Lord Brown said...

Ack. Feel for you. Hawkins is genius - have you seen the Arse/Face towels? x

Mya said...

Blimey Emma, that last bit just slayed me. Brutal.

Sending lots of cyber-soothing your way...not just for your knee, hon.
Mya xxx

L. said...

Ugh. I am sorry. For some things there is just no wallet big enough. I do believe that your boys will be just fine and, in fact, much happier than if you had kept on trying to make something work that wasn't; but that is probably something that is much easier to say when you're not in the thick of it.

My week was a haze of ineffectiveness, late evenings during which I tried ineffectively to catch up on the ineffectiveness, and feeling like a bad parent. So, par for the course, basically. As I have not accomplished anything yet today, looks like next week's report will be the same.

auntiegwen said...

Like Indigo says, it gets easier with time but I remeber that conversation ( we still love you but...) with a clarity that still can upset me in my low moments.

My week has been avoiding the man I love so he can't tell me how fantastic his new girlfriend is and trying ultrahard to give the man who could quite easily love me a chance.

No I know I'm not much use but I send love xx and am happy to send you a fruit and nut toblerone that is my cure for everything in life, well that and gin xx

WrathofDawn said...

Lovely Jaywalker,
Lashes, Fingers, CEO,
Trust. All will be well.

Eventually. Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. And my ex is a bigger twat than the CEO could ever be, even with written instructions.

magpie said...

I cannot even explain how sad this made me. I remember being told. It was one of the saddest moments of my life and I will never forget it.
My dad is generally pretty useless, but the only brave thing he ever did that I really respect him for was telling us in person. There were lots of very difficult and confusing extenuating circumstances that basically caused our whole family to implode but what came out of it was a very strong bond between me and my mum which will never be broken no matter how annoying I find her now. And I have more of a relationship with my dad now than I did when I was little.
You and the CFO sound like a very different kettle of fish and you also have an amazing support network that I wish my mum could have had, even if that feels like little consolation. But what I'm trying to say in a very bumbly way is that it is shit for everyone but something not awful will come out of it.

mothership said...

your Sunday so shite
mine pales insignificant
I send psychic tea

Lisa-Marie said...

My husband just looked at me like I'm a big wierdo becuase I laughed so much at that.

Hawkin's Bazaar is amazing. Did you find a dress.

My week - 2 days of work, I day of cooking, 3 parcels in the post I missed and now have to find the inisible post office depot for to collect, a meal with the inlaws, saying 'bullshit' at posh party at husband's boss' house, a new passport, maybe a new job.

Toni said...

Oh Emma...

here's hoping you wake dewy-eyed and not with a crashing hangover

much love

Chic Mama said...

I couldn't help but laugh at your thrill at the free soft drinks in the mini bar, totally know how you felt.
And I also take everything I can possibly get away with from a hotel.....I have 100's of little bottles of shampoo, body wash etc. Never use them though!
Sorry how your week ended, I hope you are all ok.

Sarah said...

Blimey - such a week of trains, planes and automobiles and then the really hard stuff at the end. Hang in there.

Cakeface said...

I'm so sad and sorry for you all this week, but hope that this is the miserable nadir and that things get better from here on in. I think you and the CFO are behaving outstandingly well, and I'm sure the boys will adjust to the new configuration very quickly.

(Which is not to say this does not present an excellent opportunity for some consoling retail therapy in the cake, dress, or shoe departments...)

Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything flip to say today - a rare occurrence for me. A truly crappy thing to have to do and I'm sorry. I have faith though, that you and the CFO handled it perfectly.

Chantal said...

Also left partner
Could have met you in Scotland!
So feel your pain

Went home to lick wounds and ended up in Edinburgh Fri and Sat - can't believe I didn't run into you. Your week sounds like the veritable emotional rollercoaster. I think you're incredibly courageous, and deserve gin and endless supply of LBDs. Onwards and upwards xxx

P.S. I know I am always on about gin in these comments, but really, gin is fucking brilliant, no?

P.P.S. No, I'm not drinking any right this minute. Yet.

edf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am one of your long time American anons, reminding you again, that you have seen many of through difficult times and we are hoping and wishing the best for you.

The highlights of my week: spilling gasoline (petrol) on myself whilst gassing up on the way to meeting about an hour and a half north. I was forced to meet a colleague who was introducing me to a third party at the local equivalent of Wal-Mart. Instead of a civilized lunch before our meeting we had to jam down sandwiches in the crappy deli after I located a pair of black polyester blend elastic waist band trousers in the womens clothing department. I am v short, Rubenesque and long waisted had low shoes on, and it was the only answer to the hemming problem. Shockingly, due to the cute top and ruffled cardigan I had on, they looked halfway decent. Apparently they now use higher quality polyester than Grandma used to wear.

And this week, I discovered Brownie Minis. A box with two little pouches of brownie mix and two little disposable mini muffin pans. You mix up the mix, and cook them in the little pans and you get six mini brownies (150 cal for 2)per pouch. In the store they were next to Easy Frost-which is cake frosting in an aerosol can-spray frosting. I enjoyed piling the frosting on my mini brownies, it only belatedly occurred to me that I was a fully grown woman playing "Easy Bake Oven" all by myself.

Take care, my Waffle, and console yourself that you are not so low and pathetic as to have to roll up the waistband of too long polyester trousers to attend a meeting or spray frosting directly into your mouth when you ran out of mini brownies!

Margaret said...

Ugh, what a terrible thing. From all I've learned from friends and husband the two most important things to do are to always put the kids first and never lie to them. It will devastate them but if you follow those two simple, difficult rules it won't ruin their lives.

Margarita said...

Ugh. When will life get less depressing?

Mr London Street said...

You've done the hardest part. Apologies that I can't say anything more platitudinous than that.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Your blog is just so entertaining, even when it's bittersweet. I have come out of lurk mode, hi!


Didn't sleep enough
Fantasized about vodka
Putting face in cake

Z said...

Last week? I can't remember. Too long ago.

I recommend not looking back or forward, for now. Live in the present and bear in mind that every minute lived is one that you don't have to go through again. Cherish every good moment and enjoy it without reservation, without worrying that it may not last. One day, you will find that you're not afraid to contemplate the future any more.

I think that appreciating being pessimistic, as it means you don't have the prospect of disappointed hopes, is a sort of half-way point, if you need any more gloomy-bugger lifestyle tips.

shayma (@SpiceSpoon) said...

poor M, having to carry you. i do wonder about the hotel- free soft drinks but shower caps had to be nicked? on a serious note, do hope things get better, best wishes to you and your children. xx

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Oh crap. Big fat bags of it. So sorry, Jaywalker. Poor you. Poor boys. Poor CFO.

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Oh crap. Big fat bags of it. So sorry, Jaywalker. Poor you. Poor boys. Poor CFO.

But a decided Yay for eco-erotica.

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Bloody Wordpress. Bloody Blogger. Making me repeat my damn self!

LaurenR said...

The worst thing you'll ever have to do, I hope, is tell your boys you guys are splitting up. I've done it and it's truly horrible. But it's behind you now. There are good things to come!

Nene said...

In all its bleakness, a fantastic post. Been there, done that for most of it, except I've never been to Scotland.
Divorce sucks, even when it's the only thing you can do. I hope that it shall never happen to me again. You and the CFO sound like you're being quite reasonable about it.

Wish you the best of luck and hope your knee's better. Heard y'day that we'll be a lot of hobblers at the party. The more the merrier - as long as there are chairs.