Tuesday, 17 May 2011

I am back (I never went away) (more's the pity)

"Please write something soon" says The Student Cook, which she will live to regret, I expect. But I have missed you all very much whilst Blogger was being an arse and I was, where? I forget. Here and there. Mainly here. Right here. At this table, collapsing my spine into dust and snacking incessantly. Freelancing: the career choice of HEALTHY LIVING. I am as fat as ever and getting nicely spotty, which figures since I have to have my picture taken on Friday. I would imagine by then I will have three chin boils and an extra three chins to put them on. The universe decrees it so.

I remember:

1. A lengthy meeting where I thought I might have to fake my own death to escape. One would have thought that HEALTHY LIVING! freestyle life might allow me to avoid such things, but no. The only difference is, away from the fleshpots of the Corridor of Ennui, there were no stale miniature macaroons, or biscuits. We used to be able to gauge the state of profits in my erstwhile workplace from the quality of meeting room snacks, which varied from homemade cake, delivered by unicorns (almost) at the height of the merger boom, to some unpleasant sachets of generic trail mix in 2009. I am not in favour of this, any of it. Meetings, I mean. Snacks I am thoroughly in favour of.

2. The paintballing birthday extravaganza, which turned out to be possibly the most painless children's birthday party in the history of children's birthday parties. We dropped the children off. "See you in three hours" said the taciturn, heavily lined paintballing man, a sort of Walloon Clint Eastwood figure whose sense of humour had doubtless been beaten out of him by an endless series of shrieking, armed children.

"Oh, don't we come back for the goûter?"

"No. See you in this field in three hours".

"Right you are".

We did not need to be told twice.

The CFO and I went to the supermarket unmolested by small children, and then had lunch in a nice fish restaurant. There was wine. The worst thing that happened to us was the unsolicited amuse-bouche of sea slugs, which we hid in a plant pot. We returned to the field and sat in the sun until the children were delivered back to us, quorate, undamaged, tired, clutching bags of crap, and not even dirty. Today a brown envelope dropped onto my mat containing a DVD of what happened in the intervening three hours, which I have no intention of ever watching, unless Lashes is particularly insistent. I give this party 9/10. I have taken a point off because there is no way in holy hell we could ever afford it again, but as an experience, it's a winner. If you are rich and live in Brussels and have small boys (anyone?), recommended.

3. My Eurovision party. This was an unqualified success (for me at least if no-one else) based on the following Key Performance Indicators:

- I did not get so tired and cross cleaning up for the party that I could not enjoy it. My new technique of opening the door to the cellar and chucking things down there indiscriminately is to thank for this. I was quite tempted to throw both children indiscriminately down there, as they followed me around dropping things and creating mess, but thanks to the morning of paintball respite, I managed to resist.

- Lots of people I liked came and were funny and delightful. I even knew everyone's names without even having to think about it.

- There was a great deal of good snack-age, including two types of cake made by me, or rather made by the small boys following my totalitarian patisserie production instructions. A sort of friand and cup cake sweatshop, if you will.

- And Hendricks. Lovely Hendricks and tonic and lemons and ice, due to having had the opportunity to go to the supermarket unmolested.

- The whole affair was its usual catalogue of euro-kitsch and below par boys band twattery and highly enjoyable. My only slight sadness was Belgium's failure to qualify with its awe-inspiringly horrible acapella number "With Love Baby, by "Witloof Bay" (if you can last more than 14 seconds, you are a better Belgian than I am).

(Parenthetically, I want to say how much bloody easier writing this blog entry is than anything else I have written over the last week or so, all of which has either been anxiety inducing (law), dreary (book edits) or massively frustrating (also book edits). Such a shame it doesn't, you know, pay the bills. Make it so, universe)

4. I do not think there is a 4. I think we have now exhausted anything I could be arsed to do over the past week. Oh, there has been cash machine crying, conjugating, continued inexplicable (ha!) fatness, unsuccessful pitching, hedgehog examining, cowboy outfit buying and a lot of board game playing. The children are very fond of decaying, retro board games at the moment. They like boring Memory style games, miserable multiplication games, interminable battleship games and the nine-numbered dominoes of doom. I have no idea where I have gone wrong, I bloody hate board games. Shouldn't they be in a corner, getting all squinty eyed staring at their Nintendos? Incidentally Lashes withdrew his request for a Nintendo 3DS at the last minute and ended up with the electronic battleships game I despise, some mangas, and the promise of a Stuffyourdoodle. He already has one of these, but they are really brilliant and I can sort of see his point. Talking of points, was there one? Oh yes, the children are making me play games. I think they are not mine.

Here is one of them preparing for the gulag's annual festival of kitschery. He has already warned me it is a re-run of Cotton Eye Joe from two years ago, but has said, mysteriously, that he will keep some of the moves a surprise. I am scared.

Shortly after this picture he wrapped the dog entirely in pipe cleaners. I have nothing to say about that, really, the dog probably deserved it. The dog woke me at 2am on Sunday by getting its head and leg stuck in a Bag for Life it was mine-sweeping for forgotten chocolate. I have not forgiven it.

Lashes is in a 'no photos', sulky, pré-ado phase. It is quite the delight. I managed to capture him climbing into the neighbours garden, presumably practising so that when he's 14 he can go there to drink cider and sniff glue, or something.

Maybe he was just contemplating running away from home? You will see why he might be tempted as we turn our attention to the Rubbish Dutch Song Of The Week, from Op Weg Met Robald, the Dutch textbook where hope goes to die.

Ik neem mijn pennensak
I take my pencil case
Ik open mijn pennensak
I open my pencil case
Ik luister naar de leraar
I listen to the teacher
En ik ben klaar
And I am ready

(I am doing this from memory, I do not have it in front of me, so Dutch speakers please to correct).

There are many more verses but they are limiting us to one a week to properly build the suspense. I am hoping by the end of term we might be getting out our particle accelerator and getting ready to split the atom. Now that would be useful vocabulary.

I don't really know what qualifies this as a 'song'. If it has a tune, I have not been informed. Op weg met Robald, where the fun literally never starts.


elsie anderton said...

you're back, for that i am glad.
after a day from hell, you have made me laugh out loud (much to the consternation of husband, child and other various dust related pets). thank you.

Johnners said...

I missed you too, this made me snort out loud and smile mistily at the photos. A bright spot in a busy and mostly unrewarding day - thanks!

WV = slago. Excellent.

irretrievablybroken said...

Whenever I think about internet dating I always think about Robald. (shudder)

neuroticnotes said...

Thank you for coming back. And with a heady mixture of cowboy outfits, eurovision and paintballing nonetheless!

The fact that you don't get paid for this astonishes me. I keenly await the day the universe re-addresses its priorities.

Rachel said...

Hendricks and lemon... superb. Hendricks and cucumber? Unbeatably bloody WOW. Now you have to test it ;-). Welcome back.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

Contact the folks at Hendricks and demand payment. I'm happy to provide a reference as proof that your blog directly affected my gin-purchasing choice (Actually my intended gin-purchasing choice because I would be a Very Bad Mother indeed if I left sleeping kids to go buy gin. Would anybody know tho'...)

Andrea from Neath said...

O how we missed you! I was getting concerned as one of your darling offspring was right poorly in the prev post! And where is the petition page for me to sign to prevent atrocities such as the one you mention whereby young impressionable infants are permitted, nay, encouraged to perform Cotton Eye Joe? Is this a consequence of Belgium being Government-less?

d said...

I'm thrilled you like Eurovision too! This year, for the first time I decided to let my girls (aged 5 & 7) and their pal stay up to watch it too. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with them. It was a mistake. I gave them score sheets each and as soon as they heard the first note of music they were off yelling about what score they would give for performance, outfits, dancing and so on, then would yell even louder trying to add it all up. They ruined it! I sent them to bed after Blue and watched the rest in uninterrupted (apart from husband snoring on sofa, who had mananged to remain asleep during all the shouting) bliss. Do your boys watch it? I am glad you are back too, no new posts pushed me deeper into the arms of the DM which made me feel sordid and unsatisified.

Em said...

Photo of Fingers is adorable! It's all in the stance, I think.

Freelancing does tend to 'make' you eat more. Even when I stock up on things I don't like, I eat them. It's to take my mind off the fact I can't write anything.

Anonymous said...

a little francophone cowboy with added clint eastwood swagger, how adorbs! you must be so proud.
your dog sounds as hell-bent on owner subjugation as mine.

amelia said...

Laughing (to the consternation of flat mates who think it's outrageous at 4 am). THANKYOU. Oh and ... my name is Amelia, which is what I commented on 'competition time' in the first place under...check out those comments and you will see i'm agngling for first place (justifyably?) for the 'pencil pot'.

Margaret said...

The Reluctant Launderer: You can't leave the offspring alone to go buy gin, because then your house will burn down. Fact. Just read the AP newsfeed if you doubt me. Don't you have someplace that will delivery your gin? You need to get on that.

Wait, what's the difference between the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror? I overheard people in my office (American, yes, but very up on the international gossip rags) discussing whether some scandal had shown up in one or the other.

Finally, what is (your rent + pastry expenses + weepette kibble + bimonthly Space NK splurge + bits of offspring-distracting plastic crap) divided by (number of us are who read you regularly)? I won't subscribe to the NY Times online, but I'll subscribe to you*!

*Until such a time as I am separate from my place of employment.

redfox said...

Hello hello, I would like to hear more about your cake. Really, I would like to RECEIVE your cake, there is never any cake at my house and this is a great pity. What's more, since I waited so long to begin reproducing, it will be years, years before I can get the infant to make cake for me. Please help.

I have spots too. I think mine are a punishment for not laundering my pillowcases often enough, but maybe they are just a general punishment for being a general sloven. Without cake. Though you'd think the lack of cake would be punishment enough in itself.

Miss Underscore said...

Oh God, I'm glad you're back! ***weeps*** I have missed you. And it's depressing enough dealing with my crippling OEHOE abandonment issues. . .

I love Weepette. I suspect you do too really.

Anonymous said...

You have trumped my 90 minutes homework on 'les littoraux français'! Robald made me snort coffee on my keyboard, so there is some fun in it after all. Just not for you, and definitely not for your offspring, poor darlings.

Lisa-Marie said...

Hendrick's is the liquor of the gods.

Also, paintballing fucking hurts. At least, it does if you play with grown ups!

fifi said...

I have nothing to say
except I have not been here in absolute ages and had forgotten how fabulous you are:
Oh, how you have made me laugh,
and I've had such a shit day and all.

carolinefo said...

I need to confess about dog-related stress issues. When is the next confessional?

Hounded in Ayvalik

Waffle said...

Dearest Hounded of Ayvalik,

We will do one soon if you are in spiritual need.

Someone told me this week that my dog food was "comme Macdonalds pour chien". I was unrepentant. The proper stuff is twenty euros a sodding bag.

WrathofDawn said...

Oh, the LOLs!!!

The "unsolicited amuse-bouche of sea slugs" and the particle accelerator comment.

I do love your writing.

Waffle said...

Thank you so much WoD. I am sitting looking at this shitfest of a half-arsed book, and your words are giving me the strength to go on. Melodramatic, much?
Thanks though. Really.


Pat (in Belgium) said...

After missing Eurovision for several years running, I managed to see the second half final and the final...and I am truly disappointed that Moldova didn't do better.
I loved their conehead hats & the singer reaching for the uni-cycling princess with "I try to kiss you and you sleep (slip) away..."
As for Jedward (Dreadward?) & the Danish imitator, the less said....

Anonymous said...

Well I haven't heard any other Eurovision songs at all, so have no comparison - and also I am in NZ (where it is NZ Music Month!) - but I rather like the song from Belgium.
Both the group's name and song lyrics are incredibly naff, but there's no denying the singers' talents and you have to admit the song's so catchy, you're probably humming it right now....!
Heather (NZ)

Jessica said...

I completely missed Eurovision this year. And then based on this, I decided to check our entry out. I almost threw up in my mouth after finding witloof bay on youtube.

Waffle said...

Oh shit, I should have invited you Jessica. Next year you shall come, yes? To the festival of all horror?