I have been desperate to write a new post for days now (though once again thank you SO SO MUCH for your many and brilliant book ideas) to get rid of my gurning ridiculous face in the shark sleeping bag, but circumstances keep conspiring against me, and by 'circumstances', I mean my children's insistence on getting fed and clothed and having their sodding irregular verbs conjugated, my desire to sit in a duvet cocoon on the sofa watching ancient West Wing episodes and you know, generally wintry indolence. Mrs Trefusis and I have been hatching a new money making scheme for winter involving a full body electric blanket you wear and a microwaveable gilet. All my creativity is going into that. I mean, who wouldn't want a microwaveable gilet? The dog is getting a prototype soon.
Candidates for most exciting event of this week:
1. Roomba fought a piranha and lost:
Whenever I go downstairs after a long day of staring into space and low productivity, wrapped mummy fashion in a blanket in my freezing attic, I find Roomba stranded somewhere it shouldn't be, battery low, but still putting every last ounce of fight into abusing and trying to swallow some inoffensive item of household ephemera. I could not love it more.
2. L found a way of making a Hex Bug play the ukelele. I have video footage of this, but it's quite boring. If you find you cannot live without it, make yourself known in the comments and I will rectify.
3. Oscar fell in love with a corgi.
4. My friend B discovered that armadillos can give you leprosy (without either contracting leprosy or meeting an armadillo himself) and introduced me to the slow loris eating a riceball (which is amazing, and yet. I feel conflicted. Surely the slow loris shouldn't really be living in someone's bedroom?) and also to the concept of the Fortnums Booze Cracker, from whence I discovered the concept of the Ginvent Calendar, and from then on, Christmas looked considerably more benign. Yes, I know that I said two posts ago that all advent calendars had to be made of PAPER and woven from reeds by deserving Christians and feature psalms and pictures of bells and stigmata, but it has been a trying week and this appears to be a triumph of human ingenuity designed to reconcile many of us with the otherwise trying run up to Christmas. I am making an exception.
5. I behaved like an arsehole for much of the weekend for no good reason (hormones? Work frustrations? Sadness about my picture that got ruined during building works? Just being an arsehole?) and had to do penance by playing (and of course losing) an extremely lengthy game of Monopoly. You wouldn't think Monopoly - a.k.a A Fight In a Box - would be able to act as an emollient on a tense Sunday, but it turns out that if one of you just allows all the others to be total rapacious bastards towards it, it sort of can. Go, Monopoly you depressing bastard of a game.
6. I have been drawn deeper into my children's self-hothousing strategies. My basic parenting strategy is 'relief that benign neglect is once more considered acceptable'. My children have very few extra-curricular activities with the exception of Saturday Nerd Club, sorry Science, and I like to frame this as a "deliberate" (ha) "policy" (ha) to foster their free-thinking and creativity by giving them plenty of unstructured time in which to develop. The fact that this "development" appears to habitually take the form of either sitting in front of The Simpsons or fighting (plus the occasional flash of Hex Bug ukelele) does not deter me from a strategy requiring no input whatsoever on my part except the occasional vague threat.
However. My children seem to have other ideas. Perhaps they have watched every Simpsons episode in existence twice already. Perhaps they have reached some unpassable level on Mario 3D Land. Who knows, but my peaceful existence is over.
For the last two years, L has been begging me to find him Japanese lessons. His interest is, of course, strictly manga related. Who wouldn't want to read rubbery nonsense pirate adventures in the original language? What nuances might he be missing? Even so, he has been very consistent in his nagging and I have capitulated and found him a lovely Japanese teacher called Tomo and he seems to be having an extremely jolly time learning how to say stuff like "my father is not a salary man", "tangerine" and "tortoise". So far so manageable, but of COURSE, then F felt hard done-by. He was already seething with jealousy that on turning ten, L was allowed a ( indeed the world's most boring and joyless) bank account, glaring covetously at L's dreary orange statements and canvas wallet and complimentary "Card Stop" stickers. No further inequities could be allowed.
A couple of weeks ago he presented me with his counter-demands. He wanted to learn Chinese, and the violin. What could I do? I capitulated. I have sadly failed at finding a violin teacher thus far (scree, scree, delicious torture, I can barely wait), but I have found a nice woman to teach him Chinese. Thus it transpires that on Wednesdays, we now have to go on a lengthy, multi-mode public transport odyssey across Brussels for Fingers to learn Chinese from another nice, lively, fun lady. Well, this was our first time. It is a veritable voyage of discovery. I learned that the 38 is a slow bastard and that a vin chaud at 3pm is a good way of preventing murder, L shared a bus seat with a lady who had attached a large comedy klaxon to her crutches, we found a street full of knitted tree cosies and F learnt, well, I am not entirely sure. The hand gestures for counting to ten, certainly. He seemed cheerful and had been given a Capri-Sun pouch, so all was well.
Apart from the cost and inconvenience and the fact that I am wholly incapable of dealing with homework in two new languages at the age of nearly-thirty-eight (I am stranded on "hello" and grateful that "three", at least, sounds broadly the same in both), good on them, I reckon, my delicious dorks. I wonder how long they will keep it up. I know I will be weeping with nostalgia for these days when they are busy smoking mobylettes and stealing bus shelters and sniffing cats, or whatever it is that youth do for kicks these days.
7. M and I have been accepted for CRAFTACULAR again with the Cruel Tea cruelty free two person sweatshop of Tourettes biscuits, cosies and aprons. This is big news, at least for us, because we will have to do things like (i) make things and (ii) make more things and (iii) not let me do any of the pricing and (iv) not spend all our takings on lamb chops. If you are anywhere near Bethnal Green on 16th December and you want cruel crafts, please please drop in and see us. They have a Rob Ryan grotto or something and there will be ridiculous outfits and hip flasks and oh god, I actually can't wait.
How was your week? What would you like on your rude biscuit? Will you buy a microwaveable gilet from me? What's your ideal cracker gift? Do you want to teach my son to play a special silent violin?