Thursday, 31 January 2013

Oh, go away January.

I'm fairly sure there comes a point in every January where I become completely eye-swivellingly maddened by the ambient murk and the constant undercurrent of everyone's snot and the daily feeling like I've been sitting in the same place without movement for 87 years, but simply knowing it is an annual event doesn't stop me going absolutely STIR CRAZY. I am mad. I am hours away from some kind of slaying rampage. For the moment I am turning it in on myself by picking strips of dry skin off my lips, but I don't know how long I can hold out. The dog is first in my sights, since he has spent the morning pacing and whining, jumping up on my knee only to jump down again two seconds later.

This, this is my life this week. Dog bollocks in the face, savaged lips, red nose, facial leprosy, double chin, dog haired bosom and being used as a stepladder.

God knows why he's so twitchy. He's not lacking exercise: I took him out for such an intense, speedy walk yesterday to work off some of my lunacy and frustration that I ended up with a huge blister on the end of my big toe. This came shortly after an inglorious scene during which I dropped my phone, then flailed wildly trying to pick it up and ended up sending it right under the dishwasher. Things that you cannot use to retrieve an iPhone from under a dishwasher: broom handle. Spatula. Magazine. Hand. Unrolled length of masking tape (ok, yes, this was a stupid idea). Things that you can use: an untwisted coat hanger, but it will take you over 40 minutes lying on your stomach. Also, there is a lot of horrible shit under a dishwasher. After that I drank nasty wine from the corner shop (the label just reads "Vin blanc". No further information necessary).

F and I are on day three of our confinement. He is ratty and sick and the most bored it is possible for a nearly-nine year old to be without literally setting fire to the house (though this too may be imminent). His brother loves these kind of sick days when you're not too poorly, and can hole up with a hot water bottle and a duvet and a pile of comics for hours on end, but F is fretting about missing school and learning his ghastly poem and wandering around silently, radiating ennui. I, being a delicate flower capable of drawing on almost infinite excuses not to work, am unable to achieve anything due to the mournful figure appearing at my shoulder every half hour and the sountrack of "Are You Smarter Than a Ten Year Old" emanating from the telly ("NO" I mutter to myself involuntarily every five minutes). I click fretfully between pointless open documents on my computer, waiting for something amazing to happen, or at least for someone to remind me what on earth I am supposed to be doing. In half an hour we get to trudge through the rain to the doctor's (F is required to provide a doctor's note for school absence), where we will sit in the waiting room for seven and a half hours and contract all the other illnesses in Belgium. So that will make a change at least.

I feel like we need to break out of this rut but I don't really have any ideas and also, you know, F is confined to the house because he coughs like he has swallowed a live seal. I've already baked all the things and the bath is broken so I can't fill it with gin and lie in it all night muttering. I want to whisk us all off to Acapulco, but realistically, I think the best I can manage is whisking us off for a pizza. In the kitchen. From the freezer.

Hmm. I need to put something uplifting in here, don't I?

(There is a very long pause whilst I try to think of something uplifting)

(The pause continues while we spend 7 hours in the doctors with a gang of people suffering nineteenth century illnesses and then, having taken €23,20 from me, THE DOCTOR SIGNS FINGERS OFF FOR TOMORROW TOO, OH GOD WE WILL DRINK EACH OTHER'S SPINAL FLUID IT IS THE END TIMES)

Ok, fine. Five uplifting things since it's good for my shrivelled soul:

1. Tropicana Blood Orange & Blackcurrant is very delicious.

2. The baker I was desperate to include in an article I'm writing has said yes to an interview (date not fixed and proving tricky, but thank fuck and also YIPPEE and fingers crossed, yes, mainly that actually).

3. The telly is quite good at the moment. There's The Good Wife, and still a little bit of Borgen, and André Manoukian is back on Nouvelle Star, which reminds me of the glory days of 2008. My love for him is undimmed. He is still talking utter nonsense in collarless jackets. One day I will meet him, yes I will, this must happen. Sinclair is still there too, but somehow, my love of him has been slightly dimmed over the years. Which is a shame since Tom recently reminded of this picture of Sinclair he had photoshopped some years back, in which he was wearing armour and riding the weepette and fighting a capybara with fiery eyes, thus:

In and of itself, this picture would be sufficient to cheer me, actually.

4. I have been on a framing bender (as benders go, surely the least rock 'n' roll? Hmm - how about a handwashing bender? A VAT bender? A cavity wall insulating bender? Choose your own) and now 2 things (amazing photographs by this lady) I have had since 2008 are FRAMED and HUNG. Framed, bitchez. Two more are still at the framers but imminently returning and I definitely feel a puny sense of achievement.

5. B has sent me many darkly amusing materials this week, including an eagle owl savaging the residents of Inverness. The picture on this article is pure gold and I know it is not actually funny to get savaged by an owl, but I AM SORRY IT JUST IS FUNNY, FINE SEND ME TO HELL, also, the man with the net, I think, knows he is really not onto a winner with this cunning recapture strategy.

How has your month been? Any triumphs, major or minor? Or merely Scandinavian levels of gloom?


Peter said...

I can't believe that all of my handcrafted, artisanal LOLtaxidermies didn't cheer you up even a little bit. Also, we too have had a kid home sick for a week, and then he got better just in time for both of us to succumb.

Waffle said...

Oh, they did, they did! Damn. LOLidermy may need a post of its own.

Léonie said...

I think I am in love with local raptor expert Tommy Horne. I adore that picture of him scouring the horizon clutching a net.

J. said...

What with Flu-mageddon (stomach and Spanish varieties) ravaging the land and our weird weather (60 degrees F day before yesterday, -2 F today) I am beyond done with winter. In the words of a meme I saw on Facebook this morning: Go Home, January... You're Drunk.

frau antje said...

Just Scandinavian levels of gloom, but then I blame myself, for walking around with a torch day and night (if you were wondering what I have in common with Rousseau's tomb, that would be it).

Nimble said...

"Not what you expect to happen on a Saturday night."
My husband likes to quote a documentary he saw about the kea in New Zealand. "The sheep were clearly unprepared to deal with intelligent carnivorous parrots."

Paddy said...

Where do you get your framing done? How does it work? Do they advise on colour and wood etc? Or are you supposed to be a grown up and just "know" what to ask for? Please advise.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

I hate January in the northern hemisphere. Having said that, I am just assuming it will be much nicer as a summer month in the southern hemisphere but maybe it's just January--crap everywhere.

Nice photo!

Entertaining as always--at least with restless, fork in eye days you can still find good writing in you :) (thats meant to be a good thing).

Anonymous said...

Completely agree and wrote a similar post although with less wit and humor and more emo whining. I am trying desperately to remind myself that summer requires less clothing, "real" shoes and no strategically placed scarves to hide lopsided bosoms.

Peter said...

I have more! Stay tuned.

Scunder said...

All Scandidoom here ( opposite of Lagom) with sprinkles of Hebridean Gloom about too. However, my day was brightened by a Trip to Ikea and being approached by a lady in the cushion department who asked in desperate hyperventialting tones- -'How do you get out of here?'

There is clearly no worse Scandinavian doom than being trapped by the Ikea one way system.

I did forget the child was at the 'Balls' soft play area one day, and drove off nonchalently with my Lack table, so perhaps that's worse...?

Jayne said...

The comments on that owl article are also priceless. Cheered me up no end this morning.

Welcome to February. Hope it's brighter for you.

B said...

OH MY GOD I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT OWL AGAIN. *Frantically checks train times to Inverness*

Margaret said...

We haven't had a bad January, to be honest. Second year in a row of unseasonably warm winter.

But my main concern right now is the headline I saw saying that Queen Beatrix is RESIGNING?! What the hell? Who will wear the Royal Hair in the House of Belgiana?

Anonymous said...

Scandinavian gloom not good enough for ye, ey?


Waffle said...

No, no, Tilia. Of all the glooms yours is the best.

Léonie - I especially love "I have never failed yet". Oh, Tommy.

Paddy - I'm guessing you're Brussels Paddy who promised to take me back to Chez Maman and STILL HASN'T, not that I am bitter. I recommend you go to Schleiper on Chaussée de Charleroi because they are totally prepared to give you advice without making you feel like an idiot. They are quite slow though.

Superhybridbaby - Oh fuck, you are right. I vastly prefer winter clothes. FINE, WINTER YOU CAN STAY.

Margaret - It's ok! Beatrice is the Netherlands! Fabiola is still around here, though she is at the centre of a scandal involving her charitable foundation, tsk.

cruella said...

Since I live in Scandinavia, well... yes, gloom.

Endless Christmas vacation, good while it lasts but does nothing at all for motivation. Wading through paper work (not really, not doing it), house mess, slight depression and worries of various kinds. Planning to stave it off with large quantities of wine and drink and dancing and rillette de canard ce weekend. We'll just have to see how it turns out.

Oh, and I read "Agaat" at last. Astonishing. I think I have to reread it straight away.

Jo said...

Love your writing,even in the depths of a Brussels January depression. Have noticed a man creeping into some of your pictures lately,are you going to tell us about him,or is he off limits?

Paddy said...

Yes, we should most definitely set a date for Maman. The problem is that it is usually a spontaneous decision to go at 3am on Saturday night / Sunday morning after copious amounts of warm Jupiler!

Anonymous said...

Y'all would love Tommy and the owl even more if you heard the radio Scotland interview with T. I am coming down with Hebridean Jan/Feb lurgy and it will take me all my strength to prove I'm not a robot, so am unable to search probably fruitlessly for a podcast. Sorry. But keep your ears open for further media appearances by Tommy...

Xtreme English said...

You folks don't know what , gloom is until you've lived in Washing DC, and there is a scant inch of snow on the ground (making everything impassable), and Congress is doing it idiot best to send us all to the poorhouse.

My youngest just had a heart attack! and he's only 44.

Margaret said...

I am filled with shame that I mixed up both the Netherlands with Belgium AND Fabiola with Beatrix. We Americans really are irretrievably stupid. God, the humanity. Although, to be fair, elderly Western European crown heads are interchangeable looking.

Patience_Crabstick said...

The man in Inverness looks like he fully expects to be attacked by an owl at any minute, but is trying to bear it bravely.

Triumphs? I drove into Washington DC and only cried once, although that was to the parking garage attendant when I found myself unable to work the payment machine. I was, in fact, robbed of $10, but I did manage to park successfully and I'm no longer crying, so we'll consider that a triumph.

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

February is no better than January.

Have you read The Yips (Nicola Barker) yet? I'm mid-way through and have fallen in love with the agoraphobic tattooist Valentine.

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