Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Life Hygiene




It has been ages. I have no sense of humour left, also my house is full of children (there are actually only two but they seem to be everywhere, partly because they are playing mass slaughter online with a bunch of strangers and that is loud, also one is about 30 cm from my face idly scrolling through my Instagram) and the long-awaited builders (months of shattered promises, insert your own topical political reference here, nb they will probably fuck off leaving the job half finished to make the laboured topical parallel even easier) are making a massive sawdusty meal out of building five shelves. I haven't managed to focus on one train of thought for more than three minutes for the last fortnight.

How are you all holding up as our political class descends into infant school farce? My ongoing strategy for dealing with the impending apocalypse is as follows:

- regular overeating

- lots of laundry

- nightly gin

- small administrative tasks that are easy to complete and give an entirely illusory sense of control. I have invoiced the fuck out of everything, done my VAT, purchased many pointless stationery items, ticked off next year's book lists and if the world doesn't stop spinning off its axis soon I may even book the mammogram I have spent the past 18 months failing to organise.

I have also been doing some comfort reading, cue an effortless segue into telling you that my June reading (or in fact, mostly rereading) is now up.

What are your coping strategies?


Up:

Everyone passed their exams to my satisfaction, so no one is locked in the basement/required to attend some kind of teenage delinquent dude ranch in the Ardennes to do extra Dutch and penitence. I have discovered in recent years that beneath my "successs is illusory, plough your furrow and just be happy, man" hippy facade, I am in fact an utter arsehole about academic results. Self-discovery, eh.

We have been watching the entire box set of 30 Rock (second time for me, first for boys), which provides us with a precious truce for a couple of hours every evening. Any ideas what we could watch when we run out? We've done Kimmy Schmidt and Flight of the Conchords already.

L is enrolled in a holiday gulag from 21st and F is off camping with his grandparents in Normandy next week, which leaves me with a full SIX child free days, during which I plan to go to London, see M, eat Gail's cinnamon rolls and generally not cower in the attic avoiding all human interaction.

At some point I will have shelves. SHELVES! I have dreamed of this moment.

My neighbour, no not the hairless cat, took this amazing picture over our house during the pre-Brexit apocalypse storm (embiggen it upon your screen for full effect):




Down

Worst ever Belgian teenage shopping trip on Sunday - torrential rain, teenage appallingness, shouted at by salesbastards in Foot Locker, no stock in any of the FOUR - FOUR - H&Ms on Rue Neuve... So bad it became hilarious. They can make/buy/beg for their own bloody clothes, henceforth.

The Fattening is out of control because I have eaten all my feelings, plus all everyone else's feelings and there are a lot of feelings swilling around.

I managed to spend all my tax rebate without even noticing what I had spent it on (cakes for my party? New eye shadow (no regrets)? Eurostar tickets? Pointless (or pointy) virtual weapons purchased by boys without my knowledge?) and am flat broke again.

Everything else.


Percentages

40% Ongoing Brexit paralysis
20% Inactivity and related guilt
20% Esmeralda's Milk, well on way to becoming my new chocolate weakness
10% Enjoying this
10% Earplug gratitude

You?

47 comments:

B said...

Parks & Recreation for good DVD'ing.

Anonymous said...

Feeling pretty devastated without being British. Your mess is our mess. Will cope by reading your book and fleeing into the parallel universe of amateur theatre. And go on holiday.

Tilia

Anonymous said...

It's been a trying few weeks: after a weird dizzy spell one evening after too many hours at the coalface of the computer and a low-grade fever, I took myself off to A&E, hoping to be reassured and sent home to "get some sleep, woman!" but I ended up being diagnosed with an acute case of atypical pneumonia. It was all very strange because I had barely even coughed. I almost thought the doctor was kidding but turns out the x-ray confirmed the diagnosis. Several hours later, delirious with tiredness, pumped full of non-dizziness meds and armed with a mile-long prescription for strong antibiotics and various other inhalers and tablets, I managed to get home and collapse into bed. The diagnosis coincided with the busiest week of the year workwise so as a self-employed person I couldn't very well take much time off to recover, more's the pity. All unnecessary walking/ moving/ going to the gym was off-limits on doctors' orders so I became even more sedentary than usual. I was also sternly admonished to feed myself well so the result is that I have gained even more weight than usual in the last few weeks. Then a few days after that, my kid had a medical emergency at school, with horrible stroke-like symptoms out of the blue that scared the daylights out of everyone, even the seasoned school-nurse. Thankfully the symptoms subsided after a few hours but the hospital decided to keep her in and run tests for absolutely everything from brain tumours to epilepsy and it was an utterly terrifying two days as we waited for the various results to come up clear. She was also interrogated about possible drug-taking and while I know that's necessary and that they were right to investigate every possible reason for her symptoms, I felt like shouting at them that she has never so much as gone for pizza with her friends without a supervising parent in attendance and that she's probably not in the drug-taking age group just yet. In fairness, I hadn't slept for two nights when I got ragey about that and I didn't vent my anger outwards, I just poured it in on myself as I usually do. It turns out it was all caused by a very very bad migraine and of course I have been obsessively reading about very very bad migraines since then, which is not exactly cheering reading. Obviously I'm very glad it's not anything more serious but I'd much rather she didn't have to go through such a terrifying experience again. When I asked the doctor hopefully if it would probably be a once-off thing, she said breezily (in front of the kid, who was really scared!!) that no, actually, it was very likely to happen again with the same symptoms and that the question was not if, but when and why it would happen again. In the meantime, she rattled off a long list of things to avoid in case they could be possible triggers, such as cheese, ketchup, oriental cuisine, chocolate...

Anonymous said...

Straight after that, some high-maintenance in-law relatives came to stay and I've been finding it challenging, to say the least, to cater for their many needs and preferences on top of everything else I have going on. I'm finding it very unsettling to have so many people around me at all times of day, making noise and asking me things and expecting me to answer instead of spending the first half of the day staring into the middle distance and putting on a load of laundry in between deadlines. The bloody pneumonia is the least of my concerns. I am half-crazed by the lack of time on my own and the non-existent peace and quiet. The fact that I have to stay at home typing like crazy to meet deadlines while the in-laws eventually get their act together to go out sightseeing is actually a blessing, although I suspect they think I don't want to join in and use work as an excuse. I wish that were the case! Sadly, after being absolutely fleeced by the revenue authorities for every bloody greasy penny made last year, I now have to work even harder to make ends meet and will probably not be able to afford any holiday this summer. Then yesterday evening, no doubt as a result of the angry repetitive typing all day long, my old friend Rotator Cuff Tendonitis, resurfaced in one of my shoulders. Not even strong painkillers could do anything against it, rarely have I experienced such intense pain for such a long time. It means I got barely any sleep yesterday so today has not been pretty. Apart from (and maybe due to) all of the above, I have been in an absolutely foul mood this past few weeks. Alas, every other member of the household is afflicted by the same black mood and we are constantly getting on each other's nerves and arguing non-stop. It's utterly exhausting and I am eagerly awaiting September, with its shiny new-book smell and quiet mornings when I can work in peace.
Sorry, that was way too long-winded and not at all what I intended to write. Some indication of what's going on inside my head at the moment...some days/ weeks/ months are harder than others, for sure!

belalumo said...

I would also suggest Parks and Recreation. And The Katering Show web series, though I don't think kids would be into it.

Julia Croyden said...

20% White hot rage at stupidity and selfishness and general incompetence of so called rulers
20% smug satisfaction after writing a letter to Nicky Morgan regarding teacher strikes: http://juliacroyden.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/do-not-wait-to-strike-till-iron-is-hot.html
20% exercise endorphins
20% gin and sirop de cerise
20% ham

I third Parks and Recreation, also Angie Tribeca is quite funny, as is Brooklyn 99.

Anonymous said...

Not at all PC, but perhaps Little Britain? And Father Ted?
Followed by LOST?

Anonymous said...

Poldark, of course!

LuLu Anna said...

Hi Ms Waffle,

That lovely cat certainly should hang its head in shame at the chaos he has caused. I spent last week worrying so much about the future I have developed a passion for Itsu chocolate coated rice crackers. Daughter and I really enjoyed your" Books that made me" event. Hats Off to you and Helen!

I know you have a legal background so you and your boys may enjoy Suits- in legal terms it is completely silly, but my teenage boys enjoyed it.

All the best, LuLu Anna (50% ironing- wonderful- and 50% chocolate rice cracker)

Madeleine said...

I also loved listening to you and H at the books which made you (and am rubbing hands with glee that I got to leave with Patrick McGuinness.
Have no recommendations for boxed sets, but on comfort reading, if you have not (re?) read E M Delafield's Diary Of A Provincial Lady, please do so forthwith. Much comfort to be gained from it in these dark days.

CJ said...

No such thing as pointless stationery items, they are therapy. Something to hold on to as the world spins out of control. As things go wronger and wronger I am also eating. Where will it all end? I need shelves here as well but I've been putting it off for so long because of the horror of a house full of dust. Amazing how Getting A Man In always ends up in a house full of dust. Must bite the bullet soon.

MargotLeadbetter said...

I've been boozing nightly for a good while now. I'm just going with it until I gather the will to resist. Perhaps in the autumn.

I've just read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld but I think I got the rec from you in the first place. I loved it.

Maybe the Fast Show would be worth trying? (I was reminded of it by Caroline Aherne this weekend). Also Big Train. Not sure how suitable for kids but hell, I loved Benny Hill when I was little and it certainly wasn't age appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Stewart Lee's stuff; Portlandia

Anonymous said...

Loved watching 30 Rock and Kimmy Schmidt with my kids ( about the same age as yours). Can recommend Community. Slightly strange, but very funny. Starts a lot of interesting conversations.

JB_Kiwi said...

Also eating and drinking my feelings. Repeated playing of that Michael Gove vine (you know the one. With the Hands). And I also recommend Parks and Rec. It is smart and funny and endlessly hopeful (which cannot hurt right now)! Leslie Knope for PM.

cruella said...

I am on holiday. It helps only marginally since mother-in-law is British and appalled, rehashing the whole thing on Skype with her Canada-living university friend Judy - daily. Also being teensplained about "1984" (sexist rubbish), "Heart of Darkness" (boring) though we reached an understanding on "The Great Gatsby" (better than the film).

Fleeing to Copenhagen for a two-day abandon consisting of jazz, wine and the odd smørrebrød tomorrow, can't wait.

kath said...

Totally second Community, its great. The whole of Being Human has arrived on Netflix too. Anonymous up top that sounds horrendous your poor daughter.

Anna Maria said...

I do hope the podcast of your BTBM will arrive soon, would love to hear it.
I have finally read Crooked Heart, which I think you recommended, and really, really enjoyed it, so thank you. Also Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible, which I loved, but Austen purists might not. I love Austen ( I visited Chawton quite a few times when I lived not far, it is a wonderful village), but I was happy with Curtis' modern take on Pride and Prejudice.
Currently I'm reading A Walk in the Woods, which I seem to remember you also recommended.
As for TV series, I don't have suitable recommendations as we tend to watch certificate 15 or 18 series, such as GoT, OITNB or Mr Robot.
Have made an effort to confine G&Ts and Pimm's to weekends only, but my son is only 11, so we will see how long it'll last.

just curious said...

Great Netflix recommendations posted above here, Parks and Rec, Community, The IT Crowd, BoJack Horseman (snarky animation), For drama, I suggest Mr. Robot. Spaced (someone put it up on You Tube with Spanish subtitles), Futurama. Enjoy this time with your boys. Too soon, the house will be eerily quiet as they go off on their life journeys.

frau antje said...

Coping strategy: Have put breathe on my to do list (just logistics).

groseilleamaquereau said...

Jeeves and Wooster with Hugh Laurie and Steven Fry

Jane @ Flora Fauna Dinner said...

Surely no situation has ever more warranted the phrase 'I can't even.'

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle, some goat-related research/news that might make the day a little better:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/07/06/goats-are-as-loving-and-clever-as-dogs-say-smitten-scientists/

Waffle said...

Goat anon - this is the best thing for days.

Anonymous said...

'I have eaten all my feelings.' I am steeling that for use later. Sorry in advance.

Anonymous said...

'I have eaten all my feelings.' I am stealing that for use later. Sorry in advance.

Anonymous said...

league of gentlemen. Excellent viewing! Definitely start at series one though.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Have you seen Black Books? It is excellent, and I think it is written or produced by the same people who did Father Ted.

My comfort measures are reading, drinking tea, and knitting. Knitting is so therapeutic! I can totally see why so many people seem to be addicted to it. I just wish I could be one of the people who seem to be able to make a living from posting knitting pictures on instagram. My own knitting pictures are not very worthy.

Anonymous said...

Re: the goat article, I'm glad you liked it, sorry about my long screeds of woe...I'll stick to goats from now on! ;)

Waffle said...

Anon - Oh god, not at all. It sounded bloody AWFUL I am really sorry, reading through the whole thing it sounded like a version of my own summer but turbo charged with MUCH MUCH MORE AWFULNESS. I really hope your daughter is doing ok and that September comes quickly... xx

Anonymous said...

Yes, thankfully she is doing OK since and in typical young teenage fashion is wondering what all the fuss was about and why I won't let her out of my sight since it happened. She was supposed to be doing a sports camp but a new consultant wants to run more tests and has asked for her to avoid any strenuous activity/ sport until they're over. A couple more weeks of anxiety it is! I'm so glad to be able to do all these tests to rule out scary things and get closer to a definite diagnosis but it's all incredibly stressful. The very thought that something might not be OK is so hard to fathom. I'm trying to act as nonchalant as possible about everything so she doesn't pick up on my worries but it's not easy. Sorry about the walls of text, really!

Renia Edwards said...

My 12 year old plays online mass slaughter with strangers too - or minecraft which is a little better. He has Internet "friends" that I keep checking aren't pedophiles!

Sue said...

My four children enjoying Breaking Bad at the moment. I haven't seen it, and could not vouch for it or its suitability,though. We did all enjoy Deutschland 83 before that. God, I don't know. Can't concentrate long enough on anything to give a decent opinion- am reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie on someone else's recommendation, and it is surprisingly good. Hoping to wake up from it all quite soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I second votes for Black Books, The IT Crowd, Father Ted, & Poldark. For a bit more of history with eye-candy blokes in the leading roles, how about the Hornblower nautical series, or Sharpe with Sean Bean (not dying for once, as the whole series had to go on with him still intact).
Heather (NZ)

Jonathan said...

Black books is wonderful - the kids laugh at the idiotic scenes, and the adults laugh at the incredibly dark humour that flies over the kids heads...

Sarah said...

Yay to Black Books and The IT Crowd. Big Bang Theory? Oh the joy of Jeeves and Wooster - 'Ho di ho di ho di ho ... Sir!'

Kim Velk said...

So I was away for a year or so - nothing to do with you, just distracted by other internet enticements - and I come back to find you've written a book that everybody apparently loves! (Not surprising). So, tip of the hat, top o the morning, Brava! etc. I went a clickin' immediately to see of Mr. Bezos would sell me one for my Kindle and found that he will not - at least not in the US. I see the mighty Macmillan Publishing House is behind you - perhaps you could have a word on behalf of your US fans? Congratulations. Very wonderful.

Waffle said...

Kim - Ah, if only. The ongoing saga of "will anyone in America ever publish my book" continues to be ongoing (for ongoing read: dead in the water). Sigh.

Kim Velk said...

Have I missed something? I thought publishers wanted to sell books. I suppose there's some complicated reason why they couldn't make an e-version available over here. Maybe someone mislaid a floppy disc. I'll keep checking.

Anonymous said...

Since there are so many comments already, here is another link about goats. Very wooly, small Icelandic goats: http://icelandnaturally.com/article/how-one-woman-saving-icelandic-goat?utm_source=The+Icelander&utm_campaign=edd1a9e6c8-JulyIcelander&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0a6d2a39e6-edd1a9e6c8-45500961&mc_cid=edd1a9e6c8&mc_eid=31d7861057

Rosie Bell said...

Based on Flight of the Conchords and Kimmy Schmidt, you and the boys might enjoy Crazy Ex-girlfriend. It's acutally pretty much a cross between the two. Pretty rude in parts though but super funny. You can find most of the songs on YouTube to get a feel for it.

Sniffle said...

sent text from home last night to woman who married me - " fucking weird here "

daughter, holibops with "shy" boyfriend - eldest son with hounds in Croatia ( oh dear god protect him ) and wife and youngest boy @ very grey Irish seaside

re: brexit #1 - this was the Icelandic match you were referring to ? quelle horreur


re : other exit - called to father other evening - ranted / raved " serves them right "
" empire " " softening of cough , comeuppances " - might also have mentioned a butchers apron, bayonets & red coats - not everyone is crying....

good luck and thanks - blog is only excellent

Anna Maria said...

Another massive fan of Black Books and the IT Crowd here - they were both written by Graham Lineham, who wrote Father Ted. Breaking Bad is not suitable for under - 15s.

Victoria said...

I was pleased to see your book pop up in my Kindle suggested reading, I'm halfway through! I've been reading your blog for several years now.. I can't remember how I came across it originally. I hope you still enjoy writing it as much as I do reading it.
From another Brit expat, living in South America (where we have access to capybara but no M&S).

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Unknown said...

I was also going to recommend Community. Abed & Troy are my favourite

Unknown said...

I was also going to recommend Community. Abed & Troy are my favourite