Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Soft Rain and Dangly Bits

This morning, like every other weekday morning, the alarm went off at 7am. And, like every other morning, my insides groaned. "It couldn't be THAT time yet???" The opening of one reluctant eyelid confirmed the clocks insistent beeping. Nothing for it but to resign myself, in a semi-dignified manner, to the inevitable.

Hauling myself, in a not so dignified way, to the edge of the bed, I tentatively ran the eyes on test. This entailed opening both of them at the same time. After several attempts, I did have some success. But focusing was a different kettle of fish.

In my bedroom, there is a large wardrobe, the complete length of one wall, with mirrored doors. When I sit on my side of the bed, (do we all have our OWN sides of the bed??) what am I facing? Right, the unforgiving, mirrored expanse. These mirrored doors were one of GB's projects. Need I say more? "They will give an illusion of space" he said. Right. "They will reflect light and give a sense of airiness to the room" he said. O.K.

They will also give you heart failure, palpitations and an eerie sense of your own mortality when you gaze bleary-eyed into them, first thing in the morning.

There's a lot to be said for the early morning lack of focus phenomenon.

In my half-awake stupor, I sat there gazing at what was being reflected back at me. Not a pretty picture. Hair standing on end, face all crumpled and creased from battling with the pillow and duvet through the small hours, outfit definitely not haute couture, arms dangling, legs dangling ..... in fact, everything dangling. Most certainly, not at my most attractive.

There was a time, back in the good, old days of Brian Boru, when I could fall out of bed, throw on any old rag, forget to wash my face or brush my hair, and still look reasonably human.

Not anymore.

It now takes an hour for my face to resume its normal, daytime proportions. While my features are re-arranging themselves, I now MUST remember to brush the locks, scrub the skin, polish the teeth ( I suppose I should be grateful THEY don't spend the night in a glass by my bed) and generally throw a shape at "putting on an appearance". I hanker for the days of my youth when, on first venturing, unkempt, into the outside world, I didn't frighten little children and scare the animal kingdom back into their lairs .... when excitement about the coming day and general enthusiasm for what life had to offer were the first things to occupy my waking thoughts.

This morning, having gazed at my reflection for longer than was advisable, from a mental health point of view, I girded my loins, did what needed to be done and sallied forth to explore lifes little offerings.

It was raining. Soft, juicy drops. Normally, I wouldn't be a big fan of rain. But today, it suited me.

After work I decided to go for a walk with the "psychotic one". Beloved hound. She loves a walk down by the river, in the rain. It was wonderful. Just the wannabee puppy and myself. Silence, except for the lapping of the water, the quacking of the ducks with their cute, little ducklings - all 7 of them -and the hisssing of some very displeased swans. I don't know whether it was the rain or just me, but everything around me seemed to assume a larger than life quality. The grass was very green, the rain was very soft, the air was extremely still and the scents from the various shrubs and bushes practically overpowering. And the absolute quietness. I felt as if time were standing still. And in the stillness I was dropping from the sky as rain, I was sailing the skies as a grey/white cloud, I was growing as a bush at the side of the path and I didn't really have any awareness of myself as a human being.

These sensations I am familiar with from previous experiences. But today was a little different.

Today, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was an integral part of the natural scheme of things. I felt connected to the river, the trees, the grass, the animals, the air ... to everything living, in existence.

What does it matter if, on the outside, I am a little battered and frayed around the edges, after the years of living. Inside of me, I'm newborn and ancient, beautiful and not so beautiful, necessary and unnecessary, thinking, feeling and being.

I don't remember having this connected feeling in my youth.

The early morning reflection is a small price to pay for this treasure.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ah .... Nuns ....Don't you just love 'em???

You wouldn't believe how full my head is of things to blog about ... the only thing is the lack of time ....

Anyway ... I heard this joke today and it made me laugh out loud! Hope it amuses ye.

Mother Superior gathers the nuns together and announces

"We have a case of gonorrhea in the convent"

"Thank God for that" says one nun at the back.

"I'm sick of that Chardonnay"

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Holidays are Over

The holidays end today. Back to the grindstone tomorrow. Reality.


7.30am. I will rise and maybe shine ..... do a fair imitation of Macbeths witches over the porridge pot ... make lunches ... find school ties, socks, shin guards, mobile phones and possibly the Holy Grail ... all before 8.15. Then THEY will leave for their respective destinations and I will pop on the headless chicken hat and proceed to get me organised.

8.45am. I will arrive at my in-laws house. I will breeze in, all sweetness and light, to the sepulchral like edifice and brace myself for what lies ahead. Sometimes I know as soon as I cross the threshold what awaits me. Sometimes it comes as a complete surprise.

GB's parents are 79 and 83 respectively and I love them dearly.

Kettle on, breakfst prepared, tray ready ... up the stairs and hey presto disaster has been averted, once again, by the timely arrival of the "cup of tea". She will most certainly be civilised when she descends the stairs before 9.45. After the inane, trivial, superficial, necessary chatter I will descend to perform the true function of my visit.

Kettle boiled again, basin to the ready, wheelchair in position ... armed and dangerous, I venture forth to Larry's room. In the last 10 years this precious man has had 3 strokes .... minor ones they tell us ... but nevertheless, he has been robbed of his independence. He is now unable to walk without assistance, incontinent and sometimes very depressed. He will undergo, with great fortitude, as usual, the monty pythonesque performance that is me getting him ready for the day. I am really quite efficient at this task but I do tend to babble on in a vain effort to distract him from the dismal reality of the situation ..... Washed, dressed and in the chair ... off to the bathroom ... followed by more circus like antics, I will leave him to do what he has to do ... or not.

More Macbeth-like carry on over another porridge pot. Kettle on again, tea made, pills organised, requisite slice of lemon in the cup. Back to bathroom, business finished, face washed, teeth in, hair brushed. New man.

The Phoenix will rise from the boudoir .... descend slowly and will be extremely civil to us all. And all will be well with the world.

I will beat a hasty retreat and go like a bat out of hell 10 miles out the road to a pool full of eager water babies ... well not so much babies as middle aged wogglers. Wogglers are ladies who use woggles as part of their aquarobics class. They can also wiggle with their woggles. The possibilities are endless.

Noon. Home again. Mad scatter around the house trying to make it resemble anything but the bomb site it has been for the last 10 years. I tell a lie, 20 years.

3pm. Active retired group - average age 80 - exercise to music class. Great fun.... Hard work.

4.30. Call with groceries to in-laws. Another visit to bathroom.

5pm. Home again, home again jiggetty jig. Slight panic. What gastronomic delights shall I prepare for tonights evening repast?? Ever the good little boy scout "Heres one I made earlier" I love it when I'm organised.

6.30. More aquarobics classes - this time for students and real people in local university. 2 classes back to back. I'm getting too old for this.

10pm. Home again. Catatonic on the couch.

11pm. Load dishwasher, organise laundry, rescue faithful hound from marauding neighbourhood bully cat, try not to panic at the thought of the list of "to do" things that didn't even get a passing glance.........

Midnight. Bed. Snoring, farting, snorting, twisting and turning. Not me. I'm a light sleeper... I can hear the grass grow. To sleep perchance to dream.

And tomorrow?? More of the same. No wonder I like holidays.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Doodah Shop

Spring has most definitely come. The sun is out, the grass needs cutting, the birds are feverishly gathering fluffy bits to make their nests nice and comfy and .... Horror of horrors, GB is surreptitiously, seeking a project. Warning bells are PEALING.

Any project which, hopefully, will necessitate some dismantling, some rebuilding, some nails .. maybe, even some screws .. and a golden life of being "just too busy" with the "project" to even consider anything so trivial as meal making or emptying dishwashers or heaven forbid, trivial conversation.

It is decided. The Ancient Bed Couch is to be Resurrected. Hallelujah. A Miracle in the Making.

I didn't protest too much. In fact, I, being of sound mind and body, even aided and abetted in the endeavour. Needless to say, I was allocated the more menial tasks. Not for me the wielding of a hammer or the droning of the drill .... No, I was destined for far greater things. I was despatched to the Doodah Shop.

The Doodah Shop, as you may or may not know, is an establishment where it is possible to purchase any make, shape, size or type of screw, nail, washer, tack, wirey bit, plasticky bit, woody bit. A veritable paradise for the DIY enthusiast. Unfortunately, it is also traditionally, a male only preserve.

Armed with the "list", I boldly stride where no woman has gone before. I forage and search through boxes and shelves seeking the "listed" items. All to no avail. All around me, men are picking up screws and nails, bits of 2 by 4, lengths of copper wire and if, by some remote chance, that, what they seek is not available, they are immediately attended to by one or other of the most attentive, male assistants. Much head scratching and nodding, chin rubbing and trouser hiking later, the object of their desire is retrieved from some hitherto, unseen crate partly concealed by a newly delivered batch of aforementioned screws, nails, wirey bits .................... This success is greeted by mutterings of "Well, fair play to you Mick, I wouldn't have thought of looking in there for it ... thats grand ... just the job"

Meanwhile, I am invisible. I've been invisible for nearly 15 minutes.

Well, I must be ... because otherwise, surely somebody would have asked me if I needed assistance, wouldn't they?

I'm sick of being invisible. So, I stride over to the counter - I like to stride - its very male.
The Doodah Shop is empty now except for a youngish man and what looks like his 10 or 11 year old son, deep in conversation over a yellow bin labelled 50% off. No competition.

Behind the counter are the "attentive" male assistants. Father and son? Uncle and nephew? A definite family resemblance.

I'm still invisible. Should I have put on the war paint?

I'm also angry. I feel like saying "excuse me, do you work here or are you just a decoration?" or "any chance that one of you 2 dinosaurs could get your heads out of your asses and serve me?" But I resist. I smile sweetly and am duly rewarded with a grunt and served by the older of the two. He despatches the younger with my list and HEY PRESTO ..... within nano seconds he returns with all the requested items. That should make for a satisfied customer right?


Money changes hands, purchased goods are bagged, I smile sweetly, again, and say quite brightly "Does one HAVE to have a penis to be served here in under 15 minutes?"

I did feel a little sorry for them. Not an attractive pair with their jaws hanging. A right pair of doodahs.