Monday, April 26, 2010

Friends who make you feel insecure.

Some women seem designed to make you question how entertaining you are. Are you fun, are you stylish, is your house a thing from the pages of Elle Magazine? Are your children from the pages of a Boden catalogue? Or are you more likely to be from the pages of Mumsy Magazine Quarterly (in this months issue - how to blend in with your oatmeal coloured sofa. Simply wear your usual dull clothes and ensure you don't apply lipstick. That should do it!)

There is a saying that you should live in the worst house in the best area. I am not sure if this holds water. We do, and it sucks. Just a bit. Our house is not tiny, but it is bijou. It is charming. It has mismatched rental furniture which is always just a bit sticky despite cleaning. It could fit into the extension of the house around the corner from us. All around us though it is like Wisteria Lane. Yummy Mummy's, gorgeous flaxen haired children romping about in clap-board New Englandly mansions. We look a bit like trailer trash compared to them. Having the worst house in the best area is a recipe for discontent. (I fully, fully acknowledge that compared to real suffering this is extremely minor league. Having sticky furniture is not a national emergency.)

And it is not to say that the mum's aren't lovely folk. They are. Very warm and welcoming. But you have to sing for your supper with quite a few of them. It is like trying to keep up with the popular cheerleaders in school, when you know that really your should be with the band geeks. These mums have really opened their hearts (concealed in perfectly gym-toned bodies) and doors (architect designed) to me, but there is a part of me that feels insecure that there doesn't seem to be conditional friendship there. I'm absolutely sure that I am reading too much into it, but I sense I have accidently started moving in circles of the super-wealthy 'royalty' in this area.

On the other hand, I have made some 'warm bath water' friends. They kind of friends who look a little frayed around the edges, don't have personal trainers and admit to their imperfections. When you are at coffee with them it is like immersing yourself in a warm bath and going 'ahhhhhh' with pleasure that you can be yourself.

Why do I run myself down? My children are both flaxen-haired, we are not slack-jawed fools (infact, I would probably be classified as 'a bit posh and brainy' back in England), and although I talk way to much, I am generally considered entertaining. Why am I put off these women by the fact that their kitchens and abdominal muscles look like perfection?

Perhaps it is that they are not a perfect fit for me, nor I for them. So the kitchens and abdominals are a good scapegoat.

It takes a while when you move to a new place to find out which friends are glitter, and which friends are gold.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Finally - a proper posting about housewifely-ness! Holiday wreaths.

A fine example of a holiday Spring Wreath. I want it.

I have been letting the side down about not discussing more housewifely things like muffin baskets and the uses of baking soda.

I think this post will more than make up for it,
I am here to discuss holiday wreaths. In England, wreathes are generally used to celebrate Christmas and well, for the dead.

Here in Canada (or perhaps just the Maritimes - I'm not sure), any occasion is a wreath occasion. You can buy St Patrick day wreaths with shimmering green shamrocks, Easter egg wreaths, generic spring wreaths with silk crocuses (or croci?), wreaths with tiny deck chairs and suntan lotion for summer. You name it, it goes well beyond Christmas and Death.

I have just ordered a spring holiday wreath. A 14inch twisted willow wreath with hydrangea/spring flower melange. I do this because I covet all the wreathes in the neighbourhood. They just seem to lift a property and looks welcoming. Wreaths celebrate whatever time of year it is and they look dead pretty to boot. Once you have the basic willow skeleton, you can embellish it as you will.

So many things have infected the British culture for the worse - trick or treating instead to Guy Fawkes night (I prefer the good old innocent holiday where we burn a catholic on a pile of rickety boxes and watch a Catherine wheel attempt to go around despite being nailed too firmly to your shed.), the term 'whatever' etc. But this is one quirk which I hope will cross the pond.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Don't bloody tell me 'you haven't got time' to DO something!

It's a phrase that is infecting the English language and it's p*ssing me off.

'I am so busy I haven't got time to...' Fill in the blank. So far I have friends/acquaintances/ heard it on the telly who haven't the time to:
  • Read a book

  • Exercise

  • Keep in touch, even with a quick email

  • Cook a fresh meal for their family, so the kids live on chips and kebabs

  • Clean

  • Read a newspaper

  • Put their feet up

  • Go see a film

  • Have a date with their other half

  • Take their kids to the park

  • Calling you back to say they won't be able to come/meet after all

This list goes on, and on, and on.

Now. I am not saying that we should all be doing all those things on the list. Exercising and keeping in touch are sometimes my weak points. And cleaning. And ironing. But please, could we start calling it what it really is? For 'I haven't the time' please from now on say 'I CANNOT BE ARSED.'

My friend who can't be arsed to read a book or take her kids to the park, goes on three 10 km runs a week and never cooks anything other than beautiful organic food for their children. She also hoovers every day. (gasp)

Another friend can't be arsed to tell you she won't be coming, until 15 minutes after you have arrived at the arranged spot. Yet she is able to have lots of fun making crafts with her children and gardening .She also is able to watch Eastenders, Corrie and Emmerdale. (Something I am 'too busy' to do - watch soaps.)

We all have our priorities. I 'haven't the time' to go on a date with my husband or wash windows. I also 'haven't the time' to do paperwork, but I read two newspapers a day and go to the gym three times a week. I love to cook for the kids but 'have no time' to trim my hair every 6 weeks. Could we all please though start telling people like it is?

This whole 'such a busy person' thing is just a load of chaff. Even when I was working three long days a week, taking a degree and raising the two mini-ones I still ploughed through about 2 crappy novels a week and otherwise lived in the park with the kids. Because that was where my priorities were. I was terrible at going to the gym then, not because I didn't have time, but because my enormous butt was not a priority. My paperwork mountain was a sight to behold and my laundry mountain even higher.

There is almost a feeling of competitive business between people, even friends:

'Sooooo sorry for not getting back to you about that thing last week, I was just sooooo busy.' I tend to read it as 'You are just sooooo low priority in my life that you didn't even factor in my to-do list.'

I would much rather hear: 'Sorry didn't call, I had lots to do and couldn't be arsed. Hey-ho, I'm here now though.'

So let's all just stop being so bloody busy the whole time. Down tools, relax and do something that perhaps you are too busy to be arsed to do. my case that would be paperwork. Bit too busy for doing that at the moment, it would seem...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cringe. How can I ever face my smirking builders again?

Oh the shame.
I can hardly bare to share.
But perhaps you too are having a bad day and hearing someone else's misfortune may give you a little glimmer of joy.

I have just finished rocking in the corner whilst sucking my thumb, trying to erase the sight of the twenty-something builder knocking on my door to remind me not to flush the toilet again as they had disconnected the waste pipe. (They are working on an oil spill in the basement.)

The worst part is, I remembered they were going to do that this morning, just seconds after I had flushed away my, erm, number two.

So I can only speculate in horror at what havoc my flushing 'solid waste' (as they described it - aaaarrrgh) into their work area.

To compound the horror, the workman asked me, in a helpful manner, if I needed another half hour to 'finish up'.

I am NOT my husband, who lives in the loo for the length of a Wagner Ring Cycle (hoho) so I didn't need another half hour to 'finish up'. By now I had swooned with shame in the hallway. The builders smirk remaining on my retina like the Cheshire Cat's grin.

There you go. Just a bodily function tale of cringe. Perhaps I am oversharing, but as it is making me chuckle, so it might make you chuckle as well. Not a life changing post, but just vent my shame. I am going to go now and crawl under a small rock.