Monday, 20 August 2012

Listglorious

To do or not to do...that is the question

I write lists. 

The minute I get a bit panicky about what I have to achieve I write a list.

I write lists on a pad next to the fridge. I write lists on the back of receipts and find them weeks later in the back pocket of my jeans (usually washed) and I write lists on my phone and I am the queen of spreadsheets for the ultimate 'everything list'.

I have several of these on my phone currently in use http://iphone.appstorm.net/roundups/productivity-roundups/25-fantastic-to-do-list-apps-for-iphone/ but obviously I also like to back up these apps with the spreadsheet versions.

I have lists on lists. Here is a list of some of my lists:
  • Things that need doing in the house list 
Last time anything was ticked off on this list was April 2004.
  • Shopping list
Of course this list has subheadings and is separated into the food shop and the things I want to buy shop (this list is always being ticked off otherwise we'd starve).
  • Things I want for the house list 
These range from beautiful things for my kitchen to new items for the boudoir. The boudoir (for those not in the know) is the top floor of my house; used to be an office and now houses my collection of shoes, accessories and clothes. (One of the benefits of being single, you get to choose room function).
  • The shoes I need list
See above point on collection of shoes for the boudoir. A girl can never have enough shoes.
  • The bucket list 
This list is quite important and stupidly has things like GET A TATTOO written on it and CLIMB A MOUNTAIN. Both of which I am supposed to be doing before I am 40. I really need to get going on this list.
  • Things I must to today list
Always too long this list. And of course completely unachievable.
  • Things I should have done yesterday list
See above note on unachievable.
  • The ultimate list
This is the everything list, combines all of the above in a spreadsheet and is often colour coded in priority; depending on my need to avoid ticking anything off the above lists.

Writing lists makes me feel like I have done what I need to do. When I write a list I have achieved.

I know if I did what I was supposed to do, my lists wouldn't take quite so long to write. 

But then; what would I write my lists on?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Camping chaos and calm


Camping

I’m not supposed to like camping.
No double bed with white cotton sheets.
No doors to protect you from people.
No wardrobe with a choice of shoes and accessories.
No en-suite; in fact not even a toilet that you can call your own.

But I do.

I even like putting my tent up. I take pride in knowing I can erect a tent in 30 minutes (sort of well really 45 minutes but that does include the wine break).
I like being outdoors. I even like being outdoors when it rains.
I like the fact that I shoehorn a lot of equipment into my car and off we go for a weekend.
I love the fact that I’m in a field with my mates and even my phone gets ignored.
I ignore small details that would normally really upset me – like the fact that this weekend I managed to pitch the tent on an ant’s nest.

The reason I love camping so much is the feeling of calm that envelops me as the weekend settles in. As the sun starts to set and the small things roam free, I look around the field littered with tents, barbecues and camp fires and I realise (strangely) I’m in my happy place. Only for a weekend mind.

I love the fact the small things are so free, they can flex their independence.

They explore, climb, and operate as a pack having adventures and playing games that frankly just aren’t possible in my urban life.
Normal rules don’t apply, the six year old spent most of the weekend in his bare feet and I remembered to brush their teeth at around 11.30 am every day even though we had been awake since dawn o’ clock.


It’s taken me a while to get used to sleeping on a piece of tissue pretending to be a bed listening to the noises of the night and I have to ensure coffee is on a constant drip.

But when I’ve been camping for the weekend; I feel like I have really been away  (it might be because the days are soooooooooo long), I feel like we have truly left the nonsense of life behind and just had fun.

In the words of my ten year to her eight year old mate as she threw a cup of water over me this weekend and I didn’t shout:

8 year old: “My mum would have shouted if I had done that.”
10 year old: “Mum won’t shout this weekend. We’re on holiday. We’re camping. She doesn’t shout when we’re camping.”

My job was done. I was complete. I sat down in my very uncomfortable camping chair, supped my slightly too warm wine in a mug and smiled.

Note: as this blog is published, all camping equipment remains in my hallway as I don’t like putting it all away and unpacking. That sucks.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Separation and sanity

Small things, separation and a revelation


It was the week I thought would never happen.

After two years of being separated somehow the ex was taking my small things away on holiday for a week. 

To France. 

A completely different country. 

A whole plane ride away.

Now those that know me, know that I have never been THAT parent that is glued to one's small things. Only 8 weeks ago I happily abandoned them whilst I jetted off for four fun-filled days in Marbella with the girls. (Obviously I didn't leave them in the cellar with a tin of beans; they had juice aswell).

Every year I jet off on a girls ski weekend and I don't think twice about sleepovers.  (Well sleepovers that aren't at my house.)

In the past two years I have got used to them going off to their dad's for two nights a week and sometimes I have even enjoyed - no relished - that time to myself.

But this was different. It was a whole week. Seven whole days without my babies. Seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes without them. And they were on a plane in  a different country. I counselled myself. It was ridiculous I have got on planes, trains and automobiles that have taken me away from them....but they have never been taken away from me - and never on a stupid giant metal thing that flies in the sky. 

It was such a small subtle difference but it grew arms, legs, a beard and several heads as the day approached. 

I smiled with the small things and joined in their holiday excitement, I became a gibbering wreck with my friends as I spent nights awake on 'what ifs'. That moment when you are dropping off to sleep or you think you are dropping off to sleep and you allow your mind to wander. Only for a second it wanders into very dangerous territory when your mind takes you on the journey of the worst nightmares you can imagine. Then you stare at the ceiling counting sheep, or in my case counting hot men doing the long jump.

The day arrived and it's fair to say I was a wreck. The girls had set up a tag team of lunatic watch with regular text counselling which to be fair to all my friends not one was entitled: *Man up you blithering idiot.*

The 10 yo was wobbly - a week was a long time. The 6yo was nervous and I could have got a gold medal (see what I did there) for my credible excitement at what fun they would have. Their dad picked them up and I waved happily from the window.

Inside I crumbled, I felt like someone had tore me limb from limb. I knew it was ridiculous. I knew it was frankly mental and I knew (possibly) that they would be fine. I cried more than Gwyneth Paltrow getting an Oscar and then I cried some more.

Then I manned up. Mainly because the electricity meter man knocked on the door and I'm not sure he could have coped with my hysterics. In fact if he hadn't arrived the flash floods of the past few days could have been started from my kitchen.

Fast forward one week and my babies are back. In my arms. I met them at the airport. If T-mobile had been there, the scenes would have had more views on YouTube than Justin Bieber's inaugural performance. 

They are now in bed. We snuggled on the couch. We had a pillow fight. The 6yo made a den and the 10 yo told me all the things she had been saving up for the past 7 days which culminated in a discussion as to whether sex and section were the same thing. Normality had resumed. I sighed a giant sigh of relief.

The fact remains I love my independence. 

I love it when I choose to spend a few days abroad without my small things. 

But when they go away without me, when they are abroad without me, when I can't easily get to them and swoop in wearing my Supermum cloak I hurt.

It's subtle. It's really rather small.

It's what makes me their mum.