When life is getting me down, there are two places I commonly go to for succour (before I dump on my closest girlfriends that is...). If the source of my depressed state is the children, I may visit Mumsnet and take a look at the chat forum on Teenagers. This way I can comfort myself that mine may be sarky and narky but at least they are not out mugging old ladies and having underage sex whilst mainlining Heroin. The other place I go to is the very excellent FMylife website which, if you haven't yet discovered it, is a place for anyone to bemoan their lot in life in a few brief sentences. Every entry has to start with “Today...” and end with “FML”. The posts are pretty diverse and range from the utterly gross e.g. “Today I woke up very sick and home alone. An intense feeling of nausea came over me. As I was rushing to the toilet, I collapsed onto my hands and knees and puked violently. After spewing my stomach contents all over the floor, my arms gave way and I fell face-first into a pool of my own vomit. FML” to the quite unfortunate:- “Today I saw an elderly man fall in a crosswalk, so I jumped off my bike to help. As I helped him across, the light turned green. At that point I noticed that my phone had fallen out of my pocket in the street and was run over by several cars. I then watched across a 6 lane street as someone stole my bike. FML” via the unbelievably ill-fated: “Today, I have a potentially life-changing job interview. The left side of my face is so swollen it makes me look like a chipmunk and I can’t stop drooling. FML.”
Unfortunately, my entry for FMylife would prove to be too long and ranting and would go something like this...Driving home from work on Friday night, I passed the pub at the bottom of our road which has tables outside. Resplendent at one of the tables I spied the Shah and his friend and colleague, Adrian. This is what passes for ‘working at home’. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that he will a) be home soon and b) be home sober but I know in my heart that neither is true. This means that I will be on taxi duty for TD who wishes to be transported to Badminton for 7pm, picked up two hours later and taken to a sleepover, several miles in the opposite direction. End result? I get to finally sit down at 10pm, by which time the Shah has been snoring like a grampus on the sofa for hours on end. Eventually, he opens one eye and asks me if we should get a takeaway. I crisply reply that I have eaten thanks, and perhaps he might like to enjoy sex and travel?
To compound my ill temper, I woke at 6am on Saturday - body clock obviously still fully in work mode. Finding that I was roasting hot and unable to move in the bed was a bit of a mystery – but was fairly quickly solved by craning my neck to discover that there was a collective 11kg of cat pinning the duvet to the mattress – one either side of me.
So I lie in bed for 40 minutes, waiting for blessed sleep to drown me again but no luck. All I can hear is two varieties of purring. The feline sort – they have twigged that it must soon be breakfast time and the Shah sort, which is an altogether less pleasant experience. This sort of “purring”, known in our family as “Oh God, can’t someone shut him up? Mum, put a pillow over his face,” generally occurs on the sofa and after the ingestion of many, many pints of lager. Later, he announces that he has to be at “the game” by 11.30. “What game?” I ask with a creeping sense of betrayal. “Er, Hockey,” sez he like I am a 24 carat moron. “You told me it was the last game of the season last weekend...” deathly silence. “Oh did I?” (shiftily). Feckin’ brilliant. We both work full time so, given that the fabric and environs of Crap Cottage require more attention than your average newborn, every minute of every weekend is precious. Rage meter rising.
So clearly it is now down to me to collect TD who has already asked to be taken to yet another friend’s house (oh yes – several billion more miles in another direction) to do some homework project. On the way back I stop off at the supermarket. Not only is it rammed, there are only something like 25% of the tills operating and queues of furious customers look likely to lynch the management who keep making facile PA announcements apologising for the delays and assuring us that they have “all our checkout trained staff working”. A blatant lie because two checkouts close just as I approach them. I get home at around 3pm, having had no lunch, to find that there is nobody at home to help cart in a hundred and twenty quid’s worth of shopping. Just as I have carried in the last bag, the Shah appears from his match which seems, mysteriously to have taken 4 hours to complete. “Hello!” he greets me warmly. “How are you?” I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that the Shah’s alcohol intake is directly related to the degree of memory loss he experiences the next day, so let’s just say that his welcome is not exactly affectionate. Nor can I be arsed to repeat every single conversation, relay every social arrangement for all of us or discuss how our respective weeks have gone because WE HAVE DONE IT ALL BEFORE. Cue the Shah’s famous puppy face.
Saturday evening sees us out with our good mates, The W’s and the H’s. Only five of us rendezvous at the restaurant because Mr & Mrs H (whose lives seem to run on an eerie parallel to ours) have had to flip a coin to decide who goes in search of an errant teenager. Mr H lost the toss but turns up in time for a beer. On to the cinema to see The Ghost a good film and a gripping one with a stonking performance from Olivia Williams as usual but one in which Ewan McGregor seems strangely out of sorts. I am concentrating on not losing the plot (literally, you understand) when a familiar purring sound begins next to me. The Shah appears to have snuggled down for the night and my elbow bounces off his upturned gut a few times until he struggles upright again. This process is repeated every twenty minutes or so throughout the film. As the final credits roll and the lights come up, I turn and facetiously enquire of him if he would like me to tell him what it was all about. The Shah protests that he was only asleep in the beginning “because it was a bit slow”. Outside the cinema, he dangles the car keys in front of me whilst working the Crufts look. I ask if he is having a larf? I have spent the entire weekend in the car because of his drunken shenanigans but, somehow, this feckin’ puppy face always fools other people. “Aaah, bless him,” croon the others. Bless him? Feckin’ BLESS HIM? FML!