Friday, 17 December 2010

Where Am I?

Sometimes I wonder if I really am a middle aged gay man trapped in the body of a barely this side of 40 straight woman. 

That’s how the playlist on my iPod was described to me by a child recently. 

Very advanced these days kids, aren’t they?  I was fifteen before I realised to some people gay wasn’t just the man who used to host the Late Late Show every Saturday night.   Yes I am definitely old enough to remember when it was on Saturday nights.

The first of my closest friends turned 40 this week.  She’s fabulous and taking everything in her stride.  I want to be too.  It’s got me thinking, I’m doing some positive stuff like writing my non bucket bucket list.  But then I go and try out expressions like “Oh no you di ent!” and saying ummmm hummm in a really exaggerated way with my lips stuck out like I fell asleep face down in a bowl of collagen.  Thankfully my children aren’t old enough yet to be embarrassed by me.

I think I’m a little off kilter at the moment.  There are some odd things going on around me, well within me really.  It’s like there are two of me battling it out to see who will come out on top.

I’ve been in a fog of nappies, feeds, temperatures, teething and all the fun stuff that goes along with being a stay at home parent for the last five plus years.  It’s been a rollercoaster and I’ve loved it, but already my children are outgrowing me and I'm not sure where I stand.

I don’t know if I’m getting old, if I’m just lacking too much sleep or if my husband is right about the brain tumours he seems convinced we both have.  To him, it’s just not ok to assume it’s a coincidence that both of us have larger than average heads.

But some days I wonder, where did I go?  Who am I now?  Who should I be?  I used to be introduced as just Laura, now I have loads of titles like Mum and Wife.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being other peoples Mum and Wife, just like I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a cousin, a niece etc.

But now, I’m also a doctor, therapist, chef, mind reader, hair un knotter, mediator, finance expert, cleaner, decorator, personal shopper, gum removal specialist, snot wiper and what was that other thing? Oh yes, me.  Aren’t I still me?  Who is that now?  I guess with 40 just around the corner, I’m realising who I am is an ever changing thing.  Parts of me are still the same girl I was 20 years ago and hopefully 30 years ago too.  I’m still learning and growing, just sideways nowadays.

On the Bright Side, the wake up call about my music taste did me a huge favour.  Who else knew the Dixie Chicks weren’t in the Top 20 anymore?  Did any of you know the Top 20 is now the Top 40? 

I have now logged on and downloaded some wonderful stuff and am proud to say I am rocking along to Fiddy Cent & Nelly.  Lovely boys.  Also listening to the new Black Eyed Peas stuff, they’re fantastic.  They can make anything sound cool.  They should cover the Dixie Chicks.

Friday, 10 December 2010

My Non-Bucket Bucket List

I have a guilty pleasure.

It is situation comedies.  You know those silly ones, where everyone looks like they just stepped out of a salon even at seven in the morning.  They go through divorces like it’s the most fun thing in the world.  Have really funny friends who are always there, no need to go to work, deal with their own lives, they’re permanently on tap for the leading lady or man of the show.  Everyone has incredible clothes and really clean houses with beautiful furnishings.  You know the type of program I mean.

Have you ever noticed how they always have unending fresh pots of coffee in their spotlessly clean percolators?  That fascinates me; if I’ve got coffee in my pot first thing in the morning, it’s usually because I forgot to clean it out the night before.

Anyway, the point of this musing is that one of these comedies involves a woman who throughout her career as a full time Mum has been putting together a list of all the things she plans to do once her children are grown and finished their education and essentially don’t need her anymore.

The heroine of this show has written down two hundred and twenty things on her list and so far in episode ten of the show, she appears to have done half of one of them.  They must be expecting a really long run.

Well this list of hers got me thinking, I’m just coming out of the nappy and feeds stage of motherhood on my second child and I’ve decided to do a list of my own.

A list of all the things I want to do between my children fleeing the nest and me kicking the bucket.  I’m hoping that stretch of my life lasts a while.  Even though, according one of the mid wives in the maternity hospital I gave birth in first time around, I came into motherhood late.  Don’t know what she was talking about, I may have been older in years, but I was a damn site more immature than most of the mothers to be in that clinic.

I don't want to call it my bucket list, that's the one you do when you know you're going to die isn't it?  Not that I don’t know I'm going to die, of course I am, I just don’t know when and that suits me fine even though normally, I don’t like surprises.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:
  1. Write something that matters.
  2. Meet A-Ha.
  3. Learn to tango.
  4. See the Northern Lights.
  5. Turn Stephen Fry straight.
  6. Try Botox.
  7. Grow marijuana, just to see if it really is as easy as growing parsley – no other reason.
  8. Finish a book by James Joyce.
  9. Do the 60 second quiz on Larry Gogans radio show.
  10. Get arrested.
  11. Audition for X Factor.
  12. Finally get up the nerve to climb the ladder into the attic.  If, as I suspect I do fall through the ceiling I won’t feel so bad about it when the children are grown up.  Note to self – leave this one till last.
  13. Re master high heels.
  14. Visit India.
  15. Moon someone.
  16. Get a tattoo.
Well, that’s a good start for now, but I’m going to keep going and start ticking things off the list as soon as I can.

How about you?  What’s your bucket list?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Under Pressure

Is it just me or is everything getting harder?

There seems to be so much more to deal with nowadays.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  Like trying to achieve things that have been beyond my reach for ages - sorting out the attic, losing weight or mastering my nemesis - the iPhone.

Last month it was the washing machine.  It broke beyond repair and we had to buy a new one the day after we put our house on the market.

Then Ireland went down the toilet financially just after the advertising cheque was cashed by the estate agent who is selling our house.

A few weeks ago, our daughter decided to block the plug hole in the shower so she could play swimming with her toys.  The result was a flooded en suite and a big leak into the dining room.

Last week, our gas boiler broke and leaked all over the microwave. 

All these problems cost a lot of money, which when you consider the really important person coming to visit our children in less than three weeks time, we could do without having to deal with right now.

The latest drama in our home happened this morning, when we awoke to a loud cracking sound coming from somewhere in the house.

At first, panic hit and we ran to check the kids – you never know.  Even though they’re little, they can do a lot of damage in a short space of time.  Our relief to find them playing happily was short lived when we discovered a rather large chunk of the gutter lying broken across the extension roof.

Unless you’re living in Ireland, you won’t know we are going through one of the coldest snaps the country has ever experienced.  We are struggling under mounds of snow and ice that our infrastructure is not designed to cope with. 

The ice was the enemy in the case of our poor guttering.  It didn’t know what hit it and just couldn’t cope.

We then started the Internet search for people in our area who can fix our problem and discussing insurance etc.  We’re pretty good at this sort of thing by now.

Little did we know that the 8 foot piece of shattered gutter was only the beginning of today’s issues.  Within half an hour a much larger crack and very loud BANG! sent us running again.  This time the remainder of the guttering and some other stuff from the back of our house had come down onto the deck and our garden furniture.  I suppose waterproofing the furniture last summer could only protect it from certain winter assailants.

The panic subdued for a moment but then we started thinking about the front, so the cars had to be moved just in case bits of the house decided to fall on them too.  We would, after all, need something to drive away in from what was left of the wretched structure if it came to it.

I then got upset, very upset and started doing that thing where I pretend there’s something in my eye so the kids would stop asking why I was crying. 

I know things could be worse and there are many poor souls out there in a much dire condition than us and I have no right to moan.  We’ve got our health, our kids are well, my husband has a good job, the heating works, there’s always chocolate.

It’s just that some days I get so sick of the drama and problems of daily toil and would like a quiet life for a while.  One where nothing goes wrong.  One where we would all sit on the couch in our jammies in front of the glow of a warm fire, safe in the knowledge that all is well.  Sipping cocoa and chatting about our day with eachother.  The kids wouldn’t hit eachother for fun.  I would be wearing pyjamas that actually match. 

On the Brightside, thanks to the flattened garden table, we’ve got extra wood to burn in the fireplace tonight and most of the chairs survived, so we’ll have a place to sit next summer with our food on our laps.

It’ll be fine, nothing a bottle of red after the kids go to bed can’t cure – right?