Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Some Days

There is a mystical force that makes some days go swimmingly and others sink, even if all the circumstances are the same. Why is it that some days I have agreeable children who eat the nutritious food I lovingly prepare from scratch, while I manage to whip around the house making it shiny, achieve a dozen other miscellaneous things and then write a decent 1000 words on my novel before falling into a peaceful sleep? Admittedly that doesn't happen VERY often (no sniggering, you people who know that my house rarely shines and my son regurgitates most of my cooking, for fun) but I can't figure out what I'm doing different on those days. I mean, I've been looking after my own children for over five years now, you'd think I'd have grasped the basic rules. But no, not if today is anything to go by.

It started with a knock at the door.

Nope, hang on, let's go further back. It started when I said: "I know, let's paint your little table and chairs, children - won't that be fun?"

(Mistake Number 1: use of "let's", implying that they are invited to "help".)

So we bought the paint (undercoat + cherry red gloss) and I laid out some old reams of computer paper on the lawn and we got stuck in. An hour later and my nerves were in shreds - it was the cat trying to get involved or The Boy having a very poor understanding of the command LESS PAINT or The Girl trying to be artistic with undercoat. Mainly on her clothes. Job done (ish) we downed tools and headed out for a Mexican for dinner - and two Sols later I had almost recovered from the ordeal.

(Mistake Number 2: at this point I should have made up an intricate yet believable excuse for why I had to do the cherry red alone. I could have been creative here - or just plain mean, eg. cherry red paint is full of POISONS that will MELT children's skin, while remaining completely safe for old haggard skin like Mummy's...they'd have bought that.)

Meantime, I'd left the huge reams of computer paper outside and when Melbourne was hit with high winds a few nights ago...we woke up to quite a sight, as if a cack-handed giant had tried to gift-wrap our garden overnight.

Fortunately, it rained all week so I had the perfect excuse to put off the job. But today the sun shone - damn you, Australia, with all your damn sun all over the place! I took a deep breath and crept outside with the paint, brushes and more paper to protect the grass...

Wait, I forgot - "It started with a knock at the door" - so this guy knocks at the door and says he's selling cleaning products for a company that employs intellectually disabled people. We buy some purple disinfectant. We look at the disinfectant and say "Hm, I wonder what we'll use this for" and then we think no more of it, not really being disinfectant types.

Back to the garden. The children have by now seen that painting is About To Commence. As has the cat. I have a buzzing in my ears from the stress of seeing them brandishing cherry red brushes but I try to focus... Course that would be easier if the cat didn't keep trying to escape, meaning I had to grab him with my good arm (I have RSI in the other) about once every five minutes - return to the painting - give stern instructions to the children - grab the cat (who by now has a cherry red tum) - return to the painting - give stern instructions..and so on.

And then the doorbell rang. It's The Girl's partner in crime from next door. Next thing I know, we've got an extra "helper". The cat's escaped. I go off to look for it. When I return, the children have covered the wet paint in GRASS. Sprinkle sprinkle sprinkle, they went. Doesn't that look pretty?


So I ban them. I pick off the bits of grass. I wipe my brow. I now have a cherry red brow. The cat continues to try to escape, I continue to retrieve him and finish off the paint job... It's okay, I'm breathing normally again, the children are playing happily somewhere else and - Oh, oh no, oh no oh no oh no...There in front of me stands The Boy. He is holding out his hands and in his eyes is something like Evil mixed with Joy mixed with My-Mother-Is-Going-To-Have-My-Guts-For-Garters. For ladies and gentlemen, while I'm out there covered in cherry red gloss, with the runaway cat and three chair-legs away from finishing, all over The Boy's hands, hair, and in many, many other places around my house, is a substance for which that bottle of purple disinfectant ended up coming in handy...

And if you got to the end of that, do join me in a very stiff gin and tonic. Cheers.

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Deborah Riccio said...

Oh bless you, Emily! It sounds such fun - just like watching one of my fave sitcoms! (bet it didn't feel like it at the time tho, eh? Repeat after me "this will make great material..." "this WILL make great material..."

Francesca said...

I'll join you Emily, cheers! So funny!! We also have days like these...sometimes I see the funny side and sometimes I don't. Sounds to me like it all went wrong when you thought to yourself "what on earth will I use this disinfectant for?". That's akin to thinking "today is going smoothingly well!"

Francesca x

PS I can't believe you didn't take a photo!

sam court said...

If The Boy had a moment to reflect, I'm sure he would've pointed the finger squarely at K-Rudd for being a bad influence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JPGfSNryzw

The Dotterel said...

Or several (G&T's, that is!)... I found your blog via a comment you made about Writing Therapy, my novel. Just to let you know you can read the first chapter here, if you want...http://writingtherapyblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/chapter-one.html. Look forward to hearing what you think!

Emily Gale said...

Debs, you're right - I need the children to be of an age where I can threaten them with becoming characters in a book...gimme a decade and I'll be waving Myerson's book in their face screeching I'LL TELL THE WORLD ABOUT YOU IF YOU DON'T CLEAN YOUR ROOM.

Francesca, I'm not sure a camera could ever capture a moment like that...I think maybe a full on documentary about shoddy parenting would cover it :)

Sam, quite - I'll show Rudd a real shit storm if he wants.

Thanks for dropping by, everyone.