Yesterday in my Facebook group, one of my lovely Living Roomers posted her “Honesty Injection” and it was a little bit of true wonderful. And so today in the spirit of Kathryn, I hereby present the first in a new series of “Honesty Injections” because I want you to know that my life is just like yours – in all it’s messy, crazy, sometimes ugly glory…
The day begins not with birdsong but with high winds whistling down the chimney and screeching a not so merry tune in the Victorian fireplace in my bedroom. A room with temporary wibbly-wobbly grey fabric wardrobes and seven boxes of overflowing nonsense scattered about in lieu of the furniture I cannot yet decide upon.
I can’t bring myself to start the day. Three days in to the new term and there is already an element of the groundhog that I can barely tolerate. Downstairs Ste will be mutely making porridge for himself, for life takes most of the day to warm up his voice box, while in the far room down the landing stairs, Finn will be unconscious under a tangle of the duvets, quilts and pillows he insists on pinning himself asleep with, and will when I open the door to kiss him awake, point blank refuse to get out of bed, insisting that he needs five more minutes of the kind that will no doubt turn in to forty five.
I know how he feels, so for the moment I lie listening to the trundle of lorry’s heading towards the motorway on this oh so busy road. When I get out of bed I will have to hunch as I try to get dressed as the blinds I have not yet replaced on the two little windows in this room do not quite reach the windowsill and passers by must so very often be treated to a flash of my chubby thighs. For a reason I cannot fathom I have thrown my all in to getting all the other rooms liveable in this house but have in my wisdom chosen to ignore the very room that could set body and soul at peace.
In the bathroom I huff to myself as I straighten the towels scrunched over the rail and put the toothpaste my family cannot lift off the sink back in to the cabinet. I brush my teeth, worry about my gums and go to wake Finn up. He is, as predicted, flat out asleep, though his room is now always tidy (his need to control his own space I think spinning from the chaos inside his head as he learns to navigates his Sensory Processing Disorder), he is himself a beautiful, rather stinky muddle of ruffled hair and acknowledges me with a teenage grunt as I sing Good Morning and switch on the fairy lights draped across his desk to help him blink his grumpy eyes awake.
Out on the lane, my neighbor’s recycling bin has blown on to the road and spilled McDonald’s wrappers, pizza boxes and wine bottles all over the road, my path and his. Cars are screeching to a halt in front of it and in the end Ste goes out in his pajamas to right it. In the kitchen I wash dishes we left last night after a late supper and feel a bit sick to the stomach when I realize that yet again there is no milk. While having a milkman delivering milk in lovely glass bottles is all fine and dandy, if he doesn’t deliver it until after breakfast it rather defeats the object. I make a cafetiere of black coffee and feel like smacking someone. Mostly because in the night the fence panels the builders have left in the garden have blown everywhere and at any moment the wind could topple the huge metal gates they have propped against the gate and bring the conservatory crashing down upon our heads.
In between filling lunchboxes and setting the domestic machinery ago-go with today’s laundry, I run in and out of the kitchen to the hallway to screech at Finley to get out of bed. Though I would prefer music in the mornings, in the living room, BBC breakfast is starting my day with a litany of misery I deeply resent. Ste is still quiet until outside there is the smash of glass. For the milkman has delivered the milk, plonked it down in front of the step and the darling little postman has knocked it over so that there is glass and milk all over the path. I rush out and refuse his offer of money to fix it, get a dustpan and brush, and have Ste crawl on his hands and knees under the car to fetch half the bottle so I do not run over it and burst my tyres on the way to school.
I refuse Ste’s offer of a sunshine smoothie and a slice of wholemeal because with five minutes to spare Finley has just arrived downstairs with perfectly coiffed hair and a pair of Harley Quinn socks that are definitely not school uniform. I decide that if he wants to get in to trouble at school it is up to him, for I am learning to pick my battles with my new teenager and I know that his teachers disapproval is more effective than mine when he can so very easily charm me with the kind of kiss he presses on my head with the words “little Mummy” though I have never been little in my life.
He ignores the beautifully laid out breakfast table (one wonders why one bothers!), gulps down tea and then I rush him to school for he will not walk since he was run over, with the car screeching all the way as the fan-belt is on its way out. At home I close the door behind me and breathe a sigh of relief that the morning is over and the house is my own long enough to add another three thousand things to my list of things I must do before life will feel perfect. Perfect is something of an ogre. A constant mither on my mind.
In the little laundry room I peel off the mouldy spores growing on the sky blue chipped paint and take a soggy cucumber out of the spare fridge I keep forgetting I own. The door to the outdoor loo has been flung open and the room is full of leaves but I can’t bring myself to go out and fix it because it smells of the many builders who have used it and I am convinced a family of rats live in there though I am assured this is deeply unlikely and I am preposterous.
While I know it would take only moments to scooch around with the steam cleaner to remove the faint prints left by those who will insist on wearing shoes in the house I decide instead to ignore that and the many hand prints on the conservatory doors and opt instead for a cup of mint tea and ten minutes being a bad housekeeper and playing Sim City when I could be improving my life…
And now I am here. In bed. With yet another cup of tea and the mustard yellow floral quilt pulled up high though I am fully dressed in my usual uniform of black. I am cold and I feel weary. But despite the fact that Ste has laid out a rather bizarre arrangement of Nivea products on the top of the little junk shop drawers currently living in the corner of the room as if he was setting up shop himself, I am comfortable here away from the stares of passers by, and from my own need to keep a watch out for those who seem to live by the clock on this lane and do exactly the same things at exactly the same time each day as if I have found myself living in The Truman Show…
I am longing for Summer but while it is blowing a hooley outside I will work here. My laptop propped upon a cushion and my head full of ideas. Later I will prepare a plate of sliced roast beef and my beloved pickled onions and though I know the very thought of pickled onions in bed is outrageous I will bring them back up here regardless.
This then is my reality and I do not mind it at all.