New year new plans: I and my friends decided that once a month we are gonna have one full girls’ day out.
First stop, The Cheaster Beatty Collection in Dublin followed by a fancy lunch. A kind of sex and the city experience except without the sex and the fashion side because considering the -3 degree outside our outfits of the day are more suitable for a ski resort than a NY cocktail bar. Also, it is just three of us and not four. We dropped our Samantha too, that was not a big loss but made us closer to their middle age menopausal late version. Well in fairness our Samantha kind of self-dropped, long boring story for another time…or not. Back to the day of our city escape, despite me still feeling itchy and tired and still unable to wear any makeup ( who cares at this point glamour had already succumbed to the cold)we decided to go ahead with our plan. It was hard enough to find a day all three of us were free. Postponing this was not an option, beside I had it all perfectly organised: I was going to drop the girls at school earlier so to walk the dogs also earlier and be ready to meet my pals at the train station at the designated time, for once. My neighbour, who I share the school runs with, was going to collect them and the travelling husband was going to take daughter number two to hockey practice. I only had to stick with the plan. How hard could it be? Very Hard!!!
That very same morning as soon as I turned my phone on it started to beep nonstop. Friend number one messed up with the dates and might have to go home early. Not the end of the world as the travelling husband forgot about my day out and went to the office so I had to be home early too, to take daughter number two to hockey practice. We just have to jump on the 11.00 am train instead of the 11.30. Problem solved, till I realised that all the texting back and forth delayed me and I ended up dropping the girls at school even later than usual and consequently heading to the dog park far later than planned. “Sorry boys, you’ll have a slightly shorter walk this morning,” I announced to their great disappointment,” but I got you pig’s ears,” I added and I was immediately forgiven. All good and on track if only someone hasn’t decided to race on the ice(because of course the previous night had snowed) landing with the car diagonally in the middle of the road preventing the traffic to move either forward or backwards. The good news was that the recovery track was already on its way.
20 minutes had passed and there was no sign of the recovery track yet. The guy in front of me lost his patience and after slamming his car door run up to the crashed car trying to move it but before he could even get close to it he slipped and badly fell on his back. So now we’re not only waiting for the recovery track but also an ambulance.
It had now passed more than half an hour. I had to get out of there. I convinced the guy in the car behind me to slowly reverse and turn around so that I could do the same. Slowly but surely we arrived at the dog park but it was quite clear that I would have never made it to the 11.00 am train. I rang the girls and after a brief discussion, we decided to not let the adversities win. We would have fought our destiny till the end and made it into Dublin for some fun, we just had to drive instead of getting the train. The whole point of getting the train was because that way we could all have a glass or two or three with our fancy lunch but as I could not drink because still under medication it wasn’t making any difference. All sorted, we saved the day and it turned out to be an amazing day, so amazing that once friend number one received a phone call informing her she didn’t have to go home earlier after all, I forgot about hockey practice too and instead of rushing home we stopped for cakes and tea. By the time we left the city, it was rushing hours and we got stuck in traffic. There was no way I was gonna be home in time for hockey practice but, before I could call daughter number two and shamefully confess my lousy mother’s sins, she rang me first asking to skip practice because she was tired. “Well I don’t know honey….are you sure? Would the coach not be upset? Well ok then, but only for this time and since I don’t have to take you to practice I’ll make a stop on the way and be home a bit later ok?” She is a smart one and would have easily made her maths with the timing, but I played it well, didn’t I?
The plan wasn’t actually to let pass all this time before going back to posting but as you probably by now know, nothing ever goes according to the plan here.
I was driving daughter number one to hockey practice like every Monday night when I started to suspect something was not right with me. My tongue felt far too big to fit into my mouth, the glands in my throath felt like they were the size of a coconut, my speech was impaired and my face and ears were on fire.
Pretending at my best that everything was fine I made it to the hockey pitch. Daughter number one, got out of the car and after looking at me said: “Bye, I love you, mum!” . Now, the fact that she inherited her father’s dislike for any kind of physical or verbal display of affection, gave me the final confirmation that there was something wrong with me. Something very wrong!
One look at myself in the car’s rear mirror and I immediately knew: the doctor screwed up with my medication.
That same very morning I went to my doctor to get some more antibiotics for an infection it was bothering me since Christmas. My usual doctor was not there, there was a substitute young doctor who missed noticing the big red flag on my chart saying that I am severely allergic to penicillin. Unfortunately not even me waving my new allergy bracelet in front of her face during the visit rang any bell to her and neither did the fact that I highlighted that the antibiotic I was already on was without penicillin. It wasn’t that difficult, she only had to give me another week of what I was already taking but, instead, she changed it. She probably just wanted to prove her knowledge and live a mark and…oh boy if she did so!!!
Back to Monday night, I rushed home, took an antihistamine and from there it all went ballistic. My body was burning, my face looked like it was exploding, I was freezing and shaking and gasping for air. “You are in shock. We have to go to the hospital”, the travelling husband said and the next thing I remember it was me in a triage at the A&E covered in blisters and with a drip on my arm. When they eventually discharged me, my ass was itchy and flat after 9 hours of sitting on a chair.
Once home I just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep and suddenly I remembered that a few nights before I texted a friend of mine who was sick in bed saying that I could do with some resting alone day in bed. Well obviously this was not what I meant and from now on I can assure you I will be very careful with what I wish for.
By the end of the week, my bedside table was covered in tubs of pills and soothing creams, nothing seemed to work as fast as it was supposed to but I looked far less like a woman whose botox went terribly wrong and more like a zombie ready to kill and eat anyone on her way.
Now nearly two weeks later my skin is turning from purple red to pink red, the blisters are drying up and if I want to, I can even pick my nose. Not that this is a habit of mine but it is indeed a great achievement considering that just a few days before that nose of mine was so swollen that I couldn’t even see the holes of my nostrils and my earlobes were as thick as a steak fillet.
Now, still, with some itch and scratch and no make-up, life went nearly back to normal and we can all have a good laugh.
The local hardware converted its top floor into a fancy homeware shop and they also opened a nice cafe, where I took the girls for a treat on their last day of school before the Christmas holidays. As it was due to close soon, the cafe was not very busy. A young waitress welcomed us in and instructed us to sit anywhere in the front. We smiled and nodded but as we walked further into the room, it became quite obvious that we had no idea what she meant by” front”. So here we are, standing in the middle of the room deciding which part of the cafe could be considered front, side or back. In the end, we decided on a nice round table by the window with a big comfortable armchair. “I am sorry, but this area is closed.” A voice behind us said before we could make ourselves comfortable. A brief look at the big yellow cones crossing off the area should have actually already warned me but, as it didn’t, once again I smiled, rigorously avoiding making eye contact with my daughters who were already embarrassed, and lead the way back to the centre of the room to pick another table.
“Can I help you?” another young waiter came to take us out of our misery and we followed her to a cosy corner table with a velvet sofa. We could eventually sit back, relax and enjoy our hot chocolate and cakes…and all this phone free.
Now, whoever is used to teenagers’ company knows that is better not to push the phone-free zone too much and so once we had finished with our cakes I suggested going and having a browse around the shop, with relief of the cafe staff that had already started to clean up the place eager to close as soon as we stepped out the place.
Happy and content with our bellies staffed we are looking at the ridiculously expensive and fairly tacky Christmas decoration when we see one of the waiters from the cafe running into the shop waving and shouting. I and the girls briefly look at each other wondering what may have happened but as it has obviously nothing to do with us we ignore her till I feel someone tapping me on the shoulder: “Miss, you have to pay!”
In a flash of a second, my cheeks go through all the shades of red when I realised I just left the cafe forgetting to pay. I profusely apologise hoping they believe it was a genuine brain fart and pay.
“That was so embarrassing. Can we go now.?” The girls are already marching towards the exit and I follow them still with quite an excess of colour on my cheeks but now laughing at my forgetfulness hoping to share the hilarity of what had just happened with my daughters who, unfortunately, must have instead inherited their father an inexistent sense of humour.
Back to the car, we drive, in meritorious silence, straight to the next town for daughter number two orthodontist appointment. The damn surgery is right at the centre of the Main Street where finding parking is nearly impossible, especially around Christmas time. After a couple of drives around the block, I give up and go to the big parking behind the orthodontist’s building. There you are always guaranteed to find a space and not because it’s great parking, but actually, right because the opposite. It must be the only parking left in the county not working with the parking app and with one of those old ticket machines that only accept coins. In between the three of us, we managed to pout put together 1 Euro, indeed enough if only the stupid machine wouldn’t ask for a minimum payment of 2.50 euros. “And now what do we do?”Daughter number two asks while checking the time as we were getting late for her appointment and, unlike her mother, she is a very very on-time person. “Don’t worry I got this” I confidently say and after rummaging for a few seconds in the glove compartment of the car I find what I was looking for. I wave an old parking ticket, in front of the girls’ puzzled faces, and carefully place it half-hidden under the insurance and tax road disc. “I always keep it in the car for emergencies,” I explain to the girls who are now looking at me like I was some kind of genius. “well well, first we leave without paying, now we counterfeit the parking ticket, what’s next then? “ Daughter number two, who lacks humour but not sarcasm, states. “Well, next we get you to your appointment on time and hopefully without a fine.” Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Here we are again, time to pick the travelling husband’s Christmas present. 23 years together and only twice I managed to surprise him. The travelling husband’s super power is, in fact, to always guess what I want to gift him. But this year his power is going to fail him. This Christmas I have it all figured out. Well, maybe not all, but the husband’s present for sure and he is never gonna guess it. How am I so sure? Because I will buy him a smart watch and he never showed any interest in one of those things, at least with me, but I happened to overhear a conversation he was having with a friend.
After some very discreet investigative work including also checking the browsing history on his Ipad, I knew exactly which watch he set his eyes on. What I did not know was the variety of different models. There is one for every frecking sport on earth. What the heck? Could he not just go for a simple Apple Watch or a Fit Bit? For God’s sake, he is not even a fitness/sporty guy. He goes hunting and plays social tennis once a week, that’s all his fitness routine.
I crossed off the list all the runner, cyclists and surfers models because he doesn’t either run, cycle or surf. I crossed off the list all the too-chunky ones because he doesn’t like big wristwatches. Ultimately I excluded even the solar survivor models because, even if thanks to your new super-powerful watch you survive whatever extreme activities you had challenged yourself with, you are anyway going to die of starvation as after you had paid for the watch, you will have nothing left in your card for your grocery.
So, now I had just three candidates to choose from and feeling nearly accomplished with my mission, I confidently walked into the closest shop that I knew had them in stock. I only had to look at them, and choose. Since they all looked pretty much the same to me, I just picked the latest version, called for the free salesperson and expressed my will to buy. “Very well mam, what size do you want?” This, I had not seen it coming! Not only there are a ridiculous variety of different models but they all come in three sizes! These are not watches, this are evil matryoshka camouflaged as watches whose only purpose is to confuse you and make you feel stupid an d unprepared. But I was not gonna let them win.
I went home, measured the travelling husband’s wrist watch and the following day I went back to the shop, ready to make my purchase. To my disappointment, I learnt that smartwatches are measured differently from the other type of wristwatches. Thankfully Phil came to my rescue, or so I thought. Phil was the watch expert of the day. Phil was also not trying to hide the fact he would have liked to be anywhere else but at work. Phil hated his job and the fact that they made him wear a ridiculous Christmas jumper with Rudolf’s nose lighting up every time he moved, didn’t make it better. “I am sorry mam but all you can see is on display. All the other models are boxed and we can’t open the box.” “But how am I supposed to choose if I don’t see it?” Phil didn’t need to answer me. It was none of his concern. “So am I just supposed to buy blindly?”I Insist. “OH, but then you can return it, once the box is still sealed, of course.” “But if the box is still sealed that means I haven’t opened it yet, and if I haven’t opened it how can I see the watch and decide if it is the right size?” “I am sorry mam, but I don’t do the rules. I know it’s unfair but it is what it is!” After holding myself from screaming at Phil that this was not only unfair but also stupid and he could stick the watch along with his rules and attitude where you all can guess, I say instead that I was going to think about it and left. Actually, I did not leave. I just hid around the corner until some other unfortunate customer engaged Phil, at that point I looked for an other salesperson who was possibly showing a slightly higher interest in his job and his customers.
Here comes Brad. Brad is young, inexperienced and knows absolutely nothing about watches and even less about the shop’s rules but he kindly volunteers to go to the stockroom and bring back to me the watch I wanted in the different sizes. As grateful as someone who just had been gifted a winning-lotto ticket, I made my choice, thanked Brad and informed him that I was going to buy the watch. “Oh, I am sorry but we don’t have it in stock, you will have to order it online and have it delivered here.” “But you just showed it to me. I am still holding it in my hand..” I say totally confused. “Oh, yes but see because I broke the seal, now I can’t sell it, or the guarantee won’t cover in case something is wrong.”
As daughter number one always says: karma is a bitch when you are a bitch!!!! And this certainly was my payback for cheating on Phil. In the end I had to order the present online and after a week of excruciating painful waiting hoping nothing went wrong , I eventually received the email that the travelling husband’s Christmas present was ready for collection. Well, what can I say, It wasn’t a smooth purchase but in the end I made it. The travelling husband’s Christmas present was safe in my hands and it will be a surprise!!!! Except it will be not, …. Guess who I bumped into on my way out of the shop?
Thinking about it rationally this is one of those categories of people we should not give a f..k what they think about us. Honestly, do we really care how a bunch of stinky teenagers with small brains still in development see us? Most likely they don’t even notice our presence because we don’t come out of their phone’s screen. They just want to be fed and not spoken to. That is how they normally choose the house where to hang out: the one with the nicer biscuits and the most willing mother to make them hot chocolate, ideally without talking too much. Like it would matter what you ask them as the answer is always one of the following: yes, no, maybe, I don’t know; when it’s not s all of them together and accompanied by a lost facial expression that makes you wonder if the noise you hear in the background is their neurones running frantically from one side of their brain to the other in the desperate attempt to make sense to your highly engaging question like: do you want sugar in your chocolate? But that is exactly the point: You don’t want your kids’ friends to see you as a housewife who jumped out of the fifties. You don’t want them to come to your house only because you serve them hot chocolate and biscuits and you are crazy enough to host a sleepover with 6/7 of them and make them all pizza from scratch. You want them to like you because you are cool! Easier to say than do, unfortunately, and wearing your last Metallica concert t-shirt is not enough. They don’t even know who Metallica are. But when you invite them over for Halloween strictly requiring them to be in fancy dress and unleashing your vast knowledge of vintage horror movies, then you might have your chance. Horror movies are a classic timeless cross-generation weapon that always works. Of course, popcorn and hot chocolate help but only if you serve them wearing your bat wings rather than your flowery kitchen apron.
This is a nasty category. Very hard to tackle. First of all, they are normally 10/15 years younger than you and you can’t help it but to feel maternal towards them. Suddenly you find yourself addressing them as “dear” or “darling” like you are an old aunt from Essex. That is actually kind of sweet and works with male colleagues, because you are well aware that the battle to impress them aesthetically is lost since the start, unless they have some type of Oedipus complex. The real issue is the female colleagues. With those you need a strategy!
First you need to assess them and all of those ringing just to complain “he” left the office without saying goodbye, and you can hear the noise of the long fake lashes blinking, must be erased . Same story for the secretaries who don’t recognise you and after asking for your name they ask if you have an appointment because “he” is very busy.
Once you made clearance of all those who likes older men, and more specifically your man, then you can focus on the trusty ones, the ones you like and, no shame in saying it, the ones you want them to like you. Now, the thing is , you want them to like you not because you are a cute reminder of aunt Violet from Essex and neither because you are their boss’ wife and they have to like you.You want them to like you because you are cool, fun and nice; so nice that you invite them all over for dinner because food always brings people together.
Unfortunately despite your effort to remove all the copies of Good Housekeeping from the house, like with the kids, the food pleasing strategy has risks. They might see you just like the good old boss (house)wife and that’s not why you spent the entire afternoon chopping, cooking and baking,(even if your sponge cake is very dramatically good as aunt Violet’s). You are you and not only you are fun and cool, you have a young spirit. As young as theirs and that’s when you play your last card to ultimately win them over…forever! “I am going to belly dance classes and loving it”, I casually throw into the conversation with the clear intent of showing off my young open mind. “Oh really?” one colleague did reply amused. What I’m still not sure about is if her amusement was coming from my choice of exercise or from the image of me doing it. Never mind, sometimes ignorance is a bless. “I did too once,” the other colleague added, “we were holidaying in Turkey and they gave us bell belts to tie around our waist, it was very fun and sexy. Do you use the belts?I used to love the sound of the bells while shaking the belly.” I froze for a second thinking how to explain we are just a bunch of middle age women shaking our bellies wearing comfy tracksuits and anti-slippery socks, unless we feel very exotic and opt for leggings and bare feet, but most definitely not wearing bells-belts that, considering the size of most the waistline there, ( teacher included), would weight like hell and dragging us to the floor. “Hmm, no! No belts, it’s more like a course for menopausal women desperate to trim their waistline and exercise their pelvic floor, you know? But we use veils!” Their puzzled expression told me that probably I wasn’t very successful in trying to make my belly dance course sound cool but I was ultimately successful in impressing them…forever!!!
Truth be told I have been guilty of being a people pleaser for a long time. That was how was raised and all I knew until I did free myself with the complicity of the travelling husband who showed me in all these years together that you can completely ignore the meaning of pleasing others and still live a perfectly happy life. Don’t get me wrong he is not a disliking person but he is certainly not obsessed to be liked and the fact that this has more to do with him being oblivious to the majority of what surrounds him rather than with him being a wise man, doesn’t change the ultimate reality that he is indeed a man in peace with himself. Back to me, living with such a font of inspiration for such a long time gave me the impute to work on myself and after a lot of hard work, I learnt that I cannot be liked by everyone and that’s ok, especially considering that I don’t even want to. Let’s be honest there are a lot of people out there that we don’t really give a f..k if they like us or not, so why waste precious time and energy trying to please them. We are who we are, the way we are (wishing the limits of decency and respect of course): take it or leave it. In this liberating journey of mine, I also learnt that unfortunately there are exceptions and will always be: your kids’ friends and your husband’s young colleagues, for example.
Now stay tuned and wait for the next two post to learn how to defeat them😉
The first Monday morning in three months I didn’t have to go physically to the office and I was already dreaming of it since Sunday night.
I had it all figured out. First, kiss goodbye to the travelling husband; second send off the girls to school with the bus; third, close the front door behind me and sip my coffee still in my dressing gown, waiting for the grocery shopping to be delivered, then work a couple of hours and ultimately walk the dogs to the park. It was going to be like Heaven!!! Except it all went to HELL!
7.00 am, the travelling husband’s driver doesn’t show up and he doesn’t pick up the phone either. While the husband frantically keeps checking between out of the window and his watch, I keep my face down pretending to have a sudden interest in whatever the first page of the newspaper said, (that I couldn’t know because I didn’t have my glasses and couldn’t read a thing). The tension and the panic in the room are now palpable and I can’t avoid the inevitable question any longer: “Do you want me to drive you to the airport?”.
And that was the end of my self-indulging morning.
Back from the airport, I rush the girls out of bed to drive them to school, because of course, they switched off their alarms and fell back asleep while I was stuck in traffic coming back from the airport. One foot out the door, and also the grocery man arrives. I quickly get my shopping in, throw everything on the kitchen counter and drive the girls to school. Once I am back I jumped straight behind my desk, “Just a couple of hours and then we go out, ok?” I say to the dogs who disappointedly look at me before sprawling at my feet under the desk.
1.30 am, those two hours of work became four and I am just about ready to switch everything off and take those poor creatures out when the phone rings. It’s the school, and when the school calls is never good news. Either your child got injured or you forgot to pay the annual “extra voluntary contribution”. Because I am quite organised and precise when it comes to school stuff, I knew already something had happened to one of the girls. Daughter number one fell during her PE class and her shoulder was sore.
After a few seconds of mental swearing, not against the poor child, but against the bad timing and the fucked up morning I was having, I went to the kitchen to at least release the dog in the garden. To my total horror, I also realised I still have my weekly grocery shopping all over the counter. Too bad, sure I did have no time to put it away now, so I quickly stack the milk in the fridge hoping it was not already gone off and left while big years German and the little mad redhead watched me from the window even more confused and disappointed .
Daughter number one is waiting for me in the office with two schoolmates and the secretary who briefly explains what had happened and proudly shows me how she had bandaged the child to keep her arm still on the hips. I thank her, even if I don’t understand why she tied her arm to the hip while the problem is on her shoulder but I indeed appreciate how nicely she had looked after my kid who is now happily chatting away with her friends and looks pretty fine to me …till she gets up and turns around. Then I see it. Her left shoulder blade is all out. It’s sticking out so much that you can use it to hang Christmas decorations. “She might have dislocated her shoulder”, the school secretary says.
“You don’t say! But thankfully you secured her arm still thought.” I think and after thanking her again I drive straight to the closest A&E.
“Her shoulder seems fine to me and she is in no pain. I don’t think there is anything wrong.” The doctor says after barely looking at her.
“I think it’s dislocated, and if you look at it from behind you will see.”I insist.
“No the bone is like that because she has scoliosis.” He sticks to his assumption and turns the child with her back toward him.
“No, she doesn’t! “I firmly say sticking to the facts and with a slight hint of annoyance in my tone.
“Do you know what scoliosis is, mam?” He dares me and continues, ” it’s when the spine is bent, see..” he starts running his finger over her spine with a half-mocking smile like I am an idiot.
“Oh, the spine is perfectly straight!” He eventually exclaims with surprise.
-Who is the idiot now, eh?-
“I told you!!!” I say with no surprise at all but with a full big mocking smile.
“You might be right.” He eventually admits his defeat and asks daughter number one to lift her arm, and just like that, with a loud crack, the bone is back in its place.
X-rays are fine, nothing is broken and all the bones are where they are supposed to be. Two weeks with her arm in a sling around her neck and she should be as good as new.
After dropping the injured child home I go straight to pick up daughter number two from school and finally walk the dogs out.
5.30 pm I eventually have time to store the groceries away and that’s when I realise that those puppy eyes they were looking at me with, were not begging for a walk but for forgiveness.
Four butter croissants, gone; Two blocks of cheese, gone; a bag of mixed nuts, chewed and ripped and all over the floor.No wonder they were not even running that much and were incredibly quiet despite the lack of walk…they were stuffed like turkeys at Christmas! But in fairness what was I expecting….all those goodies were there for the entire day….No one would have resisted!
7.00 pm, I am longing for a glass but I have to drive daughter number two to her banjo class. Thank God the class is only half an hour and by 8.30 pm after scrambling some eggs I can enjoy my cabernet.
9.00 pm I am ready to finally take off the nighty I am still wearing under the jumper and the legging since the unexpected trip to the airport, shower and slip into a clean nighty.
10.00 pm I call it the end of this madly ordinary manic Monday.
I believe that in some past posts I already mentioned that down the hill from us there is a big pink mysterious house. Nobody ever knew what was going on there, until parcels started to disappear and so the neighbourhood did some investigative work. It turned out that the house’s owner moved to Thailand and rented the house to a “smart gentleman” who split it into units and sub-rent it to the government for emergency residencies. Nothing wrong with that, aside from the fact that he is making a fortune illegally but, of course, it’s none of my concerns being that lazy woman who doesn’t pick up fights for a principle. My concern is instead that most of the vanished parcels are mine!!! And it’s not the karma biting back my ass because I am lousy, it’s clear and simple dishonesty.
The house has the same name as our Estate except we are numbered but now that the gentleman in charge had split it into units they are numbered too and so we have duplicate addresses that if didn’t fool for one second the Amazon driver, completely disoriented the poor new young postman. And that my first two parcels were swallowed by the pink house.
It took me a few weeks of official complaining with the post office to get to the bottom of the matter but in the end, the poor new young postman admitted to having delivered my parcels to the wrong house accepting an X as a signature on the receipt. He accepted responsibility for his actions, apologise and went back to the house to get them back but it was too late. Either those who received it were not living there or didn’t remember taking in the parcels. End of the story, nothing I could do about it, except secretly hope that Mr and Mrs X would choke on one of the macaroons my cousin sent me from Lyon while scratching themselves mad because my Italian cashmere jumpers gave them a rush.
Unfortunately, over the summer the duplicate address fouled a navigated courier too and this time was our summer shoes to disappear.
-Your parcel has been delivered to your gate because nobody was home.- More or less this said the email I received from the courier company.
The travelling husband was in the office that day and I was working from his study so I had a clear view of the front of the house, and no van came up. Unless it did while I went on my toilet break. So hoping for this outcome I went out and check the front gate, the side gate, the front gate again and the side again. I went in and checked the gates from inside thinking that maybe the driver just threw the parcels in. I went out again and checked by my neighbours’ gates because maybe the driver left them there. The parcels were nowhere to be seen. And just like that, I knew it !!!
I went back behind my desk to email the courier company back but of course, it was one of those”no replay..” emails.
I then rang the helpline and after 23 minutes of waiting, the operator asked for my order number and candidly told me that my parcels have been safely delivered at my gate!
Trying to stay calm I explained the situation, AGAIN .
“I understand madam, and have you tried to check with your neighbours? Because here it says it was delivered.”
“Of course, I checked with my neighbours what do you think, that I am an idiot? And yes the parcels were delivered but not to me.” No Much success in staying calm, no more!
“I understand your frustration madam, but at the moment there’s nothing we can do. Just leave it with me…”
“What do you mean there is nothing you can do? Your driver got the wrong address, on top of that he didn’t wait for someone to sign for the parcel so call him and tell him to come back because I know where the parcels are…” and so I explain the problem with the duplicate address, but the most simple solution was not doable.
“Helpline my ass!” I mumbled under my breath and hung up.
As I was, still in my dressing gown, slippers and pins in my hair, I stormed down the hill straight to the pink house. No parcels were left at their gate. Someone must have gotten them in. I rang the bell but nobody answered and so I started heavily knocking on the windows till someone came out saying they haven’t seen any parcels and I should not trust couriers because they are all lunatics. Said the one who smelt of weeds at 9 in the morning!!
“You f…..g liars. I know you got my parcels because it’s not the first time and I am f…..g sick of it. I am going to call the guards and your landlord. You all will see ….You m…r f…..s…” I am still not sure what possessed me but I lost it. To be honest, I didn’t even know I could put so many “F” words in the same sentence but I did! And I kept swearing all my way back home.
As soon I closed the front door behind me I saw 4 eyes looking at me half in shock. Daughter number one and two had their windows open and not only saw me marching down the hill, but they also heard everything.
“What was that..?”Daughter number one asked. I blushed in shame but before I could blame it on the hormones (or lack of them), she added: ” It doesn’t matter. You were amazing, outfit apart.”
“I did make you proud, eh?” No more space for shame. It was the revenge of the once lazy woman incapable to get properly angry. I was a woman on a mission to get her shoes back and to make the extra cost of the next-day delivery worth it. But most of all I was a woman desperate to have her sandals to go to a boiling Italy in two days.
I called back the courier company determined to fix the issue. Unfortunately, they were not so determined and kept bouncing me from one operator to another until I had enough and gave them their fair share of “F” words too. The adrenaline was pumping in my veins…I could not stop this anger spree.
The last resource was calling whoever rented the pink house. I remember my neighbours, who got one or two stolen parcels too, saying they had contacted the man directly. I did a bit of digging, got his number and before it could even finish saying “hello” I puked on him all my frustration. He didn’t seem surprised and said that he would ask the house manager to check the surveillance tape for me and would let me know.
As I didn’t have much hope in the guy to call me back, I decided to ring again the courier company trying to get a number for the driver because at that point the easiest thing was for him to go back there and retrieve the parcels but of course, they cannot give the drivers’ number to customers and so I was back to square one.
To my great surprise, the pink house guy did ring me back, but not with good news. He said they didn’t find anything on the cameras and I should think twice before throwing accusations. -Cocky little insolent-
-WHAAAAAT? -I was fuming and so I thought:-What would Wendy do in a situation like this? –
Yes, you heard me, I am talking about that Wendy! Wendy Byrde, the lady who went from desperate suburban housewife to queen of money laundry. Wendy would never let them go away with this and neither would I, but because I don’t own a funeral home and can’t burn bodies as I please as she did, I couldn’t go as far as she would have but I could still use my voice to stop them from bullying and mocking me. I had enough!
“Now, listen to me, if the house manager is that f…..g junky who was smelling of weed this morning at 8.30 I wouldn’t believe a thing of what he says or saw. This is the third f…..g time that happen and I am f…..g sick of being robbed by your f…..g people. I know they have my parcels, the courier told me (big white lie) and this time I am going to call the police.”
And that was the magic word, “police”.
“Hey wait a minute, no need to involve the police here. We can fix it between us.” Said the guy dropping his attitude.
“It’s a bit f….g late now don’t you think? Besides, I already called the police even a couple of nights ago because your people were far too loud in the garden. So you are already under their radar and unless this time you want me to call also the tax inspector and the social services you better bring me back my f….g parcels, one way or another.”
“Hey, chill lady, no need to go that aggressive, listen to me…..”
“No, you listen to me..” And now was my real chance to play Wendy, “Unless you want me as an enemy, and I can assure you you don’t, you better keep your house in order, or else I will turn the entire neighbourhood against you and you don’t want to go down that road, do you?” Wow wow wow, did I really say that?! Yesss!! I did and I could hear the poor guy’s saliva going down his throat loudly and painfully.
“Ok, we have an understanding here. Any complaint you have you ring me and I will keep a closer eye on what’s going on there.”
-Well you better, it’s your house, you moron- I thought but what about my shoes? Frankly, I couldn’t care less what’s going on in there, I JUST WANTED MY SHOES BACK!!! Men, will they ever get the point of things???
Well, apparently, sometimes they do because later that afternoon the courier brought me back my parcels apologising for his mistake. Eventually, I could relax and go back to my good old me.
Being a Wendy is indeed an empowering feeling but it’s also exhausting and time-consuming. Being angry and confrontational left me drained, and I was also starting to feel bad and ashamed for my rudeness too, to be honest. Are there actual people acting like that all the time out there? Jeez, how can they do it? I did it for one day and can’t wait to switch back to me lazy, lousy me.
So here I am, happily wearing my new sandals and dunking biscuits in my coffee when I hear a knock on the door.
“Hi, I just wanted to be sure you got your shoes back.” The man from the pink house in person was at my doorstep sweetly smiling at me.
I “wiggled” my toes showing off my sandals and when eventually I managed to swallow the biscuits I still had in my mouth, I introduced myself (like he didn’t know who I was…) and invited him deeply apologising for my previous behaviour, ” you know I am normally not like that, and I normally don’t use that language either…”
That evening when the travelling husband came home was immediately informed about my performance of the day: ” You should have seen her going down the hill…” one daughter said.
“Yes, I have never seen mum like that. She was awesome! ” The other added, and I must admit that despite still feeling ashamed for the bad example, I also felt kind of proud. -Hey, I can be a proper asshole too, you know…just like your father..-
“Yea, but then she invited the crock in for coffee.” And that was the end of it. I disappointed them again.
What can I say , may be I am just not cut out to be a Wendy!
Summer of 2021 slowly but surely the country was starting to regain some freedom (at that time we didn’t know yet that we were going to be locked up again for nearly another year), and what’s the first thing you do? You buy concert tickets. Any concert, it doesn’t matter as soon is not Julio Iglesias (who actually I am not even sure he is still alive considering that was my grandmother’s favourite singer and he was already of a certain age back in those days). All you want is to enjoy your regained freedom; be around people; breath on their necks; let them seat closer than 2metres from you. And so here we are my concert pal and I wearing our concert-matching t-shirts ready to go see some bands we never in our life had thought we would go see live. Some of them probably never thought we could see them alive, considering how long those bands were around.
Whitesnake, Foreigner, Europe and Counting Crows. A real blast from the past that brought me back to my teens: first dance, first disco, first kiss and first arrest. Now don’t let your imagination go too wild there, it was not as bad as it sounds but certainly, Europe were the soundtrack of that school trip that saw us all questioned by the German police. Long story short some very fashion-oriented schoolmates of mine decided to try on some nice clothes at the local mall but forgot to take them off before leaving. They did look a bit chubbier when they returned to the hostel and so did their bags when loading them onto the bus to go home but we all had indulged in food and shopping. The problem was that they didn’t stop by the till after their shopping and being just a bunch of 13 years old girls and not criminal masterminds they haven’t realised there were cameras all over the place. It didn’t take much to the local police to find that clever group of Italian students and pull over our bus before we could leave the village. Guess where we spent the entire day and half of the night?!
Back now to our days and the concert, despite all our efforts, the adrenaline and the excitement we remembered from our last pre-pandemic concert was never there . Maybe it was because we were not going to see Pink Floyd, maybe it was because the stadium was not crowded and loud, or maybe it was because we were 3 years older and spent all the drive to the concert talking about how to fill our return tax: how fecking middle age middle class is that?!!!Anyway, whatever the reason , the drill and the excitement were not there. We both kind of felt it but refused to admit it and faking it at our best we approached the entrance. I
I searched all my pockets, and my concert pal, who is a control frick , is already jumping on his feet . “Sorry, I was sure I had them… “, and I was obviously talking about the tickets,” but don’t worry, I have the email to go to the booking site,”I reassured him starting scrolling my Gmail and he relaxed, temporarely, till I fail even the third attempt to insert the password to enter the ticket master site. Because I am a wife and he is an husband ( one of my best friends’ husband to be precise), I promptly recognised the sign of a man on the verge to explode and as quick as I could I handed him my phone so that he could reset the password and retrieve the tickets himself and eventually let us in to enjoy what it ended to be an amazing concert. Great music, nice beer but most of all that amazing forgotten feeling to be young. No actually to look young…..compare to the average audience.
To conclude, I bet you agree with me that some lesson was learnt here: First, teach your kids to watch for cameras if they will ever feel the urge to steal something, especially in Germany where the fact that you are a minor doesn’t mean absolutely anything to the police; Second, go to old rockers concerts and you won’t feel like a pathetic soccer mum who listens to 70/80s music in her car, but you feel a damn young chick, because guaranteed you will be at least 20 years younger than everybody else there; Third, get yourself ready and sorted to avoid pissing the husband off, because it doesn’t matter if it is yours or someone else’s: a pissed husband is never fun to be around.