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 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.
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!!!
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!
It appears that, for my family, I can’t get “properly” angry.
According to my mother, that’s due to laziness, and believe me, she might hate gyms, but when it comes to picking a fight over her principles (and she has plenty of them), she is not a lazy woman!!
My daughters, instead, blame it on my lack of coordination. According to them, especially when driving, I am far too slow to react, and so by the time I register the offence I’ve been a victim of, I find my voice to swear and finally push the right spot on the steering wheel to use the horn, It’s far too late. Whoever wronged me has either left or already forgotten what he did to cause my upset, making me look like a total lunatic.
“You should overtake them and show your finger…” Daughter number one once suggested.
“What? Where did you get that? We don’t do that, besides it’s dangerous, your grandmother tried once, and a very angry track driver followed her home.” I replay, not specifying that I was in the car with her, still a child, and that’s probably why I don’t argue much on the road.
“It never happened to papa, and he does it all the time.” God bless kids’ innocence!
“He does not!” I reply fighting for my husband’s decency.
“Oh yes, he does! All the time when we are in Italy .” She replays candidly, “Right C?” and I don’t have to say that daughter number two enthusiastically confirms it.
“He had never done it with me!”I keep fighting for my husband’s honour.
“Because you are never in the car when he does it, and you know what he can do too? ” I am not sure I want to know it, no, but it seems I have no choice, “He can roll down the window and give out to other drivers at the same time!!” WOW, that’s classy!
“Ok, I got it!!!! ” I say defeatedly. Fighting for the travelling husband’s decency is a lost battle, and I have to accept that I can compete with a family of professional anger show off….until the day I can!!!
Stay tuned to hear what happens when Ortensia gets “properly” angry.