Monthly Archives: October 2014

The New Regime

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 The New Regime

Yes, I agree. We’ll pull ourselves together.

We eat too much. We’re always getting pissed.

It’s not a bad idea to find out whether

We like each other sober. Let’s resist.

I’ve got the Perrier and the carrot-grater,

I’ll look on a Scotch or a pudding as a crime.

We all have to be sensible sooner or later

But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.//

No more thinking about a second bottle

And saying ‘What the hell?’ and giving in.

Tomorrow I’ll be jogging at full throttle

To make myself successful, rich and thin.

A healthy life’s a great rejuvenator

But, God, it’s going to be an uphill climb.

We all have to be sensible sooner or later

But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.//

The conversation won’t be half as trivial –

You’ll hold forth on the issues of the day –

And, when our evenings aren’t quite so convivial,

You’ll start remembering the things I say.

Oh, see if you can catch the eye of the waiter

And order me a double vodka and lime.

We all have to be sensible sooner or later

But I refuse to be sensible all the time.

Wendy Cope

It is time, after a very jolly, sociable school holidays, for another new regime. I don’t actually know who to apply Wendy Cope’s ‘we’ to – me and Andrew or me and a certain couple of friends…you know who you are! Andrew and I implicitly understood each other when we both said ‘Right!’ with great emphasis on Tuesday morning.  Very uncharacteristically, for me it only lasted a few hours until that evening when the boys and I enjoyed one last little children’s supper with great friends. I thought of Wendy Cope as the second bottle was opened.

But now the boys are back at school and I am determined to apply myself more vigorously to some great pieces I have lined up, uni work, not to mention being determined to get fit before the swimming season kicks off properly. Thankfully only the children are mad enough to brave the water at the moment leaving us to sit supervising while enjoying a nice cold glass of….water? Not quite the same is it?

It seems like ages ago that I completed a three month HSM (Hello Sunday Morning – I even bought the t-shirt, which I now can’t wear without feeling like a complete fraud, especially if I’m wearing it on the morning-after walk to collect the car from Neutral Bay, Beauty Point, Balmoral…). I didn’t drink let a drop pass my lips for four months and one week (I could add the minutes and seconds but then it might look bad). It actually wasn’t that difficult once I got going and I did enjoy the endless days of ‘wellness’ but I was definitely the quiet one on nights out, and regret hugely not dancing with a dear friend at her 40th (she also thinks it’s regrettable; she’ll learn as soon as we’re out and there’s a dance floor that it is in fact, not at all).

So this new regime is going to be, as Wendy suggests, not all a full time undertaking as that really is pretty dull. In fact, tragic though it is, a timetable was drawn up only last night to pin down family activities and, very importantly, upcoming nights out. So far there is a kindy mums night out (tomorrow), Mexican feast at friends (Sat), Sydney Media Drinks (me next Wed), Year 2 book club (me next Thurs), a 5km walk followed by drinks (Andrew is a team leader so it would be rude not to, next Sat), a very glamorous and seriously non-sober 40th b-day dinner (Sat 25th), Friday night cricket (at which wine and beer are available, thank you brilliant Mosman Cricket Club, so civilised) every Friday from next week…..and that is this month covered I think. Not full time. At all.

But still, I am going to try, in this tail-end of 2014 to be what I would so love to be, which is just a little bit less last minute, a little more organised and a little more on top of things instead of feeling like life is lived on one of those awful rides at the fair which swing you from one side of a big dip to another and you worry you might lose a bit of yourself in the middle.

So, a list of resolutions:

Stick to the designated ‘drinking nights’, then on non-drinking nights I can do things like this, and talk about it (and text friends to talk about it and see if they are being boring too or they aren’t or if they wish they were, or not…)

Get used to cooking without a glass of wine to hand, and for that matter find some recipes that do not necessitate the opening of a bottle of wine. Or serve sushi more often.

Forget that Pimms exists. Or remember that it is, despite all evidence to the contrary, an alcoholic drink, not just a fruit salad with juice. Is it just me that thinks ‘Pimms’ when the weather starts improving? Nikki Gemmell put it brilliantly in her column about the stresses of the life/work/school term time balance in which she admitted to a 4pm Pimms. She was a heroine of mine before but then, wow!

Try not to overreact when food is dropped on the newly cleaned floor – and remember not to serve tacos for supper on the day of cleaning.

Keep up to date with the washing so that no boy has to go commando out of necessity. Edward will be quite devastated.

FILE. Just that. See photo. On my desk just now among all the works in progress and stacks of homeless bits of paper there is a pair of school socks (owner unknown, cleanliness the same), a disgustingly sweet half-sucked lollipop that I confiscated a couple of days ago (saving for emergency), some bits of a Bob the Builder game – waiting for the other bits to join them, about six half-finished loom bracelets currently resident on pens and pencils, seventeen magazines mostly unread but all vital for research purposes and the usual other junk.

My to-do list is as long as Sam’s longest ever loom band endeavour (from his bedroom to the front door) but you have to start somewhere and what better way to procrastinate than to write about it? If I get distracted from being the new me I can always remind myself that I am, in fact, simply fulfilling my student potential and go and make a salad.

Desk

Couldn’t resist a little more Calvin and Hobbes – this boy is a person after my own heart! I’ve handed on my C and H books to William who loves them, such fun.

Calvin and Hobbes New Year's

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Home alone

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photo (2)

I cannot remember the last time I spent a night by myself.I have written before about leaving my family and them leaving me for school and pre-school, but I tonight I am absolutely and totally on my lonesome. It’s not the same I’ve realised as having time to yourself knowing your children are in bed down the hall, available for spying on and sly kisses as you feel the need (that’s not only me is it?). Nor is it the same as leaving them and staying with friends and family. Being at home, which is usually a cauldron of noise, emotion and testosterone, today is very very quiet.

So, they’ve gone camping for the first time. I have always bloody hated camping. I remember doing    our Duke of Edinburgh bronze expedition and managing to scrape through thanks to the cajoling of the Sessions cousins.  The rest of us wanted to phone Vicky’s dad who’d told her if it got too tough to let him know – exactly the point of D of E of course!  By the time we attempted a silver trek even Mr Davey the teacher was finding it hard not to laugh.  But we had done our community service (Oxfam for two hours every wed afternoon, Hannah and I were the best kitted out six formers as a result), physical activity for which I chose trampolining; I remind the boys of this frequently as my pelvic floor and I try to keep up with their bouncing records. This is the first ‘first’ I can remember missing.

I realised though this meant I could do anything I liked.  No limits, no curfew, no expectations. I could go clubbing, if only I knew anyone who did that anymore. I thought about going to the cinema, I thought curling up and reading, but it was just too quiet, and odd being at home by myself. I got a dinner invitation, thanks Hannah for this evening!

It’s funny how much we take for granted the level of vibrancy at which we live our lives. Our family life is highly vibrant and highly visible whether at home or out. I know some families exist at a lower frequency, and I am envious in many ways.  But my three boys, loud as can be, are growing up to be the life and soul of groups and gatherings, long may that confidence continue. I miss them!

sam jeffrey lionGratuitous use of a child’s drawing I know, but I love the happiness!