Sunday, 21 October 2007

Warning: It's All About MEME.

Well, bugger me, I've been tagged. Not electronically, thankfully. Manic Mother of Five (MMOF to her fans) has chased me round the playground and declared that I am "it". Apparently I have some explaining to do, so here goes.

Initially, having spent too many lonely nights with husband working abroad and me suffering the chronic insomnia often experienced by us vintage chicks, one night in the wee small hours I happened upon the blogsite of Wife In The North. I'd read about her in our Sunday paper and thought I'd have a look. From day one she had me hooked. I loved her writing and read her every post, commented regularly, and often at great length (who, me?), so eventually it seemed the only decent thing to do was to start my own blog where I could drone on without clogging up someone else's site. She'd written a post about her husband (who works away a lot of the time) banning the children from watching TV for a fortnight because he'd heard one of them swear, and then promptly clearing off back to work in London leaving her with builders, new baby, children on school holidays, no TV etc., etc. There was some discussion about children, swearing and mothers. Indeed, in the comments there were a lot of mothers, and most of them were swearing, including me, amazingly. I was furious for her and remember saying something like "in solidarity with you, I am going to start my own blog and call it Swearing Mother".

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Being a total technophobe I had no idea how to do it, no one to ask as I didn't particularly want my family to know my guilty secret in case they laughed at me, hence my blog is very plain, I don't have any links, many photos or any fancy gizmos. Just lots of swearing. And the thing is, sometimes I don't even feel like swearing but then how can I go on calling myself Swearing Mother? Maybe we need to change it to I Used To Be Swearing Mother But I Am A Reformed Character Now? Not very catchy.

About Me:

I am very, very old. Or extremely young looking for my age, depending on the amount of maintenance I've undergone when you see me.

I am struggling to find a creative outlet, and would like to write short stories or articles for a magazine or newspaper. At the moment I am an NHS wage-slave with attitude.

I have a small but beautifully formed family (this should have come first really) who mean everything to me.

I am an Olympic standard worrier.

I decided when I was 14 that as I didn't seem to be shaping up to be a stunner, at least I could have a personality. Character, they called it in those days.

I am passionate about stuff, verbal, hot tempered if riled, sensitive about other people, intuitive, a bit of a control freak, obsessive, compulsive, hard-working (most of the time) and high maintenance. I don't have to tell you about my weird sense of humour, you've probably already noticed.

I drink too much, eat too much, and swear too much. But I am trying to cut down on the eating and drinking.

And that's it really.

Oh, one more thing. The response I've had to my blog has really surprised and delighted me. I don't really know what I was expecting when I began, I just kept on going because I enjoyed writing it and reading everyone's comments, visiting other blogs and leaving my comments there. It's become a bit of a way of life, and cheesey though it sounds, I'd miss you guys if we stopped now.

Ooops, nearly forgot to nominate a MEME tagee - I'd like to nominate Laurie (Three Dog Blog) who has been with me from the start and given good advice whenever I've asked for it.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes

This week I did a really naughty thing. I pulled a sickie. Played hooky. Went AWOL. In my defence, it wasn't premeditated, it just sort of happened. It started off like any other day. I woke up, had a shower, did my hair and make-up, dressed, packed up my diet lunch, got in the car and drove to work. Nothing unusual there. It was a lovely, lovely day - crisp, autumnal, sunny; the sort of day when you ought to be out, walking your dog in the park, kicking up the leaves, just happy to be alive. The sort of day that, if you had one, you should to be hammering down country lanes in your open topped sportscar, enjoying the autumn sunshine, catching a whiff of woodsmoke as you wend your way through pretty villages in search of the perfect pub for lunch. The sort of day that you shouldn't spend caged up in an office, staring at your computer screen like some sad little budgie gazing into its mirror, wondering if this is all there is to life.

So there I was, waiting at the traffic lights, and suddenly a renegade idea came into my head. Bugger it, I thought, I really don't want to go into the office. So I didn't. I pulled into the carpark, did a swift U turn and drove straight back out again, stopped the car half a mile away and phoned in sick. I can't believe I actually did it, and to be honest, I'm still slightly shocked at myself. I don't usually do things like that, but I've rationalised it now - they owe me so much time I could take the rest of the year off and still have change, and my colleagues, who suspected that "things were getting on top of me" were OK with it. And somehow I just needed it. So it was a done deal. I was taking what is known in some countries as a "mental health day" or, to put it in Brummie vernacular, I was skiving a day off.

My next phone call was to my husband who was supposed to be working at home.

"Fancy going out to lunch with me, in the country?" I already knew the answer to that one. He's always been easy to lead astray.

"Have you got the sack?" he asks, shocked that I am not already in the office.

"Not yet, but I'm working on it" says I, tossing the phone in my bag and heading for home.

After a brief pit-stop to pick up husband and get changed into my casual gear, off we went, heading out into the Staffordshire countryside. Apparently, the autumn colours in the UK this year are even more spectacular than the trees in New England, and driving down those country lanes I can quite believe it. What a fabulous sight. The sun shone through the golden leaves as they drifted down to the ground, the roadside red berries looked vibrant, the creeper covered walls positively glowed, there was a nip in the air which brought the colour to our cheeks. We found a wonderful pub, sat in the stone-flagged bar in front of a crackling log fire, husband ate game pie, which he said was delicious, and I enjoyed venison sausages and tried not to think of Bambi. After a nice cup of coffee and a walk around the village, we took another picturesque drive home. An entirely fabulous day, a totally unexpected but necessary soul-restoring treat.

And did I feel guilty? Yes, a bit. Did I regret it? No, not at all. Are my batteries fully recharged? Yes, yes and yes.

Life, as someone once said, is too short to stuff a mushroom. Or let glorious autumn days slip by unappreciated.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

You Just Can't Get The Staff

People are seriously pissing me off. To the point that I have actually said something. Shock! Horror! Probe! “Seriously Pissed Off Woman Actually Says Something!” What I mean, of course, is that someone's annoyed me so much, I’ve actually said something TO THEIR FACE, rather than muttering to myself, or just giving a silent “tut” and looking up at the ceiling with pursed cat's-bum lips.

The thing is, I am usually quite a nice person. A bit scarey when riled, but then I was born to be riled, so everyone’s used to it by now and takes no notice. But I’m not usually downright mean, or if I am I really don’t want to be. I’m the sort of person who might think “sod it, I’m actually going to put the boot in this time,” but I rarely do in reality. In my head, now that’s another thing, in my head I can bollock people to infinity, could turn even Jeremy Paxman into a quivering jelly of angst, probably make him cry even.

But I don’t like to hurt people and my biggest worry is that if I actually do vent my spleen on someone, I may later find that I am wrongly accusing them, or they will turn out to be the very person whose dog has just died, or has a child in hospital, their husband’s gone off with their best mate or they’ve just been told very bad news re a dear, dear friend. And then I'd feel like hanging myself in pure remorse. For all I know, they could be making up their hard-luck story in an effort to get the sympathy vote, but it would probably affect me just the same. I would feel an absolute git, and that’s an end to it.

Unless, of course, they GO TOO F*CKING FAR and then, sorry, it’s goodnight Vienna. With bells on. My fuse is long but there is, unfortunately, a nuclear arsenal at the far end of it.

Like today for instance, when a receptionist muddled up some fairly vital medical papers and gave the wrong information to the patient's specialist. I can't really go into too much detail because if I told you I'd have to kill you, but basically it could have potentially been the MOTHER OF ALL COCK-UPS, had it not been so quickly discovered, and she was clearly at fault. As the person who had spotted the error, it was up to me to tackle her about it and help put things right.

So I had a quiet word and asked her to join me in a mutual effort to sort it out. How could we prevent this from ever happening again? Did she have a problem understandng how the system works? Could I help in any way? That sort of thing. Touchy, feely, softly, softly approach. All non-confrontational stuff. Whereupon, she promptly adopted a glazed expression, twiddled her hair, chewed her gum, gave a bit of a nonchalant shrug and left me to get on with it. Was she bovvered? No, she was not. Did she look bovvered? No, she did not. I definitely got the message: She. Ain't. Bovvered. Not her problem, apparently.

Now I am used to clearing up other people’s messes (of the administrative kind, thankfully. I would never have made it as a nurse) but I usually find that when a clerical balls-up such as this is discovered most people have the humility or decency to realise that they could have caused someone, somewhere, a lot of trouble. Or pain. Or anxiety. Or even harm. Usually they are very, very sorry and want to put things right as soon as possible. But not this girl. She just didn’t give a shit.

Now that really annoyed me.

Anyway, I won’t drone on about it any more. I am sure you can fill in the blanks. Just let it be said that she had her chance, she heard the four minute warning but chose to ignore it. Apparently the radio-active half-life of a nuked couldn't-care-less receptionist is about two trillion years, but frankly I think I’ve done humanity a service today if anything I said to her meant that from now on she’d be A BIT MORE BLOODY CAREFUL or, better still, go and work at Sainsbury’s. But somehow I doubt it. To borrow a phrase from a fantastically foul mouthed friend of mine, I think it would be easier to push butter up a porcupine’s arse with a red hot needle than get her to understand the enormity of the potential disaster her carelessness could have caused today.

Of course, tomorrow, someone’s going to tell me that she’s got terminal Shit-for-Brains disease or something similar, and then I’ll feel really, really bad.

Though, to be honest, I think I'd already guessed.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Back to work, work, work.

Hmmm.... not sure I like this full-time working lark any more. Having had a taste of freedom in France I am finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the swing of things here in good old Blighty. And having experienced a distinctly different pace and priority of life whilst away, with shops closing at 12 noon for lunch and opening again at 3-ish, (maybe), office workers taking their breaks in a pavement cafe, le weekend feeling lasting until Tuesday and starting up again on Thursday, I discovered that we work far too hard over here. For far too many hours, too.

I am increasingly wondering what it's all about.

Work to live or live to work?

Give me your take on that one?