Wednesday, 27 February 2008

If Life Sends You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Did the earth move for you last night? Well, it did for me, and not in a good way either. Husband away on business, me alone in a great big bed, trying to get off to sleep with everything and nothing racing through my mind, finally I doze off and then suddenly BANG the whole place is shuddering and rattling - in blogging language, WTF was that? Doesn't Mother Nature know this is Britain, we don't do the whole earthquake thing, surely? Or if we do, I thought we were only signed up for minor tremors, not a Richter Scale five point whatever if was. Bloody hell. Something to do with global warming maybe? I dunno, but I found the whole thing a bit scarey.

So then of course, further sleep was out of the question. Anyway, I needed to stay awake just in case there was another, stronger, quake on the way. And what about after-shocks (see, I know the jargon already)? Would the chimney fall in through the roof and kill me? Had anyone else noticed it, or was it just me? Aren't you supposed to stand in a doorway to protect yourself from falling masonry? Which doorway? How do you choose? How do Californians cope? Should I get dressed and put my makeup on just in case firemen have to dig me out of the rubble of my house? Do I have time to wash my hair? Many and varied questions such as these spent the rest of the night chasing each other around my over-stimulated imagination, taking turns to keep me awake until daybreak.

In the meantime, in an effort to bore myself to sleep, I tried to imagine what I'd do if a bloody great chasm had in fact opened up in the back garden. I spent a good while fretting about how terrifying it would be, and how annoyed my husband would be that I hadn't been able to prevent a massive act of nature from buggering up his precious lawn, but with a sudden paradigm shift* in my thought process, another more positive idea crossed my mind. Hold on a minute, I thought, a damn great hole in the ground could be quite useful, actually. My own personal land-fill site without having to drive to the tip. What a bonus. I could get rid of all my household rubbish down a chasm that big. For instance there's an old fridge, all of my ironing, a derelict Wendy House (sorry kids), husband's hedge trimmers, a spare lawn mower, a defunct slow-cooker, fourteen old computer keyboards (don't ask), and a very strange contraption which I understand is for putting rivets into jeans or taking stones out of horses hooves or something like that. Always the opportunist, I could view this as a great chance for a bit of a de-cluttering, if ever there was one. I might even be able to get rid of a couple of old bikes and a total waste of money sandwich toaster, used once and shoved in the back of the cupboard, never to see the light of day ever again. Fantastic.

The moral of this slightly sleep deprived and rambling story is that there's usually an upside to most things, if only you take the time to think about what that upside might be. My husband says it's my talent for lateral thinking, which he tells me can be a bit irritating at times. In fact, what he actually says is "always remember, nobody likes a smart-arse." I suppose he's right. For instance, when a Fire Officer recently asked me what I'd do if a blaze broke out in my waste-paper bin, and I replied "throw my filing in it" I thought it was a good idea, but he obviously was not at all amused. I have to re-attend the lecture and this time take it more seriously. Such is life.

Anyway, it's light now, I've checked the grounds for seismic shenanigans and so far, nothing. Looks like we'll have to put all that stuff in a skip after all. Damn.

Which brings me to the question, what would you throw down a gaping chasm in the earth's crust if you had the opportunity? And don't say Paul Daniels, that would be cruel.




*Sorry, Mother Of All This Lot, just couldn't resist.
Can I still keep my award?
(see previous post comments).

52 comments:

Sweet Irene said...

What would I put down a chasm? Well...let me think...can they be surreal things like thoughts and memories, because I have a lot of those I would like to toss down a deep chasm.

Maybe I would toss in some people as well, but only if I knew that they would be rescued after an alarmingly long time and they came out somewhat undamaged.

I wouldn't throw in any material objects, because I figure I can sell those on eBay for a good enough price.

Valleys Mam said...

How about 2.5 stone of unwanted fat. Then I could go buy the outfit I would love to wear to stepsons wedding in August.
Other than that, the contents of hubby's small shed, he has two and a workshop mostly full of a whole lot of absolutely nothing.

MZUNGU CHICK said...

Ooooh Oooh Ooh I know exactly what I'd throw down large deep dark hole right now - it'd be the two large men fighting for the presidency of our country! - I bet Kofi Annan would too if we put the same question to him right now!

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Slept through it all!!! After 5 kids I must be used to the earth moving!!

softinthehead said...

Was it really an earthquake? On a more philosophical (?) note, what might I put down the hole: world poverty, road rage, guns, nuclear weapons, shareholder greed.......I know - bit heavy for so early in the morning :)

Winchester whisperer said...

The Inland Revenue would be on the shortlist

She's like the wind said...

An earthquake, how scary! I would put my whole house down the chasm and start again, not all the bits and pieces, just the actual house, it's like the house that Jack built! x

Lucy Diamond said...

Ooh good question (and hilarious post). Well, filing, to start with - I'm with you on that. Next to be hurled into the chasm would be all those random bits of wood/old furniture/doors that my other half brings home from skips and never does anything with. And oh yes, all the toys left scattered on the kids' bedroom floors. In they go. That'll teach 'em to tidy up - see, cruel to be kind, I'd be doing them a favour.

Lemonade is a wonderful thing ;)

Maggie May said...

I was sleeping & woke suddenly & thought I had an attack of vertigo. No sound though. I put radio on & apparently it was an earthquake. Thought it was unlikely to be anything serious in this country, after hearing all about the Japanese biggies. At 5 am was awakened again with a similar, slighter sensation of vertigo & the radio said it was an after shock! Phew. Could do with out that. No one else heard or felt it. I was the only one!

Maggie May said...

PS ... Let me see, what would I throw down a chasm .........er ... My rat!

Kaycie said...

A fire in my trash can? Throwing my filing in it would be my first thought, too. What's wrong with that?

I'd throw about half the contents of our garage in a chasm like that, watch it fall, and say "good riddance"!

Tom Foolery said...

Thanks for making me laugh.....
.
I woold throw down the Government, waste of space that lot.... TFX

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

My own personal land-fill site ...

That's great thinking there.

CrazyCath said...

I was blogging and thought that it was the teenager's music choice causing the room to shake. I was just about to tear a strip off him for trying to wake everyone up at 1am when he came down to ask me if I felt it!

So that leads nicely to the chasm - probably some of my son's music. Your house sounds like mine. My husband agrees after I read him this post. We have various amounts of keyboards, computer bits, TVs, radios, etc etc and it is always a case of "don't ask". So they'd probably go in too.

Finally, I liked how you used 'paradigm shift'. It is so appropriate for how it felt for the whole house to sort of wobble. Like something out of X-files. So, I hope you will be forgiven for beating MOTL to it. It was perfect.

the mother of this lot said...

NOOOOOOOO!!!!
I'm fine. I'm calm now. What's a paradigm shift between friends?

Please send the award back by Recorded Delivery.

You will be hearing from my solicitors in due course. (When I find one).

travelling, but not in love said...

"a Fire Officer recently asked me what I'd do if a blaze broke out in my waste-paper bin, and I replied "throw my filing in it"... I loved this line.

I rang my Mom to ask if she'd felt an earthquake last night (after I read about it on the BBC) and she said "Is that what it was? I felt a big bang and I decided I wouldn't mention it to anyone in case they thought I'd gone crazy" Bless...

Stinking Billy said...

It looks like you need a firm invtation to come on over to mine these days (where have you been?). You won't be disappointed.

Stinking Billy said...

I forgot there. I never met a fire officer who didn't have a sense of humour. Must have been one of your lot who insisted on your re-attendance. Am I right?

Amy said...

Down the chasm: George Bush, my sofa, most contents of my dining room, all contents of playroom, two old chairs that I must worship because they are antique, and all sheets and blankets except the quilt my brother and his family made us for our wedding.

Miriam said...

People who never stop moaning! great post, but we didn't feel the tremor in Ireland. mimi

Swearing Mother said...

Sweet Irene, you can chuck anything in you like as long as it makes you feel good.

Valleys Mam, that is a brilliant idea, especially the bit about the sheds.

Hi Mzungu Chick, let's hear it for the democracy of the yawning chasm!

MMOF: If you can sleep in a house full of five kids, you can sleep through anything matey.

Hello Softinthehead: A great selection if I may be so bold. Into the pit with them!

Winchester Whisperer, hi. Yes indeed, Inland Revenue should defnitely go in. Maybe they'd find their lost discs?

SLTW, hello. The whole house?? Crikey, you'd need a really big wheelbarrow for that then.

Hello Lucy Diamond! How lovely to read you. I totally agree with the bits of wood thing, we've got enough to build several sheds with enough left over for a dog kennel or two. But why do we keep them? A mystery.

Hi Maggie May, sounds like it was just you and me up at one in the morning. Scary wasn't it?

Hello Kaycie, I thought it was a good plan, but the Fire Officer didn't unfortunately. Ah well, never mind.

Oooh Tom Foolery, I'll help you chuck the lot in, especially the lot that send troops off to war with useless equipment whilst paying their own children money for doing precisely nothing. Grrrr.

Hi James, lovely to read you again.

Hiya CrazyCath: I do hope she forgives me, I just had to.

OH DEAR, SO SORRY MOTHER OF ALL THIS LOT, but a little naughty voice in my head made me do it. Will send back the award when I've found a Jiffy Bag big enough to hold it. But here's a challenge for you - first one to utilise "paradigm shift" AND "napalm" in the same post is a good egg. That should be really funny.

TBNIL: Oh that is so typical of us Mum types, didn't want to mention an earthquake in case anyone thought she'd gone crazy. Tell her from me it's everyone else who is crazy, we're the sane ones.

Stinking Billy, hello! I've been over to yours and was totally over-awed by the honour of hostessing your Awards Ceremony. I will no doubt be presenting the effing BAFTAs next, or even the Oscars. Thank you so much.

SB: Yes you are right, not a proper fire officer, just a pretend one.

Amy, that is one hell of a spring-clean you're doing there. But it sound so therapeutic.

Norman said...

Went to bed kinda early last night so slept through it all. Probably didn't register in Lancaster anyway.
But I DID say that ivy that was assaulted would have its revenge!

Mopsa said...

The fireman isn't really going to make you sit through his wee speech a second time is he? Perhaps he liked the look of you? If he won't burn your filing, perhaps you can bung that down the perpetual hole into darkness.
I'd chuck in worry - any type, the biggies and the wee worries all.

elizabethm said...

Can I put celebrity culture in please? and the bags of keys to houses we no longer live in which my husband insists on keeping.

Expatmum said...

George Bush - oh wait, we're almost done with him anyway. You should come over here with the "lemonade" philosophy, it's so American. Whenever any friend of mine has a really bad experience, they call it a "learning experience". If so, I must be one of the most educated people on the planet! :-)

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Miriam, I agree about bunging moaners in the hole, but unfortunately I would probably be one of them at times.

Hi Norman, you were so right. Would make a good book title "Ivy's Revenge". Sounds like something from Agatha Christie.

Hiya Mopsa, think I've managed to talk my way out of another fire lecture, instead I have to do what's called "manual handling". Ooo-er.

ElizabethM, can't you sell those keys on eBay? A sort of burglars lucky dip? You'd make a fortune.

Hello Expatmum: I do have Pollyanna-ish tendencies from time to time, but these only serve to balance up the episodes when I go around wailing "we're doomed" and wringing my hands.

GoneBackSouth said...

I'm not sure what I'd throw down a big hole. But I know what I'd like to find down there - a cheerful daily housekeeper that I would fish out and keep forever.

Didn't feel the earthquake but my husband did. I sleep through storms, car alarms, earthquakes, anything really except the kids calling or crying and then I wake up in a flash.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Still waiting for that photo, Swearing Mum, for the nightwear parade tomorrow - the other ladies have sent theirs.

debio said...

Just love the title; almost theological. Sort of Muslim and Buddhist simultaneously, were that possible.

Good heavens; I've probably just insulted almost everyone in the world - no Nirvana for me then.

Swearing Mother said...

Hello Gonebacksouth: Yes, I know what you mean about waking the minute the kids stir, I used to do it too. So weird, never hear the alarm clock though.

James, you really sure you want to risk it? Will have a look to see if I can find a suitable (or even unsuitable) photo to send over.

Debio, just to complete the set, it was my Jewish next door neighbour who used to have that phrase on a sign hanging by his front door. Guess we've all got something to add to life's philosophy, whatever our starting point.

Pam said...

My answer would have been Dubya Bush but I got here too late and several people took the honor from me. I think chucking Cheney in a big hole would give me more pleasure anyway.
I got a very funny email today about helping the earthquake victims in England, asking for packets of B&H to calm the kids nerves.
Thanks for the message on my blog. Its always nice to get comments.
:-)

Swearing Mother said...

That's so funny Pam, yes I think those kids definitely need emergency rations, including large amounts of alco-pops as well as the ciggies.

Ha!

Milla said...

great blog, reached at through random hopping. The bin should always be your friend wrt filing, it need not be on fire to be really useful. Loved the thought that the earthquake trashing the lawn would be your fault. My life is peppered with moments like that. Have recently had about 70 builders traipsing through the house, the opportunities to absorb blame have been manifold.

Tina said...

Everyone has such grand thoughts about what to put in the chasm! I want to put tomatoes in though, can't stand them. And spiders please as well.

My first instinct when I felt the earth move was 'Blimey! That must be a poltergeist.'

Which goes to show what a sad little life I lead...

Retiredandcrazy said...

My husband sometimes has panic attacks in the night when he thinks that he is shaking (he isn't). On the night of the earthquake he insisted that I was feeling his shaking fit (which doesn't exist), and promptly went back to sleep again! That night I would have cheerfully put him in the bin.

Swearing Mother said...

Milla, great to meet you. I sympathise with you re builders, always disasters waiting to happen.

Tina, you and me both. I was so excited by a shaking bed I had to write a post about it. Sad, sad, sad.

Retiredandcrazy, hi! Ah what a shame, your hubby must have been disappointed to learn it really was an earthquake, not his restless legs syndrome!

Norman said...

That yawning chasm is rapidly turning into an inland beachcombers paradise.
But p'raps some things are best left there....
What would I throw in? Dunno, art and cleptomania seem to go hand in hand. Or is that a "man thing?"

Suzy said...

President Bush.

He is all yours....

Love,

Suzy

Swearing Mother said...

Norman, with you on the cleptomania thing, but art?

Suzy, that Pres of yours sure has a lot of people who'd like to chuck him in a hole.

Suzy said...

Oh my God, he's EMBARASSING!!!

Just 10 more months.....

Love,

Suzy

CrazyCath said...

No no no Norman not art! Depending on the definition of art of course!

Now cleptomania - that is a magpie thing I think....

Norman said...

This yawning chasm is become an art object in itself perhaps. Put it in for the next Turner Prize, its bound to win, a great big hole with GWb of USA in it. Think about it.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Wow. Sounds like all of us Americans want to collectively put our fearless leader down the chasm. This assumes, of course, that he's not already there.

I worried about your earthquake when it happened. I thought it would be a little...unexpected. Glad you're all well.

And hilarious. As usual.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

It woke me up too but I didn't realise it was an earthquake till later. As I went through the possibilities of what made my bed shake like that, I got very scared that someone had broken into our house. My husband was away too and I had to get up the nerve to check on the kids. What would I put down a chasm? All my fears and worries.

Swearing Mother said...

Watcha Cath, you ok? Sounds like it!

Hello there Norman, guess you're not the only one who'd like to find a big hole and plant a Bush in it.

RC: You are quite right, it was a little sudden (as Jeeves would say), but nothing in comparison to a good old USA style quake. Sorry about the burying Bush comments, personally I'd part with our PM any day.

Wakeup: You and me both. Wouldn't it be lovely to wake up tomorrow morning and have nothing to worry about? Or would that be a worry in itself for us?

Viking Warrior said...

That wast no earthquake. That was Viking Warrior who cometh to rape and pillage.

Sweet Irene said...

If I send you some oranges now, would you make us some orange juice?

Swearing Mother said...

Oranges gratefully received Sweet Irene.

Running low on juice just at the moment.

x

Mid-lifer said...

Great post swearing mother. What WOULD I put down a chasm??

Dunno (can't help thinking of annoying celebrities) - maybe something pious like all the guns and weapons in the world - but I realise it would be futile because there would only be replacements made.

Swearing Mother said...

Know what you mean Mid-Lifer, there's just too much choice when it comes to chucking extraneous stuff down that big hole.

CrazyCath said...

Hi SM - I tagged you! Come over and check it out. Hope you don't mind. Are you meant to tell people they're tagged or just wait for them to find out? Anyway, I told you. :-P

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Cath, I'm still here, just being a lazy little blogger at the moment. You've spurred me on to do another post today though.

Ta.

xx