Pending Guidance

I would like to begin by stating that despite making a list of healthies from my various cook books last night, and despite purchasing some of these healthies (pears, kiwis, various nuts and seeds for snacking, ingredients for my Lebanese salad which is a regular make I must admit) I also inhaled a scone the size of my face earlier.

I had to, for I had to deal with the social welfare again.

I turned up to my ‘guidance’ appointment at the allotted time and walked into an office run entirely by old and obese people.  My being ten minutes early seemed to cause some consternation amongst the staff, and the older lady that barely greeted me at reception went running away almost immediately to find somebody called ‘Billy’ (names have been changed to protect the useless).  This left me with an obese lady who had been standing at the reception as if propped up, who then looked out the window and shuffled away.  Then an obese man sat in the reception chair and wondered aloud how people sat ‘in this fucking thing’.

I took a seat beside some boys who smelt like cigarettes and was immediately called in to an office to see Billy.

Do you know who Lily Savage is?  He didn’t look like her but with a Dublin accent, sounded a bit like her.  He looked like Lily’s creator, Paul O’Grady, but seemed to have computer printed pictures of a wife all over his bulletin board, alongside, bizarrely one of a very young Jennie Garth of 90210 fame (who knew she used to be so chubby?).

  

Billy and ‘Mary’ then proceeded to have a long and deep and meaningful conversation about the data base on Billy’s computer NOT stating that I had been ‘engaged’ despite being to an ‘engagement gathering’ (see previous blogs for that golden nugget of time-wasting).  Cue lots of keyboard bashing which achieved nothing except sighs and declarations by both that I was ‘pending’ – something which appeared to be a Very Bad Thing.

I had been handed a folder, I looked through it and discovered that it had glossy colour photographs of the office I was marooned in and a printout of a Powerpoint presentation about what they were supposed to be doing in this office for me.  In the Key Words and Actions slide it did not say ‘pending’.

 

Papabear’s Great Wall of Potatoes

‘’I’m going to Beijing,’’ said Mammy, about a month ago.

 ‘’Why?’’ I said

 ‘’It’s in China,’’ she said, and continued with her tea.

And now that Mammy is scaling the Great Wall, Papabear is scaling the equally challenging situation of feeding himself, perhaps for the first time in his life.  What makes everything worse is that all the nice people – Lilsister, Sisinlaw and possibly Babybro – are all on their jollidays too – leaving me, the Tough Love (that being, tough without the love) Queen left, to assist him in all his queries, but not actually do anything, because it is my belief that a 64 year old man should be able to feed HIMSELF and then clean up his own mess afterwards.

Prior to The Departure, I contacted both Mammy and Papabear to discuss menus, costings and allergies/fussiness.  Both sighed heavily and proclaimed that all was lost, as Papabear is useless.  I asked him how he went at peeling potatoes, because in my eyes, should you possess a potato, and nothing else (except possibly a functioning onion), you can create a feast.  Papabear explained that he could not peel a potato and my heart sank.

‘’At all?’’ I cried, wondering how this man calls himself Proud to be Irish.

‘’Atall atall.’’

 ‘’Can you light the oven?’’

 They call it a deafening silence for a reason.

So after what was described to me by Lilsister as an evening fraught with despair, Mammy (at my insistence) carefully instructed Papabear how to turn on the oven, and grill, and how to peel a potato.  Papa now had the makings of a meal, and was therefore entering the world of adulthood, and not quickly enough in my humble opinion.

It was decided that I should visit Papabear after work, so we could make our dinners together.  This gets me out of the house and away from my tenants, who are very nice, but people, so I don’t really want to deal with them.  Papabear’s job is to peel potatoes so I don’t have to, then get the oven heated for any meat products that I am making that night.

‘’How many potatoes should I peel?’’ he asked.

‘’Depends on the size and what we’re having.’’  I replied, thinking no more of it.

‘’I’ll peel four potatoes each time you’re coming down,’’ he enthused.

‘’Grand but if we’re making mash you could peel extra so you have some left over to make potato cakes with the next day,’’ I offered.

‘’I’ll peel six potatoes every day,’’ he cried.

‘’No not every day, just on the days we decide to have mash for example.  Or if you want to have some left over to fry the next day.’’

‘’If we’re making potato cakes and frying them then I’ll peel eight potatoes every day till you tell me to stop.’’

With images of my father slowly making his way through a sack of roosters at the sink, like some slightly old and male version of Cinderella, I became the sighee and told Papa to do whatever made him comfortable.

Christmas Stories: Homeland Night

So ”Homeland Night” rolled around on Tuesday, which meant only one thing – a meeting of myself, Panties and Hangsandwich, this time at my house, where I was doing the cooking (a mean shepherd’s pie if you must know – zero degrees outside requires comfort food inside) and the others were bringing dessert (cakes from a French patessiere  – HEAVENLY).

This being my first Christmas in my house sans Exhimself, I have made it as festive as I can without the expense of adding a Christmas tree – there are candles everywhere, including some horrific reindeers and a Santa carrying a giant sack of goodies (which happens to be a candle holder – tack central anyone?), tinsel and some strategically placed lights.  As trees are SO expensive and I earn a pittance, I was just getting used to the idea of not having one, when I flung opened the door on Tuesday night to be confronted by a giant box and a hatted and scarved Panties who declared ”Look what I stole for you!” which turned out to be a tree, swiped from her place of work, stuffed into a box, along with some decorations and more tinsel, also stolen.

It’s not many friends that will steal for you, let alone for something that you’ve convinced yourself you don’t want, and then through your protestations, take out, fix up, decorate and light, while you check to make sure the potato on your shepherd’s pie is nice and crunchy.  Then decorate your pictures with your lights, and wrap yet more lights on the bannisters of the stairs and squeal with delight when it’s all lit up and ready to go.   This was accompanied by some deep sighing from Hangsandwich, who helped throughout, with lowered eyes, knowing he was powerless against the force that is Panties’ Christmas Spirit.

We ate the pie, inhaled the cakes, discussed Homeland’s shortcomings in Season 2 and after they left and every day since, I’ve switched on the tree and sat and watched it with a growing sense of joy.  And when Little Niece N came to visit and I helped her walk up the stairs to let her turn on the switch for the lights on the bannister and watched her eyes light up with astonishment when they came on, I silently thanked the universe for a woman who believes rugby players shouldn’t fight so much as it’s just MEAN, and who sees no issue with taking Christmas trees from a dull office and placing them in the home of a friend who has been much in need of Christmas cheer this year.   It’s good to be clear on what the right course of action is.

All Pain and No Gain

In an effort to be fit and fabulous for my upcoming social mingling disaster tomorrow night, I did a slight run on Sunday.  I say ”slight” because I was actually walking but felt buoyed up by listening to my 80’s music on my walkman, and broke into a slow trot for most of the second chorus of ”Train of Thought” by A-ha.  Now it is Tuesday, and I have pains in my legs, hips, back and arse (literally – I am actually struggling to sit down) and I am feeling frumpy and forty.  I should be a triumph tomorrow!

To combat the fact that I am unable to move, rendering exercising out of the question, I am attempting to eat less and failing miserably.  I cooked a batch of scones after my excessively not long run and then purchased jam and cream to go with them – delicious, but not diet material.  I have also been suffering with chronic PMT and have had to turn to chocolate much more regularly than normal.  So myself and my hormones should be in peachy form by tomorrow night.

Running Back Home

Keeping the running spirit alive this morning, with several 8 second bursts intertwined with listening to Freddie telling me that he would rock me, to which I spluttered along and most amazingly, did not get a stitch afterwards!!!  Must be improving.

Luckily just as the rain kicked in, Mammy spotted me as she drove by, dropping my little Niece N back to Babybro and Sisinlaw, who took the night off from parenthood to inhale alcohol and chickenwings at one of Dublin’s bigger comedy clubs.  I swiftly obtained a lift from Mammy, and brought little Niece N back to the hungover arms of her daddy, and got a cuddle and babykiss for my efforts.  I perked up, revived, and strolled back to the apartment for a big wash as I was very sweaty.  I was only awoken from my cleaning operations by Hangsandwich appearing at the door with a tupperware box filled with cupcakes, lovingly prepared by Panties this a.m. and driven over, delivered and deposited to her ever grateful friend. 

To think I could have stayed living in Australia, with their wine, fine dining and silly accents, when all this awaited me.  I was a fool to ever leave.

Burning BumBums and Steak with Singles

A very disturbing message from Scarydancer via Lilsister earlier this afternoon, which I THINK was morning for the both of them.  Calling from her jollidays house further into the suburbs, she told me that Scarydancer needed me to do him a big favour.  Being stretched out on the bed at the time, chilling to a number of Madonna ballads, I was highly uninterested.  ”What is it?” I dribbled.

”He needs you to call the fire brigade,” she confirmed ”as his asshole is on fire.”

It seems that too much consumption of three for ten euro beers at the pub near their jollidays house, coupled with a burger n onion rings meal, has given rise to feverish beershites which have caused much pain in the bumbum area for poor Scarydancer.  I winced inwardly, as I thought of my own several beer consumption last night, firstly whilst reading the paper and then more at Panties and Hangsandwich’s house, where I was fed an excellent steak and baked potato meal, and got to meet the only other single in Ireland aged over 35, a friend of Hangsandwich, who appears perfectly at ease with his lot.  It is a great relief to know that these people actually exist.  I DO have my eye on an unsuspecting 36 year old, but naturally I found out he is girlfriended, so I had to put my husbandcatching net away there.  Will it ever get an outing?  Tune in to find out.

Work, Beer, Tea – it’s Friday

I’ve followed up my beer buzz with a cup of tea…not rock of all ages material, and it’s made me feel bloated, alone and ugly, as it’s Friday night and here I am sucking beers and then falling at the last hurdle and succumbing to tea.  The shame of being 37 and nine tenths!!!

It’s been a long week, for no other reason than it just HAS, and it’s rained every day.   Work continues to be awful, with no respite from the abuse, hatred and general rudeness that is the Irish population when dealing with their bank.  Ah, we truly are scumbags, raised in the back of toilets, judging by some of the language and colourful death threats I receive on an hourly basis.

I’ve moved seats and am currently surrounded by a group of girls, which horrified me initially, but seems to actually have turned out okay.  The girl beside me has a make up bag the size of my actual handbag, despite being at least 18 years younger than me, thin and not requiring much maintenance, but there you go.  Bear in mind my handbag needs to accommodate my book (hardback), my giant purse, umbrella, hat, various notes that I write to myself, my pens, phone, keys, sunglasses and my net for catching potential husbandvictims, so you can imagine it’s size.  So that should convince you that there is a SERIOUS AMOUNT of making up going on.  However, myself and the Glamorous One seem to have forged something of a friendship, based on our love of food and our raging hormones.  I may have secret crushes every five seconds but I don’t wander around the staff canteen trying to take sneaky photos of unsuspecting males, like my friend there, or walk around a nightclub in a circle trying to catch someones eye.  FOR AN ENTIRE NIGHT.  Good tips for me though, should I find my eye wandering over lunch or ever end up in a nightclub again.

The girl behind me is actually worse, and even has a creepy ”I’m coming for you, boy” look, which makes me squeal like a girl every time I catch her doing it.  It involves a trout pout, one eye closing and one opening, and a vigorous nodding of the head, to ensure the victim knows she’s a-coming, and she’s ready.  She is also obsessed with my ex-team leader’s arse, which she insists is like ”two eggs in a hanky” despite my protestations that it is flat, and ugly, and he is a pigperson anyway so he cannot be fancied. 

Aside from this it has been an uneventful week, broken up only by Ireland being hammered in the European football matches, a fabulous evening eating Babybro’s stew with little Niece N and Sisinlaw, and the departure of Scarydancer and Lilsister from the apartment as they mind Scarydancer’s parent’s tiny dog whilst they have their jollidays.  This has meant many beers for me, with my music playing while I dance about and try not to fall over every time I try to lift Scarydancer’s new weights.   Sigh.  My flabby arms beg me to reconvene, and soon.

Freddie Mercury sings to me in the background, and advises me to be free with my tango, and on that note, I will drain my cup, tidy up and hit my lonely bed for what I hope will be a deep, beer induced sleep.