Dear Dave

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Almost there

Dear Dave,

Have I told you that Marie is starting nursery soon? I think it might be that I've mentioned it in passing. You know, in an off-hand kind of way. It's not like it's a major event or anything but it's just possible I might have alluded to it once or twice. I doubt it was more than a sentence or two. I certainly haven't gone on about it.

What? What's that you say?


Every other letter for weeks?


Ho, well, get over it, I'm not going to stop now. She starts tomorrow. Excuse me while I pirouette serenely around the kitchen on tip-toes, showering myself with flowers to the tune of The Blue Danube Waltz:

Yah da da da DAH, da-da, da-da. Yah da da da DAH, da-da, da-da

and then cut abruptly to an energetic interpretation of The Time Warp:

It's just a jump to the left...

only to finish with an overblown rendition of The Final Countdown complete with air-guitar, a straggly mop stuck to my head and fireworks:

Cue big-haired, leather-clad, Swedish men erupting from the cupboards in a blaze of pyrotechnics. It's the final countdown! DUH-duh, duh, DUH! DUH-duh, duh, duh, duh!

DUH-duh! Duh, duh, DUH-duh! Duh, duh, du-du, du-du, duh-duh duuuh...

Actually, no, I think I wandered off into The Flintstones there, but who cares? My youngest child starts nursery tomorrow! I'm not fussed if my kitchen ends up full of European rock stars or Fred and Barney - all that matters is that I'm going to get regular time to myself without children.

Yep, the fabled two or so hours a day, on week days, during term time, when all the kids are well, are almost here. That's over ten hours a week, thirty-five weeks a year, during which I might simultaneously have both the time and energy to achieve something. The very thought consumes my mind. I can barely think of anything else.

Then again, maybe Fred would bring Wilma...


Er... Where was I? Oh, yeah, free time once Marie starts nursery. I'll have some. That's going to be pretty odd.

In the past, I've just laughed at those who've said that I won't know what to do with myself. I have a hundred things I want to get done:
  • Clean the house. Obviously I make the house look clean on a regular basis already but there are certain out-of-sight areas, like top shelves and at the back of the TV cabinet, that are so dusty you'd think a vampire had crawled in and died.
  • Visit all the poky, little shops in the area in which there isn't room to swing a screaming toddler. For years, I've only dared venture into supermarkets and department stores, unwilling to risk navigating a buggy through cramped aisles of breakable goods. Even then, it's seldom been pleasant. One time, when Fraser was small, I took a wrong turn into the crystal department of John Lewis and he immediately decided the only way to travel was with his legs stuck out to either side as far as he could stretch. Navigating my way to the exit became a nerve-wracking test of skill and concentration, akin to those games where you've got to move a metal ring along a wiggly wire without making contact and setting off the very expensive smashing noise. Since then, colourful little stores selling knick-knacks have seemed out of the question.

    I want to go and browse pointless trinkets again. I also want to go into one of the four Polish delicatessens that have recently opened within a few minutes walk of my house and see if anything looks tasty. Hopefully quite a lot will, because, before long, a third of the shops round here are going to be Polish delicatessens and I won't be able to buy food anywhere else. (The other two-thirds of the shops are already internet cafes and barbers. The neighbourhood is obviously now full of Polish people who want to get their haircut and then blog about it.)
  • Fix some of the things around the house that have been broken so long that I no longer even notice that they're broken. Like, erm...
  • Go round the house looking for broken things. See above.
  • Meet friends for coffee... and talk about something other than children and things around the house which need fixed.
  • Play some of those computer games I've been meaning to play but haven't. These are mostly PC games I picked up a while ago, only to discover my computer at the time wasn't powerful enough. Doubtless they still won't work for some reason but I'd like to give it a try.
  • Zombie-proof the house. If they climb on the wheelie-bin, they'll be in the bedroom window before we know it. I need to sort out a spring-loaded booby trap that will catapult them into next door's garden. The neighbours may not be too pleased when it starts raining zombies on their crazy paving but I assume that will be the least of my worries...
  • Have a proper mid-life crisis. I had a little one soon after Marie was born but I never felt I really had the time to get into it properly. I was too busy changing nappies to buy a motorbike; I was too tired to do anything else because I wasn't getting enough
  • Sleep.
  • Write a novel. I've got a great idea for a haunting Celtic fantasy set in fifth century Scotland, stuffed full of myths and heroes, and played out against the backdrop of the growing conflict between Druidism, the old gods and Christianity. It's totally awesome.

    Alternatively, I could just cobble together all these letters I've written to you and see if anyone's interested. Got to be worth a shot...
  • Buy clothes. Much less awesome but it has to be done. It's years since I bought any clothing other than underwear. The trick, as ever, will be going to the shops and coming back with trousers rather than a PlayStation 3. Gah, who put GAME next to John Lewis? It's just too tempting. Pretty soon, I'm going to have to fashion myself a new coat out of DVD boxes.
  • The list goes on...
And that's just off the top of my head. I'm beginning to understand what those people who said I won't know what to do with myself were talking about. There's so much I want to get done and only a couple of hours each day to do it. The problem is where to start. I don't want to waste any of that precious time and I may find myself paralysed with indecision. How best to maximise my productivity and enjoyment? The planning itself could take weeks.

I'm having to keep a lid on my own expectations. Even tackling one a day, I'm not going to achieve all of the above list in the first week. In fact, I'll be lucky if I manage to do more than lie on the sofa groaning for the first week. The second week, I might manage to lie on the sofa groaning while eating crisps. For the third week, I'm looking at a little light TV, less groaning and maybe some pretzels.

There's no point working myself up to anything more - the week after that, the kids are off school. To be honest, even this schedule might be pushing it. Although Marie starts tomorrow, she's being broken-in slowly. Tomorrow is really only a chance to look around; Friday she'll get to stay a bit longer but I won't be allowed to leave the building in case she has a titanic tantrum. (As if...) Depending how she copes, it could be a few days before I get to leave her at nursery all morning.

The pretzels might have to wait until nearly March.

Let's face it, if I get half the things on my list done before the summer then I'll be doing extremely well. If I get three done, that'll still be pretty impressive. Failing that, even just getting my regular cleaning, grocery shopping and a few chores done so I can pay more attention to the kids the rest of the time will be a result.

Drat. Now I think about it, maybe my life isn't going to change that much. Still, at least I should have enough time to dream about that mythical day, nineteen months from now, when Marie starts school. I ought to go get a calendar and start crossing off the days now!

No, hang on. I'll wait a week and buy one in a colourful little store which sells knick-knacks. Then I'll eat something Polish and get my haircut while everyone stares at my jacket made of DVD boxes.

You never know, I might even blog about the whole thing...

Yours in a woman's world,



Anonymous said...

You are about to be the most envied man on the planet. The Husband is already jealous. He is still 2 1/2 years from this blessed day.

You should add to your list: Visit other blogs based in California and leave silly comments...

Just an idea.

DadsDinner said...

Surely Keith Urban is still the most envied man on the planet?

Will try my best with comments. Sproglette has suddenly started taking thirty minutes rather than two hours to eat lunch. My surfing time may actually decrease :-(

Regards to The Husband. I'll watch some daytime TV in his honour.