Christmas Coffee With The Grinch

If we were having coffee, I’d introduce you to our new as yet unnamed coffee machine.

As an early Christmas present from me to us, the coffee machine Neil bought me when we first started dating has been upgraded to something from the future. Actually, I think we should call it Jetson.

What sort of um, coffee experience would you like?

My favourite so far is a mild double-shot medium-hot latte.

In my house.

What can I get you?

After you figure that out, I’d show you the Christmas tree we put up two weeks ago.

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It doesn’t look like that anymore. Isla likes to hide the decorations on us. You might be sitting on one right now.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we took Isla to see Santa last weekend. It was in the midst of shopping, everyone was in a bad mood, and Santa might have called me the Grinch.

Before we’d lined up, Isla had a tantrum in a coffee shop because they’d run out of orange juice. It was kinda my fault.

We’d been staying in a hotel the night before. It was 300 degrees in the room, so I drank our not really endless supply of OJ that we drag around where ever we go.

We arrived to the mall early. So early, most places were still closed. Except the coffee place with no OJ.

I’m sitting there sipping what just might be the best latte I’ve ever had outside of my house. And my kid is refusing perfectly good apple juice. Because it isn’t orange. I feel kinda bad. I give her my breakfast, because hers doesn’t include anything that is orange juice.

It escalates. I tell her to calm down. Once. And then I don’t say much else. I figure she’ll fizzle out soon enough. But I’m getting looks. I can tell, because if one eye is looking at you, my other eye is looking at someone in New Jersey.

It’s useful. And it doesn’t distract me unless I notice someone looking back at me. Like last weekend. Like I am a horrible mother.

So I turn my head and this woman gets both my eyes. ‘Does she look abused, though?’ I ask.

The woman says nothing.

Neil and I count to ten with Isla and then I ask if she’s done.

‘Yeah,’ Isla says. And we high-five.

And then Isla kind of launches herself at me like she does these days. Because I’m a horrible mother.

As we are leaving, the staring woman offers to help me. ‘No thanks. But Merry Christmas,’ I say.

We are in line to see a grumpy looking Santa. Isla won’t sit with him and I want to leave. Somehow, we all end up sitting for the photo.

‘Bahumbug,’ I said. Sorry, not sorry.

‘No wonder Isla’s in a bad mood. Mum’s the Grinch.’

‘Screw you, Santa,’ I mumbled. And the photo was done.

We left, and I may have cried all the way to the toy store. Because I’m a horrible mother. Obviously. Not really.

Do you want more coffee?

Abstract Sandwiches

On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.

‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’

‘Really?’ I asked.  She’s a Daddy’s girl, see.  I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out.  To me.

‘Yeah,’ she said

‘Did someone pay you to say that?’

‘Uhm.  No.’

When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them.  Like Isla’s.  Because, y’know, I’m her mother.

I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.

‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.

Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.

Isla’s funny, too.  She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.

Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces.  Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.

‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her.  ‘Where did you come from?’

She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways.  It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.

‘From my bedroom,’ she says.

True enough.

I did the pee-pee laugh with that one.  Also true.

Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM.  Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.

Anyway.  This is what I’ve been thinking.  Since Isla started doing things.  Outside the house.  Without me.

This is how life goes.  I’m proud of her.  I’m allowed to miss her.  We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.

I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother.  Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school.  And also when she’s asleep.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.

I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.

And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.

We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.

I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.

I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.

She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.

She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.

And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.

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Kinda like this.  Isla isn’t sure about empty envelopes.

Day One, Again

I’d lost track of how long I’ve been at this blogging thing.  But WordPress told me last week.  I’ve been writing at Gin & Lemonade for six years.

Well.

That makes me want to apologise that my last post before this was a muddy puddle.  But I won’t, because y’know, cute kid.

Someone asked me recently how I was doing.

‘Yeah, she’s two.’

‘I know,’ said my friend, in Edinburgh, on the phone, in a building where I used to work.  ‘But I asked about you.’

‘Oh.’ Actual-ha-ha-dry-laugh.  ‘Ehm.  ‘How ’bout you go first?’ I said.

Because I don’t know how I am.  But I’m trying to find out again.

Our very big medium-sized house in the country is set on sloping gravel that we’re getting paved.  The first step in that process was widening the front door and ramping over the front steps.  That happened over two very noisy days last week.

We took Isla to Inverness for the weekend, on a trip that included getting stuck behind some elk at the safari park, catching Pokemon and Finding Dory.

And came back to a finished ramp into the house.

I know, I went very quickly from ‘me’ to ‘we’ again.  But my point is this.  I plan to use the ramp to get out more.  Yes, I’m looking forward to racing Isla all around the house, but maybe I’ll go further and take a class somewhere, and go for coffee more often, take the camera places.  Fill up some new notebooks.

I have been out of the house before this, but the spontaneity and heart is taken out of it when your husband breaks his toe on the ‘portable’ ramps (one track for each wheel) that the OT department gave you.  (Thanks, but no thanks, but thanks?)

And so, new ramp, new me?  Not quite.  Because I like me.  But I’d like to do more of the stuff I like: writing, working, blogging, laughing, finishing coffee, talking to people who aren’t two. Maybe working outside this house.  And yes, making sure Isla eats and sleeps and learns and laughs.  Because when she does all of those things it’s like I’m doing those things.

But more ‘me’ things on the list, I think.

And so, hello. How are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One More Coffee

And so, my alone time didn’t help much yesterday.  Too quiet.  Not enough kid.

However, I have three new sentences that I didn’t have this time yesterday.  They are mostly about ice cream.  Because we start where we are.

Today started with coffee and pancakes.  After Isla climbed into bed with us and farted in my face.  Thanks, kid.  I’ve decided that that’s not a metaphor for the rest of the day.

Today’s the kind of day where the TV is on, but I’m also listening to music.

And I attacked the beeping (I’m not censoring myself, it gets loud when it’s finished) dryer with a broom-stick.  Y’know, the one I usually have up my ass.  Neil was out and I couldn’t reach the machine.  And I’m resourceful.  Or something.

In other news, we ordered an actual camera.  And because we live in the boonies we are still waithing for it.  Scenery isn’t allowed to happen til it arrives.  That’s a lie.

Hold the phone.  We got to 4.15 in the afternoon before Isla requested an episode of Peppa Pig.  Big real-time/live comment of the day.  I feel we’ve turned a corner.

I think I should switch back to fiction so I don’t jinx this new state of loud Zen I’ve found.  Or something.

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This is what my alone time looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line By Line

If we were having coffee, we’d be hiding in the kitchen while Isla counts the balls in her ball pit and Neil plays the shit out of Isla’s toy guitar.

You’d be convincing me that I can write a mystery on a wharf including a dog collar for NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge.  While I do feel better about this assignment  than the Short Story Challenge, it would seem that the only story elements I can work with these days are:

Coffee

Peppa Pig

and

Angst.

Isla just wandered into the kitchen, opened the fridge and took out a yogurt.  She grows a year older every night.  Today, she is a teenager shuffling around the house and raiding the kitchen.

Pass me the tissues.

So, the TV is on in the backgroud.  Neil has traded the guitar for turning on the washing machine.

Yes, I know I’m lucky.  I’m lucky my husband does things around the house, I’m lucky my child does her own thing, even if that thing changes every five minutes.  And the things don’t stop until she zonks out at 8.30pm.

I’m lucky we live in the country.  With the peace and quiet.  And the sheep.

I’m lucky to have people come into my house every day to help me wrangle my very active child.  I’m lucky she goes for walks and brings me back flowers.  I’m really lucky if she gives me a kiss with those flowers.

I live for those kisses.

But I’m lucky Isla isn’t clingy.  I’m lucky she likes people who aren’t me.  I’m lucky I’m the one who cries when she leaves the house.  I’m lucky I’m the one who needs hugs.  I’m lucky she likes to read.  To herself.

I’m lucky we have all these friends to visit in other places.  I’m lucky shopping and coffee and looking at those friends has become a treat.  Because y’know, seeing your friends all the time can be really fucking boring.

I’m lucky that Neil is taking Isla out for awhile, so ‘Mummy can write.’

Before they left, Isla brought me some paper.  Apparently, she’ll kiss me if there’s words on it when they get back.

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frosty North

Since we moved in we’ve had a gas leak, the washing machine won’t drain, the toaster blew a fuse.  And today, the boiler has packed in. But it’s still our house.  And apparently, it’s well, sensitive.  So.  Leave it alone.  Unless you’d like to come and fix the heat.

Actually, the same guy who fixed our farting stove two weeks ago is making another trip to fix the heat.  Don’t worry, he knows where we live.

In other news, we are online.  And we have cable TV.  And in a fit of DIY, my husband put our spare TV on our bedroom wall.  I know, I’m embarrassed enough for the both of us.

And I’m sitting here at the kitchen table.  We have one of those, too.  In related news, the new word for ‘distressed’ is ‘reclaimed’.  Furniture is now politically correct.

Neil and I spent Valentines weekend picking out and ordering our new socially-acceptable furniture.  Because we are middle-aged romantic like that.

In related news, before we braved the shops, I said if we came home with one of those entertainment centre thingies, we’ll have crossed a line from which there’s no return.

But we were safe.  Every bleary-eyed but somehow super-charged salesperson said, ‘they don’t make those any more.’

The thing was this.  Every shiny, pointy bit of bark that passed for a ‘TV table’ was the perfect height for Isla to fist-bump any TV off of it.

And so.  We found a sideboard thing and we ordered it without the ‘ornate’ top half.  That’s what passes for creative thinking these days.

So there’s a kitchen table for the laptop, a place for the telly box and a sofa big enough for three whole butts.

I still have my old faithful bookcases crammed with books.  They’re even slightly more organised than they were when I was 18.  Not really.

But I do have a TBR bookcase now.

And there’s a bird-feeder stuck to the kitchen window.  A seagull came to investigate it one day last week.  Isla learned a new word that day.

Apparently, the boiler needs a new part.  That’s another word.

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Isla is cold.  And unimpressed with her book.

 

Do you have any funny or not-so funny stories about moving and setting up home?

 

 

This Is What We’re Going to Do

And so, I said yesterday  all the days that I want to write more.

This is how I’m going to do it.

Write 500-1,000 words a day.  Fiction or non-fiction.  Story or essay.

Read a book a week.  Doing Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge to help with this. Although, I really don’t need any help with this one!

Write/Draft one complete short story a week.  From a prompt or my, um, archives.  Open to story sparks, if you’d care to throw them at me.  Might post my efforts here for feedback.

Journal daily.  Not really into the concept of Morning Pages these days.  But we shall see.

Write more snail-mail.  I used to be really big on this.  Freed me up for other writing, and I met some wonderful friends.  Anyone wanna be penpals?

Subscribe to magazines again.  I love mail that isn’t bills.  My favourite magazines have been Lonely Planet Traveller and National Geographic.  What are your favourite magazines?  

And y’know, accountability and all that bullshit  good stuff.  I will mostly report back to Isla, ha!  But I’ll also try to blog here at least three times a week.  More is a bonus and may be a list.

A note on time management.  Isla still takes an afternoon nap.  She’s a good kid.  Words will happen when she sleeps, either in the afternoon or at night.

Let’s see if we can pretend there’s 25 hours in a day.