Friday, 9 January 2015

A Funny Thing Happened To Me Today......

So here sit I with a large glass of cold white wine to hand thinking about a funny conversation L and I had today.

Funny in retrospect, because for a good few minutes at the time it made me Very Grumpy, however, I am writing in down for posterity because it is Fairly Typical of our conversations at the mo. Those of you who have/ have had teenage children will find this Familiar Territory I'm sure (I'm thinking here especially of my lovely blogging chum Leanne, who will doubtless Understand).

L is home today with a sore throat that has been grabbing at him all week. To be fair to him he's gone to school Monday through Thursday without complaint, feeling hot and not looking all that well, but last night it got worse and he puffed up and looked and felt hot and bothered. Eventually, at bed time, he croaked, pointing dramatically at his throat from beneath the eye patch he had constructed from his skull-and-cross-bones bandana (don't ask): 'I don't think I can go to school tomorrow, mum'.

This was followed, after I agreed that a day off was probably in order, by a request for me to make him a proper eye patch from something soft and the wondering out loud whether if I wrote a letter to school along the lines of he'd hurt his eye, he might be allowed to wear it there.

I shouldn't think so, I said, given that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with your eye and therefore to state otherwise would, in fact, be a LIE and lying isn't good or clever or funny, as I keep telling you. To which he shrugged and grinned and went off to his bed, where the light remained on for a long time accompanied by the sound of scribbling that sounded suspiciously like a letter to school being forged.

So he's home, and he slept this morning and by lunch was talking properly and looking less flushed, and we duly went off together to Hobby Craft where we bought a new sewing machine for Ma whom I have inveigled into getting back into sewing as she is a whizz who used to make all her own clothes and it turns out she's been hiding her sewing light under a bushel all these years and I'm hoping she'll pass on some of her techniques to me.

On the way home with the S machine safely tucked up in the back of the car,  I stopped off at Waitrose for bits and bobs and L went off to the library.

Now, for those of you who don't shop at our local Waitrose, I should explain that the majority of  female customers look like they've just bounced out of a refreshing month at Champneys, after six weeks winter sun at Kloisters, while the kids have been palmed off on the nanny and they themselves have literally only seconds before left their personal hair, makeup and dress assistants tucked up in the comfort of their spotless, brand new 4x4s (that would have allergic reactions if they ever saw a milligram of mud, let alone be required to drive up an actual dirt track that might actually require a 4x4). They do not, on the whole, look like they've spent a morning in the woods with two mucky dogs who've climbed up on their lap afterwards for a snuggle and in the process covered them in wet earthy kisses.

So this is what happened when I was leaving the shop:

Me: Slightly frazzled from carrying too many bags that didn't want to be carried, wisps of hair escaping from under cheap primark beany hat (that I later realised was on wonky with an unsightly puffy element sticking up at the top that made me look like an elf), jeans with paw-prints etched on in mud, no makeup (plus ca change?) and the most comfy walking boots that were ever made on my feet

walked past 

She: Perfectly dressed, made up and coiffured with not a hair out of place, smart brown leather boots on her feet into which were tucked immaculate jeans, a mid-length beige trench coat neatly belted round an impeccably slender waist, lipstick perfectly applied, expensive bag casually positioned calmly over one arm and all her shopping bags neatly lined up in the trolly as she waited in the coffee queue.

She stared at my face as I struggled past her with my wretched cascading bags and her eyes slipped rather too obviously down over the rest of me, only to return appalled a second later to my face. She wore an expression best described as stuck somewhere between horror and pity. 

This is not the first time this has happened. Next time I go to Waitrose I am wearing a full-on ball gown and I'm getting my friend and ace-hairdresser Sam to do my hair for me too before I go, I tell you.

Anyhoo, I squared my shoulders, grinned my most unbalanced-looking leer and (just about managing not to stick my tongue out) swished past her. Returning to the car I phoned L and announced I was back and it was time he left the library. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi love
L: Silence 
Me: L?
L (distractedly so I knew he had his nose in a book): Hi mum.
Me: Hi darling. I'm back at the car, so can you come back now, please?
L: Silence
Me: L?
L: Silence, then the sound of rustles (which I took to be movement, but later realised was in fact more likely to be pages being turned). Oh well, I thought (at the time), I suppose that's what acquiescence sounds like if you're talking to a thirteen year old.

Ten minutes later I'm still standing by the car and now it's getting cold and the light is fading and it's starting to drizzle and there's no sign of a disgruntled hoodied teenager. I ring again.

Me: Are you still in the library?
L:Yes. 
Me: Why?
L: Because that is where I am.
Me (between gritted teeth): Are you not walking back to the car?
L: Obviously, no.
Me: Why not?
L: Because I'm at the library, as we have already established.
Me (grinding my teeth to the point they are starting to splinter, while at the same time trying to maintain a reasonable tone to my voice): But I rang to tell you to come back to the car ten minutes ago.
L: I didn't hear you. Can't you come and pick me up?
Me (breathing deeply to prevent Shouting Occurring, which will only result in L stating in a tone of perfect calm that I have lost control and am shouting at him and that Isn't Noble): No. You have a perfectly serviceable pair of legs. (And then, amid a rising temper at the lack of apologetic response)- and besides, I called you five times! Five Times! And now I'm standing here getting wet and cold, waiting for you!
L: Well get in the car then
Me (fuming): I WILL!

I get in the car, and, feeling like not unlike a teenager myself, slam the door petulantly for the sake of it because I am cross. Deciding that he'll be ages, I have just settled down to read CJ's very funny post about her children referring (or not) to her as a Domestic Goddess, when the door opens and a hoodie-clad teenager gets in.
Hello darling, I say, breathing deeply, more determined than ever to stay calm and be friendly.
L says: You called me twice. Not five times.
Me (practicing yoga-esque deep-breathing of the kind that any Guru would be proud of): I rang you twice, but I said "L?" five times. Why didn't you just reply?
L : I thought your trousers had called me.

It is a standing joke in our house that I receive on average three calls a month from M's trousers while he is at work. We perhaps won't go in to how he manages it, but I've got very used to answering the phone when his mobile number shows up and hearing only the rustle of fabric accompanied by the distant sound of voices and then I know it's call from his trousers. What I hadn't appreciated was quite how firmly the idea of someone's trousers being able to call you has passed into our family folklore, and as more or less always happens when L is infuriating me, his response made me laugh so much my sides hurt. Thank God for a Sense Of Humour. Where would we be without it?

Aren't kids marvellous? Bloody annoying but Pretty Darn Marvellous.

Hope your day has held some laughter-rich moments.

And in case you were wondering, Granny loved her new sewing machine and has already shortened a pair of jean shorts with it. I have the texted photo to prove it :o).

CT x

 

 

 

41 comments:

  1. LOL LOL LOL !!! Sorry!! I'm one who has just about survived teenage angst!!!

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    1. Always inspiring to hear from one who has survived :o) x

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  2. Having successfully reared my 3 and them flown the nest, I acquired my 14 year old Grandson a few years ago and he stayed until he left for Uni, he had troubles at home and arrived with a rucksack announcing that he was going to stay with us. I can tell you it was a culture shock as things had moved on considerably since I reared my own and we had to contend with a lot that we had not had to with our own. Never the less, I know exactly where this post is coming from. Tom junior is now living in London and doing exceptionally well in the music industry and we learnt a lot from him. Enjoy yours while they are still with you, they soon go and you'll miss them so much.
    Briony
    x

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    1. You're so right. Every age is different. L and I are very fortunate in that we share a sense of humour (and a temper) which lets us understand each other (broadly!) and gets us through most things :o) You must be v proud of your lad and how lovely that he wanted to be with you when things were tough. Like having a second bite of the cherry xx

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  3. This post did make me laugh. Teenagers!! They all go through it, hang on in there. Glad your Mum likes her sewing machine.

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  4. Thanks for the laugh! In a way I'm very glad to be past this stage of parenting, but in another way I miss it because of moments like you've just described.

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    1. It's the same with having tiny people. I wouldn't want to be back with babies and toddlers, but there are also precious and priceless memories of that time to cherish :o)

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  5. I'm laughing, but I know I have all this to come. Thanks for the mention. And I know exactly what you mean about Waitrose. I always walk round staring at all the well heeled people and wondering what they think about me. Not a whole lot I imagine. Wishing you a good weekend, with not too much eye-rolling and no phone calls from people's trousers. CJ xx

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    1. Yes, you just wait! I find Waitrose provides rich pickings for comedy :o) xx

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  6. Hey CT,
    Did you know that my brow has permanent furrows? I blame teenage boys. I now have two, as Alf turned 13 in December. I loved this. Just another day at the office, eh my lovely ;))
    Leanne xx

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    1. Knew you'd appreciate it. I think our life paths run along very similar lines at present :o) xx

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    2. And can I just say that I was so chuffed with the dedication xx

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  7. Oh dear!! I cannot say anything about teenagers, I am sure that I was perfect.... Do you believe me... No, I can hear snorting from here!! I know what you mean about perfectly dressed people. I thought that I was "dressed up" yesterday to go to a meeting and somehow I came off looking as though I had just crawled out of the dead hedge compared to everyone else. Never any makeup on my face, it all just kind of goes into this strange clump and I look dreadful. At least I don't have paw prints, that is a tricky one isn't it. Oh well, at least you laughed together, that is the most important bit of all isn't it!! Long live laughter! xx

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    1. I made Ma a heart-shaped sign a few years ago that reads: 'a day without laughter is a day wasted.' Luckily, we never waste any days here :o) xx

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  8. Thanks for sharing your funny story! Yeah, when my kids were teenagers they too had their moments. I think if I was going to go back to that fancy yuppie store again, I'd mess up my hair and wear the oldest clothes I had! See what the prissy ladies would say then! :)

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    1. It is a normal occurrence for me to be the only person in that shop wearing wellies that have real mud on them :o) Makes me grin to myself every time :o)

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  9. A call from your husband's trousers, the mind boggles, ha ha.

    Your post made me smile and smile. It also reminded me of a lady who i used to work with who seemed somehow to be taking pictures of herself on her phone camera every time she opened her handbag. Needless to say in the pics she always had a shocked look on her face as the flash went off.

    Jean
    x

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    1. I haven't asked him how he manages it :o)

      I love your photograph story- brilliant. If it was me I think I'd put them all into a photo book and whenever I needed a giggle I'd look at it. M and I once spent quite a long time giving each other expressions to pull (shocked/ angry/ sad/ happy/ annoyed etc) and then taking photos of our faces while the kids played happily at the park. For some reason, none of the other parents came near us :o) xx

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  10. lol..........and lol some more. Eldest boy only answers with one word answers and it drive me bonkers or should I say even more bonkers than I already am.

    I'm always covered in mud and dog hair and everyone here in Prada hills look down their noses at me. I have the last laugh because the worst offender has a Husband who's having an affair with one of his admin staff, so perfect lipstick makes a perfect marriage.....not ;)

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    1. We get monosyllabic replies here too, when we get a reply at all that is :o)
      All that glitters isn't gold, eh? I've got to an age where comfort is more alluring than heels and I like being outside so smart clothes all day long really wouldn't cut it xx

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  11. Pffft I'm laughing hard in my sick bed! Did you also emit a low growl whilst grinding teeth. Apparently that's what I do! I hope you learnt your lesson by keeping your shopping bags in your trolley! Isn't Waitrose fabulous for people watching, my local is a little too far away to be called local but my eight week visits prove very entertaining each time.

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    1. Oh poor you- get well soon :o)

      L finds it hilarious that I once made a twenty year old cry by telling him off yet apparently my stern admonishments have no impact on a 13 year old whatsoever. And yes, Waitrose provides great Blog Fodder :o) xx

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  12. I was blamed for losing my mobile phone, by my teenage son, because he meant to return it to me, but forgot, so put it on the roof of my husband' scar at silly o'clock in the morning as he left to drive off to university...and was indignant when I did not see it (not even knowing it was there!) and it was lost when my husband drove off to work....the logic baffles me!
    I know what you mean about the immaculate people. I mentioned we had lots of composted horse manure if a friend wanted some for their gardens, and was told they did not like to get their trucks dirty and could we deliver it?!

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    1. Oh my goodness, I recognise that too! Always our fault...

      Re the horse manure, ma tells a similar tale about friends who wanted to collect some from her muck heap and arrived dressed to the nines in protective gear :o)

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  13. You're so right CT. Thank God for a sense of humour.

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  14. I think you should hang outside the shop with a dollop? of mud on the tip of yer nose and smile your broad smile. You'd probably get a fair bit o' change. ha,ha Teens know exactly how many times you call - its just the best part of the book they're at or the beatable game their almost winning, or perhaps a pretty face indulges them. Always challenging, always loved. We all want a photo of you in muddy prints n those lovely boots, with hair flying wild, eh. ha,ha

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    1. Good idea! I'd make some cash although I might get moved on by the police.... :o)

      A photo wouldn't be hard- it's more or less my permanent look. When I do doll up no one recognises me :o)

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  15. I can only relate to the 'Perfectly groomed shopper' experience...I always say never again, but seem somehow to end up looking 'au naturel' at the wrong time!

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    1. Glad it's not just me. That's what country girls are, eh? x

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  16. Your post did make me laugh - I still get similar experiences with my two and they are no longer in their teens!!! :) I once went into a local Waitrose wearing my Badgers - Not Guilty (Stop the Cull) t-shirt and I got some very strange looks. I am sure too the Security Guard was following me around - lol!! :)

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    1. I suspect L will be the same in his twenties too :o) Love the idea of a security guard following you round Waitrose! Imagine him radioing his mates about the dangerous subversive shopping in the store! :o)

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  17. My sister and I had our children at very different stages so mine are all grown up now and hers are firmly teenage. They are great and funny and I love them to bits but I had forgotten quite how infuriating teenagers could be, especially clever ones who are always and always several steps ahead of you and firmly in the right! And yes to the mud and the wellies and the slightly skew hat.

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    1. You're so right about the intelligence and being several steps ahead- L could argue the hind leg off a donkey and provide convincing evidence to back his theory up. I keep telling him he should be a barrister :o)
      I'm loving the fact so many of us are to be found dressed in wellies with a liberal application of mud- there is hope for the world yet, eh?! x

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  18. I definitely look like you when shopping in Waitrose! I didn't realise until I got home this morning that I had muddy paw marks down by coat! We were also waiting at the car for my daughter in similar circumstances yesterday! Sarah x

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    1. Years ago it was baby sick that I went shopping covered in and I convinced myself that was just a life stage, but now I think it's just me and nothing will ever change :o) x

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  19. I had was dropping my children off at nursery school, and was getting back in the barn, when one of the yummy mummy types asked me if I washed my muck boots...I asked her whatever for? I was going right back to mucking stalls! No comprehension in theses mascared blank eyes....

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    1. I had the same thing once on my way to the stables after dropping L at primary school, and again in the afternoon when I turned up in jods with straw in my hair :o) Nice to know I'm not alone, Lynda :o)

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  20. Lovely post, all I can say is wait for the drinking stage and wanting to go to party's at friends houses.... You can then worry till the we hours of the morning .
    Amanda xx

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    1. OMG (as our teenage daughter would say). I hadn't thought of that! xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x