Late Friday Night

My life has had more ups and downs this week than an injured builder trying to get comfy on an electric orthopaedic bed. You expect a little variation in mood at times, but this week’s been truly ridiculous.

This time last week I was euphoric; I’d finished two Uni assignments and had managed to hand them in on time – one with just four minutes to spare. The next day, a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning, I dropped the car off to be m-o-t-ed, spent an agreeable hour with my dad and stepmother and went back to discover the old banger had passed without a hitch. An omen for a good weekend, I thought, and till late into the evening, I seemed to have got that right. Just before bedtime, however, my darling eldest child reached one of those milestones you know must come but sincerely wish wouldn’t: she was dumped by text by her first ever boyfriend. It’s difficult to convince a 14 year old there’s life beyond such an event or that sometimes there is no rational explanation for other people’s actions (other than that the guy’s an arsehole). Her father kindly offered to drag him through the streets tied to his work truck but our daughter tearfully declined.

As the old man was working on Sunday morning, I drew the short straw and took Child 2 to play in a football match. It was back-achingly cold on the touch line but amusing, never-the-less, to mull over the incompetence’s of the team’s management with other parents. The lads were whupped less badly than usual, only 7 – 3 this time, and though once again the boy didn’t make man of the match, his hatrick earned him a week’s ownership of the match ball. Back on the ascendant again. Until we got home, that is, and discovered that his dad had had an accident and spent all morning in A & E.

On the one hand the story of my husband falling off a ladder has comic elements to it and will be handed down in family folklore alongside such gems as the first words he ever said to me (“Are you putting the kettle on then or what?”), the tale of the Guy Fawkes he brought over, tied pillion-style and flapping about on the back of his motorbike, and the New Year’s Eve party where, dressed as a werewolf, he had a drunken scrap in the middle of the High Street with his friend – the Pink Panther – and I stormed off home, alone, dressed as a tart. The fact that last Sunday he was working alongside a mate who is a top ranking Health and Safety officer in the week-a-day world is not the least amusing part of the story. However, the truth of the matter is that falling off the ladder has left my husband with a broken shoulder, having a broken shoulder has left him unable to go to work or to sit comfortably or lie down sufficiently free from pain for him, or me, to get very much sleep, and that all this has left him extremely irritable and me wanting to bury a sharp implement with great force into his head.

And at this point I am still only up to Sunday night. The week hasn’t been helped by me having Something Important scheduled for every evening of it: historical society meeting (Monday), accountant needing tax return signing (Tuesday), a meeting to save the local secondary school (Wednesday), parents’ evening for our hard-working, talented and still heart-sore eldest child (Thursday). And there’s been quite a lot packed into the daytimes, too: a collaborative learning training day, an afternoon meeting about job cuts, an educational conference today, and my usual work in between. Tired from my day as a City commuter, I cut my pilates class tonight in favour of cooking some tea. Chopping onions, I had a text from my friend, asking when I’d be arriving for her birthday meal because everyone else was already there. She didn’t sound too happy when I phoned to confess I’d forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been many great moments this week, not least seeing a hall full of ordinary people standing up to hard faced Council officials over what they feel is right. But I felt pretty much in zombie mode some days and by yesterday afternoon, came home in what is usually a University lecture slot and simply went to bed. I managed to get up in time to greet and feed the children, though, before I had to rush off out again.

I’m reminded of something an old guy at the history meeting said on Monday, talking about the lack of interest people show, now, towards community activities. “It’s not true people have more to fit in now-a-days,” he said, “they just choose to use their time differently.” I looked at him and pondered whether to argue the point or not. I decided that I didn’t have the energy.

I can’t see how I chose to have the manic week I’ve just had. If it is just a matter of choice, though, please pencil me in for a much gentler time of it next week. I’d like it to be an amble rather than a trot, with several restful nights’ sleep, no-one upsetting my loved ones and at least four evenings in, slouched in front of the telly. But if you can’t manage that, pass that bottle of red wine over – I think I’m going to need the extra iron.

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