I am fed up. I am so fed up I do not think I can even be funny about how fed up I am. It is not funny when a mother of three seriously contemplates running away to London for a day's purposeless shopping, and not coming home, at least for tonight. I decided I couldn't. It would confuse the children. It would confuse me. I might not want to come home at all.
I say "home". Obviously, it is not a "home". My "home" is occupied by smiley, dusty men with big boots who have revealed they are four weeks behind schedule. We cannot move back in to the cottage when we thought we could. It is not their fault. Two weeks went on slating a roof which was not in the orginal spec; another two weeks , replastering all the walls when it was hoped they would just need repair. Both roof and walls look better; I feel worse. I want my house back.
I do not think the funeral helped. Death, I have to say, is a bit of a downer. Not just for the dead. Funerals give you the chance to catch up with those you love and never see; meet those you like and will never see again. I met a deal of kindness there. Other people's kindness fills up an empty part of me. Someone who walked me across a field with a bull in it. A bull can fill a field. Very fast. He made me braver. One of life's natural carers who made us tea and fed us ham. A girl in a lakeside hotel, who brought me a teapot, cup and plate of digestives as I perched, gloomy, in the hotel foyer with a laptop. Dancing between customers in the bar, busy as busy; yet, she took a moment to glance through an open door and see me. She could have looked away, poured a smiling, eager face another foaming drink. She didn't. Another. An old friend of my father's who said to me: "You're a lovely looking girl." I am 42; I suspect he had cataracts. I am 42; I take a complement where I can get one. I liked all these people.More besides. But still, I got "peopled out".
There are times, when I feel my life has no "pause" button. Something you could press for a few moments of silent time, thinking time; the time to ask: "Where am I now?" I grope around. No button. The clock ticks on. You tick on. Even this morning, I crawled back to bed after the school run. At least I tried. There were two adults downstairs but my four-year-old came up to me three times within half an hour; hectoring, demanding, loving.
I am fighting back panic, that swept-away feeling of: "What am I supposed to do here?" Yesterday, the boys had a spaghetti sword fight. Inch-long pieces of (uncooked) spaghetti, shattered over the kitchen floor. At bedtime, the six-year-old water bombed the four-year-old's bed. What am I going to do when the baby is old enough to join in concert with her brothers' mayhem? We are outnumbered. We will be washed quite away. In 20 years time, I am sure I will laugh at their antics. If I am not dead, I will play "remember when's" with them. I will say: "Remember. When you flooded the bathroom. Twice in four days." Today though. Today, I want to weep. I feel guilty. If I was not writing, that is to say, working. Working at home. Still. Working. If I was more focussed on the children, they would stop moving seamlessly from one outrage to the next. If I was more willing to make papier mache piggy banks and take them on forays to the playground, they would transform themselves. They would be Granny's dream boys.
I am constantly "the bad guy". I take treasures away; rant; drone on, endless and relentless. They must "listen...do as you are told". They carry on. Regardless. I am reconstituting the star chart (rewards and praise for good behaviour.) I do not want to draw up any star chart; I want to run away. I am just not sure London is far enough.