Saturday, October 27

What price love?

Because I needed to know how my monetary situation would change if, as planned, Bing accepts his next contract down south and moves in with us in January, I did some sums recently.

I'm the very person politicians mean when they talk about personal debt. I've been too mentally screwed up to work properly since my first breakdown and too locked into the poverty trap to do so since my divorce. Much as I love my landlord and he loves me (so much so that I'm very aware we'd have a completely different relationship if he weren't married to a very lovely and very formidable woman) renting in the private sector is financially crippling.

This didn't stop me being offered and accepting positively v a s t amounts of credit during my time as a non-earner. I saw it all as a long-term loan that enabled me, as a lone parent, to be available to my children during their (and my) most vulnerable years. School uniforms, trainers, car costs, christmas presents - groceries, even - you name it, it was all within my reach so long as I had a valid piece of oblong plastic at point of purchase.

Bank, store, platinum, gold. The name or colour that dressed it really didn't matter, as long as there was numerical space between the current transaction and the credit limit. Limits that were extended, upwards, on a scarily regular basis. Never on my request but always because the carefully ordered algorithms of some anonymous data processor deemed it a good (also spelled p r o f i t a b l e) risk.

Not that I ever refused of course. In my pathetic defence I was far too busy surviving myself and attempting to bring my children up as best I could to write thanks, but no thanks letters to rich institutions. It doesn't help that said institutions are still unable to process email for general correspondence this early in the 21st century, nor that I'm really bad at phone calls to family or friends, let alone to call centres somewhere on the planet staffed by minimum wage numpties.

Sis has been on at me for ages to go for an IVA. I balk every time we have the conversation, my overwhelming feeling being it's only fair to eventually pay back every penny lent to me rather than taking what I see as the easy way out and having even a small part of my double figure debt written off in exchange for my previously good credit rating.

The most recent time I see her subtly shift in the chair, unconsciously slipping into her counselling position. All open body language and non-threatening gestures, she questions...

"Would you have wanted to stay at home full time with the children if you'd not had the childhood you did?"

"No" I reply, a little surprised at the depth of conviction my voice has found. "Obviously it's all hypothetical but I think working part time would've been my choice. Time out of the house being a grown up role model and time to be a parent"

"Ok, so let's say that this situation has arisen as a direct result of your abuse"

"Er, ok..." I can kind of see the sense in that and it's 'I'll stick up to Ange cos no-one else does' Sis saying it so I'll run with it for now.

"Would you tell any other survivor that it was 'only fair' that they pay for something resulting solely from their abuse?"

"Of course not!"

"Exactly, you'd quite rightly rage at the unfairness then go on to fight their corner if they couldn't do it for themselves. Why, then, do you feel it's different for you?"

"That's simple. Because I refuse to be a victim of it anymore or use it as an excuse. I'll take responsibility for my situation because that's what makes me a survivor. Ha!"

She laughs softly before saying "Too much responsibility is mostly why you're where you are. Give yourself a break for a change - the sky won't fall down, chicken-licken!"

I join in the laughter, throw something at her for taking the piss out of my earnestness but finally I hear what she's been trying to tell me for so long and start looking into the practicalities of it.

I discover that, even with my finances reorganised I still can't afford for Bing to move in with me next year but actually, that's probably best. Right now I'm more space-craving than ever before and it's not pretty. Truth be told I'm positively fucking feral whenever anyone that isn't my dog demands my attention.

Going from a life alone to three days at college combined with four nights of sharing my bed with a man, bolted on to my usual minimum two karate sessions a week has, apparently, proven to be more of a psychological leap than I was ready for.

Ick. Eep. And other three letter representations that downplay strong emotions and present them in a humorous fashion. My head in a vice and can't breathe, cant breathe! feeling of suffocation has even manifested physically in the form of the worst head cold I've ever had, which now feels horribly like a chest infection has joined in.

But. The really stupid thing is that, amongst all this, I'm horny as all hot hell!

Bing's not a cuddly sleeper so there's no chucking a leg over to wake him gently with my filthy intentions. I fart in the general direction of this problem - he's only a man, after all! I, conversely, am woman which means I have plan B.

Unfortunately plan B (go straight to the source, use previously warmed hand and wake him from dick up/outwards) was met with the kind of reaction that made me check myself for the type of buzzing devices they don't sell at lovehoney.

Ouch. For someone that always felt her place of control was in bed this was a proper slap in the face.

My reply to this perceived 'rejection' wasn't clever, after checking the window and ceiling for Bing shaped holes I withdrew even more. Ach! Much as I hate it I just know I'm walking round giving everyone that look. You, dear reader, may or may not know what I mean so I'll describe it for nice people. It's a very quick, ultimately dismissive glance that nonetheless still manages to translate to the receiver as 'you, sputnik, have exactly two nanoseconds to explain just why the fiery fuck you are breathing in my personal space you useless, smelly product of a yorkshire terriers anal gland'

I'm reminded of those stupid government information ads during the '80s, warning against heroin use...

'Normal life. I thought I could handle it...'

Sunday, October 14

Ooh, haven't you grown!

I do believe we are all, no matter how young at heart or immature we may be, familiar with those little episodes in life that bring us up short and suddenly make us feel very, very old. Dare I say, mortal, even?

Perhaps you've caught yourself uttering a particular phrase to your offspring that your own parent used when you were a child? Realised maybe that the Community Support Officers (they don't make policemen like they used to, do they?) really are looking younger these days? Bitched alarming about your joints playing merry hell during Empi if you've not taken your glucosamine lately?* Or, more likely with my readership, heard yourself moan - quietly for fucks sake! - that you just can't drink as much as you used to and still function the next day?

We all feel old on occasion - no big deal, right? Our defence is to simply laugh at it, whether privately to ourselves or publicly if we blog it for online consumption, then go on to feel a bit better for swimming in the 'thank gawd it's not just me' feeling when the 'Ooh, me too!' replies fill our validation comments box.

My 'no big deal, right?' just became a 'er, yes! Big, large, great, huge deal actually!'

Because this isn't so much about feeling old, but.... ach, read on and it'll make sense.

Wednesday. My day off. No college, no kids at home during school hours, no teaching, no training session - no Bing**, even. The one day a week that I can take a deep, mental breath and please myself however I choose. How do I love thee, Wednesday? Let me count the ways! A midweek by any other name, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...***

Except, no matter what loud music I have on to celebrate being alone in my own space, it never quite works out that way...

If I use the day to catch up on laundry I feel old when I hear myself whining yet again that the kids never put their dirty clothes in the - centrally situated, convenient to all bedrooms - basket.

If I use the day to try re-organising my finances I feel old cos I hear the 'don't be so damn stupid, bitch - you can't possibly challenge your bank! They're the second most powerful *gulp* authority after the *double gulp* law, you don't want to go upsetting them!' voice rearing it's mother sounding head and I slink into shamed victim mode as I pay them, apologetically mute, yet another £38 for the privilege of them bouncing a payment the day before they know full fucking well there is a couple of hundred due to be finally credited to my account from that weird 4-5 day black hole that appears between one end of an electronic transaction and the other.

I'd like to think this is because all the major banks in the UK earn interest on my money during that time and then plough it into customer service rather than upgrading their systems to something more than a 14.4kpbs modem per branch. I'd like to but, being I'm a customer that's not getting any noticeable standard of service other than a standard letter posted mere minutes after they've bounced a £2 standing order to the NSPCC to inform me they've charged me £38 for the privilege, I can't. A 1900% penalty for something that simply has to be done in milliseconds by computer? They're a bunch of cunts.

Let me confirm that for the sake of search engine traffic: BANKS ARE A BUNCH OF CUNTS!

Anyway, this wednesday I had a few things happen that didn't make me feel old as such, but grown-up. Suddenly, shockingly adult.

These things were ridiculously insignificant in themselves. One was sitting through an utterly uninspiring 2 hour death-by-powerpoint careers talk at No 1 Son's school and thinking I simply must make sure he has access to better advice before choosing the right A level courses for himself.

No 1 Son has always had the capacity to make me feel old, usually when he's on the phone to his mates and says 'I'll just check the old lady can give me as lift', but this episode made me feel like a really grown up adult person trusted with the responsibility of guiding this young man through a vital part of his life.

Earlier that day I'd been grocery shopping and, as part of the economy drive that I hope will eventually enable me to never receive one of those letters from the bank again, had patronised the local butcher. Something about taking various cuts of dead animal out of plastic bags and decanting them into meal-sized portions for freezing suddenly made me feel incredibly grown-up, in a way that all the years of unpacking my weekly Sainsburys haul never has.

I must do a proper post about college because it's rich with material and a whole new blog in itself but, for the purpose of this post I'll just tell you that there are 18 women doing my course, four under 18, four over 50 and the rest of us somewhere in between.

Of those ten, mid-age-range women, there is just one that apparently makes both the post-50 ladies feel able share their long-term marriage/olde worlde childbirth stories and the pre-20's spontaneously hug and request more silly jokes to moisten dry theory lessons and personalised cheerleading during practicals.

Buying a pink leather collar and lead to bring our gorgeous dog home with made me smile. Researching how to train a huge animal with bigger teeth than me that I am the leader of her pack... that's different! Right now she's a big soppy lump of puppyfied cuddle but I have to make certain that she knows her place cos she has the potential to eat my children if I don't. That's grown-up shit.

For someone that's always felt responsible even when she wasn't, this week has been a fast lesson in real responsibility. I suddenly feel very much a grown-up, like my life is real and my choice of words and actions impacts on others in a serious way.

And you know what? I'd rather feel old cos this is fucking scary!

Feel free to use my validation box to let me know I'm not alone.

*Ok, that last one is probably just me and Cakeytits but I'm sure you get my meaning.

** I love this man. Truly, utterly and more than I've ever let myself love anyone that goes up my vagina as opposed to being born down it. That said, I can't help but remain the intrinsically fussy bitch that needs space and alone time away from the constant chatterings of real life people - even if that people is him.

That's me, all grown up. Lick it or leave it.

*** Bugger me upside down, upon checking I see that I really did mix Ms Barret Browning and Shakespeare with The King and I . And I want to retain any kind of mature credibilty?!

Sunday, October 7

My growler is no pussy

Bing's job title is 'problem solver'. Actually, his whole lifestyle is 'problem solver', so when I mentioned something in passing last weekend I was only slightly surprised to see him online researching it Friday night.

After a while he called me over to discuss his findings and I was immediately struck by a most handsome lad going by the name of Boycie. This was, however, a very big decision for us so we talked it through a bit more then slept on it. Saturday came and I wanted it even more, Bing made some calls and arranged a meet for sunday when the kids would be with their dad and we'd have time and privacy. The excitement was a massive buzz and every now and then we'd catch each others eye and exchange a delicious, secret smile.

The meet today was nerve wracking, it was taking place in the heart of the Essex countryside and as usual I managed to get lost and lose ten minutes of the hour we had arranged. We finally found it and parked up, took a deep breath and went in, only to discover that Boycie was booked but the mistress had an alternative lined up for us, an attractive, blonde female. Not what I originally had in mind but still, she'd do the job and who knows, she might be a better fit for us? The mistress certainly seemed to think so and she came across as extremely professional and knowledgeable.

I decided I had nothing to lose by meeting her so the mistress led us through walkways and locked gates, me sticking close to Bing's side all the way. I was happy to see evidence of thorough cleaning everywhere but oh my days -the noise was incredible! I'd expected some, obviously, but this was almost deafening in volume and constant. From all directions came similar sounds but in all different pitches and tones.

Our blonde was brought out to meet us and I had to agree, the mistress knew her stuff. This girl was truly beautiful, her eyes a deep, deep brown and a quite long and very pink tongue that she obviously enjoyed showing off! Her body was toned but not too skinny, her deep tan showing off her lovely legs. We went for a wander and a chat together while we made our decision and I fell utterly in love with her.

So she's due to come to my house next weekend and we've already bought some special toys...

Wish me luck!

Eh? Whatever did you think I meant?

She's a 9 month old Rottie/DdB cross, soft as butter and strong as an ox so I'll be getting lots of exercise training her to walk to heel! I was so upset that I couldn't take her sister as well but my house just isn't large enough for two of these not-so-little darlings!

Monday, October 1

Come, come! Save the earth

According to a recent poll*, women that enjoy plenty of orgasms are most likely to be environmentally aware. This scientific study has proven that:

  1. Lusty ladies keep their lighting low - not, as previously thought, to add ambience but in fact, to save fossil fuels.
  2. They share baths and showers with lovers to keep the earths temperature down - and theirs up.
  3. This then means they can set their central heating thermostat a few degrees lower without having to add pesky layers of compensatory clothing.
  4. This socio-economic group accounts for the highest spend per head in the rechargeable battery sector.
  5. And also the highest figures for all and any purchases delivered in plain, brown packaging.

Truly, these are mothers of the earth but forget your stereotypes before you even remember them because there is neither a tie-dye kaftan nor a whiff of patchouli oil to to be had between them. These are modern, thinking women that would throw paint over anyone wearing a dead rabbit as a coat and now want to turn their own defunct dildos into recycled rogerers.

Fear not, sexy sisters. Help is, er, at hand for those of us who hear the phrase 'good vibrations' and don't immediately think of the Beach Boys. The lubeylicious Lovehoney brings us the...

Clickable pic - Plick?

Of course, knowing that the woman of 2007 isn't just about bargain shopping, I wouldn't dare suggest that the carrot of a half price replacement rampant might be a mighty good marketing ploy to tempt even those too terminally selfish to be arsed about the possibility of the western world drowning in its own refuse. As if I would?!

No, I'll merely stick the dirty, lazy bitches with the image of a friendly neighbourhood fox ripping open even your doubled up rubbish bags and strewing your used up sex toys all over the pavement...

*the comments and mails I got after my last post actually but so what? It's more reliable than the results of a tv phone-in!