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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Day in Life of the Remarkably Idle Milla

(this was done, as did we all, for a thing on purplecoo, and I have transported it just because I'm slightly OCD and like all my toys together. It was done last week or so, hence the reference to dear Masterchef, for the loss of which I am already in mourning:)

My day begins hours too early, at 7.46, with a thump at the clock radio.
Having been awake all night, it is during the next 7 minutes that I have the best dreams in the world before being cruelly snatched back into the world of things to do. I have always loathed mornings and getting up but, once up, I adopt a scornful stance towards any filthy lie-a-bed who might still be wallowing in their cot. I wonder whom I can phone and stir from their slumbers.

The next hour is one of high octane adrenaline. No wonder I hate getting up when first up is dealing with Lolly’s nocturnal turds (if necessary, says hopefully). Then bustle through to kitchen to enbreakfast children and hound: Lolly last in an attempt to establish a pecking order with her right at the bottom of it. Don’t all gasp, purplecooers, it’s what The Books say: dogs come last. By now she is outside trying to grasp the concept of lavatorying 'neath the big bad sky. Her besom face, perplexed at all things to do with rules, will be held at an angle and berate me through the glass of the door: Why am I outside. I hate rain, I hate wet grass, I don’t like getting my knickers wet, I won’t squat here, there’s a perfectly serviceable carpet inside. I will glare at her. She will rise like a bear and throw clattery claws at the glass.
I toss my head and turn on the kettle. It is a little early for a true battle of wills, but I am the one with opposable thumbs who can grapple with the handle, while she is not.

Lunch preparation happens now, too, with endless little goodies piled into my offspring’s lunchboxes.
I make no apologies for being unbearably smug about these lunchboxes: they gleam with good intentions which have actually been carried through.
How rare is that.
Tiny pots of olives, raspberries, carrot, mango combine to approach their five a day without even trying and, God knows, I need to feel good about something I do. As often as not, too, the biscuit or cake is homemade although I may let the side down with a baby sausage roll rich in dodgy bits of pork knees.
Sandwiches are a bore since peanut butter is not allowed, up there with guns and knives on the prohibited list: one boy in another year “might” be allergic; one child in Reception has a kiwi allergy: therefore no children in the school are allowed kiwi fruit. I know, I know, yet again how very unsympathetic I sound: how much of a “bore” would I really feel if some child or other slipped into a coma because of a naughtily smuggled-in peanut butter sandwich made by me. But still sandwiches *are* a bore and seem to bring out the worst in us all.
I shovel in some rice cakes and oat cakes instead.

By now I am onto my second cup of black coffee of the day, technically, perhaps, my fourth, since each cup takes 2 strong teaspoonfuls.
As an impoverished student, I would only drink real, now I will only drink instant, but only Costa Rican and exact almost to the point of grain count. A bad cup of coffee is so disappointing. E calls my coffee slippery muck, I jeer just as unkindly at his foul brown liquid which is mere Gold Blend and not the nectar of the Gods which is mine. Needless to say we nurse our own jars fiercely.
I don’t bother to eat, unless E hasn't gone into work nastily early but is busily getting in my way making worthy porridge and then I tut, and make a big deal of working round him in a huffy manner and ungraciously allow him to make me a baby bear bowl-ful of the stuff. No sugar, however, can’t abide porridge with sugar. Yuk. He takes my wincing at his rounded spoonful of the same as indicative of my desire to ring a divorce solicitor.
He might be right.
He tuts back.
Happy families.

Round about now I regroup with an aaaaah moment, leaning back against the walnut cupboards, upper bottom cold against the granite and enjoy a full-on love-in of the most glorious kitchen in the world.
Truly it is a dream. It is big and stylish and fan-bloody-tastic. It inspires kitchen-envy in all luckless females who come to admire, and it is mine, mine, mine, mwah ha ha.
After 20 months of squalor and grime and ancient formica belonging to another, I am now truly spoiled. But at least I know it. 30’+ long, it is 2 old rooms knocked into one plus an extension. The old dining room end, which we used to call the caravan, takes a monstrous huge charity shop sofa – a raft of a thing; also tucked in are piano; large oriental rug; bookcase; 2 sets of drawers; and view. And the wall light is quite groovy.
The middle bit, divided from the caravan by a much-used (to my surprise) “breakfast bar” is actual dream kitchen from heaven. As I gaze lovingly at my empire, a jewel in a unfinished house still ceiling-high with boxes, my 2 boys are at chomp, chatting to me or annoying each other, or reading The Beano. Thumping big island, double-doored larder, bookshelves, L-shaped units. Enough cupboards to lose a dog in – and God knows I’d like to try sometimes.
The far end has an enormous oval table in smoked oak with 8 diddy chairs, quite terrifyingly modern, planted round it, and with one of my father’s most beautiful paintings on the yellowy wall.
Have I mentioned that I love our kitchen?

This admiration session possibly accounts for the next bad-tempered few minutes when I realise, AGAIN, how late we are for although we sort of thought we had masses of time, inevitably we don’t, the promised safety net of 15 minutes to go having disappeared in a flash. Mother sets up a screech. F9 roars that he’s “doin’ somethin’” and T11 stands shiny and a little put out that he is booted and coated and bagged and teethed but that no one else is. Lolly, who has been let in by a boy eyes the front door anxiously, again lamenting her rubbish paws which won’t let her fasten her own lead and establish herself outside and ready to go. She has 2 high points of the day: 3 minutes ago which was eating breakfast, and the next hour of her main walk. Sometimes I feel sorry for her. And then she’ll run off like a delinquent teenager, and I want to turn her into gloves.

So a raggletaggle quarrelsome quad we make barging out of the door, dog like a furry bullet first (despite best attempts to keep her greasy slipperiness at the rear, where she should be, as advised by The Books) a hint of her massively irritating and incapacitating inter-leg weaving walking up the road to come. I wear my sunglasses in all weathers to avoid catching the eye of all the good parents driving away while we still have a five minute walk ahead of us. I kiss my boys, giving thanks that they have never (yet) had a problem at public displays of affection: surely that is the deal with children? Your scars, their kisses.

Then I chat with the other mothers about nothing for 20 minutes but still we laugh, and then walk Lolly in the fields with another mother and her dog who is most sub-standard dog. For she won’t play with Lolly being obsessed instead with impressive ball chasing which also involves hogging 2 sticks as well as stuffing rancid tennis ball in mouth too. How greedy. She shames, too, by being horribly good at coming back when called, compared with my mad bag of insolent fur who ignores me being far too busy bustling up, all swaggery bum and flying fur, to any random dog going. These invariably yap and hiss back which drives her to seek refuge instead rummaging unpleasantly in hedges. A girly girl my Lolly, I call her hedge work “shopping”.
Other mother talks the entire time about her various sporting prowess or boasts about her dog, underlining the line which cannot be crossed in obedience terms. So I switch off and pray for a thunderbolt from heaven to catapult her and her mutt into the stream on the bottom field.
It is Lolly, though, on whom all the children from school fall, carolling “Lollllllleeeeeee!” in delight, so that, perhaps, is my reward. Other mother probably hates me.

Once home it’s time for a necessary cup of coffee and a check of the post and any phone messages. A good day is none of either. I hate post and messages, truly the worst thing, up there with laundry. Goodness, it might mean that I have to respond to something.
The next hour should be spent in routine dullness. You know the sort of thing, desultory tidying, resentful hoovering, Putting Things Away, plumping sofas. Whistle while you work stuff which sears my soul, but instead I find myself lured by the computer and Just Checking A Few Sites. I will have to lie to E about this later. I intersperse this self-indulgence with showing a polite interest in the washing machine and dabbing the brush at high-maintenance Lolly who, like every member of the family, inwardly cries out for staff.
The enormous elephant in the day of this life is that I possibly need a job. I used to work for The Biggest Advertising Agency, and then for The Only Radio. It seems a lifetime ago. Strange thing, jobs, though, and how little actual work you have to do while there. Truly just turning up and being in the building tended to be enough for most of us. But I don’t want to do that anymore. And I reckon I'm unemployable by now anyway.
At some stage into young children, I was press ganged by a virtual criminal into designing and creating his garden, and then his wife’s, and then into looking after them. It was terribly well paid, but I was never comfortable with the strange comings and goings, nor his attempts to shove his tongue in my mouth, although the smart wine he routinely gave me slipped down a treat and few gardeners, maybe, get given Laurent Perrier champagne when knee-deep in mud. I was naughty and just stopped going. Besides, my back hurt too much by then.
And I’ve done some half-hearted editing of the most spleen-crushingly boring reports for a woman who thought she couldn’t write. She could write well enough, but of a strangled, committee-speak sort that did your head. Eye-blinkingly painful for a wannabe-purist like me who squeals at a split infinitive and flinches at the word “situation.”
Recently I’ve had to be sort of project managing here (chokes at the notion of such self-importance) but, with the end in sight, I need to get real and get a job, but of the kind that doesn’t exis:. 10-2.30, well-paid and term-time only and able to take a day off at the drop of a hat to look after the children. Or if I need a little lie-down.

This is long and have only reached 11ses so will resort to phrases for the rest:
Pfaff around, time disappears, feel busy, achieve nothing.
Another day looks set to drift by without having filed my life in filing cabinets. Paperwork is the carpet.
Maybe I’ll garden, if it’s nice.
Collect children at 3.15. Maybe a friend back, maybe not. Maybe they go to the park and play, or to piano, or ju jitsu, or rugby or not. Chat, to whoever will have me.
Wince at badly-written letters home from school, hand poised, again on phone to ask headmaster if he wants help in sentence construction. Resist. Wisely.
Make supper. At least I cook. That’s something in my favour.
All eat together at about half past six. Work on the house. We all sit watching Masterchef, roaring “Cooking Doesn’t Get Tougher Than This” en masse at the TV. After which children are despatched quickly to bed and disappear upstairs in a crosspatch of teeth-brushing and blame.
If in, watch rubbish on TV. But virtuously knit or sew or read at the same time and look up occasionally, irritating E by asking “which one is that …?” or “Is he the one who …?”
Go to bed.
F9 will still be up. This will be the fault, it seems, of the deep-in-dreams T11.
Tomorrow is another day.


Expatmum said...

Phew, and I was just calming down after having driven eldest to the wrong hospital for an 8am appointment. I am envious that you rise at 7.45. My oldest two have to leave the house at 7.50 - but at least they can walk themselves.
I will also try to avoid split infinitives in future!

grit said...

i too am completely unemployable by any normal standards. working from home 30 minutes a day is just about as much as i can manage. i blame the children. for most things, come to think of it.

Her on the Hill said...

Aaah, yes, so many resonances! Miss Masterchef (Mastershout) too. Am drifting around at 8.30pm these days wondering what to do with myself ('our three cooks are about to meet their toughest challenge yet'...). Tough, tougher, toughest. Poor Jonny. Poor whatshernamecookingbloodycreative geniusat18! Pah! I could teacher her a thing or two. Er, probably not. Would I have thought of campfire-smoke-and-heat and beetroot tagliatelle? Yes, yes, of course I would! (Ahem).

Ditto to poorly phrased/spelt/conceived school letters. I am SUCH a linguistic pedant....And I really HATE getting up in the morning, dragging myself into the harsh realities of the day ahead, and I am spectacularly gifted at letting the 15 minutes safety net disappear in a puff of 'blimey, late again'.

But I don't have a dog (husband, 3 kids and cat will suffice for now); I drink real coffee when I drink it; I never had a glittering job (apart from in my dreams) and I don't have a kitchen to die for. Die in, maybe. Any pix? Sounds divine. Big sofa. Envy, envy.

kissa said...

Masterchef. This programme brings out the shouty person in me mostly at Greg and John self important or what? Have you noticed how even Radio 4 makes errors with badly formed phrases. Am I getting old and intolerant or are standards slipping??

Milla said...

Zoƫ Posted: 14 Feb 2008 12:11

You write with such humour. Cant imagine you being lazy either, the way you write is always so frenetic, I always imagine it as a reflection of you, busy, busy, busy.

I know when we had the builders in for months on end, it was deeply stressful, and I spent most my time chasing my tail to try and catch up with the mess they created. I understand the kitchen thing too, 10 years on I still stroke the granite and smile to myself, when people new to the house say wow.

Dont know about anyone else, but reading this made me laugh. It is wonderful, thanks Milla

Fennie Posted: 14 Feb 2008 12:26

Yes. Big breath, sigh. Yes. Ooh you can write, Milla. You'd have done wonders for CL. Few people make me laugh out loud, but you do. 'I dither, but I dither briskly' - still makes me laugh - even though it's not from your contribution above. Can't really say anything else. I suspect the picture you paint of your day is impressionistic, I mean after breakfast - or at least elevenses - you kind of disappear into the fog, with just the occasionally reminder that you are there at all. Bit like sewing in front of the television, really. Not that it matters of course.

But if you are looking for a job - apply to be a stand-in for Caitlin Moran in Times2. You are every bit as funny with the ability to write about anything.

ChrisH Posted: 14 Feb 2008 12:30

Will you start berludy writing again NOW, woman. You are too funny by half, will probably get published in two seconds flat and I'll try not to be too jealous. It's a good job Lolly doesn't have a thumb or she might do something about her position in the pecking order pretty sharpish. And lunch boxes? You do lunch boxes - you can't be that lazy! Oh, but it does give you plenty of opportunity to enjoy the kitchen. Enjoy it - you went through some grotty times during the building process. A very entertaining 'day'.

Milla said...

Faith Posted: 14 Feb 2008 13:15

Thanks Milla for putting it up. You certainly do have a gift for writing and I if you want a job between 10 and 2.30 then write! Send columns off to magazines or whatever writer's do - I can't imagine that the world in general wouldnt find you as funny as we do.

SallysChateau Posted: 14 Feb 2008 13:39

Love your acid humour ever so sweetly sacharine coated, how could anyone take offence ? sat pretending to work but had difficulty not laughing out loud and then would have been told off and had to lay the blame fairly and squarely at your door !!!

Inthemud Posted: 14 Feb 2008 13:40

That was simply brilliant Milla, so much humour, I was laughing to myself as i read it. You have such a gift for writing!

Oh How I wish I had your wonderful Kitchen,, you're right to love it!!

Poor Lolly, last in the pecking order, yes, I've read the books but my dogs come first as they are down waiting for food whilst rest of family still in bed bar me! I do of course pretend to eat their food first , as the book says, actually I might eat it all sometimes, as Molly likes scrambled egg with hers and she is only a pup. With you on the turd thing too. Molly just beginning to go outside but still goes inside too..........

Anyway, you're not at all lazy, how can you be and get so much done!

Milla said...

LittleBrownDog Posted: 14 Feb 2008 13:41

Absolutely fabulous, Milla! Now have an extreme case of kitchen envy. Oh, please invite me over so you can have the pleasure of seeing me turn well and truly green.

Would love to know what you did at XXXX's and Radio X - I have a v good friend at Radio X, but suspect it's a big place. Also played rounders with Charles X many many moons ago - tho sure he will not remember the plump quiet girl who kept missing the ball on fourth base.

V much enjoyed this - I was there with Lolly - "shopping" in hedges is about the only kind I can afford to do these days.

LBD xx

Lampworkbeader Posted: 14 Feb 2008 15:10

Sounds like a full on sort of day to me. Brilliant blog. I was right there with you....Give up the coffeee girl and start eating breakfast! I'm not even going to mention the kitchen, so there!

@themill Posted: 14 Feb 2008 15:41

Joined: 10 Jul 2007

Posts: 47
Glorious Milla, simply glorious
Short sentences.

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Milkmaid Posted: 14 Feb 2008 16:46
Wow can I have your kitchen please, couldn't cope with your strength of coffee, sorry I'm a mere Gold Blend girl too, great writing

Inthemud Posted: 14 Feb 2008 17:14

Hi Milla,
Of course you can have a "Mwah", I meant to pm you to say go and collect one, it's on my blog. Congratulations! Well deserved "Mwah" for such a brilliantly amusing day!

Love Elaine XX

Bodran Posted: 14 Feb 2008 18:43

I can just imagine your square little swanky botted dog and i think she as got a thumb cos your under it..xxx What kitchen?? Lot's of spelling mistakes and huge sentences just for you and Nocturnal Turds that had me hooting! we used to have them but no more yipeeee xxx

Miss penelope Posted: 14 Feb 2008 19:04

To quote Un Peu "How wonderful!"

Palomino Posted: 14 Feb 2008 19:23

Milla that was great . Thoroughly enjoyable, you truly do have a gift xx

Milla said...

Elizabethm Posted: 14 Feb 2008 20:52
Oh I am not sure I can cope with the extraordinary beauty of your kitchen - not with my grotty seventies nightmare defiling the back of my beautiful house. Yours just sounds like heaven: a piano, a huge sofa, an oriental rug. Subsides into gently sobbing heap.
Fab day, fab writing. Idle? You have to be joking.

Snailbeachshepherdess Posted: 14 Feb 2008 22:04

Read this at work ..illicitly peeking in...clean forgot where I was and burst out laughing ...wonderful piece of writing Milla ...and when are we going to see a picture of Lolly...my imagination is running riot

Grouse Posted: 14 Feb 2008 22:17
Brilliantly funny......reminded me of the letters my Pa used to write....pages of nonsense about the lawnmower breaking or the gas bill that would have me in hysterics. He would have loved this!

Frances Posted: 15 Feb 2008 01:49
Hey Milla, see what you have brought forth?

Still hoping that in those not quite fully disclosed hours of yours, while you are along with your muse Lolly, you are fidgiting about with all sorts of words. Please don't say either way, I just want to harbor the illusion that fermentation is going on.

Now. That dream kitchen. My entire cluttered apartment would fit into your kitchen's space. But. If that were to happen, believe me, the result would not leave you with a dream!

Truly, I do know all the aggro that you went through getting that project done, and just have to again say, congratulations! Lean on a cabinet, make another coffee, enjoy the light. And add engineer to your resume.


Milla said...

Unpeuloufoque Posted: 15 Feb 2008 07:03

How wonderfully tart and acidic you are, I shall for ever cower for fear of your spitting over my split infinitives!! Very very amusing and full of vim as ever I enoy your writing and hope some plonker out there has the sense to offer you a decent job using it very soon and with hours to suit!

KittyB Posted: 15 Feb 2008 08:26

Tres amusant, me dear, tres amusant. I'm liking the sound of the walnut and granite kitchen, squashy sofa, oriental rug, bookcase and piano thing going on... sounds just up my street. And if you find that well-paid 10-2.30 term-time-only and days off at drop of hat for a better offer or a sick boy, then I'll be over to poke you in the eye, sharpish.

Cait Posted: 15 Feb 2008 11:15

I read this at work yesterday and couldn't comment. So funny, so well-written. It's all been said really. You should definitely be writing for a living.

Pondside Posted: 15 Feb 2008 13:49
The kitchen, the dog ( such a character, perhaps I should have said 'the Lolly') the details of your day - I'd buy a magazine or paper to read like this every day. Only take a real job if it will allow you to write and write some more.

Milla said...

Camilla Posted: 16 Feb 2008 02:00

I just loved reading a day in your life Milla, you write with such zest and wit, and I do not think you are lazy at all, on the contrary, you are always so busy busy.

I have said it before darling Milla, you need to get into the writing spirit, you would be doing us a favour, seriously brilliant writing, will be snapped up in no time, think of the pound signs my namesake.

On the theme of the wheaten ones - reminds me of the film I watched on telly last week with Jim Carey, can't remember the title. Pooch cr... and cocks his leg all over the furniture, Jim Carey runs out down stairs with pooch to say, that's where you do it..... if you have not seen the film, amusing to watch.

Thank you for sharing a day in your life with us Milla.


Preseli Mags Posted: 16 Feb 2008 13:31

Thoroughly brilliant day Milla (although I'm horribly worrying about split infinitives - I wish I knew what they were!)

Now I have kitchen envy, as well as the usual jealousy of your witty writing ability. I echo what everyone above has said: don't get a job, write!

And on the subject of writing (Yes, I know I shouldn't start a sentence with And..) where can I find your Famous Five blog? Do you still have it? I really meant to keep a copy and I think it's something I really need to read again. It was truly, utterly fabulous.

Kat Posted: 16 Feb 2008 22:55

Milla, this was so funny! (I hope it was supposed to be.) I love Lolly, big clattery toenails and all. You've illustrated your day so well that I could see Ms. Lolly standing at the door, demanding; the wonderful kitchen; E and his porridge. Take your opposable thumbs and write some more. I loved it

Exmoorjane Posted: 20 Feb 2008 12:01
Hey, come down and project manage my house eh? Can't pay but could keep you in wine and, unlike the gangster, promise I wouldn't try to thrust my tongue down your throat. C'mon, it's a good offer, you know it is.
You've cheered me up immensely - and that is a tough job nowadays. Love all of it. Not going to say a word about Writing - have said it too many times before - but seems like others have the same thought.....hmmm. jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Milla said...

Pipany Posted: 20 Feb 2008 12:13

Milla, this is so funny and I want to see pics of your creative projects please! You do write so brilliantly you know xx

Westerwitch Posted: 24 Feb 2008 17:03

Ok - well I can empathise with not wanting to get up . . .eeeeek NOOOOOO I daren't write any of this because I know you will be tsking and hrmphing at my sentence destruction . . .

Nah - burger it - chainsaw revving - sentence shredder here I am . . .your worst nightmare . . . .

Save yourself morning turd surprise - give Lolly her own space - buy her a cage - sorted it for us, just like that.

Sorry another Gold Blend fan here - no point contemplating swapping Bill for HS - the latter also drinks Gold Blend . . .

Oh gawd hate other smug dog owners . . . mine are always perfect when I am on my own . . .

Nope you are fibbing about your kitchen . . .need pictures . . .

Oh yes always did the late routine - it doesn't ever get any better you know and love the idea of dark glasses to avoid having to talk to the other mothers - mind you I was always part of the 'out' crowd at the school gates.

Elephant - need a job . . .for goodness sake Milla - arms folded, foot tapping you have the gift of writing . . .please please use it . . .

Woozle1967 Posted: 03 Mar 2008 13:56

Only just found out how to put the comment thing on here! Blimey, I should be a blonde instead of brunette/grey wisps!!!! Brilliant and funny as always and your kitchen sounds GORGEOUS. I'm now wishing we'd had enough money for granite instead of my eBay bargain beech block!!x

Milla said...

Fern Posted: 04 Mar 2008 21:11

Sadly I am not a brilliant, witty writer like yoursellf so I'll just say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your day.

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Frances Posted: 05 Mar 2008 01:52 Hey Milla, this reputation of yours re being idle. Well, it may not stand up to the test of time. Rest assured though, that I will always be there to testify, no matter what evidence I may have to the contrary, that "oh yes, Milla, she's that idle one."

Wondering if spell check would change idle to ideal?
From your fan club...

bionicwoman said...

What a busy day! So expressively written though - I could see you all there!
Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog - just been reading Elizabeth M's very moving cancer blog - beautifully written.

Potty Mummy said...


Forget the kitchen, Milla. Your waking up time is the most luxurious thing in your life...

Maggie May said...

You sound so busy! The best type of sleep seems to be just before the kids wake up. My grandchildren often wake up at 6.30. If one is awake, we are all awake. Their room is just across the landing from our room. They are at their worst when suffering from jet lag.
I don't envy you having all the alterations done, but think how lovely it will be when you have it done!

Kathleen said...

I was funny the first time I read it through, and it's still funny after a week or more! Lovely little Lolly!