Time Turner

Efficiency is a wonderful thing, something I covet when I have the time. Working, four kids, business, writing, house; all of them get tossed into my mental mix, like some glorious life stew. However, always moving at ninety miles per hour can lead to spectacular cock-ups, like trying to put the cat in the fridge having dumped the milk outside. Wise cat. Didn’t complain. Kitty nirvana.

In the past we’ve arrived at a formal party an entire month early (not as tricky as it might seems, M’lud. You see, Saturday 28th is Saturday 28th a month later if the first month happens to be February. Yes, she should have made it clearer. Our defence entirely). Due to a bit of a mental lapse, I ended up in Japan, husband-free, on my 25th wedding anniversary. My son kindly commented (with ill suppressed glee) that either I’d forgotten when I booked the flight, in which case I was scuppered, or I had remembered and booked it anyway, in which case I was…yup, scuppered.

 Glitches, mere blips on the radar of life.

Normally my life runs with non-military precision; everything somehow falls into the places/times as required, which is proof positive of the existence of my fairy godmother. Although the day she makes me thin is the day I’ll start chanting “I do believe in fairies,” every morning to my mirror, second croissant in hand.

Whilst swimming each morning, arms and legs doing the tedious splashy stuff, the brain disconnects from my body and the grey cells can busily wrestle life problems into submission. Time saver, but not fantastically relaxing. However, when I realised today that I’d just made a mental list of the things I intended to think about while in the water, I wondered if my listophilia was going a bit too far.  

We sometimes go out to dinner so we can combine chilling and education (with exercise if we walk home). Last time, the appearance on the menu of chocolate fudge cake predictably prompted a discussion on poop. At least the subject of efficiency reared its head. Our discussion ranged through the concept of poop vacuum cleaners to be used in fields and stables. These would have tiny little mashing blades which would make the poop collection more effective, although doubtless also more fragrant. A clear gap in the market.

In order to make poop collection uber-efficient, it was mooted that rose beds should be fitted with magnetic strips and horses should be fed iron. This gives rise to a fantastic mental vision of horses trotting past flower beds with poop flying through the air in an accelerating straight line to wrap itself round the rose stems. This would be environmentally friendly and saves on the cost of road cleaners. In a rather lovely end to the group discussion, Natasha pointed out that of course unicorns poop rainbows. Facts, don’t you love them? We chose not to work out a way of clearing up rainbows as that seemed beyond environmentally unfriendly; more environmentally hostile.

Moving on to discuss Shakespeare, Sophie asked what Shakespeare might have asked his son, Let. Her answer? “Pass the ham, Let.”

Charlie asked what Shakespeare might have said to his son Ennis. It was Sophie who got “Anyone for t…?” which was close enough, as Charlie had been thinking about “Have you met the merchant of V…” Shakespeare, dumbed down. You could make a case for it. I’ll throw that concept over to the kids who could argue about anything. Future Olympic debators, in strict training.

An attempt to reach some form of sanity whilst aiming to get everything done has perfected my delegation skills. The problem is that your children pick up this art too and mix it with a large dollop of guilt. Hence, I get delegated their homework. It began when my eldest once arrived home, age 7, with an enormous pile of homework as well as an exceptionally complex design to colour in. This took me hours, even though I could colour it fairly badly with a distinct lack of taste, since it was supposed to be a child’s work. But I got an A. Recently I managed to get a merit in my French homework which I was very pleased with. Geography is my dodgiest subject, although I did quite well on cyclones.

 A friend of mine’s kids had also learned the life skill of guilt tripping the parents, so he took on some equine drawing homework. He was mortified when, having completed his horse, it was not only highly commended, but published in the yearly school magazine. The moral of this story is never fake an organism.

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About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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