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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The definition of 'fit'!

Sitting at the dinner table - our usual place for interesting discussion, I revel in our evenings together, we laugh lots, and as usual Small Sprog was outnumbered by females but valiantly held his own. Tall Girl, who just turned 18 last weekend, is still lamenting the lack of a man in her life. "What's your definition of fit?" she asks me. I presume, correctly, that she is not referring to being able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath and decline to reply because at my age frankly you take whatever comes your way!
"All my friends want someone with big 'abs' she says disparaging!"
"I've got a friend with wonky abs" pipes up Small Sprog Tall Girl and I look at him in surprise, mouths open, and then realise we had both pre-empted his sentence and imagined something other than 'abs'. He realises, tuts, sighs and rolls his eyes.
"Anyway" continues Tall Girl "If he's 'fit' or not, he's got to be ginger!"
"Ginger?" I express my disbelief
"But all I really want" she continues "is a boy who uses the shower often and engages with soap daily"
 Small Sprog, who obviously judges others by his own actions, mutters "That's never gonna happen!" before turning to more interesting things on youtube, whilst I am left agreeing that all that is required is regular washing and, at my age, any colour hair is preferable to none and beards are definitely non negotiable!
Just another evening with teens in suburbia.

Been away a while - good to be back...

Friday, October 03, 2014

I guess it was bound to happen?

So, it's September, no October already and as usual everyone starts to look towards December and Christmas. Mum is usually the first person to mention it, in fact I think she's already into countdown mode, but generally I try to avoid it for as long as possible, particularly as Tall Girl insists on making her birthday a priority (November birthday). But something has been looming, for a while now, always in the back of my mind and usually brushed away instantly but actually, at some point, it was bound to happen.

This will be the 6th Christmas since the break up of the family, it seems even longer than that. The children always chose to be with me at Christmas as their dad 'didn't do Christmas' in fact he tended to go into decline around Tall Girls birthday and surface sometime after Boxing day. I remember, once, bringing the kids home from school on a Friday, before Tall Girls birthday weekend, only to find him in bed and having a panic attack. It's the loneliest time of the year to deal with kids and be jolly when your other half is in a deep depression.

Some of it is probably documented here, the lack of interest in festivities, I'm sure I wrote about it once. And now, it seems like a million miles away.

So, I guess that is how it is for the children, a very, very distant memory. They have forgotten why they always chose to have Christmas here, they have forgotten that it was me who made Christmas for them, they have even forgotten how he has stopped buying a tree recently, even though they are there before and shortly after Christmas.

Tonight, Ex Husband came to pick them up, we had the talk - about Christmas. He has spoken to them and they are willing. For them it makes it fair if they share themselves about - I know that, I get that. Maybe he'll make a big effort. I've thought about this happening a lot. It's selfish if me to always have them, how would I feel if I was him? And besides, he has family who live by the sea, he has taken to going down there over the last few years, the children could have a lovely time being by the sea for the Christmas holidays and with several generations of family too.
"What are your plans?" I asked him as he left with them
"I thought we'd stay at home" he said "I spend so much time travelling around, I'd rather not drive anywhere"
And so we have it. My children will be staying at their fathers this Christmas, who doesn't (but hopefully now does) do Christmas and who is too selfish to think about taking them somewhere to celebrate with family.

As he left Small Sprog said "I don't mind where I spend Christmas, as long as I'm still alive"! I don't know what his plans are for the next few months but I sincerely hope he's still with us! However, after he'd gone, I felt incredibly sad... So easily they turn away, without a thought - that's where the pain lies.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

It's been a while...

My life, since 2008, is mostly documented here. I have met a lot of beautiful people along the way both here and in the 'real world' and I am so grateful for all those years and people and the things I have learnt. It has been an amazing journey and I could never have imagined where it would have ended up when I started my blog, on a pure whim, in March of that year.

 However things have been a little different here in suburbia over the last 6 months or so. It has been hard to write it here, mostly because it has been too visible and I have not wanted to cause more upset to those who I have already hurt. Time is supposed to be a great healer and although this year seems to have flown by, 6 months is a pretty long time I guess.

So, today, quite unexpectedly, Lovely Man and I found ourselves talking about things that have been unsaid. I have so very much to thank him for, he is indeed a lovely man, endlessly tolerant of me and forgiving and he has supported me through thick and thin. However, as he puts it, "We are not as we once were". He has seen me through tumultuous change and maybe it was bound to end like this - I am a different person now to the one I was when we met here and then in the real world back in December 2008 - but that doesn't make it any easier for either of us.

Six months ago we went our separate ways, my hope was to be friends at some point - sometimes such a vain hope but maybe we will make it so?

In this time I have moved on, a new man and new experiences. Lovely Man says he is moving in the right direction. I wish him well, more than well; I wish him happiness and peace, and I hope we will, for now and, if we are lucky, for a long time into the future, be solid and good friends for we have shared to much to throw it all away, much too much.

...And after all, he gave me my name.

Having good and true people in your life is a privilege, I consider myself incredibly lucky.

Thank you

Suburbia x

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fleas anyone?

"Come on Small Sprog!" Tall GIrl and I chorus as we wait to use the bathroom in the holiday cottage. As cottages go, it's quite a nice one, and there is more than one loo, but it's down two flights of stairs, and anyway, were are eagerly waiting to go to the beach and he is still in there. "What are you doing?" I ventured. The door opened and he looked exasperated. "You've been ages!" I say. He shrugs. That's his usual state these days, shrugging.

I have noticed recently that he has become ponderously slow, I remember Tall Girl going through the same stage. It's almost as if all that growing makes the rest of the brain shut down and he needs rebooting on a regular basis. When he really was a small Sprog, he could race around in circles while I could hardly keep up with him. Where did my small boy go? 

I remember being slow when I was a teenager. My first boss threatened me with 'the sack' if I didn't speed up a bit! I don't think I did and he certainly didn't, but he was possibly as exasperated as I am with Small Sprog now.

These days I have to nag him to get a move on for everything, though he has more to do that the rest of us. The sudden surge in hormones may have something to do with his raging eczema, and he has various potions from the doctor to apply morning and night. However, I have to constantly remind him, and even when he says he's applied it, it's never very thorough, so he still looks like a flee ridden dog most of the time, absentmindedly itching and scratching all over the place. The warm weather doesn't help - gosh, hope it's not really fleas?!

And once he's applied cream I have to remind him to use his inhaler, this has been in use since he was 18 months old - why can't he remember? And why does he take ages?!

Then he takes an antihistamine tablet, also prescribed by the doctor - it's not helping the skin at all but he's stopped blowing his nose all evening.

So, poor old thing, it's all a bit much for a teenage boy who'd prefer to live in virtual reality - I guess they don't have eczema there?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Sex talk at the table...not for the faint hearted!

It's dinner time and we all sit around the table and eat at the usual pace - Small Sprog eats as fast as possible in order to get back on line in his own virtual paradise. As I look at us all I realise we are peacefully happy together in our own version of 'normal'. TG is nearing 18 and Small Sprog has practically doubled in size over the last 4 months - he's all long and gangly a bit like those yellow stretchy men that he used to bring home in party bags.

The chatter comes around to boy friends as Tall Girl laments the lack of one - again. Small Sprog has made it clear that he has no intention to pursue a love interest yet. He has watched his best friend Dan change girl friends almost as often as he changes his pants (which, to be fair, for a teenage boy is probably not that often!). Small Sprog is always there to pick up the pieces, from both parties - lending a listening ear and sorting out disputes! It seems to have put him off embarking on a romantic liaison - if you can be romantic at a massive comprehensive school age 14, with nothing much to go on but instinct and the internet!

Anyway, I'm halfway through my Thursday night Pasta Bake (it has to be easy to make on a Thursday as I'm always knackered) when Small Sprog pipes up 'And Dan's already 'fingered' someone'!
I splutter my pasta back onto the plate. 'Thanks Small Sprog, for sharing that delightful bit of information, I think I could do without knowing that at mealtime (if at all)'
'Well it's better than having sex with them' he says in a matter of fact way.
It depends how well it's done, I thought to myself - that was probably, I decided, not quite the right thing to share at the table either.

I look at my beautiful boy and think what a hard time it can be for a boy. All the responsibility of asking a girl out and knowing what to do. If only I could pass on the do's and don'ts of dating and seducing...hardly a topic a teenage boy would want to discuss with his mother.

As predicted he wanders of, slinks away from the table as though we wouldn't notice him leave. I mock plead with him to stay and join in some more conversation. He skips up the stairs.

Tall Girl and I continue the theme as she spouts forth about a quiz on Facebook which can tell you if you're a lesbian or not! All of a sudden he's back; he must have been listening from the top of the stairs and he's eager to catch morsels of information that might help him along the path to sexual knowledge! He sits on the table this time as we have more or less finished eating and he tells me some people in his year have had sex. His sister - ever the moralist- thinks its completely disgusting, but that's probably because it's bypassed her so far! I, on the other hand, make things worse by saying I was 17 when I first had sex. 'That makes me feel a whole lot better!' she hurumphs and I do try to qualify it by saying I had left school and was working and that it was a lasting relationship. I'm not sure this helped.

Small Sprog took in all the information, quietly. It was unusual for him to stay so long in a conversation. Towards the end I said gently that he could always ask me questions - he didn't seem to mind me offering and then he turned to me and said 'Can I show you a new game'
'What's it called' I asked
'Goat Simulator' He replied
And suddenly we were 'back in the room'- all was normal with the world!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The dreaded 50!


It's been a whirlwind few months, a busy 2014 - I'll not forget my 50th year - and so much is going on that I can't write here yet. However this weekend I am celebrating big time! It's my last weekend of being in my 40's and I'm making the most of it! What's the point in celebrating being 50 when you can celebrate being 49 for the last time?! To follow progress from Friday night, ( alcoholic haze permitting) check out my photo-a-day blog here 

http://apictureaday3562014.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1


See you on the other side!

 Yet as I'm writing I can't quite believe it's all going to work out... Can we ever let ourselves look forward without a sneaking feeling that it won't happen - something will stop it happening- because I don't deserve it?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

No dead dog jokes!

Ahhhh... it's the holidays again, no alarm clocks for a week and kids lying about in bed all day! Bliss, as long as I can go out a do my own thing for a bit - which, I have to say, they don't seem to mind.

So today was the holiday trip to Cheltenham to see Mum. She likes us to see us all together at least once in the holiday. And it was important to go this weekend as, very sadly, she had to make the decision to put her lovely Golden Retrieved down a few days ago. The poor thing was very old and had started to become quite ill. Mum is devastated, we can never prepare it seems, even though we know that the inevitable is near.

So, before getting in the car today I had a quick word with Small Sprog: he's quite often in his own little world and I was worried that, although I'd told him the dog was dead, that he would just breeze in through the door and ask where she was, without thinking. "Small Sprog" I said "Don't forget the dog is dead"
"I remember" he replies with a wry smile.

With Mum today we listen a lot. She has sorted through photos of the dog and wants to get a nice one framed. I help her take some digital ones off the computer so they can take them somewhere to be printed. She mentions the dog in most conversations, she is grieving. And Small Sprog manages admirably to say nothing dodgy at all.

By 8pm we are all back in the car and as I pull out of the cul-de-sac that they live in Small Sprog chirps up from the back seat "Mum, how did we do on the dead dog jokes?"! I exploded into laughter! Timing is everything and that boy certainly has it all...

Meanwhile on the motorway Tall Girl says "Oh! I thought I saw a deer but it was just a horse with a tree behind it" - Now she definitely is on a different planet- its just the way we roll...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday nights in suburbia

For the first time ever I am leaving the kids to their own devices for the evening, shocking isn't it?! Not that I'm leaving them but that I haven't done it before. Goodness me, they are certainly old enough to sort themselves out now but, as I only have them for 9 out of 14 nights I always try to be in when they are so that we can be together. However as they've grown older we do all seem to end up in different rooms or at least on different screens.

So when I saw the counselling course advertised I decided they'd be ok and went for it. And they are ok, so it seems, especially as every other week they are not with me on a Tuesday evening.

The course is going well so far and I'm loving the love there between us all as a group.

Last night I left the kids with written instructions for dinner and left them to it, reminding TG not to let her brother just forget to eat! When I arrived home the kitchen was relatively tidy and meals had definitely been consumed. "How was dinner?" I asked TG
"We had a great time" she replied "we danced together in the kitchen while we waited for it to cook"

Wow! That made me a very happy mummy...

Monday, May 12, 2014

The future

Sometimes things happen and you have no control. Life is good right now- I have a full life, love all the people in it, every single one, love my work and care about my caseload there (a lot). And then something happens to make you think you are not invincible. Life is short. It's beautiful and the thought of it being cut shorter is devistating but true for all of us...there is never a way of knowing how or when it will end. 

So, for now, love those who are most important and live like there's no tomorrow... Just sayin'. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Second chances

So after the reunion I have been thinking. The talk there was about illness, death and hip replacements! Well, not all the talk, but a fair bit of it, even though the demographic was from just under 50 to 65ish. At one point I thought perhaps everyone who had ever worked in that office was 'doomed'! I mean, generally, I had a good time catching up with the people I wanted to see but some of the conversation was 'old'. And then I remembered that I was one of the youngest of the team when I was there and so consequently my aged self of the moment was - unusually for me these days - one of the youngest there.

In contrast, in my current job, I am probably one of the top 5 oldest people in the building! Perhaps this is why I don't get the illness and death conversations very often? Most of the people I work with could be my offspring. So, when we go the the pub en masse on a Friday night, not only is there a fair amount of work talk but generally a lot of "What are you doing at the weekend?" sort of chat, most of which is full of energy and busyness.

And so I feel I am getting a second chance to be young again, surrounded by youth, for whom illness and death are in the very distant future, the youthful- one of which I once was - who feel they can live forever.

I never did want to grow up. Still don't.

How about you?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reunion

Sometimes I think that it's a blessing that we can't see into the future...

A while back a work reunion was organised from the building company I worked before having a family, it's more than 18 years since I left. Today was the day we all met for lunch, it wasn't a full compliment but the person I really wanted to meet again was still going, so despite feeling a bit under the weather, I made it to the venue - the last to arrive as usual!

As I walked into the bar I noticed everyone in the far corner. And there she was, my old sales director, 20 years older than me - almost exactly - and still looking much the same as she always did. She hadn't changed a bit, still beautiful, slightly caustic and definitely superior! But that is only on the outside. We had  mutual respect for each other in those days, I envied her her strength and she admired my design sense. We had worked well together.

She left the company not long before I did, she had breast cancer and to my shame, I didn't keep in touch. In the last 20 years she has had a mastectomy, lost her husband to suicide, had several failed dating agency relationships, several high powered jobs and had recently married a millionaire. So much drama in not many years, perhaps a blessing we don't know what the future holds?

Today we reminisced about working together, we always had a ball! I don't think the workplace is like that anymore - everyone is so 'professional' now! In those days her ashtray on her desk was piled high with fag ends and once the architect dept dressed as ninja turtles and kidnapped her PA!

Today we talked about all the sites we worked with, she remembers all the house designs and I remember the names of the hundreds of meters of fabric I ordered. "Which was your favourite" she asked
"I loved them all" I replied "otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do my job"
All that time ago, but it is still in our bones and, now I've thought about it, sadly missed by us all.

As we left, we kissed in the car park. "You look amazing" I told her
"You always have" she replied. And we parted ways again.


Who knows what the future holds?





Wednesday, April 16, 2014

North Devon and us!

Early evening, Tall Girl and I share a bottle of cider and put the world to rights... She is lovely company and talks freely-perhaps we are both a little intoxicated?

We are alike in what we want, 30 years apart in age but basically strangely similar. Is that right?

She wants a nice boy, a companion and good friend to enjoy simple things with. I have a friend with a spare son! Would it be wrong to matchmake?

It's sunny here in Devon and life is running at a different pace.

Monday, April 07, 2014

What makes Suburbia happy?

It's the school holidays and the kids are away for a week. The last week of term seemed endless, it must be a psychological thing - sort of waiting for the end makes time stretch out further for longer. Anyway, here we are, the first Monday of the holidays, so why do I feel so exhausted? Is it because my alarm went off as usual and I was out of the house at 7.45? Did I forget that it was the holiday? No, I took the car into the garage for 8am...again...

However, it's not the early morning that's caused the tiredness - though it would have been a bonus to have a lie in- but the truth is, while the children are away, I make the most of being single! I arrange too many lovely things in too short a space of time. So on Friday my oldest and best friend came over to spend the night. We ate out, shared a bottle and came home to chat until 2am! Now I'm not much good at burning the candle at both ends but it was a great night and too precious to cut short - we don't get together that often.

Sunday another good friend and I met for an early supper with the view to an early night as she had an early start. However, it didn't quite work out as early as we anticipated! So by this morning I felt a little sleep deprived and very slightly jaded...

I feel blessed to have had such a social whirl of a weekend - it's what makes Suburbia happy- friendship, communicating, talking into the night, eating! It's been fun.

I texted a friend from work earlier 'Were we getting together tonight or Wednesday?'
'Wednesday would be better' she replied ' I'm cooking curry in my PJs!'
So that's is something else to look forward to, and I'm with Mum tomorrow - we are going to look at Rodin's 'The Kiss' which is currently in Cheltenham art gallery - I'm ridiculously excited!

So yes, I'm happy, happy, happy! At this rate I'll need another holiday to get over this one!

What are you doing for Easter?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

6 Years Old!

Well I missed it again, my bloggy birthday I mean. My first post was 3.3.2008; that makes Moments From Suburbia 6 years old this month, in contrast to the cat who is celebrating 18 years this month. He has accomplished this through grim and stubborn determination - perhaps this applies to me too?!

However it is Mothers Day here in UK this weekend and that was what started me writing here in the first place - so in a way, I am remembering on time, in my own head at least.

This week so far:

Tall Girl confessed to only just cottoning on to the phrase 'friends with benefits' after thinking it was about neighbours living in poor conditions on a council estate - bless!

I spend a considerable amount of time following the cat's bum around on Tuesday waving paper underneath him as he insisted on 'squatting' in odd places - that was fun, not (though I did manage to catch all 'deposits'!)

Small Sprog, well, what can I say? Producing words of wisdom whilst shooting things online and SHOUTING at his friends on Skype - nothing much changed there then.

Things here are not quite the same, I guess loads has changed in 6 years - as I suppose it would - but I don't have the same freedom to write all my thoughts down here now that I did in 2008.

How's blogging going for you?