I don’t normally work on Mondays. In theory, Mondays should be my nice and lazy days.
I could now do this woman’s thing. I could just present my Monday to you in the following way:
Oh, I work part-time, you know… It is great. I don’t work on Mondays. I have nothing to do, as my child started school so I have a morning off….and then, in the afternoon, a group of ladies get together for a coffee.
We sit there and chat, drinking tea and eating cookies, whilst our children play in the other room of the house.
However, there is a lot that happens in between those lines. Let’s just break that short paragraph down a little- to get a proper picture.
It has to start at 3am the night before, when my 4 year old wakes up screaming because she is afraid of crocodiles. At 6am husband’s alarm goes off- he has to leave for work. He spends ages searching for a tie in the dark. I manage to fall asleep again, but wake up too late. The school starts in less than 45 minutes. I wake the sleepy child and dress her for school. The dog is inpatient. He needs his drink and breakfast. I tell him to just wait a bloody second.
I then take him in the garden and chuck some dry food in his dish. The dish has rainwater in it. I throw the food away and re-fill the dish. I finally put the kettle on and return to the back door to shout at him to stop looking at me and go for a wee.
I get the child’s breakfast ready and pour myself a cup of coffee. We sit down at the table. But the dog has now finished his business, and is barking loudly and repeatedly demanding to be let back inside. His feet are wet and have to be wiped. He still leaves wet marks on my floor.
We finish getting ready, I squeeze the child in the car. School run is done. Now I am back in the house and I have some house jobs to do. Starting with my favourite- recycling.
I find a way to avoid the rain, and bring the boxes up to the garage door. I push the button and the door goes up. Husband never told me there was a problem with the door. The door is now stuck, and would not go up or down. I panic, as husband is working away and I can not leave the house with a huge gap for thieves to clime into. I work hard at pushing the door as hard as I can so it slides back into the groove. It does not. I struggle for a while, sweating and swearing at husband. The door finally works. I spend the next 30 minutes sorting out the recycling. With husband’s heavy boots on, I smash the coke cans into flat little circles- so more of them could fit in the recycling boxes.
As I am doing that, I can not help but think of this mummy friend of mine. In fact, I think of her every time I am doing something around my suburban house that I had never in my (previous, Azeri) life imagined I would have to do.
Let’s call her Elaine. Because, it is a pretty and lady-like name and it goes well with her perfection. Because everything about Elaine is beautiful. Her teeth are perfect and her eyes always sparkle. She lives in a stunning house in the middle of a beautiful field. As you drive up to it, you must slow down not to run over a bunny or a pheasant.
Last summer she had a table in the middle of the garden, covered with a crispy white tablecloth. In the middle of the table stood a little vase with peonies. The scene reminded me of a wedding I had once attended in Tuscany.
So, as I struggled with my garage door, and then stamped on coke cans, I kept getting that mental image of the white tablecloth and peonies in the garden. And I kept wondering if Elaine ever does similar jobs around her beautiful house. I can not imagine her perfectly manicured hands tearing cupboard boxes apart or smashing the garage door. Perhaps, she has a handsome handyman who does it for her. Maybe he walks in the kitchen in his vest and tight jeans, wiping sweat off his tanned forehead and asks her politely- Anything else today, madam?
I finish recycling, and take a bottle of engine oil out of my cupboard. My poor old Skoda is not well. She has been asking for some more oil and I had to check if she had indeed, ran out, or is hallucinating again, due to the old age.
As I stand there in the drizzly rain, wearing my raincoat and husband’s boots, my hands covered in engine oil, I yet again think of Elaine and her tablecloth.
I finally finish the messy jobs, and can now take a shower and use some of that scrub a friend gave me in NY. It says “with coriander for happiness and ginger for energy” on the lid. I could do with a bit of both. I scrub the engine oil off me, and come out refreshed. I then notice a huge amount of dog hair on the floor. I glance at my watch- I can surely squeeze it in- and do a quick vacuuming. I get dressed and remember I have not bought all the ingredients for the dinner yet. I ran out and rush to the shop on my way to school.
We return and I make lunch. I look at my watch again. It is now 1:30. By 2:30pm we should be out of the door and on our way to a friend’s house for a relaxing time that I desperately need. I still am to check my blog and emails, and finish Q&A column for magAZine. I promised my editor to have it done by Tuesday. I write quickly, interrupted by my mother trying to speak to me on Skype and child asking for a hug. The dog is sitting at the back door, making quiet but obvious rumbling throat sounds- he would like to go out again.
I finish the column and spell-check it quickly, before sending it off.
I glance at my watch. Half an hour left. I need to make myself presentable now. I get the nail set out. I am an Azeri woman after all. I must look glamorous when I go out. And I would hate for people to guess, looking at my nails, what I had been up to all morning.
There. We are out of the door by 2:30 and I feel good about myself. My nails are glossy, my hair is washed and I am wearing a short denim skirt. I sing along to my radio as the Skoda’s engine struggles up the hill. Another day, another little victory over suburban chores.