Friday, April 22, 2016

Maybe it will be alright.

For the past 3 years I've been going to the same hairdresser. She runs her salon out of her home now, but it used to be from a little shop in a nearby suburb.
She offers a nanny service, so whilst you have your hair cut your child(s) are looked after by a qualified childcare person, in a room adjoining the salon.
I have told her lots of things. She's told me some and is never shy of an opinion, but has never said much about the cancer that her body had, then fought and for a while, beat.
She has 3 young boys, the oldest is about 11, I think.
I called to make an appointment but there was no answer. I got a call back the next afternoon, her old assistant/apprentice (both terms are valid, surely) who said she was coming back up to work because Jo was having some time off.
I assumed the worst, but didn't expect it. I wonder if that's how she felt?
Word filters through, quickly. It's back, all through her.
I think about ways I can help, could I cook meals maybe?
I don't know her well, really. Yet I feel a connection to her, a sense of familiarity and friendship. She certainly knows some about me. She was easy to talk to, despite her strong opinions.
She made me feel validated, she made me look good and she made me laugh. I feel a deep sadness for her. Her family.
I wonder how many people will say the wrong thing. Or even say the right thing. If there is such a thing. How many sympathetic looks she will receive. How she will tell her story.
Maybe she'll beat it. Maybe it will all be okay. We'll just wait and see. Maybe it will be alright.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Shit Story

Wednesdays are my day off. It's the school holidays and my darling Mum is here to look after the kids. It's been wonderful. We are all relaxed, enjoying ourselves and spending quality time together.

We saw a movie this morning and I encouraged Mum to head off afterwards and do some shopping. The kids each had 2 friends coming over so it was going to be a loud, childlike afternoon. She deserved a break.

So the friends come over. 2 brothers, Leo's mates and a brother & sister, Maggie's mates. All easy, relatively quiet, un-argumentative children. My favourite kind. The younger brother of Maggie's mate ditches the girls pretty quick and goes to play xbox with the big boys. All is relatively peaceful for about 35 minutes.

I decide to pop my head in to Leo's room and see how the boys are going.
One of them says
'I smell poop'
The 3 big boys are looking at me in desperation. The smaller guy looks anywhere but at us and the first opportunity he can dashes out the door.
'Maybe it's just a fart?' I say, then on inhale realize that it's much more than a fart.
It's possibly a terrible thing.
I enter the girls room and the first thing the sister tells me is 'I smell something bad'.
I say 'Do you know where your brother is? Is he ok?'
'He's behind the door' they tell me and I see him standing, frozen behind the door.

I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge that I dealt with the following situation kindly, quietly and calmly. At no point did that poor child feel any worse about his situation because of me. I was a fucking saviour. God may it never happen but if my own kids ever shit themselves ANYWHERE may they have a sweet kind Mum angel such as myself to sort that shit out. Pun intended.

So I gently and quietly ask the boy to come with me to the bathroom. On entry I see he has already been in there which explains the shit explosions in, on and around the toilet. His pair of shit ridden jocks are stuffed in the corner of the room, I follow the trail of brown splashes to find them.

I'm unsure where to start, but not for a minute does he see my distress. I turn the shower on, hot and fast and throw his jocks in there. I explain I would like him to have a quick shower to make sure all the poo is gone. He needs to remove his shirt, but not his shorts, he can take them off once he is in there and clean himself properly.

I pull the shower curtain across so he can deal with his shit appropriately and I can deal with the rest of it. I'm dry retching as quietly as possible, spraying bleach on each and every surface, one hand stuffed over my nose the other scrubbing, wiping, rinsing. I clean and clean and clean until thank god all I can smell is bleach. I fucking love bleach. What a glorious, rewarding smell.

He gets out of the shower and I wrap him up in a towel, give him some slightly too big shorts and remind him to wash his hands again. I ask if he would like me to call his Dad to pick him up? No, he says, I want to stay. One part of me thinks this is great, because he is in a safe space and he likes it here, the other part of me is having a massive panic attack thinking fuck fuck fuck if there is a Round Two I cannot handle it. What if it gets on the furniture?

Anyway he stays, doesn't shit on anything (else) and I'm impressed with all the kids reactions (pretty much nothing and the big boys even let him back in to play xbox). I wash my hands about 16 times and drink several drinks that evening in an attempt to rid myself of the visions, the terrible flashbacks.

I scrub the bathroom floor one more time before bed, then I came in to write this. What a fucking experience. I fucking nailed it. Today I was a queen, a goddess, a saint. I never, ever, ever want to live through that again, but in the meantime, I'm a superstar. The more praise I heap on myself the further away from shit sprays I move. Cheers.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You Write Mate?!

So I started a writing group.
Well, when I say I, I actually mean me and my awesome friend Steph started it (because honestly if she had of said Nah Clare that's a shit idea I would have been like, Oh, Yeah, probably, yeah, nah, if you don't want to do it then neither do I) but she was like 'YEAH - excellent!'. So I in turn was like, YEAH! This is excellent.
It turns out it is quite excellent. We text message bantered over the name - Write Club, Write On, You Write...which quickly became You Write Mate?! which is possibly the best most Australian name for any writing group ever.
Our first session had 10 people, 2 blokes, 8 ladies, only 2 of whom were my mates! Steph and I had prepared a loose running sheet, we were aiming for creative fun & getting words down on paper. It was a brilliant night. We walked out grinning from ear to ear.
A month later we held our 2nd session and it too was terrific, 10 people again, a couple of actual serious writers which was a bit scary and I'm fairly certain that they won't come back - but as for us amateurs - we love it!
It's relaxed, nobody critiques anybody else and occasionally people produce something in 10 minutes that is amazing!
I'm so proud of it! I'm writing creatively and getting other people to as well. Occasionally I look up during a session and see faces bent over pens on paper writing away and I feel brilliant! We made it happen. A community of writers, together.
Definitely pretty write mate.