05 February, 2009

the wages of snow

Are coughing, sneezing, wheezing. Ugh, it's hit me again. This endless respiratory nonsense is back, having left me for perhaps six hours, but I was apparently busy doing something else and didn't notice. I should just be grateful that I don't have the awful fever and utter misery that has plagued my poor mother across the pond. Would you believe we were reduced to arranging for chicken soup to be collected from a Jewish deli in Indianapolis, for her? How awful not to be there to minister to her myself. Rest assured, there was a roast chicken on our table for dinner this week and therefore, as night follows the day, chicken soup tonight. I have a cup of hot Lemsip on my bedside table.

Yes, I played and played in the snow even though my chest was already full of whatever. It was worth it. The gathering of Wellies in my hallway did make me laugh. Actually this photograph is cheating, because some of them have been outgrown by one of us (guess who) and we're busy finding homes for them.

School finally reopened on Wednesday after two long, full days of holiday mayhem. Avery and Emily set up a stand outside the estate agent's in our nearby tiny high street and sold their homemade Valentines, to a rousing success. They returned, red-cheeked and mirthful, but unfortunately they sold everything so nothing was left for me to buy. I will have to succumb to asking for one, made just for me.

Yesterday I self-medicated to every extent I could think of and dragged myself to South Kensington to hang out with my friend Dalia. She can always be counted on to cheer me. I hate to be shallow, but it's partly... her extreme beauty. It's very difficult to stay disturbed about anything in one's life, or indulge in a lack of energy, when across the table is a gorgeous vision, snapping black eyes, crowned with a welter of black curls, always testing me to stay as curmudgeonly as I can be. "You are NOT boring! If you were, I wouldn't be here. You will not get boring," she says, and I almost believe her. We trade crushes, gossip, celebrity info, divinely wise advice on one's emotional life. I had an entire plate of vegetables, labelled the restaurant's "New Crunchy Salad." Relentlessly healthy: beetroot, carrot, kidney beans, broccoli, haricots verts, all bathed in a blameless mustardy dressing. Believe me when I tell you that I was starving an hour later. And an hour later I was in Whole Foods buying all the specials: lamb chops for half price! White crab for 30% off! Heaven. Shopping when hungry can be so much fun, so not credit-crunchy.

Today, however, I paid the price of rushing around when not feeling well. I made my way to Putney for, can I just tell you... my debriefing meeting as the new... drumroll please... Head of "Lost Property" at Avery's school! Yes, only the coolest volunteer opportunity ever, and I get to run it, beginning in April. This, even after my crab tart refused to set properly (perhaps the current chair understood about the occasional mistake one can make with the chemical uncertainty of eggs). I must say I am THRILLED. It will be such an opportunity to hang about school, find out what's what, get a behind-the-scenes view of life on the Parents' Group of such a cool school. Lucky, lucky me.

Home in a rush to medicate myself yet again, rush rush to pick up Avery in the fizzing rain to get her to skating, shiver through two hours in the freezing atmosphere of the rink, then shiver toward home on the bus in the rain. Believe you me, the lamb chops, mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus John had ready for us when we arrived home made me ready to renew my marriage vows.

Well, I'm beat. The snow is gone, I have written a new chapter of my book, there is chicken soup on the stove. We're cooking with gas... Tomorrow will be better.

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