Life Update: It’s An Omen

A giant white moth just flew at my window as I started to type this life update, and I’m not sure what sort of omen that represents. I almost had a heart attack when its huge wings hit the glass and was forced to immediately raid my desk drawers for something edible to calm my nerves. Unfortunately I had already eaten the vulva-shaped lollipop that a feminine hygiene brand had so kindly sent to me last month (an honest-to-God, true-to-life replica of a full-sized vulva in pink chocolate, folds and all) and so the cupboard was bare, so to speak.

Who sends a lollipop that’s an artful replica of a (hairless) vulva, you might ask? Well, let me tell you that it’s not the first one I’ve had posted through the letterbox. And it’s not top of my list of things I particularly want to eat, but when the sugar craving hits (usually at around 3pm) then you can’t be too picky about these things. The chocolate was actually quite delicious – it reminded me of the little pink mice you used to get at the sweet shop, back in the Victorian times when sweete shoppes still existed.

Bloody hell, the moth is still at it! Flying at my window panes as though it’s possessed – it’s hurtling backwards and forwards as though it’s lashed to the business end of an invisible battering ram.

It’s difficult to stay focused under these conditions – I simply can’t work like this! – but I have to admit that I’m not entirely in the best frame of mind anyway to write this life update tonight. Long-term readers will know that I haveto publish my life update on the third of every month (it has become almost a superstition – I once wrote it blind drunk at five minutes to midnight, you can trawl through them all here and guess which one) but I’m struggling to get my words down tonight.

And it’s not that nothing has happened in the last month, it’s more that everything has happened. It’s all change. A new business venture that involves coastal paths and cosy fires, a huge new life plan and a fitness regime that I’ve been surprisingly good at throwing myself into.

(In fact it’s not even a regime – I just bought one of those Peloton bikes and, despite hating almost all forms of physical activity*, can’t stop going on it. The classes are gruelling but make me smile like a total fool – must be the endorphins. I’ve never once enjoyed having to move my body at more than a walking pace yet here I am wearing padded lycra cycling shorts listening to 90s Garage and pedalling so hard that I get black spots in front of my eyes.

Who knew?

*I hate almost all forms of physical activity and cannot understand people who take up sports as a hobby. Ditto those who go on holiday and then book in for daily sessions of scuba diving or dune-surfing or whatever it is people like to do. How is that even a holiday? Lying down is a holiday! Reading a Kindle through one squinted eye because it’s so bright but you can’t read with your sunglasses on is a holiday. Falling asleep on a sunlounger after a heavy rosé-fuelled lunch and waking up six hours later with sunstroke and mild cystitis…is a holiday. Sort of.)

Anyway, the Peloton (fancy exercise bike with a huge screen that immerses you in very dynamic live-streamed spin classes) is about the only thing I can talk about at the moment. My mind is absolutely buzzing with new things, new horizons and exciting changes but it’s too soon to go there and report on it all. One of my projects is a little bit of a content goldmine, come to think of it – I could film and serialise the whole thing and I think it would be so interesting, like Homes Under The Hammer crossed with a very low-key version of Grand Designs! Does that sound like something you’d watch? A no holds barred account of a total house renovation? (Albeit a very tiny one?)

Let me know in the comments. I’ll consider this my litmus test.

In this month’s family developments we have: both kids in school/pre-school, which gives a clear four-ish hours a day to work, but somehow results in less actual work being done than during lockdown when I had only a meagre forty-ish minutes a day to work. Where on earth does the time go? I go to do a twenty minute Peloton class and suddenly an hour and a half has gone by – answering the door to the postman seems to use up the best part of ten minutes. I try to steer clear of social media, because that seems to be a black hole of time-swallowing proportions and I limit myself to two toilet trips per workday, because otherwise I find myself automatically having a quick scroll through Instagram. God forbid I stop to have lunch.

So I have more time, now, but in an unexpected and weird turn of events, I also have less. I end up doing nearly all of my most important work between 2.30pm and 3, typing frantically like one of those geeks in the movies when they’re trying to hack into an evil warlord’s computer to prevent a missile from blowing up the entire east coast of America and they’ve only got twenty seconds to go. I spend that half an hour working so intensively that I’m surprised I don’t self-combust – it’s like making a carthorse suddenly do a steeplechase after it’s spent the day plodding about the farmyard sniffing the fence panels and hoofing the mud.

And the few hours between school and bedtime seem to be so much harder than when it was the long, full days during lockdown and the summer holidays – what’s up with that? Again, is it that you’ve been blobbing about all day in near-silence and then suddenly you’re expected to perform the roles of FBI negotiator, short-order chef, butler, fashion stylist and driver all at the same time?

Whatever, it’s all very brilliant and intense and I definitely know that I’m alive – the moments of sheer elation and the times of absolute rock-bottom morale that define parenthood continue to delight and torment. What an incredible journey it is – and each phase is so short-lived, I can now barely remember a time when my kids couldn’t talk. Their baby photos are starting to seem almost alien, as though they are photos of entirely different people, and I’m just about to collect up and pass along all of their plastic bowls and plates and funny short-handled cutlery. They’ve decided that they are too grown-up for unbreakable stuff and that they’d like a stab at the Burleigh collection.

(Joke, like I’d even risk it! They’re using circa 2005 IKEA plates that are chipped and that have so many knife scores in them they look like little faded treasure maps. I knew that Mr AMR’s hoarding tendencies would pay off one day.)

I have to go, this moth is frantic and to be quite honest it’s unnerving. I’ve started thinking that it’s someone trapped in a moth’s body, or something worse, like an angry shrunken angel, and once I get a spooky thought like that into my head I have to go and hide under the covers. White moths always remind me of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations; I imagine they have withered old ladies faces superimposed on their tiny hairy heads…

You’re welcome.

Browse earlier life updates…

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  1. Beth
    October 21, 2020 / 10:25 am

    Definitely voting ‘YES’ to renovation content. I am currently in the midst of our own house renovation (started just before lockdown and only just really getting going again, to my intense frustration…) and am devouring inspirational renovation content to make be believe it will all be worth it in the end!
    Intrigued by your comment about a huge new life plan – hoping for more info soon! xx

  2. October 9, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    The new venture sounds intriguing, and I can absolutely relate to what you say about having more time, but getting less done. Always feels like that when I have a whole working day at my disposal.

    Anne from Doctor Anne

    • October 9, 2020 / 2:47 pm

      I procrastinate for over half of it!

  3. Andrea Welford
    October 6, 2020 / 10:17 pm

    Just thought you almost have me laughing ok half smiling through my five days a week five weeks worth of Radiation therapy for what my Oncologist called the sheer bad luck cancer Pleomorphorohic sarcoma which would fit because bad luck is my middle name lol

    • October 8, 2020 / 12:22 pm

      Oh no Andrea, I’m so sorry! How much more therapy is left? x

  4. October 5, 2020 / 3:47 pm

    “it’s like making a carthorse suddenly do a steeplechase after it’s spent the day plodding about the farmyard sniffing the fence panels and hoofing the mud.”

    I chuckled all the way through this blog but the visual in this passage made me laugh aloud and forward it to three friends.

    And a hearty Yes to the new venture! When you have the time, of course.

      • Ashley
        October 7, 2020 / 1:09 am

        I so agree with you on what a holiday is, I’d even say we should vacation together, but the energy required for human interaction would take the fun out of it

  5. October 5, 2020 / 5:46 am

    Is it horrible that your frustrations and chaotic rants make me laugh so much? Truly, I’m laughing WITH you…

  6. katie
    October 4, 2020 / 9:29 pm

    go for the content goldmine!!! I am all for it!

  7. Lydia
    October 4, 2020 / 8:04 pm

    I’ve been checking in to see what “The key” was to! Impatiently waiting for LOTS of content on the project!

  8. Annette
    October 4, 2020 / 7:53 pm

    As much house renovation as possible please! Every detail welcome …as soon as possible. Really want to be brave enough to do this myself.

  9. Kat
    October 4, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    Love, love, LOVE these life updates!!!!
    Absolutely “YES PLEASE!” to the renovation series!!!!

  10. Katy
    October 4, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    Old lady faced white moths to be forever etched in my brain! I still laugh thinking about that crab with a bandana lockdown shopping post, now this. So funny xx

    • October 5, 2020 / 11:27 am

      Hahaha, it’s a whole freaky menagerie.

  11. Tania
    October 4, 2020 / 9:57 am

    Yes please to new venture updates.
    Your writing really makes me smile

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