Thursday, 26 January 2012

Death and Divorce

The answer to my big question was Misandry. There is a reason we have never heard it before, (I assume I wasn't the only one not to know - the only person to answer my question was an Oxford languages graduate who had learnt Greek - so I feel it is a safe assumption) men don't tend to use the term against women and it would be quite something if one were to accuse a woman of being a Misandrist (correct formation of the word?). Instead I imagine they would say she was moody, pre-menstrual, crazy, a ball buster, a lesbian, hormonal etc. I would be prepared to bet a child on the fact that no woman has ever complained about mankind and their inability to 'see' dirty plates, wet nappies or dirty washing piles and for the man to turn around and accuse them of misandry. But I think we should try and make this a more commonly used term - do think of ways to include it in to your every day conversation or text. I shall start:

I am most definitely not a misandrist. There are some men of whom I am most incredibly fond. Some men can be rather fabulous. Today's funeral proved my point. The day started lovely enough as I dumped two irritating children at school and another with a very kind friend (I'm not sure if you can tell yet but I am not in the best of moods. K clearly believes it to be hormone based. I am blaming it on every member of my family and the exhaustion from the newest).  I then enjoyed three hours of sitting down and having my hair done. Bliss. (The Godmother and magician's wedding is on Saturday so today was the first of two hair appointments in preparation - I cannot imagine a situation where I will ever be anointed 'bridesmaid' again so I am making the most of my first and only time.) Once the bliss had ended I rushed back to my filthy house in which the long suffering friend had decided to shelter, apologised for the mess, promised a very tired Ted a sleep, hastily emptied the bin in an attempt to look slightly less slovenly, bid the friend a fond farewell, ate lunch on the go, changed in to a skirt, wrapped ted in a very big blanket and shoved him in to the buggy with strict instructions to go to sleep. As I got out of the house I saw the hearse arrive with the lovely Jim making his last trip down our road and I realised I was now racing against a hearse to a funeral. Luckily there is a pedestrian short cut and as it happens, hearses are quite slow. Ted fell asleep on demand (he is being uncharacteristically helpful and well behaved recently - we even managed a playgroup on Tuesday where he was lovely and didn't hit or hurt one single child). I arrived with a few minutes to spare and dumped Ted inside the crematorium out of the cold. Stupidly I didn't think about the width needed for the bearers to walk through with the coffin and as I couldn't rush in first without looking attention seeking, I just had to wait and hope. Luckily they were experienced men and manged to go around the buggy but I did feel a bit of an idiot. So much so that I dumped him back outside in the entrance porch once everyone had followed the coffin inside. I didn't think at the time but as the service progressed, I began to think about the fact that people walk past the crematorium quite a lot and actually, I didn't put the break on so anyone could just wheel away my buggy with Ted, and more importantly, my handbag on board. Even worse, they could take the bag and leave the buggy. It was distracting. But I was hopeful that a member of the funeral 'team' was outside and might have stopped any theft. It didn't help that the vicar (are they all called vicars or something more broad spectrum like Minister? I don't know - I am so out of the religious loop and this wasn't a church, although it was laid out like that, it was a crematorium - are they as one?) was ridiculously depressing with his opening 'address' (again I don't know the technical lingo) - he basically said death happens, everyone in this room is going to die at some point, along with everyone they know and love so that there is no one left in the world that knows who you once were (I added on the last bit about no one being left, but it was definitely implied). Now, I have been to three funerals in my life (I hate them - along with hospitals they are the dark demon in my life and I try to keep well away from them unless there are exceptional circumstances - again, I know no one wakes up and thinks, yippee! a funeral, must get my hair done, but I am really not good at going to them after my dad's) but I really don't think that that is the way to go with mourners. He struck me as a little depressing and possibly depressed. Maybe doing funeral after funeral all day long has got to him. Obviously he was very positive about the 'afterlife' in the loving embrace of you know who but I, being rather cynical about the mythical afterlife, didn't find it at all reassuring and overall thought he could do with a few pointers. Still, Jim's son took the stand and cheered me up no end with his eulogy about his dad, which was lovely as well as informative - nearly 92 years of life means you can get an awful lot done. Not for the first time I felt a bit of a non-achiever. Then Jim's eloquent teenage grandson took over and I got a bit weepy. It reminded me of my nephew and his lost grandad so it was tricky not to get emotional - plus he ended with, 'If I am half as happy as my grandfather was at half his age then I know I will have done well' - that is inspiring and wonderful - I hope the vicar took note. Then my lovely old man from over the road (part of the gwennis duo) stood up and spoke very briefly before becoming emotional himself which set me off.  However, tears aside, to sum up, it was a very charming and befitting send off for a lovely, lovely man by some other very sweet and lovely males. Oh, and as we left I found the buggy was exactly where I left it, being guarded by the 'official' funeral man (lovely), and that my handbag was untouched. Phew. Lots of lovely men. See? Definitely not guilty of Misandry.

Still, the depressing vicar got me thinking, even more so than usual, about my funeral. I have already picked out songs for me and two for K (that is assuming he 'goes' first - in which case he won't have a say in what happens). I have decided all the details for mine. There is a no-black dress code so as not to scare the children - I'd like it more like a wedding with tears - I would appreciate people making an effort with their outfits as they would do for a wedding, we are, after all, celebrating my life which was rather fun so, no black. Also there is to be NO flower arrangement done to spell the word 'MUM'. Hideous. If anything I'd like to be 'mother' but actually I'd like to be nothing. Just colourful flowers please. I don't want my job title advertised from the hearse. Those who know me know who I am and that's all that matters. I shall obviously be buried, not cremated and I would like a wicker casket - preferably decorated in bright flowery Cath material which I think would look very pretty. (Also, if at all possible I'd like a forest burial so the children can come somewhere nice and non-depressing to 'see' me).  As the ceremony ends I will be very aggrieved if the song playing is not Macy Gray, The Letter, from her album, On How Life Is.  It has been my funeral song since University and it would upset me if this bit was ignored. I also want Lady Madonna by the Beatles (my current ring tone - HOW APT?) and Yellow from Coldplay which was our wedding song - just to make K really sad. Although he won't be sad for long - I have already lined up my replacement. I can't imagine K doing it all on his own and it was worrying me so I needed to get it sorted. She and K were happy to agree the deal so, apart from writing my will, I think I'm very well prepared for 'the end' as the religious man put it. Helpfully, the children are already exceptionally fond of the replacement and she has the added bonus of being a teacher, so they all set up for the school holidays as well. Genius!

To be honest she will probably do a much better job than me. After I allowed myself a small feeling of pride yesterday afternoon thanks to a vaguely domestically goddess like day - where I managed to get a lot of housework done, a supermarket shop and cook a 6-hour slow roasted Pork shoulder for everyone's supper (the whole family ate it - at separate times - but it was eaten by every single one. That NEVER happens unless you count sausages) - the evening routine went seriously awry and I lost all my cool. And pride. Bea returned from Beavers in a hyperactive state, I shouted loudly at her about the mud she had walked upstairs, her dumped coat she had left on the floor and the fact she was ignoring me, I then no doubt shouted at G to get out of the bath and at Ted for running away from me and the nappy. As quiet descended Bea asked why Daddy hadn't been getting home in time to see them at bed time recently. I sighed incredibly loudly and said 'I don't bloody know. Why do you think?' to which Bea shrugged her shoulders and G said (still in the bath), 'Maybe he doesn't like you very much anymore'. NICE. G's opinion of me veers wildly from thinking I am 'the best mummy in the world' to regularly accusing me of 'ruining his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE' and last weekend as I lay in bed being a tad terse with K who had only just managed to drag himself out of it at 8.15, K turned to G and conspiratorially whispered, 'G, do me a favour and don't get married when you grow up'. With his usual comedic timing G waited just long enough before he whispered back, 'You mean, don't marry one like that' pointing at the lump on the bed, which was me. How can a five year old know so much? (I hasten to add I had already been awake and dealing with them since 6 - just in case you were on G's side.)

For some reason, I take much comfort in the fact that 'even' celebrities can't make marriages work. I wouldn't say it makes me smug - I am never truly smug as I know things can turn on a hairpin, but it definitely gives a certain amount of perspective to things when I know that even huge amounts of money and beauty cannot guarantee long term marriages. Heidi Klum and Seal are the latest divorcees with whom I have become fascinated. Four children (one not technically his but by all accounts as good as), wife modelling for Victoria's Secrets six weeks after birth and a husband writing love songs for you as well as phenomenal matching Halloween costumes. How can it go wrong? I would love to know. Although maybe it is the lack of money and options that keeps many 'normal' marriages together. Half of very little is bugger all so maybe it keeps people living together long enough for the house to be worth enough to make it worth splitting, during which time the children get older and life gets easier and you figure you might as well stick with it? Perhaps the money and luxury of being a celebrity are the very things that 'do' for their marriages? I shall never know.

I must allay your fears - I am not finding a roundabout way to tell you that this is me, and I am leaving K. It is most definitely not. K would have to go a very long way to piss me off sufficiently for me to think that looking after four children on my own was preferable. PLUS, and this is some happy news to counter all my death and divorce misery thus far, the M&O household has OFFICIALLY made it through January! Financially I mean. Not that we lived through it. Although obviously we did that too, so far (ooh shouldn't get ahead of myself just in case). I mean that for the first time, maybe ever, we have been able to buy food and sustenance throughout the whole entire month. This is more momentous than you can ever imagine. We do not have credit cards or an overdraft facility so when I say we run out, I mean that we actually run out and we are left with no means to pay for anything. One particularly memorable January, pre-children (in fact it was the January before we got married), I was unable to buy a train ticket to get to work on the 6th. I remember crying at the station and ringing work saying I was going to be late. It was particularly poignant as I had spent the previous few days with my mum and dad who had come up to London to stay at the Savoy and there had been many fancy meals out and a bit of shopping, as well as frequent visits to their hotel. So, standing outside Honor Oak Station the day after they left with a declined card and no means of getting to work, I felt a tad vulnerable and sorry for myself. (I think I must have rung said parents and got them to help as I can't remember what I did to get myself to work that day and for the rest of the month - although I was terribly creative with my need for petty cash so that might be something to do with it as well). So, after many years struggling through the horror of post Christmas Januarys we have finally comfortably managed Christmas and January. AND, I can't believe I didn't tell you this instantly, the holiday company has agreed to wait for us to pay the deposit, so we have killed two of my 'becoming a grown up' birds with one stone! Afforded January and booked a holiday in advance. If I manage to write a will at some point over the next few months I shall have ticked more off my 'grown up' list in one year than I have done in the last 33 years.

So, on that uplifting and happy news I shall leave you to your day/evening. Oooh but before I go, sick update - still there! The recent drizzle has done little to clear the remains - we need some heavy rain. I shall let you know. Hospitals - I would just like to say briefly that I am very happy for anyone who had a happy birth in a hospital and would not wish to put anyone off going there it's just I cannot fathom the attraction. That is all.

Goodness it's way past my bedtime. I shall leave you to choose your funeral songs and ponder why you are still married. Sweet dreams!  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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