Archive for January, 2013

Sarah. But Solo.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

This is my first post of the new year – and my first post being 31! My birthday was two days ago and I had a very lovely day with the girls and a friend. However it is not my first post in which I begin by explaining why there has been such a lengthy gap between now and the last. But this time I have a really good excuse. My best ever, possibly. This one would come with a big red bow to remove with a flourish and a ‘ta-da!’ feeling about it. So before I begin, I know it’s been a while since New Year’s Eve but I am officially announcing my resolution for 2013 – and that is that there will be a minimum of two blog posts a month, and hopefully a great deal more if I can find a way of writing about what my life will entail. More and more these days I’ve seen those letters ‘FML’ appearing on people’s Facebook statuses and I look at them and I think – oh yes, familiar feeling.

                My excuse, and the cause of all this misery is, as I posted on twitter a few weeks ago, that my husband and I have separated and he has moved out. It wasn’t a sudden thing, it’s been years in the coming if I’m honest, but about four months ago something happened that hastened the process. It’s not a particularly easy thing to have to live through and it’s even less easy to write about, well, I’m sure I could write about it in all sorts of detail but I don’t think that would be very fair on the parties involved so I shall confine myself to the impact upon me. Which has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, very interesting. Living alone with the two girls is an eye-opener, literally. No-one else is going to get out of bed at 7am to make their breakfast any more, or read endless bedtime stories, or check essay progress. For the first time in my life I am properly In Charge. I may get myself a badge to stop the girls looking at me sceptically.

                Before the separation I didn’t have to worry about a lot of things. For example, cooking. My husband was (probably still is) a very talented chef so he catered beautifully every night. The consequences of this were that he also did all the food shopping because he knew exactly which ingredients he wanted, and this, coupled with his claim that if I went I spent twice as much and came back with half the food, made sure that I was never allowed near a supermarket. I still don’t go near supermarkets, I have discovered Ocado – which seems to me a wonderful compromise. I’m still getting the hang of organising meals though. I can cook precisely four different things in terms of actual, grown-up, proper meals but the girls are getting a bit bored now so I’m having to branch out. But whereas dinner before involved braised chicken, tarragon and homemade sauces, or steak and dauphinoise potatoes, it is now far more likely that Sharwoods would make an appearance in my kitchen rather than a paring knife. But nobody minds and it all seems to go along with no real problems – there’s been no incidents of starvation or food poisoning yet so I think I’m doing all right.

                However, where homework is concerned things change and I find my heart sinking on an almost daily basis. Molly’s homework is completed at school during Prep so that’s not a concern, but the second term of Year 1 for Alice has seen her begin to bring home many and varied sheets of paper to complete each night, plus her reading book, plus her flash cards. If I glance at the sheet and it’s English, then that’s fine, we can do that. If however I glance at the sheet and it’s covered in horrible little sums then that is not all right. Obviously she’s only five years old so the sums aren’t very complicated (e.g. ‘9-3’ would be the toughest), but the problem arises when I find myself in the position of having to teach Alice how to work the answer out. Anyone who is familiar with me from Maths lessons at school will know that I am literally the last person who should ever be given the responsibility of teaching a child anything Maths-related, and if we run out of fingers to count on then it’s game over. I got the lowest grade in my entire school year for Maths GCSE – C, Intermediate tier. Luckily, 10 other GCSEs involving As and A*s, plus an AS-Level, plus 3 A-Levels at A,A,C and a Law degree do go some way towards mollifying me for the C in Maths. Perhaps it’s time to let it go. Anyway, after attempting the Year 1 numeracy homework I find my enthusiasm for ploughing painfully through a repetitive story with Alice about ducks and rabbits and running and hopping strangely depleted so that doesn’t tend to go very well.

                There are upsides though. With my husband gone I pay 25% less council tax and I have a lot more space for all my things. In his wine glass, for example. And also in his wardrobe.  And his shelf in the bathroom. And his space on the shoe rack. And his space on the sofa now that I come to think of it, I can stretch my legs out for the first time in nine years. Neither do I have to contend with his snoring, or stealing of the duvet; I’m sleeping more peacefully than I ever have. I can watch exactly what I want on the television or I can read in silence instead if I wish, I am currently working my way through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books as light relief. I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to (apart from to the children which can be done on auto-pilot if strictly necessary) and nobody nags me about how much I use my phone.  It’s all rather marvellous actually. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.