I have tried many ways to keep track of family commitments and appointments. I used to have a kitchen calendar which had so much written on it that it looked as though a spider had walked all over it wearing muddy boots. Then as my mental faculties deteriorated I moved on to the ‘bonger’. This was one of Whizz’s cast-off gadgets. First I had a palm pilot, later I progressed to a pocket PC which could be plugged into the computer each night to be backed up and swap appointments with the Outlook on the PC. The benefit of this arrangement was that I could invite Whizz to appointments such as “Dinner with Slap and Tickle” or “Mavis’ Parents’ Evening” and he would accept by email if he could attend. We have a rather sad and electronic relationship as you can tell. Fortunately we don’t indulge in virtual sex and the “bonger” doesn’t bong the remind us to bonk!
This was quite a successful period in my juggling life but began to be a problem when my eyes started to fail. Picture the scenario: BONG. BONG. BONG. “Oh blimey, what have I got to do now? I must have a look and stop that thing bonging.” I search the bleary screen. “Where are my glasses?”
“Can anyone see my flaming glasses?”
And so on. I now have about 10 pairs of reading glasses but the bonger has bonged its last.
So it’s back to paper for me. I have a Notepad computer on the kitchen table with a worryingly small screen, and I have printed out the Outlook calendar with all the regular things on it such as “Recycling out” or “Feed the cats”. I add in pen the less ordinary appointments. I have to remember to put any appointments that apply to us both, into Outlook and invite the attendee, Whizz, so every few weeks I leaf through the paper calendar and update the electronic one. Usually.
As I said in my previous entry, last week was pretty horrid and for the last few months I have been slightly less that effective, being preoccupied by the temperature of my body and related malfunctioning of my brain. It’s possible that “The Saga of a Perimenopausal Woman” may soon hit the book shelves.
It will come as small surprise therefore that I failed to do the updating bit. We had a situation where we were invited by email to a secret 60th birthday party and on paper to a 40th one, both on the same night. Last night. The 60th one would have been a very grown up affair, the birthday boy being a great “consumer” in every sense of the word. The 40th party was in the village hall and promised to be a 60s and 70s disco. Whizz had been invited to the former while, on my paper calendar, I had the latter.
Then, one day, a few days ago, I looked at my Outlook and was dismayed to find I had cocked up. I rang the 60th party boy’s wife as I hadn’t heard from her about arrangements and was delighted to discover that the party was not going ahead as he was a bit coy about his age. Phew, problem solved. I told Whizz, but failed to remind him about the 40th party on the same night.
Meanwhile, at the school gate, I was startled to discover from a fellow invitee, Sani, that the 60s and 70s disco was ‘in costume’ so on Saturday, after being a Domestic Goddess all morning while mentally mulling through my wardrobe, I asked Whizz if he had given any thought to his outfit for the evening. His expression was blank. He was coming down with a cold and had been looking forward to an evening in watching Mission Impossible 3.
I did the decent thing, rang Sani and asked if she and her husband, Midge, would pick me up on their way to the party and tucked Whizz up with a hot toddy and the remote control. I dressed up in a kind of 60’s fusion outfit combining lots of neck chains and bangles with a maxi dress, platform shoes and very heavy eye liner and I tied an Isadora Duncan scarf around my head a la Andre Agassi.
Sani and Midge arrived; their outfits were amazing as they had been to a costume hire shop. Sani was sporting a long blue wig, a blue satin frilly blouse, satin psychedelic trousers and silver platform shoes in the style of Gary Glitter. Midge was very smooth in a royal blue velvet suit, beetle wig and a multicoloured shirt with huge lapels. We shared admiring remarks before heading off to the village hall for a bop to Abba and the Three Degrees.
WE WERE THE ONLY ONES IN FANCY DRESS. The music was pure ’80s.