Hold onto your hats people, the Chop is back and rearing to go. Quite a bit has changed since we last spoke so I think I should give you a quick run down:
- After swearing off men completely I met a man and fell madly in love and I’ve now been in a relationship for over five years and married for almost two. Bizarre but true.
- No.s 1 and 2 are now teenagers – emotionally exhausting but also true.
- I have a stepdaughter who has a stepson of her own (four year old MonkeyBoy), and a baby on the way so the Chop is practicing grand parenting without mastering parenting first (oh suffer the little children!).
- I’ve had a tree change and now work in the West and live in the Mountains – the Chop is a city dweller no more and feels very sorry for the flatlanders.
- After years of a very “interesting” relationship with alcohol I’ve decided to break up with it forever. Constantly breaking up and getting back together is no good for anyone so I had the difficult conversation and told alcohol it was me, not you, and let it go. I watched it walk away into the sunset with a rueful smile, and a not inconsiderable amount of anxiety over what I would be without it, but sure that I’d made the right decision. It never calls or writes but I’m OK with that.
So that’s about it in a nutshell. I’m sure more details will emerge as we settle back in to our acquaintance but that’s a taster.
I have just turned 49 years old. I’ll admit I haven’t dealt with this terribly well. No. 1 decided I was being ridiculously avoidant and has been on a campaign of exposure therapy for some months, adding “49” to every conversation she could think of. I can’t say I enjoyed it much but I have arrived without a major mishap and the world didn’t end – much to my astonishment. However, this inexorable marching of time has brought with it some visitors I could happily live without. Most unwelcome at the moment has been the nightly uninvited guest – Hot Flushes. In bed I am now a raging furnace – and not in a good way. My husband lies there with three extra quilts (we are in the mountains don’t forget) and tries to snuggle up to share body heat while I screech “Don’t touch me!” and can barely handle a sheet touching my torch-like limbs. I now wake up hideously thirsty due to sweating every bit of moisture from my body – very unpleasant to say the least but thankfully it’s not combined with “Why, why, why did I have that extra champagne and what did I say last night?” so I can be grateful for small mercies.
Mind you, I will say that the advantage of age is that I am far more assertive these days. This could be misconstrued as impatience because I have less time left on the planet, or even simple rudeness, but I prefer to see it as a strength. I am not going to be walked all over anymore (cast off that burnt chop and put yourself first for a change!). A good example of this occurred the other day at the veterinary surgery. Despite having a husband and a good many others in my life I still felt the overpowering desire to have more cats so recently adopted two kittens. So that we don’t end up with even more we had to get them de-sexed. I will digress for a moment to confess that I didn’t realize that brother and sister cats don’t have the same taboo as we do in regards to shagging each other so hadn’t realized that this was so urgent until I caught Ron trying to have his way with Luna. I know, you don’t have to say anything. Anyway, the de-sexing was included in the adoption fee but when I arrived to collect them from the vet, after a long and stressful day of work, the receptionist told me it hadn’t been paid for. I assured her it had and she asked for the number of the carer I’d adopted them from. Getting no answer she told me to take a seat and wait to see if they called back. I meekly sat down and wondered if the smell of animal excrement and antiseptic would help keep me awake. Shortly after this I shook myself and approached the counter. The following conversation ensued (subtext included):
Me (polite but firm): Excuse me but could I collect my kittens and go. I’ve paid for the procedure and I have a long drive. (If you don’t give me my kittens I will rip your head off, march out the back and take them)
Receptionist (also polite but firm): But I have no record of payment. (no money, no cats old lady)
Me (polite but with a steely edge): I’m sorry but that’s not my problem. I’ve paid so it’s for you to sort out with the foster agency. In any case I won’t be giving you any money. (Listen girlie, I’m taking the bloody kittens with or without your permission. I’m tired and in no mood for these shenanigans)
Receptionist (noticeably less polite): I have all these other people to serve. (I’ll make you wait if you’re going to be rude)
Me (smiling but pure steel): I was here first so could you just get my kittens. (Get them now or I will lose it in front of all your customers and you will never work in this town again)
Receptionist (pure ice, no smile): I’ve asked the nurse to bring them out. (Cow)
Me (arctic but gracious): Thank you. (I win)
I promptly collected the kittens and swept out (quite a difficult move carrying a large pet carrier with two dead weights in it), leaving obvious admiration in my wake from all the other customers trying to get their pets released from a hostage situation. Well, that’s how I chose to read it anyway. Clearly there’s room for other interpretations. In any event I see this as coming into my own and refusing to be pushed around. The next time you think a woman of a certain age is being demanding, and possibly a tad impolite, perhaps you will allow that she’s just finding herself amid a torrent of horrendous age related changes and is also likely to be feeling a bit tetchy that the number of years ahead is now definitely less than those behind (unless there’s a major scientific breakthrough hitherto only imagined in Science Fiction), leaving a lot less to time available to write (or even start) the great unwritten novel.
Until next time my lovelies.
The Management of The Burnt Chop would like to apologise profusely. We unanimously voted not to continue representation but were cowed into submission, the result of which will be a weekly, uninvited missive. We take no responsibility for any injury caused.