To Please Or not to please. Chapter 1: The Kids’ Friends.

Thinking about it rationally this is one of those categories of people we should not give a f..k what they think about us. Honestly, do we really care how a bunch of stinky teenagers with small brains still in development see us? Most likely they don’t even notice our presence because we don’t come out of their phone’s screen. They just want to be fed and not spoken to. That is how they normally choose the house where to hang out: the one with the nicer biscuits and the most willing mother to make them hot chocolate, ideally without talking too much. Like it would matter what you ask them as the answer is always one of the following: yes, no, maybe, I don’t know; when it’s not s all of them together and accompanied by a lost facial expression that makes you wonder if the noise you hear in the background is their neurones running frantically from one side of their brain to the other in the desperate attempt to make sense to your highly engaging question like: do you want sugar in your chocolate? But that is exactly the point: You don’t want your kids’ friends to see you as a housewife who jumped out of the fifties. You don’t want them to come to your house only because you serve them hot chocolate and biscuits and you are crazy enough to host a sleepover with 6/7 of them and make them all pizza from scratch. You want them to like you because you are cool! Easier to say than do, unfortunately, and wearing your last Metallica concert t-shirt is not enough. They don’t even know who Metallica are. But when you invite them over for Halloween strictly requiring them to be in fancy dress and unleashing your vast knowledge of vintage horror movies, then you might have your chance. Horror movies are a classic timeless cross-generation weapon that always works. Of course, popcorn and hot chocolate help but only if you serve them wearing your bat wings rather than your flowery kitchen apron.

To please or not to please. Chapter 2: The husband’ s colleagues.

This is a nasty category. Very hard to tackle. First of all, they are normally 10/15 years younger than you and you can’t help it but to feel maternal towards them. Suddenly you find yourself addressing them as “dear” or “darling” like you are an old aunt from Essex. That is actually kind of sweet and works with male colleagues, because you are well aware that the battle to impress them aesthetically is lost since the start, unless they have some type of Oedipus complex. The real issue is the female colleagues. With those you need a strategy!

First you need to assess them and all of those ringing just to complain “he” left the office without saying goodbye, and you can hear the noise of the long fake lashes blinking, must be erased . Same story for the secretaries who don’t recognise you and after asking for your name they ask if you have an appointment because “he” is very busy.


Once you made clearance of all those who likes older men, and more specifically your man, then you can focus on the trusty ones, the ones you like and, no shame in saying it, the ones you want them to like you. Now, the thing is , you want them to like you not because you are a cute reminder of aunt Violet from Essex and neither because you are their boss’ wife and they have to like you.You want them to like you because you are cool, fun and nice; so nice that you invite them all over for dinner because food always brings people together.

Unfortunately despite your effort to remove all the copies of Good Housekeeping from the house, like with the kids, the food pleasing strategy has risks.
They might see you just like the good old boss (house)wife and that’s not why you spent the entire afternoon chopping, cooking and baking,(even if your sponge cake is very dramatically good as aunt Violet’s). You are you and not only you are fun and cool, you have a young spirit. As young as theirs and that’s when you play your last card to ultimately win them over…forever!
“I am going to belly dance classes and loving it”, I casually throw into the conversation with the clear intent of showing off my young open mind.
“Oh really?” one colleague did reply amused. What I’m still not sure about is if her amusement was coming from my choice of exercise or from the image of me doing it. Never mind, sometimes ignorance is a bless.
“I did too once,” the other colleague added, “we were holidaying in Turkey and they gave us bell belts to tie around our waist, it was very fun and sexy. Do you use the belts?I used to love the sound of the bells while shaking the belly.”
I froze for a second thinking how to explain we are just a bunch of middle age women shaking our bellies wearing comfy tracksuits and anti-slippery socks, unless we feel very exotic and opt for leggings and bare feet, but most definitely not wearing bells-belts that, considering the size of most the waistline there, ( teacher included), would weight like hell and dragging us to the floor.
“Hmm, no! No belts, it’s more like a course for menopausal women desperate to trim their waistline and exercise their pelvic floor, you know? But we use veils!”
Their puzzled expression told me that probably I wasn’t very successful in trying to make my belly dance course sound cool but I was ultimately successful in impressing them…forever!!!

Music keeps you young

Summer of 2021 slowly but surely the country was starting to regain some freedom (at that time we didn’t know yet that we were going to be locked up again for nearly another year), and what’s the first thing you do? You buy concert tickets. Any concert, it doesn’t matter as soon is not Julio Iglesias (who actually I am not even sure he is still alive considering that was my grandmother’s favourite singer and he was already of a certain age back in those days). All you want is to enjoy your regained freedom; be around people; breath on their necks; let them seat closer than 2metres from you.
And so here we are my concert pal and I wearing our concert-matching t-shirts ready to go see some bands we never in our life had thought we would go see live. Some of them probably never thought we could see them alive, considering how long those bands were around.

Whitesnake, Foreigner, Europe and Counting Crows. A real blast from the past that brought me back to my teens: first dance, first disco, first kiss and first arrest.
Now don’t let your imagination go too wild there, it was not as bad as it sounds but certainly, Europe were the soundtrack of that school trip that saw us all questioned by the German police.
Long story short some very fashion-oriented schoolmates of mine decided to try on some nice clothes at the local mall but forgot to take them off before leaving. They did look a bit chubbier when they returned to the hostel and so did their bags when loading them onto the bus to go home but we all had indulged in food and shopping. The problem was that they didn’t stop by the till after their shopping and being just a bunch of 13 years old girls and not criminal masterminds they haven’t realised there were cameras all over the place. It didn’t take much to the local police to find that clever group of Italian students and pull over our bus before we could leave the village. Guess where we spent the entire day and half of the night?!


Back now to our days and the concert, despite all our efforts, the adrenaline and the excitement we remembered from our last pre-pandemic concert was never there . Maybe it was because we were not going to see Pink Floyd, maybe it was because the stadium was not crowded and loud, or maybe it was because we were 3 years older and spent all the drive to the concert talking about how to fill our return tax: how fecking middle age middle class is that?!!!Anyway, whatever the reason , the drill and the excitement were not there. We both kind of felt it but refused to admit it and faking it at our best we approached the entrance. I

I searched all my pockets, and my concert pal, who is a control frick , is already jumping on his feet .
“Sorry, I was sure I had them… “, and I was obviously talking about the tickets,” but don’t worry, I have the email to go to the booking site,”I reassured him starting scrolling my Gmail and he relaxed, temporarely, till I fail even the third attempt to insert the password to enter the ticket master site.
Because I am a wife and he is an husband ( one of my best friends’ husband to be precise), I promptly recognised the sign of a man on the verge to explode and as quick as I could I handed him my phone so that he could reset the password and retrieve the tickets himself and eventually let us in to enjoy what it ended to be an amazing concert. Great music, nice beer but most of all that amazing forgotten feeling to be young. No actually to look young…..compare to the average audience.


To conclude, I bet you agree with me that some lesson was learnt here: First, teach your kids to watch for cameras if they will ever feel the urge to steal something, especially in Germany where the fact that you are a minor doesn’t mean absolutely anything to the police;
Second, go to old rockers concerts and you won’t feel like a pathetic soccer mum who listens to 70/80s music in her car, but you feel a damn young chick, because guaranteed you will be at least 20 years younger than everybody else there; Third, get yourself ready and sorted to avoid pissing the husband off, because it doesn’t matter if it is yours or someone else’s: a pissed husband is never fun to be around.

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Stitch it up man!

First business trip in many many years. Well, what can I say, it was a huge excitement…for me, the rest of the household just survived it.
“Will this travelling thing become a regular thing?” Daughter number two asked over the phone while I was away.
“No, darling, it’s just a one-off, why?” I naively ask.
“Because the house is falling apart without you!”
“OH, come on, don’t be catastrophic,” I say laughing and thinking that I am going to be away only for two and a half days; except on my return, I realise what she meant.

The travelling husband, after digesting that this time it is me travelling and he had to stay home, kindly collects me at the airport. Because is on a call and we don’t get to properly greet each other, it’s only when we get to the car and he hands me the keys to drive that I notice that his left middle finger is wrapped in a blood-stained bandage. Eventually, once we arrive home, he got off his call, but” before I can ask what happened to his finger, with a tone expressing all the exhaustion of the last two days he says:” Sorry love, but I had already moved this call twice being off the last two days….”
-Off? For two days? Why?- But before I can ask my face had already given me away and he tells me that it was far too much to deal with the cooking, the girls, and the dogs all at the same time and all on his own. He had to take some time off work. Putting aside the urge to reply that it is what I do daily plus I slip into “all that” also 4 hours of work and some housework that a brief look around the house tells me he didn’t do, I ask what happened to his finger.
He cleaned the Oven!!! At 11 at night!!!! Now, refrain myself from any reaction was very very hard but I managed and tried my best to sound concerned about his injury I asked for more details.

On Thursday, the men’s tennis night was cancelled and so after he couldn’t take any more junk TV, the travelling husband was suddenly possessed by the urge of cleaning the oven. And why he tells me this he shows me with great pride how sparkling the oven doors are now. Just like new! Unfortunately, the inside of the oven is nothing like the outside because he hooked his middle finger in the rotisserie before he could finish cleaning and, unable to stop the bleeding, he had to run to the hospital.
”Oh jeez, that must have been painful. And the girls? Did they panic?” I ask.
“They were fine, CG was already in bed nearly asleep and A, she came with me.”
“You left our younger daughter at home alone in the middle of the night and took our eldest with you not knowing how long you would have stayed there? What if something happened to you or if they kept you in? What would she have done?” My tone is now shifting from concerned to pissed off (excuse my french).
“I would have sent her home with a taxi.” He answers.
“Of course! Stupid for me not to think about the obvious. But why did you bring her in the first place? Not that she could drive you home.” I replay sarcastically.
One brief look at the husband’s face and I knew what was coming:” I would have taught her. It’s such a short drive…”. Sure “sarcasm is not a travelling husband’s thing!
“She is 16 !!!” The dumb me insists.
“Well, she drives the boat already..” He states with his usual factual practicality.
I can’t really argue with his twisted logic and so I attack from a different angle: ” What the f…k.!Why in the hell did you clean the oven? Could you not hoovering the floor or do some laundry instead? Maybe clean the bathrooms?” I shout now officially pissed, (and excuse my french again).
“Yes maybe, but look at the oven now. It’s like new!” Pride is all over his face until I inform him that are professionals coming to the house to clean the oven inside out for 50 euros.
“Oh, I didn’t know that..” I won’t hide I took some pleasure to see his confidence trembling but it doesn’t last long: “Well, anyway we saved 50 quid!”.
His pride is back and I want to go for his throat till my attention goes to the fresh drops of blood on the floor.

“I think some of the stitches fell off,” I say, and this time with some genuine concern.
“ I don’t have stitches, I didn’t think I need them.” My eyes immediately go to the ridiculously fat bandage on his middle finger now bleeding all over, “What do you mean you thought you didn’t need them? What the doctor said?”
“I haven’t seen the doctor, only the nurse who stopped the bleeding and put the bandage on.”
“What the nurse said then?”
“She said to wait for the doctor.”
“So you did talk to the doctor?” I am trying to stay calm and patient now….but it’s sooo hard!
“Oh no, I should have waited for at least an hour and a half and as I was not bleeding anymore I left.”
Do you know when they say to pick your battles? Well, I suppose this was one of those times you have to do that, and so I just look down at the blood dripping from the bandage and then up to him defeatedly speechless.
” Ah don’t worry, love, I’ll fix it. I just need some piece of hard plastic to press the cut and then I’m sure some paper stitches will do the trick!”He reassures me.
-Holy posy! Over 20 years and I have never realised I was married to McGiver!!! If only he would now also mop the blood off the floor.

A unexpected visit from an old friend

I have been out running errands all morning.I didn’t actually have that many errands to run but having the girls with me slowed me down.Being away for so long made impossible to resist the temptation of treating ourself in one of our favourite coffee shop,in between errands of course.That slow us down also.We had a girls lunch today,equal cakes.A deserved treat before school starts.That was the official justification for the inner”healthy mom”voice that made me notice how lazy and not nutritious my choice has been.Not nutritious at all but so delicious indeed,beside these 2 girls spent 6 weeks in Italy and most of the time have been fed by their grandmothers,…..they had enough healthy nutritious food.Done with the errands and satisfied by our lunch we went home.The girls got themselves busy in the garden.I decided that,after a month of happy separation and no contacts whatsoever, it was time to rediscover my relationship with the iron board.Judging by the pile of stuff in the laundry room obviously it missed me more then I did! I confess ,I cheated bringing my husband ‘s shirts to the laundrette to be ironed,(one of the morning errand),but I still had enough to take care of:table cloths,few of my summer dresses,trousers and so on.In general I don’t mind to iron but I am afraid I still didn’t get out of the lazy holidays mood so it was an hassle today,but it has to be done.When I iron, I usually do it in front of the tv,(my exception to afternoon tv that I usually don’t watch).I am ready,all set.The iron is hot and television is on.Too bad there are still all the summer crap programs that bore me and gives me headache as it looks like the presenters are afraid of not being heard,(or reconfirmed in Autumn),and they shout like they are selling something in a market.I was hoping in some replica of “judge Judy ” or “doctor Phil” but no luck .By now I am nearly done ,I’m zapping to see if I can find a decent program for the last tablecloth when I hear a familiar soundtrack:”Murder she wrote”. Here she is:Jessica Fletcher.I love Jessica Fletcher. If I think about it, she has been with me most of my life.I was still in high school when they started to show her first episodes and I used to watch them in the evening with my mom.Then she has been my lunch companion through university: they showed her at 1 o’clock and if I was not in faculty ,I used to watch her while having my lunch and my break from study.I got pregnant with my first daughter and she was with me everyday,late afternoon.At the time I was back from work around 4.30 and after walking the dog I had a rest with my feet up on the sofa with her before dinner time.That show time schedule worked well even after I had my baby because it was feeding time and it was comforting to have my long time friend Jessica with me .Once back to work,unfortunately, we haven’t seen each other regularly for a while but after I had my second baby we met again. “murder she wrote”was on around 7 ,if I am not mistaking,kids were in bed and I could watch it while cooking dinner in the kitchen. Perfect timing once again Mrs Fletcher.When my first daughter was older,around 5,she used to watch it with me for a while.Her sister was already in bed but she was allowed to stay up longer.Cartoon time was over and we usually had a cuddle and a quiet time watching a bit of Jessica before it was time to go to bed for her too. I don’t have to say that the episodes were always the same and that I knew exactly how was going to end but ,still,there was something in that show that gave me peace and warmth.It always gave me a homely feeling .Back to today ,I was delighted I found it .I haven’t seen an episode in at least 3 years .May be there was even a chance I dint remember well who was the culprit!It had just started when my daughter walked into the kitchen and immediately recognised Jessica’s voice:”Oh Jessica.I remember her.We used to watch it when I was small”.,she said.Then she grabbed a biscuit and went to sit on the couch in front of the television.Out of impulse I turned off the iron and I went to sit beside her.We cuddled and enjoyed Jessica’s company together one more time.