It's Wednesday. It is. Is it? Excuse me if I sound disoriented. I think that in our house, Wednesday is often the worst day of the week. The day when Husband - if he's in the country - seems invariably to have an early start, so the rest of us do too. When I say 'early', by the way, I may only be talking about a wake-up of 10 minutes ahead of time, but on a Wednesday, I feel every lost second of sleep. And on a Wednesday, the boys seem to be at their most difficult when I pick them up from school.
For some reason the moaning and complaining really get to me mid-week. "Why can't I have television as soon as I get home from school?" "Why do I have to change out of my school uniform?" "Why do I have to get out of the car NOW and come with you to fetch Boy #1? I want to sit in the driver's seat and switch on the hazards / windscreen wipers / anything that's going to give you a start when you put the key in the ignition in a few minutes..." "Why do we have to eat that?" "Why do we have to have a bath / brush our teeth / go to bed? I'm not tired..." (Invariably this last one is followed by the sound of snoring less than 30 seconds after heads hit the pillow...)
Most of the time, and always when we are in sight of the school gates, I maintain a jolly Butlin red-coat exterior, cajoling them along and out of their mood, often with the help of biscuits. But just occassionally the Pollyanna act starts to slip ('just' occassionally?). As this evening when I checked my e-mail late, tired, and quite frankly at a time when I would have been better off getting some much-needed beauty sleep.
But no. I had to do it. And there in the inbox was my latest in a long running if one-sided correspondance with Mr Johnny Boden. If you have a keen memory you may remember that in Autumn last year I foreswore all things Boden (for myself; the Boys are another matter, though only when the sales are on, I'm not a complete basket-case) when I realised that my mother-in-law also shopped there, and what was even worse, we even posessed similar items of clothing (albeit in different sizes). Do I like my mother-in-law? Yes. Do I want to be her? No. So since then not an item of clothing wrapped in pretty pastel polka dotted tissue paper has been delivered to my door.
Admittedly in these crunchy financial times this hasn't been as hard a resolution to stick to as I had feared. I simply remind myself of the great 'Mother-in Law in My Denim Skirt Debacle' and recycle the catalogues that come through the post without even looking at them, and bin the e-mails that poor forlorn Johnny still sends hopefully through to me. 'Don't you love me any more?' they may as well ask... Poor J. Oh yes, you dear man, I and no doubt thousands of others who have similarly foresaken you can read the subtext in your frequent e-mails offering us money off.
But Johnny, there are limits. Today's e-mail stank of desperation. Admittedly, alone amongst my friends I prefer watching paint dry to spending more than 45 minutes trawling clothes shops. Please, leave me in the coffee shop with a good book whilst you ransack Selfridges. I'll keep you a table. Just don't ask me to get involved with the actual purchasing.
And when I do shop, I operate a two-stage approach to buying clothes. First, having realised that bag-ladyness is just around the corner (normally as a result of prompting by my dear Husband in a subtle 'You really need to buy new t-shirts / a new dress / get new shoes without the soles falling off' kind of a way) I trick myself into being near or outside a clothes shop that I like. As in 'Oh, I'll just run into Paperchase and buy so and so a card and gosh, look, there's xxx on the other side of the road! What a surprise! Might as well just pop in whilst I'm here...' Then, I move onto a 'smash and grab' technique; if I walk in, like what I see and it suits me and fits, I buy it, and keep it. None of that fadding around with 'what shall I wear it with? Maybe I'll just buy it and return it if I don't like it when I get home...' (Cate, Christina, Sarah; you know who you are...)
Luckily for my bank balance I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've been shopping in the last couple of years.
So yes, Johnny dear. I know, it's clear that when it comes to shopping, I need guidance. But even I know that there is one item of clothing above all others - with the exception of bras, which you definitely need to try on yourself - that has to be purchased in person, and preferably only after a severe bout of stomach 'flu and with flattering mirrors (Gap do the best in this area, I find) in the changing rooms.
You know it, Ladies. I'm talking about jeans.
And if you're reading this Johnny, this was a lesson I learned through trial and bitter disappointment over the years, more often than not in a pair of jeans that you yourself had sold me, probably at 25% off, just like you're promising now - do you never stop?. And always, contrary to my sky-high and misguidedly optimistic expectations, they failed to transform me into slim and lissom Sophie with the washboard stomach who according to your blurb 'likes: ice-cream in the park, and training and running in the rain...' (Ice cream in the park? The only cream that girl sees is face cream, based on the size of her behind).
Instead, the jeans I was struggling to do up - before I posted them back to you in a rage - would leave me all too clearly 'slightly too well-padded and sometimes even - horror - muffin-topped Potty' with the c-section and appendix-scarred stomach, who 'likes: Green and Blacks, and running from the rain...'