Life as a Home-Groaner..

To be fair, at least I ACTUALLY left home first.

This is a brief look into the life of an adult child who, for one reason or another, has decided (and been allowed) to return to the homestead from which they came. There’s a lot of us out there, in our twenties and thirties who, due to money reasons (or in my case, that plus a complete U-Turn in career choice), have ended up living back at home with our parents.

Don’t let their eye-rolling fool you…they secretly LOVE it. Why pass up another opportunity to lay down some Home Rule? A second chance to say those immortal words ‘Not while you’re living under MY house, young lady..’ Every day that passes is another day to ask ‘are you going to wear a jacket with that?’ with a sly knowing smirk as they watch that little vein in your temple throb to a crescendo as you scream “I’m a grown-up!!”. The fact that you’re having a tantrum about being said grown-up only serves to bring their point home. Oh they’re skilled creatures these parents..

Living at home as a grown-up puts you in a strange position. You’re eternally grateful for the down-time while you figure out your next move in the big bad world, but you’re also aware that you have stepped into a sort of time warp. Or a loophole in the universe. For in the years between when you first left home and forged your way into the land of the grown-ups and the time you return battered and bruised and needing a time-out, somehow you survived all by yourself.. Your clothes were cleaned on a semi-regular basis, you got yourself up, dressed and out the door to work or college all by yourself more or less on time, if you drove you hardly ever mowed anyone down on the road or went through a windshield due to non-wearing of seatbelt…and most of all, you didn’t starve. Either you developed cookery skills or managed to have all the local takeaways on speed dial. Either way, you did okay. And then you moved back home.

By moving back home you are unaware that you signed a contract with Father Time. This contract wiped clean any of those skills you developed outside of the home – in the eyes of your parents. So now you are nothing more than a big old twenty or thirty-something menace in their kitchen who is going to burn the house down if left unchecked. I could write an entire blog on the choreography my mother and I engage in while we both attempt to cook dinner. How I was ever left alone near electrical appliances without my mammy coaching me while I lived in Cork for 6 years I’ll never know.

“It’s starting to boil now.”

“Yup, I know. I can see bubbles..God bless Junior Cert science.”

“No need to be smart..”

“Yes there is, I’m making ‘BOIL in the Bag’ rice. It’s in the name!! If it was ‘Lukewarm in the Bag’ rice I may need you to intervene cos obviously the power’s gone straight to my head”

“I’m only trying to help..*sniff*..”

Ah, that sniff…it’s the universal symbol for mothers the world over. It can mean many things. In this case, it meant “I had nothing else to say on what you were doing but I walked all the way out here and I hate wasted journeys. I’m going to act hurt now because my attempt at mothering you ended in disaster.”

My favourite has to be the wake-up call. Not the symbolic ‘moment of clarity’ one, the actual rising from one’s slumber.

*knock knock*

“I just wanted to tell you that it’s ten to two.”

(groggily looks at her alarm clock, then her phone on the bed) “Yup, I know, thanks.”

“Okay so, I wasn’t sure if you did.”

Now I should point out it’s a Sunday. And I’m 31. But here’s where the mother’s skill comes in. Rather than burst in with a lecture about how I’m wasting the day and I’m sleeping a lot lately blah blah, she comes back 20 minutes later with this.

*knock knock*

“Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Okay, okay, I get it, I’m getting up…”

“No, it doesn’t matter, sure I’m heading away in a few minutes anyway.”

“?????”

It was pretty sweet to be lured out of bed with a cup of tea, I’ll admit. But why if she was going away did she want me up?? I’d happily have slept all day! And that never happens. Because as much as I love my mammy, she’s a bit of an insomniac who wakes at all hours..and not quietly. I call her the walking drum kit. Well worth the slap I get for it!

So I get up, and there’s my lovely tea..

“Did you put sugar in for me as well? You didn’t have to do that..”

“Course I did, my little sugar plum..”(I added that bit :P)

“How many did you put in?”

“2 teaspoons”

“Oh, sorry I only take one and a half” (have done for a few years)

“But this is the way you always liked it!” (see what I mean about the loophole in time??)

For all the adjustments made on both sides when a grown-up child comes back home to the nest they once flew out of, you can’t beat putting the key in the door of a place you can always feel like yourself in, with someone there who knows instinctively when to make you a cup of tea just by looking at your face as you walk in the door. You drink it gratefully, and even though there’s too much sugar in it, it still tastes rapid cos it’s made with love. And I am eternally grateful to be allowed back home while I finish the mammoth task of forging a career for myself, and we’re both glad of the company because to be honest we’re so flippin’ odd I don’t think anyone else would understand.

*braces herself for a clip around the head*

It’s good to be home.

Off The Rails 2: Enjoy your trip…

How to make sure you get a booth to yourself on a train

Pretend you’re having a text chat with someone, and every time you look at your phone, laugh out loud like a crazy person watching a Carry On film. Stay as serious as a funeral parlour the rest of the time.

Make up a mock cover for a book and call it ‘Hijacking for Dummies’, place it over whatever book you’re actually reading and make sure you read it with the cover visible to all. Every now and again put the book down and make little sketches in a notebook.

Wear headphones. Without them being connected to anything. Leave the open end on the table for people to see. Bop along to ‘the music’. Every now and again shout out ‘I LOVE this song!!’ To bring it on home take out one of your earpieces and ask the person across the way if they’d like a listen.

Use the following script and apply it to an imaginary phone call:

“Hello? Hiya! Yeah, I’ve just come out of the surgery now. Fairly contagious all right (cough loudly). More airborne than anything (cough louder). Yeah, the weeping and scaly skin should go in about a day (scratch arms and head furiously). Well I wouldn’t mind but I don’t want those antibiotics to affect my other meds….you know, the ones the judge put me on after the ‘nightclub’ thing. Exactly. Sure isn’t that always the way?? (laugh maniacally) So I decided to just take the antibiotic today. (pause) Ah, not too bad so far, but you know how I get in confined spaces!! (twitch head) Thanks for ringing! Talk to you later, Father O’ Reilly.”

Let it not be said that my blog doesn’t offer solutions for easy living…

Off The Rails: Notes from a train journey

Before I begin…here’s a short letter;

Dear fellow train-goers:

Headphones are the universal ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. Please observe accordingly. Or I’ll punch you in the eye.

Regards,

J-Ro.

Old people ALWAYS bring sandwiches on trains no matter what time they go on trains…it could be the 5.35am service to Limerick Junction and they’ll have a stack of Brennan’s finest White filled with some sort of compressed meat product ready to be devoured.

They will also ask the first person they see on the carriage if this train is going to their chosen destination. Because, as we all know, every passenger is telepathically linked both to the national rail service and each individual who uses it.

I’d happily spend the day on a train. It’s the only mode of travel where you feel you can even slightly interact with your surroundings. You see the countryside, cities and towns in all their glory, you can pass through unnoticed but still be a voyeur and watch life go on outside a window. You have the freedom to get up and walk about a bit, and even better, you can buy a sandwich and pretend you’re an old person!

One of the best advantages for me is the fact that I never get travel sick on trains. It’s not a nice feeling when the Pukey Monster comes to visit.

There’s a small sub-section of the population who will empathise with me here. A lot of you won’t. And I hate you for it. You will never know the panic of being trapped in a confined space made of tons of metal that’s being driven / flown by unnamed assailants, who care not a jot for you. The rising panic when you realise that the sickly feeling is starting and they’ve only just shut the doors. The scramble for anything that will bring any kind of brief respite – some cold water, maybe some chewing gum,  a hard blow to the back of the head – but you forgot to buy the first two; and no matter how much you beg the nice old lady next to you, she refuses to put you in a sleeper hold. Selfish cow.

But I digress. On with my ‘train’ of thought – see what I did there?(I’ll see myself out, thanks.)There’s a drunk guy sitting across from me and he’s got that thing where he dresses really young but his face doesn’t match?? You know what I mean…like a bad artists’ impression for a court case. This guy is a peach among the many mad eejits that I have come to attract in seating arrangements over the years. His question to me? “Can you sort phones?” But in a really strong Scottish accent so more like “Can yee saaarrrt fonez???” He sounded (and looked) like an extra out of Taggart. So of course, I decided ‘what the hell’ and told him to hand it over. He wanted to change the wallpaper on his Nokia. Hilarious. I asked him what picture he wanted. He replied “The one of Paul Gascoigne when he played for Rangers.” Of course it was. Silly of me to ask. He said all this while sipping regularly from a boozy-smelling Irn-Bru bottle. I’m not making this up. So I got to look through a drunken Scotsman’s phone. Who DOESN’T have that on their Bucket List in all fairness?

Unfortunately all I saw were two very blurry pictures of what I hope were of his HAND or an accidental click of a button. I gave it back having been unsuccessful in my attempt at his handset enquiry. Then he passed it on to his friends. Couldn’t have done that earlier?? And got it sorted. It was in ‘received files’, apparently. So glad he told me. I wouldn’t have slept well that night at all otherwise.

I honestly wonder if I have the aura of a psychiatric nurse about my person? Is that why The Crazies are drawn to me? Maybe I’m channelling the wrong nurse. Less Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbour and more Louise Fletcher in Cuckoo’s nest. I’ll know better next time.

Too much time on my hands. I regret nothing!!

My Campaign

All for Amy

So I drew this after a brainstorming session with my younger sis Amy. I wanted to launch a campaign to get Tesco to stop running out of my favourite doughnuts. I envisioned my cause going worldwide and being showered with attention and fun and laughing babies wanting to get pictures taken with me..but instead I came off looking like a pathetic Homer Simpson-esque creature with no life. Which would be about right. Except I’m not yellow, and my 5 o’ clock shadow isn’t half as noticeable anymore because of the make-up. So there. That’s you told.

I know I’m not alone in this…

So in order to maintain the delicate and precarious balance in my universe (and thus my mental stability), there are certain rules various objects and situations need to adhere to. Otherwise my world will end. No exaggeration. My mind will dwell on these incidents and infractions like a kid with a scabby knee, and dig a hole in my psyche so big that my brain will collapse into a white frothy mess. I will be reduced to nothing more than that gunk you see at the bottom of your cappuccino cup, only less tasty.

Rule: Open packets the right way up.

Every time I see a packet of crisps opened upside down, an angel dies. For real. Anyone who’s anyone knows that the food tastes different if you open a packet the wrong way, there’s a system people!! God made arrows point certain ways for a reason…

The packets are all stored right way up, so you get a certain layering to the crisps in accordance with size and taste. You get your average ‘starter’ crisps on top, normally flavoured, nothing out of the ordinary there. As you work your way down the bag, paying your crispy dues, you are rewarded with the smaller more flavoursome ones. Then and only then do you reach the pinnacle: the dust. The bestest bit  by far.

See? Why would you mess up your crispy feng shui by indulging in such anarchistic behaviour??