Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - Kicking off

Status: Defuzzed. Sticky.
Mood: Even stickier.
Home front: Bristling with anticipation.
Immediate outlook: Ball shaped. Possibility of explosions of mad joy spilling onto streets, or epidemic of dejection, round about 1am.
Alcohol consumed: Two Zorba-sized glasses – and counting.

Right, must get my soccer brain plugged in. I know it’s here somewhere, probably hiding under the pile of old ‘National Geographic’ magazines I saved all those years ago with noble intentions to using them to enlighten No.1 & Only as he grew into manhood (turns out, he only ever turned to them to cut out photos for a mood board he had to make for school – but it’s something, I s’pose). 

Football’s not my thing, but not joining in the national obsession tonight would probably mean divorce, and possibly deportation, so I have to feign enthusiasm – even if I still don’t know (or care about) the intricacies of the off-side rule.

The Other Half knows I don’t do footy, but am expected to join in when the shebang kicks off at 11pm. Might as well, not much chance of getting any sleep during the game anyway. It's summer, windows wide open, all Greeks getting ready to watch in living rooms, on balconies, etc. Prepare for inevitable sounds of cheers, groans, colourful curses, shouted advice to coach or ref in Recife and more. Likely to be fireworks and car horns if Greece get the ball in the net or even win.

Have ingratiated self with OH to compensate for lack of soccer expertise. Sunday lunch like Mama makes it served up, family favourite Macaroni Pie made for tomorrow AND ironing done (can hear my inner feminist having a hissy fit as we speak). Even managed to sneak in a brief ironing lesson for No.1 – he ironed a whole T-shirt, pair of jeans and ragged shorts. Am uber-domestic goddess and super-parent (shame I also had the urge to throw iron at OH’s head).

Prepare for tonight’s likely invasion of male hormones – and the week ahead, with a bit of hair removal. Summer’s here, limbs and more on show. Must not resemble Yeti in a bikini when we finally hit the beach.

Armpits easy. Whip out the trusty Gilette disposable and OH’s can of foam and bish-bash-bosh, clean as a whistle – except where I nicked that mole in my haste to get finished. For legs, however, want something smoother and longer lasting. Enter box of pre-waxed strips sitting patiently in bathroom cabinet.  What they don’t tell you in the adverts, or even on the side of the box, is that summer – the time you most want to be smooth and hairless – is the worse time to use them. But am smart, can see that wax might get gooey in 30 degrees heat, so bung them in the fridge til I need them.

Spread towel on kitchen floor, strip from waist down to saggy, greying Marks & Sparks knickers, and begin. All goes well as I take the strips out and plaster them to my shins. Cat sits a safe distance away, blinking like a Buddha and waiting for the human show. Move along animal, nothing to see here.

First leg covered. Time to rip off the strips, and every trace of unwanted here with them. Check box : “Grasp firmly between thumb and forefinger and tug sharply against direction of hair growth”. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Try to tug sharply. Instead of a clean rip and removal of plastic covered with carpet of hairs, hear a ‘slurp’ and look down to see sticky strands of good like honey bridging gap between leg and strip. Gloop. Yuck. Hairs all still firmly in place, gloating at me from beneath the melted wax.

Inventive if nothing else, I plaster the strip back in place, throw open freezer door, grab bag of frozen peas and clutch against sticky strip. Stephen Hawking would be proud of me.  Hold firmly til peas start going mushy and leg goes numb. Grasp, tug and….    Voila! Result. One strip of goo covered in hairs. Repeat 15 times til both calves hair free, smooth and dotted with tiny bleeding pores. Reach for special oil to remove sticky residue – but cat beats me to it and rubs up against good spattered legs, leaving more hairs than I’ve removed.

Bottle of olive oil, three showers and an exiled cat later, am finally smooth and goo-free, ready to cheer on the Greek team (of football supporters, not the actual national team) when they meet Costa Rica. Will be perfect hostess, offering drinks, snacks and entertaining assorted menfolk with intelligent enquiries about game (“Why do goalkeepers wear different coloured shirts?”… “Why aren’t the strips simply big versions of national flags?” “When is a foul not a foul?”…) . Anything to avoid actually watching 22 men in shorts running around a field trying to herd a ball into a string vest stretched between two posts.

Wincing as my jeans chafe against the thousands of little blood spots on my calves, but armed with a bottle of red and a family-sized bag of crisps, resign myself to evening of balls and boys talking balls.

Just hope they win.
Joyous Greeks are a noisy lot, likely to keep me from my much needed beauty sleep until at least 3am if they win tonight – but there’s nothing sadder or more misery drenched and conspiracy-minded than a defeated one.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm back!

Status: Back in the "Brit Chick" saddle after five years of radio silence.
Mood: Nostalgic
To Do List: Never-ending
Carbs craved: A mountain sized stack of Cheesy Wotsits worth.
Carbs consumed (so far): Two spoonfuls of sawdust - sorry,muesli. (Cue forced cheer of "You go girl!")

Dear Diary,

Remember me? That middle-aged bint you last heard of the day she turned 45?

I know, I know. Where the hell have I been? What happened? Why did I desert you?

(Answers are, in order: I've been here all along; Five years of Greek financial crisis and all the fun that has brought; No excuses - just a load of grovelling and cries of "Mea culpa").

Well, I'm been missing you for a while now. And now, after 15 false starts like those nearly made phone calls to your former best friend after she's vowed never to speak to you again thanks to a phenomenal foot-in-mouth on your part, I've decided it's time we got reacquainted.

I still here, in Greece. Older, yes. Poorer, definitely. Wiser, who knows? But still clinging on to with tzatziki-smeared fingertips.

OH (the Other Half, in all his magnificent hairy Greekness) is a house husband these days - by way of circumstances, not choice - and has developed a mild manic-obsession with clean floors. Now have lovely clean floors, and lots of homespun 'nevra' borne of wounded male pride.

No.1 (and only) Son is now almost a man, hogging the bathroom daily to make the point. He's a veteran of amateur rock gigs (on stage with the boys - and girl - from his band, Bazzinga) and that means he virtually sleeps with his guitars, and I'm a front-runner for 'Oldest Groupie in Town" 2014.

Mummy Dearest (MD) is still going strong back in Blighty, keeping me up to date with News From the Homeland, but Li'l Sis is now living the life of Heidi in Switzerland. Just a matter of time before she starts yodelling. 

The Three Graces - my oldest friends - have been whittled down to Two after Ffaenella The Fragrant decided she no longer wanted anyone from our family in her life. But Welsh Fran and Georgy more than make up for her absence with daily doses of madness to keep me this side of sanity (I didn't say which side "this side" is, did I?).

Five years on, MIL (Mother in Law) and FIL (Father in Law) are still bickering like only a devoted Greek couple of nearly five decades can. MIL still hasn't given up on converting me. FIL still bristles his moustaches in my direct when he thinks I've getting too bolshy (approx. five times a week). 

But there's a new addition. Joker da Kat (a.k.a Stoopid Cat), who OH rescued from a rubbish bin when he still had his umbilical cord attached (the cat, not OH). Looks like a feline Friesland cow, thinks he's a noble warrior, is terrified of the vacuum cleaner (or 'Box of Screaming Demons') and thinks affection is expressed with jaws and  claws. Sleeps 20 hours a day, more when in hiding, and spends the rest of his time bounding off the walls in pursuit of flies, sunbeams or toes. Has never met another cat - God knows what will happen when he does.

So there you go...   still hanging on, hurtling towards menopause, battling biddie-dom in a bid to make 50 "FABuolous!" a la Samantha in "Sex & The City" (who I bet never had to wipe cat sick up from floor, or iron the 386 t-shirts a teenage boy gets through in a week).

Glad we got acquainted again. And I promise I WON"T be a stranger. May my boobs bounce off my knees, hair dye turn my head puce and whiskers the thickness of Ashanti spears sprout from my chin if I don't keep you up to date with my doings, comings and goings.

Must rush. Summer's arrived with a vengeance - and that means shaving legs and hunting for strapless bras that don't make me look like an ogre with a couple of ice cream cones glued to its chest. 

Wish me luck!