I’ve settled into my middle age, accepting my changing body, my feral facial hair my reliance of stretchy jeans and it’s fair to say I’m very comfortable.
Well a couple of weeks ago I stepped out of my lovely comfy zone and I did something I’d never done before, I spoke in front of an audience at the Home Show in Dublin.
I’m very chatty, some would say too chatty but I don’t agree with them, so doing a one on one Design Clinic with the general public was a doddle for me.
I was happy to agree to get up on stage and talk about ‘Trends in Kitchens’ until I actually had to stand up on stage and talk about ‘Trends in Kitchens’
Being an Interior Designer people expect me to be arty and glamorous. I am arty but I fail in the glamour department. So on Saturday morning I thought I should make an extra effort.
So out came ‘bloody expensive’ stretchy red dress with support tights and my lovely Catholic nun shoes. That’s a glamorous as I get.
I did my research and I was ready for an informal talk on the latest ‘Trends in Kitchens’ only I really wasn’t ready.
I stood at the side of the stage with our very nice sponsor from Ulster Bank and reported from the Irish Independent.
My stomach felt sick , the reported went through the questions she was going to ask me and I should just relax and enjoy it.
I was sweating my stomach was sick and I couldn’t speak. This was the very worst idea I ever had in my entire life. What class of a gobshite was I to agree to this.
‘Now do you have a plant’ asked the Irish Indo journo
‘A plant, was I suppose to bring a plant’ I know botanicals are all very on trend and we were surrounded by plants but nobody mentioned bringing a plant.
‘Someone in the audience to ask you a question’
That’s it I was about to pass out right there at the side of the stage in the RDS Fortunately my cousin in law was visiting the show and was called upon to ask a question. She agreed and the relief flooded over me. I had a plant and she was going to ask me a question form the audience.
There we sat on the stage and once again I was filled with fear. The first designer not only was she very glam she also had slides, I didn’t have slides, but I did have a plant and I was sure Sile would be there for me when the time came.
So when it was my turn to speak I announced who I was and wittered on about my company, then I expressed how nervous I was to the audience, they laughed politely. Ok this was ok.. I launched in current trends ‘In Kitchens’ for about a minute and a half then decided I was doing this people a dis service. I suggested that they needed to decide how they wanted their kitchens work for them. I wittered on about planning and appliances. The famous triangle and that then they should think about trends and only then.
That was it I found my voice and nothing could stop me now. I kept talking, then it was Q & A time. I could hold my own slides or no slides. Some lovely woman told me not to be nervous as I was ‘simply marvelous’ me marvelous .. well I never.
Sile got her question in and the poor girl got a couple of answers. Glam designer and myself thought we should both answer it.
The subject moved on to panelling, well now I do had an opinion on panelling and there was no holing me back.
Honestly if I’d walked away when I got nervous I never would have enjoyed myself so much. I did I enjoyed it, I felt the terror, the sweats, the dry throat and the sick stomach and I walked onto that stage and held my own with the rest of them, even if I didn’t have any slides I had a plant called Sile.
Ya know that saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ well it’s bloody true. I cannot tell you how chuffed I was with myself and still am. So much so I planning some webinars, yes me.
Having spent last week in Paris I thought I’d share ‘the day Job’ with you all, I love France and I love the easiness of their homes. So here we go some French Interiors for you, none of these are mine, I just wanted you to see what I love about French Interiors..
I know I’ve said it before but menopause was a complete surprise to me. Not the aging process but the symptoms, sweet mother of all that’s holy I had no idea there were so many symptoms.
I have shared with you over the years, probably over shared my symptoms and how my poor unfortunate body as changed. How my waist is missing in action, my boobs have taken on a life of their own and operate independently of me. Actually they have a whole life that doesn’t include me, I’m feeling left out. They’re having a great time without me.
This week I’ve discovered another symptom, it’s true there’s more, brace yerselves ladies. Menopause has stolen my ‘nouns’ all of my nouns have evaporated from my poor aging brain. I’ve looked everywhere and they’re gone. Hiding somewhere with my waist.
Fortunately or unfortunately they’ve been replaced with adjectives, ’tis a fact. I can tell you anything about anything just not the name. I can tell you the colour, the shape, the texture I just can’t tell you what the hell I’m talking about.
I don’t know when exactly menopause stole all my nouns but I’ve only just noticed my family go through this ritual with me sometimes. Dinner for example, a simple family dinner.
‘pass me the ahh the ahh..’ so there I am pointing frantically
‘the brown liquid thing’ still pointing frantically at the gravy
At this stage they’re grinning and my frustration is growing
So I change tactics, I’m going for the salt.
‘Pass me the ahhhh the ahhh .. the white stuff .. the white grainy stuff’
I am pathetic and nounless.
Now that I’ve had no gravy or salt on any of meals I decided it might be a good time to weigh myself, this is an unpleasant task at any time but during menopause it’s very feckin annoying.
My weighing scales has also lost it’s nouns, now it simply describes me as ‘flabby’ ‘corpulent’ ‘menopausal’
My weighing scales in now in a cupboard until it has something nice to say to me, that’s where it’s staying.
That’s what we call ourselves, the three musketeers, three sisters who although separated when we were younger are very close. Now as middle aged women, we’re a tad juvenile, making up for lost time I expect.
That almost came to an abrupt end this Christmas, musketeer no 3 (youngest sister) was a tad unwell, on Christmas morning when we spoke then assured me she’d be watching the telly for the afternoon and would be resting.
‘I’m grand don’t be worrying about me’ she assured me. But something just wasn’t right and I knew it.
The next phone call was Kings Hospital London telling us we needed to be on the ground in the ICU as she was now on life support.
Flights were booked within minutes and bags packed, it turns out mine was packed with four pairs of jeans four bras, shoes I’d never worn before and two tee shirts and two pairs of knickers. Musketeer no two had a similarly packed case. We panicked packed that’s what we did.
Being on the ground was not a pleasant experience, we stood holding her lifeless hand searching her face for a sign of, well a sign of anything actually. There was nothing, she was on life support and had to wait. it was that simple and that complicated.
Family took us in and looked after us, consoling us, feeding us and just being family as only family can be. It’s something we will be forever grateful for.
Our brother came on the ferry and ended up in Holyhead with suit clad Romanians who offered to teach him to play the accordion. He eventually arrived on the ground and decided we should cover all our options and get a priest. I wasn’t sure about this, what if she woke up and the sight of a priest praying over her frightened the bejesus out of her and she had a heart attack.
I was outvoted and so the priest arrived, we stood looking at our sister not sure what we should do. The priest knew, he handed me the cross and made me stand at the end of the bed holding it up, as he anointed her and mumbled some prayers and to my surprise I responded with prayer.
The priest became a regular visitor over the next ten days.
Everyday the doctors said the same thing, ‘this can go either way she cannot sustain life with the help of the machines’ It was heartbreaking to watch her, she was so helpless and fragile and the nurses told us to talk to her. We talked to her, told her of our plans when she got better.
The inane conversations we used to have took on new meaning. I needed to talk to her to tell her about my new pots and plans for my kitchen. I needed to tell her that I tried the hot chocolate she told me about, and that all the Karen Millen sizes were defo off. I wanted to tell her that I didn’t cry t all, musketeer no 2 and fave brother did, but not me. Shur I was stoic so I was. I needed to tell her.
Moving on to day 10, musketeer no 3 wakes up and caused havoc, pure unadulterated havoc. She demanded to be moved to a new Hotel as this one was ‘pure terrible, there’s no food and they strapped me to the bed, what class of a hotel is this’
She was awake and I’m surprised it didn’t make the Evening Standard. We were relieved and happy but above all we now had some time to buy some new clothes. well all except fave brother.
I embarrassed myself regularly as only I can do, asking ‘Do we have any idea how long she’s going to be on that ‘vibrator’ yep that’s what I said out loud.
My brother arrived with his sons clothes all of which were far too small for him and simply refused to buy any more as there was ‘loads of feckin stuff under the Christmas tree at home’
Apologies as this has not been an amusing blog but I needed to share it before I could move on, before I could look at the funnier side of life in middle age.
This was an experience ‘Id rather not repeat, but with help of cousins and our sister in law it was bearable.
Musketeer no 3 is doing better, her memory is not so good she’s developed a stammer which she’s been told will ease with time but her sense of humour remains and she assures me she’ll not be a guest at the Kings anytime soon.
The moral of our Christmas and New Year adventure
Have the inane conversations
Have the coffee and cake
Absolutely have the hot chocolate, with the whipped cream
Don’t get hung up on the small things, slights that people may have given you..
As most of you know I put together a book based on this blog and my experiences of menopause and basically just getting older.. The joy of Menopause my Arse.. and it was published in November. I was more than a little flattered that people bought it and gave it some pretty nice reviews on Amazon UK.
Fast forward to this week and I get a mail from Amazon dot com. Oh yes indeed, it seems someone in the good old USA decided my little book of rambling was offensive. Offensive me !! Well I never.
It seems the word ‘ARSE’ is a profanity, I kid you not. The word ‘ARSE’ it would appear is not good for customer relations. It was suggested that I change the name on the cover of the book as it might be more acceptable to readers in the USA.
I travel to the USA and I must tell you they’re a friendly bunch of people and do like me, occasionally swear, they use the word ASS and not ARSE, between you and me they just don’t have the accent for ARSE but I digress.
What am I to do, do I leave the word ARSE or I change it to make more even (yes I already sold some in the USA) more sales in the USA.
Well it’s a conundrum so it is.
Anyone got any ideas, the problem is what word do I use, I expect the word ASS would be equally offensive.
Shur lookit we all have one whether we call it an ARSE or ASS and the truth is mine needs addressing as it’s growing sideways, oh and the sagging, the only thing that’s hauling it up from behind my knees and keeping it in place, is the massive amount of lycra in my menopausal Knickers.