Episode 2-84 – Purge

Easter Monday 

A couple of days of sixteen degrees and sunshine and the population of Ireland is out in force, in shorts, buying plants. Patios all around our half formed housing estates find themselves newly adorned with ready-to-go potted blooms, fences and decking stained mahogany to match the fake tan layers of the lady of the house. 

It’s hilarious in its predictability and also comforting. It says “We’ve made it through the winter, there’s hope. We might not fade into deathly greyness, we live for one more go at the flip flops”. It’s “Winter is coming” in reverse. 

I’m still down home, we came down after that lucky win for Leinster against Bath on Saturday evening, just in time for the Easter Bunny. I miss the Easter Bunny, he doesn’t come to ElsaDaughter anymore, nor does Santa. Or Elizabeth, her specially appointed Tooth Fairy. I guess he just had to move on to the younger kids. I miss the egg hunts in the garden and the little face lighting up before being smothered in chocolate. But I don’t miss having to coordinate with EB at the crack of dawn. 

It feels like ElsaDaughter and I have reconnected over the last week or so. We were in a bit of a trough there for a bit. 

The Following Monday

It’s been a busy week. I got shit done. Like I got lots of shitty shit done and it feels like I’ve shed a layer of patchy, streaky fake tan with a super scrubby exfoliating wash. 

The flat is immaculate. Six overfilled sacks gone to Women’s Aid and a bulging Opel Astra spilled into Ringsend recycling centre and this home is clutter free. Gone are the forty six IKEA big blue bags that could come in handy and the seventeen going out dresses that fitted me when I was thirty that I was sure I’d fit into again if I could just stick to the popcorn and Diet Coke diet for a week. Furniture has been rearranged; skirting boards have been dusted (not repainted, neither have the doors, but hey, let’s not focus on the nots); make up drawers have been purged and many “I was looking for that everywhere”s have been exclaimed. 

Spring cleaning puts a spring in your step. When it’s done. During the catharsis, it can feel like you’re buried under two years’ worth of emotional waste: standing in the middle of a room, surrounded by black sacks; size six clothes; dust your mother would be ashamed of; three hundred and fifty two books on Anglo-Irish Literature; fifteen year old college notes and two dogs: one asleep on the blue strapless Oasis dress that wouldn’t go over your arse now and the other digging for bits of biscuit under the bed, in between the suitcases you had to buy in Walmart last summer to bring home all the memories and Honey Maid crackers. You look around and think, “What the fuck have I started? Did I really need to aggressively pull every won’t-zip-up pencil skirt out of the closet and empty that drawer of need-to-be-filed papers? On Friday night/Saturday morning, I decided to give up and go to bed among the devastation that was my bedroom – the last vestige of a harsh winter’s cumulative wreckage in the list of rooms to be depurated: bathroom – check; kitchen – check; living room – check; hall/stairs/landing (Sven and AnnaPuppy’s home-alone quarters – least opportunity for them to tear up/eat everything) – check; ElsaDaughter’s room – check and then, finally, mine, which had becoming the dumping ground for everything from the preceding rooms that had to find a place to be tidy.

I couldn’t sleep. Everything was arranging and rearranging itself in my head. That could be a metaphor for periods of my mental ill health: the rapid eye movement of psychological furniture shifting so quickly that all you see is a blur of bed-shaped colours, one static frame of your life becomes so elusive that you think you’ll drown in your own eyelids. So, I got up again, stuck on The West Wing (season six – come on Josh and Donna: get it together already), dug in (almost literally) and worked through till six thirty am until my bedroom was worthy of a Pinterest board all of its own. I would like to thank the makers of Casacol for allowing my pneumonic lungs to breathe through the dust and toil. 

And sleep. 

Never underestimate the power of a good house clearout, particularly when it involves donating your ex’s good winter coat to a women’s charity. 

I’ve really been struggling with my body image over the last while. Not being able to run has had a huge impact on my thighs. As has chocolate.  I always had good legs. Even when the muffin top was at its worst, the legs could come out and a pair of magic knickers could fake the flat tummy we’re all obsessed with (or is it still the thigh gap we’re currently pursuing this season?). Now, my legs are moonsurfacesque in texture, hue and sphericality. I am a heifer and with none of the beautiful symbolic mysticism Austin Clarke saw in woman cows. Two courses of antibiotics; numerous cough “cures”; enough painkillers and ibuprofen to kill a giraffe; a nutritionally depleted diet (feeling nauseous, eat nothing all day, then binge on sugar for energy); lack of exercise; black, stringy sputum clogging my pulmonary system; a predicable attack of antibiotic thrush, sexy cold sores and an attack of boil like pimples on my shoulders and upper back and I am ready for my stretchy pants and spinsterhood. 

Also, I’ve just given all my nice clothes to Women’s Aid and all I have left is ten years old or pyjama worthy. Is there any makeover show taking candidate nominations? 

… 

6.07 am 

There are about six hundred other things I am trying desperately not to stress about: 

My career, or lack thereof

The dirt of my car 

Our Vodafone will be cut off in the next few days because I can’t pay the bill 

How many calories are in Chai Lattes which are my new favourite thing 

If I’m due any medical expenses back as that could pay my car tax 

Will AnnaPuppy poop on the stairs again?

Am I feeding my child properly? 

Am I getting a migraine? 

Don’t forget to get your beta blocker prescription 

Will I manage this month’s rent? 

How long till AIB close my account for being over my overdraft? 

Am I strong enough to avoid starving and purging again? 

Is ElsaDaughter studying enough? 

Will forty euro stretch for electricity and groceries? 

Will I ever get a divorce sorted? 

What is the story with these night time cold sweats? 

Will I end up in debtor’s prison? 

Can I remain romantically unattached for the rest of my life because it’s too dangerous to ever risk falling for another man? 

Am I the world’s worst mother/daughter/friend/cousin/niece? 

How long will my precious Nana be around? 

Do the dogs get enough walks? 

Am I lazy? 

What can I sell to pay for my laptop repair? 

Do I really have it in me to set up my little Speech and Drama school? 

Why am I having heart palpitations? 

Am I sexually damaged goods?

Am I fighting a losing battle with this life thing? 

How the hell am I going to get up in fifty three minutes? 

… 

But I’ve made it to another Monday, my daughter is safe and happy and the house is clean. So I guess I’ve a lot NOT to worry about. 

Dotty 💋

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