Competitive cooking for all the family

Well, now, look you. 2008 has finally buggered off, ridiculous hyper-emotional freak of a year that it was. It’s 2009, and I have to tell you, 2009, it will be ridiculously easy for you to be a nicer year than the last. Ridiculously easy. Surely all that drama takes energy. All I want you to do is provide one (1) pregnancy, and then just leave us the feck alone. Doable? Sure it’s doable. Make it so.

And H and I are back in our (absolutely freakin’ freezing) flat at last (we’ve had the heating on all night and it’s still only 16 C in here. But we can’t put the heating on full, or the boiler will explode again. The plumber is bringing the Vital Spare Part on Friday. We will survive. Pass the fur-lined boots and the second cardigan).

Having spent Christmas Proper in the decadent lap of luxury, with no one to talk to but each other and nothing to do but read, eat, watch TV, go for walks and screw like the dickens, H and I girded our loins and did penance on the altar of family. We spent a few days with the In-Laws, and then New Year with Parental Unit Alpha (aka my mother, her very wealthy third husband, my sisters and their male appendages, and assorted uncles, aunts, passers-by and senile cats).

This could have started better, but the Clomid finally got to me and I absolutely had to have two almighty stupid freak-out cry-a-thons, during the last twenty minutes of both of which an unwelcome little inner voice pointed out to me that I was Behaving Very Badly, and H deserved A Very Abject Apology. I’m not even sure what I was so pissed off about. H putting a saucepan back in the wrong place, possibly, or sellotape. Obviously, what I was really freaking out about was being a raging hormonal wreck and on a banging schedule during family visits and the constant nagging feeling that I should be Extremely Pregnant anyway and therefore Clomid 4 is Officially Stupid and Unfair.


Anyway, we packed the chocolate lichen and trundled down to the In-Laws, and spent a few very quiet days just chatting to family. Everyone behaved beautifully. The lichen stayed in the suitcase. That’s not to say there weren’t sad and stressful moments, but they were, oh, what’s the word, sensible? Within reason? Not personal and malicious? Deserving of patience and compassion? To whit:

  1. H’s father is still waiting for his heart surgery. As he is still relatively healthy (which is why they want to do the operation – catch it before it deteriorates and he becomes weak and the surgery turns from A Big Fucking Deal to An Almighty Scary Fucking Deal) they keep putting it off to fit emergencies on the list instead. It’s getting a bit stressful. H’s father has occasional moments of petulance about it, and I can’t say I blame him in the least. I’d be lying on the floor drumming my heels and squealing by now. But he doesn’t quite stop to think that the situation is just as stressful if not more so for his wife and family, so very occasionally I wanted to shake him. Heigh ho.
  2. Also, why is it every time I ask for the recipe for the Family Dumpling Soup, everyone goes all coy and a long discussion ensues about nobody doing it as well as Grandmama and it’ll be such a shame to lose all her special recipes. I know this. It is why I want the recipe. For God’s sake. Etc.
  3. H’s maternal grandmother is still bed-blocking in hospital, having recovered from cold-that-promptly-became-pneumonia, but she is now completely doolally. We visited her a couple of times, and I was touched that she recognised me and remembered I was a librarian (she had been too, in her maiden days), but tendency to ramble on and on about Mysterious Strangers in Black, visits from the Police, everyone else going dancing without her and so on, marked and, for MIL, heart-breaking to deal with. Nobody wants to see their mother wander off to play with the fairies.
  4. H’s paternal grandfather suffers from depression and anxiety. He has a lot to be depressed and anxious about, poor man, and he’s such a dear, intelligent, humorous person that it hurts to see him get into a state.
  5. This is completely self-inflicted, as no one said anything at all about it, but H’s paternal grandparents have endured the tragic loss of one baby grandchild, and then two adult daughters, and now their son is awaiting major surgery, and they are old and ill and tired, and I so wanted to be able to bring them a little joy this year, and all I’ve managed to do is add to the heart-break by losing their first great-grand-child. I know it’s irrational, but it makes me feel like shit.

Anyway. On the whole it was a nice peaceful visit. And then we packed up and moved to Parental Unit Alpha for New Year’s Eve.

On the plus side:

  1. No one said anything at all about infertility, lack of babies, my health, colonic irrigation, diets, or positive attitudes.
  2. I did (eventually!) tell my mother about the A+ dissertation, because she asked directly, and she was delighted. And not only that, she got the fact that I had felt so appalling over the summer and so sure I’d screwed it up. And was extra pleased for me that I’d done so well despite it.
  3. She also was compassionate and understanding about how miserable 2008 had been and how much it took out of me. I think this discussion we had back in October has borne fruit. Good.
  4. My sisters actually adored their hand-knitted Christmas presents. I am ashamed to admit how nervous I was about this.
  5. I played with my three-year-old cousin, and thought what a nice, reasonable child he was, and also how I had held him when he was a few weeks old and he had fallen asleep in my arms. And this was a nice thought, and not a stinging reminder. Good.

On the ‘oh, for fuck’s sake’ side:

  1. My aunt is a judgemental bossy cow sometimes. To me she was only bossy, which I can live with, though there was a moment about the fifth time I was washing up that day (as per her instructions) when the urge to yell ‘this is not your house, so shut your cake-hole!’ nearly dislocated my very clenched jaw. But listening to her Judge various people, political and religious movements, family members, and so on for, variously, being fat (argh), incomprehensible to her Lapsed Catholic Upper-Middle-Class Can-Afford-To-Be-A-Hippy sensibilities, having mental health problems, not being funny according to her somewhat limited ideas as to what constitutes funny, or not liking to eat the same food as her, got on my wick, and on H’s wick, and we both spent some time hiding in various bedrooms and bathrooms just so we could do some deep breathing and thinking about daffodils.
  2. I am well aware she was not Judging me for fattitude because I have obviously lost weight since she last saw me and even she would realise this would be Petty with a Capital ‘Pah!’. But I am still fat. So there.
  3. I love Minx, my little niece (now with added ‘I am 5!’ flavour), but she is HANDFUL (many kudos points to H for being the Fabulous Uncle H and playing Pirates with her and letting her clamber all over him). (Including the odd worrying foot-in-groin moment during said clambering when it took a great deal of will-power for me not to shout ‘For God’s sake be careful, I NEED THOSE’). Call me old-fashioned, but surely if you have a child, it is your primary responsibility to look after said child, and ensure the child is fed, content, well-behaved, and not, say, biting her grandfather. Trouble, my sister, ignores Minx unless Minx is directly annoying her personally, when there are other adults about. This peeves me. I feel Minx would be less of a handful with better boundaries and more parental input, but hey, what do I know, I’m childless.
  4. Not that being childless has ever stopped Above-Mentioned-Aunt from sticking her King-Sized Oar in.
  5. Getting my family to sit down and eat together is like herding cats. Directly dinner is ready to serve, my mother vanishes, my aunt decides she wants to ‘improve’ the extremely nice pomegrante, orange, chicory and walnut salad I just made and starts adding seeds and sprouts and random hippy crap to it (oh, fury, oh rage), Minx Kicks Off because her mother is trying to get her to put her clothes back on (Minx is a determined naturalist, bless her), and uncle declares he has ‘flu and doesn’t want to eat anything at all. Duck goes cold and rubbery while my step-father and I try to round them all up again.

Anyway. H and I are home again.To return to Matters Internal, I am on day 15 of this cycle, and Satsuma started showing Signs of Life three days ago. I am predicting, based on the three previous Clomid cycles, ovulation on Monday (day 17). Therefore, H woke up this morning with a bad sore throat and a stuffy nose. I pointed out that if Xbox can manage it with Man Cold, so can H, and H has promised to do his best, or, rather, let me do my best while he tries valiantly not to sneeze at the wrong moment. Poor H. Everybody pray Satsuma does deliver the goods on time, so he can get some rest.


4 responses to “Competitive cooking for all the family

  • Xbox4NappyRash

    I’ll immediately run the gauntlet to my nearest church and light a candle in the hope of staving off the man cold.

    Lord have mercy.

  • thalia

    I like the sound of that salad. Yum. My lurgy has left me fancying salads and not much else, to be honest, and i have pomegranite and oranges, although not the chicory which sounds fairly essential. May have to make a trip to tescos.

    Sounds like you have done amazing things over this holiday, I’m so impressed with your ability to deal with family, mine is much less tested and still fails regularly.

  • womb for improvement

    For H’s sake (oh and yours of course). Go satsuma, go!

  • a

    Well, according to my husband there’s nothing like the big O to make you sleep better. Consider it treatment…

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