Dark places

I went for coffee with an old friend yesterday. Well, she had coffee, I had Diet Coke (don’t tell the Sprogs). She’s divorced, no kids. I’m not. We hadn’t seen each other for three years. She arrived in a fitted T-shirt, tight jeans and red stilettos. I shuffled up in a baggy T-shirt, cargo pants and sneakers. She’d been working in the city until 1pm, walked 5km home to her apartment, and showered before meeting me. I’d spent two hours crawling under the house, blocking off chook escape routes. There was just enough time to dust off the worst of the cobwebs before I met her. She was svelte and ordered cheesecake. I put my handbag in my lap to hide my spare tire and stuck to contraband Diet Coke (I promise, it’s water all the way from now on). Her hair was freshly blow-dried, her make-up was perfect. I stared at her in wonder and thought, “That’s what people in their 40s look like when they’re single and haven’t had kids yet” (or are very rich) (or are French). I envied her attention to personal grooming. I wanted her immaculate hair, immaculate nails, immaculate brows. She told me about the on-line business she’s launched. I wanted that too. But I don’t have the energy. For any of it. My excess oomph is reserved for stuff like crawling around under damp, dark decks. Husband – once again – thought I was mad (for crawling). But it was a life or death situation – he’s been making neck-wringing gestures about the chooks because of the crazy mess they make every time they escape (six times a day, on average). No-one warned me chooks would be so destructive. They eat everything green they can reach. They excavate root systems so extensively that plants topple over. They uproot every metre of underground watering systems. They kick all mulch from garden beds into piles on garden paths. Husband stomps into the garden every weekend with a shovel to repair the damage and fumes and fumes. I decided an impenetrable chook pen extension was necessary to thwart them (and Husband’s threats to turn them into stew). I bought lots of shadecloth at the hardware store – while sourcing Sprog 2’s mini-broom – and nailed it very tightly and very carefully across all access points under the deck (bar the one that adjoins the chook gulag). I only hammered my thumb once. My back doesn’t hurt too much. And I’ve doubled the chooks’ living space while sparing the remaining garden … Best of all, 18 hours later, no chook breakouts … yet …

TONIGHT’S MENU: Fennel and taleggio pie (adults – prompted by Woolies selling me a very expensive piece of cheese on October 10 that I’ve just discovered is going to expire today, don’t you hate that?) pasta with cheese (Sprogs – I’m thinking taleggio won’t be big on the Sprog “yum” list). Call me crazy, but I doubt taleggio pie qualifies as diet food. Especially when the recipe requires 1/4 of a cup of white wine, enabling me to imbibe a few glasses with my meal.

4 thoughts on “Dark places

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  1. You’re a good woman! Those chooks need looking after and, by God, you’re doing your duty! Don’t worry about the coffee date with your friend. She’s allowed to have stuff over you – like nice hair, manicured nails and leisure time. But she clearly does not understand the joy of chirruping, “Here chook-chook-chook-chook-chook,” and seeing those loyal and trusty bags of feathers rushing to be near you because they LURVE you.

    I had chooks for a little while and experienced the same problems. They messed up the gardens and even started thinking that they were welcome in the house. Anyway, despite my love for them, they ended up in my mother-in-law’s chook yard in the country.

    Now I have more time to focus on my coiffure and manicure. But I don’t feel any more fulfilled.


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