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Practical Skills

How to master a wife
At the York Castle Museum.
The weekend was great – cheers for your suggestions!

Recently we were sitting in the car out the front of my dear in-law’s house. We were running late as usual, so Gareth had to write on the Mother’s Day card before we went inside.

GARETH:  Sorry we’re late.

MOTHER-IN-LAW-MARY:  Is everything alright!?

G:  Yes.

MILM:  Are you sure!?

G:  Yes!

MILM:  But you were just sitting there the car for ages! Were you two having a fight?

G:  No!

MILM: You were fighting, weren’t you?

G:  Nooo! I was writing on your card!

MILM:  Are you sure you weren’t fighting!?

I was somewhat miffed that we’ve reached a point of togetherness where if we sit in a car for a long time, people assume we’re having an argument. As opposed to assuming we’re desperately feeling each other up, just one more time before the soup is on the table.

Meanwhile, we’re still fixing up the bloody flat. Gareth has spent all weekend painting the doors and skirting boards in the bedroom. My efforts with the gloss were crooked and shite, despite holding my breath. And I really tried hard, as I’m sort of bristling from that incident in January 1998 that I’ve only mentioned 72 times when The Mothership and Rhi were re-upholstering a chair and I asked could I bang in a few nails and The Mothership said No and I said Why not and she paused and said, Because you don’t have practical skills.

Oh yeah? Then how did I come up with the Russian Remote Hat? I brought this fuzzy wonder back from Moscow for Gareth but the Scottish winter has never been cold enough for it. Now thanks to my Practical Skills it has found a noble purpose.

remotehat.jpg

In other developments, my brain went fuzzy. It happened on 2 October when I began my New Job or perhaps it was as far back as 18 June when I handed in the book manuscript. All the clarity and zest absconded and I’ve been unable to focus ever since. New Job is almost six months old but I still call it New Job as that makes the constant panic still seem appropriate, and nothing to do with any rubbishness on my part. I’ve also done a lot of writing and talking to pimp Dietgirl and I don’t know how I got through that without drooling on anyone. It’s been a really mad, wonderful ride and I wanted to bore you with the details, all eleven of you. But whenever I’ve sat down at the screen I couldn’t concentrate so I ended up Facebooking or twitting on Twitter.

RESULT: brain cells further eroded. Witold wrote recently, Oh boy, there are so many places on the web now to say almost nothing in so many ways.

It feels like I’m trapped inside something, maybe a giant plastic ball. It’s opaque so I can sort of see the world outside but not clearly and I’m poking and prodding the curvy walls, wanting to shout about my predicament but not being able to find the words. I think maybe I’m a little burned out, as much as I hate to use such a wanky phrase. But overall life is great, just really freaky busy; so sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s important and what’s to be done. Right now I am reading lots of books, to remind me that words are good and sexy and nice to be around. I hope to form proper sentences soon!

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


19 thoughts on “Practical Skills

  1. Well I hope that burning sensation doesn’t hand around too long. I can kind of understand the whole burnt out thing though. It does some nasty things to you.

    Russian Remote Hat is a rather impressive item. I may have to take myself off to Russia and try and pick myself up one of those!

    At the end of the day as long as your all okay and you keep in touch then I’m happy. Keep up the good work m’dear!

  2. Wow you have managed to explain what it is like to have pregnancy brain. I have lost the ability to use words – and I WRITE for a living. Luckily these engineers are excited when I use words like ‘innovate’ so I can bluff them until its maternity leave time.

    Apparently there are studies and your brain rejects anything that is not about your baby or yourself. Maybe its the same with you – anytyhing not to do with the book/new job experience just ‘does not compute’ and gets rejected. The good news is this is not a long term condition (unlike a baby) and vocab comes back in good time.

    And on another note – I too have been tarred by the ‘she’s not very practical’ brush by my loved ones. I have been very practical and just because painting BORES me silly, doesnt mean that I can’t effectively do DIY. There are just other ways to show one’s practicality.

    Happy thought gathering and I hope things clarify soon. Thanks for another excuse for procrastinating from work too!

  3. Wow you have managed to explain what it is like to have pregnancy brain. I have lost the ability to use words – and I WRITE for a living. Luckily these engineers are excited when I use words like ‘innovate’ so I can bluff them until its maternity leave time.

    Apparently there are studies and your brain rejects anything that is not about your baby or yourself. Maybe its the same with you – anytyhing not to do with the book/new job experience just ‘does not compute’ and gets rejected. The good news is this is not a long term condition (unlike a baby) and vocab comes back in good time.

    And on another note – I too have been tarred by the ‘she’s not very practical’ brush by my loved ones. I have been very practical and just because painting BORES me silly, doesnt mean that I can’t effectively do DIY. There are just other ways to show one’s practicality.

    Happy thought gathering and I hope things clarify soon. Thanks for another excuse for procrastinating from work too!

  4. Wow you have managed to explain what it is like to have pregnancy brain. I have lost the ability to use words – and I WRITE for a living. Luckily these engineers are excited when I use words like ‘innovate’ so I can bluff them until its maternity leave time.

    Apparently there are studies and your brain rejects anything that is not about your baby or yourself. Maybe its the same with you – anytyhing not to do with the book/new job experience just ‘does not compute’ and gets rejected. The good news is this is not a long term condition (unlike a baby) and vocab comes back in good time.

    And on another note – I too have been tarred by the ‘she’s not very practical’ brush by my loved ones. I have been very practical and just because painting BORES me silly, doesnt mean that I can’t effectively do DIY. There are just other ways to show one’s practicality.

    Happy thought gathering and I hope things clarify soon. Thanks for another excuse for procrastinating from work too!

  5. how do you get crooked gloss?
    don’t you just paint it on?…
    maybe you should put down the brush and just let Gareth sort it out… :O)

    or better yet, invite people over for lunch or something and have one of those mini working bees, like they used to have at school..

    that way you get others (carefully selected of course for their workmanship talents) to do the work, and all you have to do is make sandwiches or give them a glass of water from time to time :O)

  6. Urgh. Burned out! That’s not a nice place to be. To cure it, you need lots of reading, relaxing, sunshine, and weekends away involving hammocks. And probably alcohol. And cake. Lots of cake. Definitely nothing that requires Practical Skills.

    My widowed best friend has made an art of having No Practical Skills. Whenever she needs a wall painted, a tap washer changed, the windows cleaned or the cats vacuumed, she Gets a Man In. She gets all that stuff done oh-so-professionally AND she has a constant parade of mostly young and fit men through her house. Smart!

  7. So. We have established that you can produce better prose when in an advanced state of befuddled burn-out than I can achieve on a good day, in a state of high mental alert and with a following wind. It’s a good job you’re cute and funny, you know, or it would be awful easy to hate you! 😉

  8. crooked paint? Like, the white trim boards with the coloured wall behind it? You need the proper tools my friend! Paint-tape and/or a trim-painter help get rid of those crooked spots… but – again, if you’re a perfectionist like I am, you will never be happy when painting a place…. it’s the designer in us! I’m sure it looks just fine and don’t be so hard on yourself 🙂

    As for the other part — shitty concentration — I am very much like that now. I think it’s the time of year. Give yourself a breather and go do something fun without thinking about the book or the painting or the New Job or anything else! Could you use a shipment of blackmarket canadian chocolates to reciprocate? 😀

  9. So know that feeling – New Jobs definitely don’t help because it takes a lot of brain power to process things which are unfamiliar. It’s a good thing, because once everything is familiar it’s easy to process but very like a thing called a RUT, but it’s also hard work.

    In consolation, there are definitely more than 11 of us here I’m sure, hanging on your words, but we’ll wait patiently…!

  10. thank you thank you thank you everyone 🙂

    And Verity, YEAH!!! That’s the thingy I meant, thank you 🙂

    Loth, it took me three weeks to write this tiny entry so don’t hate me 😛

    Yep crooked gloss. You’re meant to paint it in a straight line not slop it all over the wall. Arrrrrrrgh. And I just accidentally stomped over this bit he painted this afternoon where the wardrobe doors slide… whatever you call it… is now decorated with my footprint.ARRRRRRGH.

  11. Oh gosh, not another site to get addicted to! I kinda understand what you’re on about in this post. Since I started studying, my world is not quite the same either and feeling strangely fuzzy as well. Hopefully not for too long! x

  12. Er, um, what Dani said, that’s what I thought too – sounds a LOT like pregnancy brain!

    If that’s the case, I guess you would have confirmed it by now!

  13. i’m nearly five years into my job and i *still* have that feeling! and thank you for putting it into words because i wouldn’t know where to begin when describing it. hey, maybe there should be a facebook group for it. anyway. i go back to work in may after maternity leave and i’m terrified because that feeling is stronger than ever! apologies for the incoherent comment but i have to take my boy to the nursery for an hour in a bit, to get a feel for the place and i’m this close to bursting into tears!

  14. All the cool people have zorbs, whether imaginary or real (cf. Peter Gabriel).

    Your job predicament reminds me of that episode of Black Books where Fran gets a new job but has no idea what she should be doing… I do hope your situation isn’t anywhere near as terrible though.

  15. I had that feeling at my old job, even though I’d been there two years. Then someone pointed out I was one of the longest-serving employees and I got scared and quit.

    Hope your extended brain fart clears soon, though it really doesn’t seem to have affected your writing style! 🙂

  16. I hope that your brain fart clears up soon. People always ask us if we are having problems, when my husband works late and then goes to work early the next day!

  17. No one without a splendid brain could have conceived the Russian Remote Hat. We need one of these in our house. (It does look a tiny bit like one of our cats, but let’s not go there. Or.. I think I’ll just go off and check that we still have two cats …).

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