Supergran arrives and suddenly the house horror show is unveiled
There is a lot to be said for taking a deep breath.
Whole religions are built around this concept. Standing still. Relaxing the body. Breathing in. Refamiliarising yourself with, erm, yourself.
I remember having a journalism lecturer who tried to impart the importance of deep breathing and meditation to a bunch of us caffeinated, hungover students, looking for our next journalistic killing.
It stuck with me and I've dabbled with a bit of Buddhism and even applied for a Transcendental Meditation course, unsuccessfully, it should be noted.
My mother, the Supergran hero of this tale, arrived and suddenly I find my breathing has calmed and everything is a hell of a lot easier. Managing two hyper children is not easy for any part-time lone parent. Jesus, is that what I am? Anyway, the grandma arrived from America, where she resides, having retired last Monday after 50 years plus of working.
I would be lying if I said the house was in a presentable state for her. I did try. But then, to my horror, I uncovered a truth which had evaded my man mind for some time, spiders cast webs.
The morning my guest-for-five-weeks arrived, I looked up and to my horror saw my ceilings were concertinaed with cobwebs. Whole swathes of my mini spideropolis were akin to something from a Hammer horror movie.
Cruel sunlight crept into my crepuscular den and exposed dirt in here-to-fore unexplored regions of the livingroom, where Mr Sheen had not been for an age and dusters had not been dusting for even longer.
As usual I started my preparations for a guest arrival hours before they arrived. Apart from the fridge and freezer, which were stocked to the brim, the rest of the house had received zero attention.
My method of toy storage was soon exposed as ridiculous. Ditto my children's clothes storage efforts. Worse than useless seems to be my method.
The much anticipated annual arrival of The Mammy was music to the ears of not only me, but The Whirlwind Princess and The Little Fella also. No sooner had I rested her suitcase on the bedroom floor on Wednesday than they were rooting around inside looking for presents like a latter day me.
The excitement was palpable all week and when babysitting services were offered, it hit the roof.
Suddenly, I had an opportunity to do stuff.
Suddenly a cleaning fairy was occupying my house. I come home from work and stuff is done. I go for a cycle and return and the place looks great.
My house has, in a word, become unrecognisable to myself.
Rushing to work, flustered and stressed, is a thing of the past as now there is someone who can brush children's teeth properly and help them get dressed, other than me.
Even bedtime stories are the heralded preserve of the beloved Grandma, who knows how to tell good yarns, ones for every season, while I catch up on my course or do the dishes and clothes washing.
Always a calming, encouraging influence, The Mammy was full of ideas as to how I could improve my house. Not in an offensive way, but in that American ultra positive way.
A planned paint job was given the thumbs up and some ideas as to how to make my house more presentable were offered.
What a joy to have Supergran back! Now to come up with ways to say 'thank you!'