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Complete Rotating Malfunction

We’re back in the city H comes from, here to farewell his beloved grandfather. Apart from the funeral and cremation and wake, we’re also here to help H’s parents. H’s dad is very ill and needs permanent nursing care for his condition, from which we are told he will not recover. This situation, plus a few other family illnesses and general crises, puts us, I believe, squarely in the category Everything’s Gone Largely to Shit. H told me the other day that he keeps having a phrase pop into his head that he learned when he once went skydiving (before we met, it goes without saying. There will be no leaping out of planes on my watch). The phrase is ‘complete rotating malfunction’. It means both your parachutes have tangled around each other and you are spinning out of control through the sky. It’s pretty apt right now.

I say things have gone largely to shit, not totally, because obviously everything in our lives at the moment isn’t going wrong. I think  it’s more a partial rotating malfunction. We have a healthy, hilarious child who can tell you what an owl says, what a fish says and what a dog says; H and I are healthy, if a bit exhausted, and we love each other a fat stupid lot; and my family are mostly pretty well. But there’s enough going wrong that sometimes laughter is a bit thin on the ground and at least once a day one of H or I say to the other something to the effect of ‘It’s got to get better, doesn’t it? It won’t always be this hard.’

I’m trying to be as Pollyannaish about things as I can and treasure the good bits as they come. I’m trying not it bother me that there isn’t time everyday to update this blog. The upside of that is more free time for you, dear readers. You’re welcome. Go brush your teeth with the extra time. Do it properly, for two minutes.* Or use the time to email your friends and tell them to read this blog.

We are getting to spend a lot more time with H’s relatives than we probably would have if not for the Shitness. They are wonderful and loving people, but we live a really long way away and it is an expensive trip. I’m glad they are getting so many opportunities to get to know our daughter. We’re also learning not to be afraid to travel with a baby, because we haven’t had a choice. And sure, May Blossom’s life lacks the structure and routine right now that The Books would have you believe is essential for her development, but she seems all right to me. The upside of that is a flexible kid who will sleep just about anywhere (not for very long, admittedly).

Another positive is that I am learning about the culture and religion of this family I’ve married into. They’re Catholics, you see. Last night we were talking with the longtime family friends with whom we are staying and I realised how fundamentally Catholics differ from non-Catholics. They talked about how they had to eat either horrible salmon cakes or delicious fish and chips every Friday when they were growing up (before Pope Whatever changed the rules). My dad talks of growing up knowing you couldn’t get fish and chips on a Friday: the line at the shop was too long because of all the Catholics.

Tonight there is a rosary being said and I learned that decade is pronounced ‘dekit’ when referring to the number of Hail Marys or Our Fathers that make up a rosary. Or something. I understand that about as well as I understand the scoring in tennis. But I’m trying to be respectful and not do or say the wrong thing.

H told me a few days ago that because there would be  a full funeral mass I would be required to wear a black veil. It was, apparently, a joke, but it backfired on him somewhat because he wasn’t expecting me to get batshit crazy excited about the prospect. A black veil? That’s the most sartorial excitement I’ve had since I got to dress up as Jiminy Cricket during my very shortlived career as a model for a costume hire company. I was mightily disappointed when I realised he was kidding. I might wear one anyway. That would be respectful, wouldn’t it?

*Seriously. Apparently that’s how long you’re meant to brush for. Twice a day. EVERY DAY. My scary dentist told me that and made me buy an electric toothbrush with a timer.

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