Wednesday 10 June 2009

A Ball, A Dress, A Fatigued Fifteen Year Old and the Dry Cleaners

Well. As a busy Artist this is what I am doing. Ready?

  • Going to a Ball on Saturday with Alan.
  • Looking for a Ball Dress
  • Meeting lovely JOTT client and friend this afternoon here, for tea and progress report on his painting
  • Feeding my deliciously ungracious sons their nutritious and balanced dinner (Just fry it Mum. But it was fried yesterday my son. Roll it in some lard mother dear, and do it again)
  • Going to see Alan an hour's drive away for dinner tonight
  • Finishing the JOTT before Friday
  • Waiting for the phone call that the frame is ready and I can go and do that either Friday or Saturday
  • Friday -off to lunch with some wonderful American friends in Brighton. These kind and interesting people have about five paintings from me, and so I think they can do no wrong. Painting wise.
  • See Daughter after lunch on Friday before maybe waiting for Alan to come back from the Big Outside World and drive me home. Or I get a train.
  • Saturday - drive 12 year old to school (he has school on Saturdays), frame painting, collect ball gown from dry cleaners, pack, get train to Brighton and shop with daughter, meet 12 year old from train in Brighton later, leave all at my brother's flat and get ready and Off To The Ball. Somehow.
  • Go to Ball and laugh, joke, recline gracefully, dance and be entertained. Last year I wore a wonderful dress that needed my very magic Magic Knickers to make me smooth and thin. Except I was 2 stone heavier than I am now and they cut off my circulation and will to live. I managed to remove them while at dinner, somehow, and hide them under the table. Before dinner as I sat down I was smooth and shapely. Miracle, when I got up from dinner I had put on 2 stone. Where I was nicely compact sitting down before I ate, there was a seemingly unnaccountable straining of zips, a creaking of material and an all round expansion after, when I stood up. And under the table was an unidentifiable bundle of flesh coloured latex. Gosh, my fellow diners must have thought, that woman sure has a problem with her metabolism.

So now, the tea, the dress, the sagging fifteen year old and dry cleaner. Briefly.

I had no Ball Gown. I saw two possibles in a Charity Shop in Chichester and went in to try them on. Into the changing room went a paint spattered gypsy and out came, I hoped, a Fairy. But both gowns were too big and oh the pain. Why can't Cancer Relief have Ball Gowns that fit me? I mean to say. Alan is far too far away making the world go round in the NHS to come and tell me Actually, A Ball Gown That Doesn't Fit Makes You Irresistable In My Eyes (and to be fair, if he could have come to the Charity Shop, he would have done so) so I asked my 15 year old son to come in this morning to tell me what he thought.

We get to the shop this morning, by 9.30am. I decide to drive 12 year old to school and take 15 year old son in the car to save time, petrol etc. Both boys go into an exaggerated sleep as soon as we set off, and snore and look dead. What is it with these kids and sleep? 15 year old son is cursing his decision to come in and help, and is unable to open his eyes properly. So he squints. We go into the Charity Shop. Son stands as though he has been left there by his carer and has no idea who I am. I collect the two dresses and wave them cautiously in front of Son, hoping his half closed eyes are just a Teenage Statement and that he can see. No response. Son looks like he is being harrassed by an arty looking lady wanting attention. I long for Son to say something like Gerroff Mum so that the shop ladies will know we do have a relationship and he has seen me before.

Son tells me to try them on. I try one on and look nice, and like a big blue gauze powder puff. He likes it. He says Wear a Pale Lipstick and then says no more. I try on the next one, the vintage Black One and look a bit boring, but it has potential. It needs altering, but it will possibly do. Son regards me through his sleepy eyes and shakes his head. He doesn't mind that I look inflated in the blue one, he thinks it shows character and I look fun. Oh my son, I want to say. I am now stuck in Wanting To Look Nice, I am too old to be Look At Me I Am A Fun Kind Of Gal.

I buy the Black One. The lady in the shop clinches it for me by telling me that the Dry Cleaners next door often do alterations for them, why don't I try there?

Oh Yes. The Dry Cleaners employ an angel by their sewing machine, who made me try it on behind the racks of cleaned garments, and pinned and tucked and took in the dress, and said, kindly, she could have it ready for Friday morning. Thank you, I said, Cinderella shall go to the Ball.

Meantime, Son had gone back to the car and passed out. I love him, he didn't have to come in and help me out, but he did. He is a good fellow. When he wakes up.

So now, I have a dress. Son is resting, and the JOTT is nearly finished. Alan was encouraging and interested in the dress saga, because I kept phoning him to tell him. He gets brownie points for finding this kind of thing interesting; he is at a conference today, and doesn't even have to answer his phone. So as a treat I will give him my pudding on Saturday night at the Ball.

And the Tea? I am having a big pot of tea as my reward for a good morning well spent, and feeling happy again.

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