Sunday, 15 September 2013

Lucky I'm not stuck in a hole...

Tonight I sobbed and argued my way through a very emotionally taxing ‘keep or get rid of’ wardrobe ritual.

 Given the bizarre attachment that I have to every article of clothing basically everything that I own, it is always a hard task to manage sensibly. Much of what I have hasn't, for the past two and a half years, even seen the light of day. I'm the kind of girl who will be sitting surrounded by piles and piles of clothing declaring that I have nothing to wear yet when it comes time to clearing any of it out, I suddenly can't part with a thing. Not even a plain ill-fitting cami. I can't do it. I know, I know. I am ridiculous. I’m a hoarder. Don't be surprised if you see me on an episode of Britain’s Worst Hoarders one day. But they say that the first step is admitting that you have a problem. So, there I've said it. I have a problem. And for the longest of times that problem has been bursting out of my wardrobe.

And so with Grace sitting on my bed, ready to counsel and support me through every hard decision I got to sorting. I hadn't imagined Grace, my girl that loves clothes could be so ruthless. But she was pitiless, merciless and brutal. A ‘takes no prisoners’ type of girl. But that was just the type of person I needed around during such a mission.

The first thing I pulled out of the wardrobe was a black dress that I’d bought two summers before I had Grace. Its bubble hem & low cut front are definite reasons to never be seen in it in public ever again. But yet, it’s evaded every wardrobe clear out since 2008 & I’d even loved it enough to pack it in to the suitcase when I moved to the UK.
‘What is that mummy?’
‘It’s called a little black dress. They say every lady should own one’
‘Then why have you got three?  I think maybe you need to throw two of them away’
Holding up all three, I asked her which one I should keep. She looked at the dresses with an air of disdain before announcing ‘I don’t like any of them. They aren’t very pretty. They don’t have any pretty flowers or pictures. You need to throw them all away mummy’. And so into the sad ‘get rid’ pile they went as did two floral dresses and two corporate looking numbers, leaving me with a gaping hole in my heart wardrobe.

I then hauled out an assortment of jeans and trousers that had been hogging the floor space for the past few years. After asking Grace which I should keep and which should be donated, she eyed me with a certain level of condescension and then announced ‘But I don’t like wearing trousers and you always make me wear trousers’.
‘That is because most of the time it is cold’
‘Yes but I like wearing skirts with tights’
‘I think that in winter it’s probably too cold for those as well’
‘Well maybe we should move to Spain where it is sunny all the time. Then we could live in a big house with a pool and I could wear dresses and skirts everyday’…
‘We’re not moving to Spain and any way, how do you know what the weather in Spain is like?’
‘Nanna told me. I bet Nanna would move to Spain with me and she would let me wear dresses all the time too’…Sigh. The trousers were easily discarded but I made the executive decision to squirrel the jeans away in the hope that they will one day fit my post-pregnancy body.

Thankfully Grace was a lot more helpful in clearing out the many tops that I’ve acquired over the years. ‘Don’t keep that one mummy. I don’t like yellow and it’s not very nice to look at...Blue stripes are probably for boys. Is that a man’s shirt mummy?...I like that Tinkerbelle t-shirt. Can I wear it?...Does that one need to be washed in the washing machine mummy...Why has that got brown flowers on it? Do you like brown mummy? It’s a bit like poo, isn't it?...I’ve never seen you wear that one before. Is it because you don’t really like it? I don’t like it mummy'...
 She wasn’t any nicer when it came to clearing out my jumpers. I have an old white Chambers Sweat Company Royal Rowing Club jumper that used to belong to my dad. My mum nicked it off of him than I nicked it from her. I’m not sure how old it is but it probably predates my life span. In its heyday it was probably quite a cool jumper but it’s seen a lot of life and it’s pretty threadbare, fairly yellowed and slightly stained. It reminds me of home. I’d never been seen with it on in public but even still I love it. Unfortunately for me Grace doesn’t.
 ‘I think you need to throw that jumper away
‘No I’m going to keep this one, I like it’.
Cocking her head to the side and with one eyebrow raised, she asked me ‘Why?’ Her Brummie accent really dragging out the 'y' in the word, making her question sound fairly supercilious.
‘Because it used to be my dad’s and then it was my mums so I like it. It even says Chambers on it, which is my dad’s last name. Isn’t that cool?’
‘No. I think you should give it back to your dad’.

 Since moving to the UK, I’ve built up quite a collection of coats, seven in total. During my pregnancy with Owen my belly grew so big that only the most hated of coats would fit me until I gave up and started nicking Neil’s coat. Then after Owen was born, the summer months provided us with some pretty good weather so there hasn’t been much need for me to wear any of my coats aside from a pretty average looking grey type that lives on the easily accessible coat hook under the stairs.
‘I’ve never seen you wear those coats before mummy’
‘Yes you have. I used to wear them all the time Grace’
‘I didn’t ever see them before. Is it because they don’t fit you?
‘No they still fit me’.
Grace eyed me up and down and then said ‘Maybe’.
‘Yes. They do’.
Screwing up her face she replied ‘I don’t think so’. And then she was silent for a while.
Slightly offended, I turned my back to Grace and kept on with the sorting, discarding all of the scarves in favour of just one black scarf.

I thought Grace had finished her verbal assault on my fashion sense and body but then she pulled out the big guns; ‘Mummy, is it time for the baby to come out yet?’
‘What baby?’
‘The baby in your tummy’
‘That baby was Owen and he came out months ago’.
‘Are you sure you haven’t made another one?'
Defensively, I stood facing her with both hands on my hips 'Yes. I'm sure. There is no baby!’
'Then why is your belly so big and round? I think there must be a baby in there'. She carried on 'Or did you eat too much honey like Winnie? Winnie ate too much honey and got stuck in Rabbits hole. So they didn't let him eat anything, so that he could stop being so fat and get out of the hole'.
'Well I got this tummy from having you and Owen so it's not such a bad thing'.
Sighing miserably, I suggested that she go and see what her father was doing. But I heard her mumbling as she pitter-pattered down the hallway 'It's lucky that mummy isn't stuck in a hole'...

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