I’m not sure who started the annual Family Round-up letters that land with ominous THUDS on my doormat every year at this time, but whoever it was should be shot. Naked.
Standing in a blizzard, by Santa-hat-wearing cherubs.
In fairness, I think the idea, started in pre-telecommunication times, was originally to bring faraway friends up to date with what’s happened in your wonderful, high-achieving family during the previous twelve months.
The fact that you haven’t had any communication whatsoever in the intervening time because, frankly, you don’t really give much of a toss about each other otherwise you would have communicated, doesn’t seem to figure.
You WILL be told!
Frankly, I would rather wipe my bottom with the letter than read about Milly’s silver medal award in the Under 3’s limerick-writing competition, with the sniggertastic There Once Was a Doll called Regina. Or about Gemma’s hockey tournament success (Who the hell is Gemma? Wasn’t she a foetus last time we saw these people? Now she’s playing hockey? How old do I feel NOW??), or Tom’s Tai Kwon Do brilliance.
Really. I. Don’t. Care.
If I cared, I’d have asked. Ages ago.
Or I’d have found out via Facebook. Or a mutual friend. Or sent you a text with a smiley face – the true sign of deep, meaningful friendship these days.
Or, hell I don’t know….paid you a sodding VISIT!
But I didn’t. Because I chose not to.
Since you don’t want to know how marvellous my family is either, here, dear, true, cyber friends, is
MY FAMILY ROUND-UP OF 2011. (Honest.)
JANUARY was a busy month in the Fraser household.
The first week was spent making all the Christmas presents none of us wanted, fitted or liked into a conceptual art installation in the attic.
Charlie (8) discovered that he could fart “Jingle Bells” in the bath, and Phoebe (11) got her first veruca. A proud moment for all the family.
FEBRUARY was largely spent breaking New Year’s Resolutions, especially the ones about not drinking Schnapps before breakfast and not lusting over the barista in Nero’s. Again.
There were some successes though:
I defrosted the freezer and found some pubic hair stuck to a packet of mini pizzas.
H found a new home for his slippers: just inside the front door where I trip up on them every time I come home.
On the work front things really started to move forward, with me opening a new Word document and looking at it for a few weeks.
A breakthrough felt imminent.
MARCH was a month of great sporting news for all the family.
Emily (13) passed her life-saving course on her third attempt, thus only drowning two friends along the way – a school record. Phoebe’s veruca doubled in size, allowing her to win the school’s Sport-related Deformities competition. Charlie managed half a press-up and decided his next target was to push himself back up off the carpet again.
I spent several hours a day lifting my hand from the Nutella jar to my mouth, thus developing impressive biceps on my right arm, and three inches of fat on my arse.
H bought himself new trainers – the first step towards winning the marathon. In April.
APRIL. A tough month, crammed with disappointments. How we got through it I’m not sure.
H didn’t win the marathon due to forgetting to buy laces for his new trainers, and also forgetting to enter the marathon.
I was bitten by a bastard Scottish bastard midge, which caused such severe swelling in my leg that I couldn’t walk, or kick any snot-dribbling children who laughed at my misfortune. This ruined the running-based ‘losing the arse-inches’ plan that I’d carefully written on the back of some unwanted school trip form or other, before dropping it down the back of the fridge.
I also lost both of the words I’d carefully written in my Word document, because I pressed a button and the screen went black and I apparently hadn’t ‘saved it’ or some technical computer-speak like that. The sense of loss was almost unbearable.
Emily broke her brace on a Chinese spare rib and then swallowed the wax they gave her to mend it, Phoebe got her hand stuck inside her new cello while trying to get out one of Charlie’s Lego firemen, and Charlie gave her a black eye for putting his Lego fireman inside her cello in the first place.
MAY brought interesting developments.
Emily shut herself in her bedroom for three weeks, because of some school trip or other for which I allegedly forgot to hand in the form. Apparently going to Paris for a weekend with 35 zitty, ipod-shuffling, hoodie-wearing, Bieber-haired teenagers was what she ‘really, really wanted to, like, do and I, like, OMG I like HATE YOU MUM!!’
No mention, of course, the form had my FAT-BUSTING programme on it and now I was stuck with the lard. No mention of this at all. It’s just me, me, me…..
On a more positive note, Phoebe discovered she can sing the words to Smack My Bitch Up to the tune of Edelweis. Sensing a career in entertainment, I immediately contacted several talent agencies.
Concerned at the lack of calls from Top Hollywood Talent Agents, I bought a new answering machine. They must have been trying to contact us for weeks, and all they got was “We’re not……please leave… oh for Christ’s sake shut UP Charlie……beep.”
The sun came out and so did the biggest spot I’ve ever had on my face. Such was the gravitational pull of said intrusion, it caused the Global weather patterns to be utterly fucked, and it rained for the rest of the summer.
I got a job presenting a radio show for the BBC and spent two weeks making a giant poster, saying “DO NOT SAY SHIT FUCK WANK CUNT PISS BOLLOCKS ARSE BUGGER OR JORDAN ON AIR” which I staple-gunned to the studio wall.
Not sure what happened in July. Was there a July? Are you sure??
This year we decided to be extremely fashionable, and have a Staycation. Thus, we stayed on the hard shoulder of the M5 for five hours, eating Ginster’s pasties that we got as a 3-for-2 at a service station, and pointing at the ugly people in the stationary cars next to ours.
After that we enjoyed a lovely week in Cornwall, with me mostly trying to stuff cellulite into a swimming costume now three sizes too small but it DID FIT ONCE so I’m bloody well wearing it, even though slithery folds of skin are determined to make a bid for freedom from under the searingly tight elastic as I walk down the beach, while being reminded every three seconds of why I hate other people’s children. And dogs. And children with dogs. And dogs with children. And dog-owning children’s parents.
And, most of all, dog shit.
On my flip flops.
Charlie was bitten by a crab that didn’t seem to like being thrown into a plastic bucket with 35 other crabs for the twentieth time in a day, and cried for two days. Emily bought a holiday copy of Shout magazine, sat on the beach reading it for three hours and then announced that her Achilles tendon was fat.
Phoebe agreed. Emily hit Phoebe. Phoebe threw the Shout magazine in a rock pool. Emily threw Phoebe in the rock pool. Phoebe got bitten by a crab and cried for two days. Unfortunately not the same two days as Charlie.
It was one of our best family holidays ever.
The new school year saw Phoebe start secondary school. By half term she had grown her hair down over her eyes and started communicating only via short grunts, understood only by her grunting friends.
Charlie achieved great success in the school talent show, in that he possessed some. His rendition of Oh You Cannae Shove A Granny Off A Bus, in mime, won him a standing ovation from both of the audience members who stayed to the end. His dad and I were very proud.
H was given a new position at work: a permanent hunch. His reward was to have first choice in the biscuit tin at elevenses. In his first week he got two Custard Creams and a Jammy Dodger.
I wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The only snag is that I wrote it in my head, some time between 2 and 3am. My agent seems to have a problem with this.
For the rest of September I tried to get a new agent.
Half term came as a massive surprise, because it seemed to me that we’d only just had a bloody holiday. Did we need ANOTHER one?? Was I supposed to organise ALL holidays? And what is a holiday anyway?!
Luckily, the kind people at Xbox sent me one (an Xbox, not a holiday, although it turned out that they are pretty much the same thing) to try out for a work thingamy, so I parked the children in front of it for 7 days.
This proved to be an expensive freebie, as it resulted in a smashed chandelier and a trip to A&E with a virtual javelin stuck in Charlie’s foot.
The doctors didn’t seem to understand that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. These bastards have clearly never had their heart broken by a six foot Frenchman called Henri who smokes Gitanes and plays the guitar and tells you your eyes are ‘comme les etoiles de l’amour’. For example.
H went to Tokyo for a conference and brought home dysentery.
Christmas! Well, the start of Strictly, which is basically the same thing according to the Bible. Saturday nights took a turn for the tacky, but I used the time to bite all of the fingernails I had spent all year growing, every time Edwina Curry looked as if she was about to reveal more crotch.
November was also the month of allergies for us:
Emily decided she was allergic to all wheat-based products after ate seventeen doughnuts on a trip to the shopping centre and then felt bloated.
Phoebe decided she was allergic to Emily, and made an interesting collage out of recycled materials. It read, “EMILY, GET OUT OF MY ROOM OR I WILL KIL YOU, YOU STINKY BICH.” I was especially pleased with the use of colour and the punctuation, though the spelling obviously needs some work.
I decided I was allergic to most human beings, but especially the ones who stand still on escalators, those who get the front of queues and then start rummaging about in their bag for their wallet, and those who breathe within a quarter of a mile of me when I’ve got PMT.
H decided he was allergic to allergies. He seemed very pleased with this. We tried to look pleased for him too, but I think it may have come across as “WTF, dad?”
A time for much reflection on the past year, for us all. A look back at all that we have achieved, and how we have grown as people. Especially in the gluteus maximus area.
Following this period of reflection, H immediately started taking anti-depressants.
I bought some highly erotic literature and took to going to bed an hour earlier. During one of these private moments I discovered that if I hang my head upside down in front of a mirror I can’t see anything because the massive bags of loose middle-aged skin gathered under my eyes WHOOSH upwards, rendering me blind.
For Christmas I bought myself £658 of under-eye cream, and removed all mirrors from our house.
The children wrote a pact to be nicer to one another, which was never signed because of some argument over whose pen it was, and who broke it and why that person can’t just SOD OFF?!
And that – as they say somewhere, though it has never been confirmed – was that.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2012 bring you good health, happiness, and the buttocks you’ve always dreamed of – yours, or someone else’s.