Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Punky, an update, and snails

The first batch of scripts are gone despite a birthday party for my daughter which lasted 24 hours. Did we ever have them?

Overheard were snatches of "truth or dare" and "it's okay, we can watch Glee here and your parents will never know" and something about setting the alarm for a midnight feast. Fortunately the dog snored through it all, my daughter believes her alarm clock broken and so they slept through and the worst 'truth's that seemed to emerge were to do with fancying a boy years ago and "once I wore yellow lipstick but I don't know why". They're eleven.

The struggle to write when you have kids, and I have only one, is sometimes exhausting. Just rewriting one seven minutes script - I thought they'd take about 20 minutes to rewrite; they took about 70; I'd swear it's harder than writing a feature! - involved seven interruptions.

My daughter wanted me to adopt a snail. I kept fobbing her off, thinking that the work would, as I said, take 20 minutes max. Initially, I was gentle but firm. Then I explained that the more she interrupted the longer it would take me to finish. She finally drew her horns in when my response to the repeated question - are you ready yet? - became an anguished and angry roar reminding her how she hates to be interrupted when she's doing something and THIS IS WORK!!!!!

And then felt immensely guilty. It was Sunday afternoon and she only wanted company. But I still finished the work. A deadline's a deadline. I'd hosted her friends for the guts of 24 hours, making sure they had a fantastic party, sleepover, excursion to the Science Museum - go, it's brilliant! - and this was why at least some of the work needed to be done on Sunday.

My daughter has decided to keep pet snails in various containers in the front garden. She varnishes their backs so you can tell them apart and takes them for walks on a string. I had to go through a similar procedure to the one we recently took when we got our rescue dog.

I named my snail - Pettigrew, just to be awkward, got the adoption form officially signed (looking suspiciously like the dog licence), purchased the habitat (a blue flower pot), the cover (a broken tile) and the food - a bag of dry rosemary needles - but postponed the varnishing, vet visit and decision on insurance.

I have a feeling men are better at separating work and family. Either they draw the boundaries more clearly and demand that separation. Or we keep the kids away, maybe that's it? As my mother put it, she was protecting us from him, not the other way round.

But if I could maintain that division, I wouldn't now be the proud but somewhat bemused owner of an embarrassed snail name Pettigrew.

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