The first couple of days and nights after returning from Canada seemed to pass by like a sort of blurry haze. The first thing I did after we returned to our house and unloaded the car was to go food shopping. I weaved up and down the aisles bumping into things while wearing the clothes I put on almost a full day and nearly 4,000 miles beforehand, accessorised by a vacant expression of exhaustion. I probably looked like I felt…a zombie after an all-night dinner party at the Twattingford-Herberts.
Both children were jet lagged and refused to go to sleep before midnight for the next 3 nights. In fact Bethan decided she didn’t fancy sleeping at all…particularly last night – the night before I had to return to work (I put this down to the included as standard ‘disrupt Mum’s sleep when she needs it most’ function). It is now 11pm and we are looking at a repeat performance tonight, so I have made the executive decision to retreat to the sofa with her to at least allow everyone else to sleep through her demands for a lock-in at the milk bar.
As a consequence of the sleep deprivation, I almost cried with joy when I walked into my office to find two new photocopiers had been installed…3 years after I began my campaign to have at least one item of fully functioning office technology with which to do my job. It was a tremendous moment when I pressed the start button for the first time and did not then spend the next 30 minutes on my hands and knees prising slithers of chewed up toner-encrusted paper from the deepest, darkest crevices of the machine.
Now all I need is access to my e-mails, staff area on the intranet, the main database system and a computer screen which doesn’t go blank every time I log on. An IT help desk which listens to its own voicemail messages might also be an advantage. One step at a time…
I shuffled into the main hall with the rest of the staff for the termly meeting after lunch. As usual everyone sat as far away from the front of the hall as possible so the first speaker (a chap of particularly senior standing within the organisation) dramatically dragged the microphone and lectern across the hall towards us and launched into his lengthy speech about results, media attention, development plans and suchlike. The lights were very dim, the air was warm and there were many, many PowerPoint slides…before long the inevitable happened and I found myself struggling to keep my eyelids from drooping. Several times I caught my head nodding and it woke me up for just long enough to glance anxiously around me to see if anyone had noticed and if I would need to somehow style out my head nodding. I was so relieved when our revered speaker’s mobile phone rang in his pocket while he was in full flow about the 5 year plan. This pulled me out of the fog of exhaustion long enough to listen to the rest of the talk without falling off my chair and embarrassing myself.
I hope I won’t need to revert to watching Cake Boss at 3am tonight. Goodnight!