On Tuesdays, I play a game I call beat the bin man. It’s something I must be subconsciously addicted to playing because despite my personal chastising I still accept the challenge each week. I swear each time that the following Tuesday I will be more organised and will not engage in this ridiculous, anxiety-inducing race. I swear that next week I will make sure I’m up earlier, organised accordingly the night before and completely calm and prepared.
BUT of course, as 8.45 Tuesday morning rolls around and I’m dashing out the front door small child in tow, trying desperately not to be late for preschool I notice the wheelie bins lined up down the street, mocking me. F****!!! I yell (in my head obviously because young ears are around!) I clamber round to the driver door wearing work out clothes despite having zero intention of doing any exercise today. Pulling out of the driveway adrenaline begins to flow and I ask myself, no I reassure myself, I can make it back in time to put the bins out. Like a satellite navigation system, I begin calculating the best route in my head. I’m calculating maths like I’m after Carol Vorderman’s job circa 1990.
“If I take a left here and double back I’ll miss out the traffic lights on Hyde road but then there’s road works at the top of Eastlands… So if the lights are red for 3 mins and I travel at an average speed of 35mph and cross my fingers we miss the congestion that gives me…”
“MUM!!'” My four-year-old yells.
It appears this whole time I’ve been oblivious to my son calling into the front of the car like its on fire. Great, he’s forgotten his backpack.
“Ok listen, it’s fine, don’t worry just stay calm I will explain…” Never mind I’ve lost him he’s staring out of the window no longer listening. S**t! I’m in the wrong lane! I manage to cut a blue mini up apologising profusely to which he lays his hands on the horn relentlessly.
“Oh F….” .
“Erm Mummy why is that man pressing his horn?”
“Oh” I laugh nervously. “He’s a friend. He’s just saying good morning! Good morning Gary” I shout. As my son is back to daydreaming I give the blue mini driver the middle finger and pull off at my exit.
I practically run up the stairs to my son’s classroom (suddenly glad of the workout wear) apologising for his absent backpack, begging the staff with my eyes not to judge me. Just as I’m sprinting back to the car I’m clocked by Janice the school events organiser, clearly on a mission.
“Mrs Gillum-Webb!” She calls. I debate whether I can get away with pretending I didn’t hear her but before I can contemplate another step she calls out to me again. I spin around ashamedly out of breath despite running only a matter of feet. “I was wondering if you could lend a hand with the fundraiser tomorrow.’ I start to quickly run through excuses in my head but forget whether I told her it was my brother in law’s Bar Mitzvah or Great Aunts birthday last time she cornered me.
“Of course, it’s just I’m really in a rush right now but sign me up!” Oh God, that was too enthusiastic.
“Great she replies looking relieved. We just need 50 or so cupcakes baking but I won’t keep you see you tomorrow.” She scuttles off and I manage to drag my jaw up from the floor, race to the car and head off back home.
50 cupcakes to bake by tomorrow! What was I thinking!!! Oh no no no no not traffic! This way is always clear.
“Satellite navigation!” I yell into the cars hands-free kit.
“Command not recognised”
“Calculate the quickest route home”
“Calculating your route to Pets at Home.”
“What! No! Oh forget it!”
I manage by some freak miracle to pull down my street a fraction of a second before the bin van and as I run through the house oblivious to the alarm blaring I make it into the back garden and run up the drive pushing the wheelie bin triumphantly. The last few steps are slow motion and I imagine crossing a taped finish line saying proudly “I did it for all the Mummy’s out there.” My dream however is short-lived as I see the bin man climbing back into his cab.
“Sorry love” he shouts back to me. “We can’t empty that, the lids not fully closed.” And off he goes as it begins to rain and I slope off back inside a trip to the tip in my future and the task of 50 cupcakes to bake!!!
Tell me this is a game we have all played before right?!
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Love as always!
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