Diary of a Dublin Landlady

Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's 3pm I'm in dire need of chocolate

I am in dire need of chocolate.
I’ve had the urge under control for a while, so it seems worth mentioning now because I’ve a few things to get off my chest.
You see a few weeks ago, Racquel dragged me to WeightWatchers. In a Methodist Hall at 10am. The details are important. I went without breakfast, the venue wasn’t much fun. I borrowed her ballet slippers and wore as little as decently possible. 

Their scales was wrong.

And it cost 20 euro to join and get weighed. That’s the equivalent of an off-peak blow-dry which is way more satisfying.

I only wanted to lose a few pounds, the ones that didn’t fall off in the juice detox. But apparently I can’t miss a week until I reach my target and become a gold member. Racquel persuaded me to go to a Dublin 4 meeting for the next one. It’s in that hotel that Sean Dunne’s missus dreamt up a farcical figure for, as she languished by a pool in Thailand. And the portfolio languishes in NAMA and our property tax fills the many black holes created by their ilk.

I digress, but you know where I mean. It’s still sitting there in the new ‘Knightsbridge’ hosting WeightWatchers meetings, while herself plays house in Connecticut. 

The D4 scales was wrong too. 

This week I went back to the Methodist Hall on my own, having got the red wine sandwiches under control. Their scales was on the mend.

I even stayed for the ‘talk’. The motivating lady is super. She’s from the days when women had to give up work when they got married, when people had dinner at lunchtime. I missed last week so I didn’t get to hear all the Mother’s Day warnings.  She asked how did we get on that day? The other ladies, for there are many and only one man, gushed about breakfast in bed, fancy dinners, flowers and chocolates. 

I felt alone, isolated, an outcast. They just wouldn’t have understood.

At 6pm on Mother’s Evening CC#2 arrived home with a glittery card full of appreciation and guff.
His gift? 

A box of Ariel Liqui-tabs. The luxury ones, not the Lidl ones.
I suppose it was more practical than flowers and they smell nice. He’d used the last one the day before and I refused to buy another pack for a week.

CC#2 was a bit more traditional, giving me files for my college notes.
So, on my way out of WeightWatchers yesterday I splurged on the 3 euro, 5-pack of caramel and chocolate bars that are only 2 points each. I reckoned on one-a-day at most.

Last night I drove to TV3 for a female audience with Vincent Browne, on how liberated we are not. 

After a classic VB rude interruption, I came home for dinner with the man formerly known as absentee boyfriend. 
He needed some chocolate after my fine roast chicken and vegetables. All I had were WW caramels which I reluctantly offered. Here’s what he did …

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Proven scientific weight reduction technique - Move the Dial

This didn't seem to work either

It was the morning after the Leinster House dinner, surely a drop of wine and a seafood platter, ok, and a fruit pavlova dessert to be sociable, can’t set me back on the detox diet?

The trick is to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you drink any water. So up I got on the digital scales, where every percentage pound counts. It can't be. There must be something wrong with it. Not a single nano pound less. I try getting on slowly, then I try balancing against the doorframe, no change.  WTF?

I left it out in the arctic weather for neighbour, Kerry, my detox buddy to pick it up from my porch. We think that might be the cause of the problem, because she got six different readings, none of which amused her. Deflated doesn’t even nearly describe how we feel. And I wish it did describe one’s waistline.

I shared the disappointment with the sportsman of the house, cc#2, who just scoffed at our angst. 

‘Your body has been holding on to your fat, that's obvious,’ he said, ‘it went into hunger. You have to eat fat now, and it will start burning it up.’

It made absolutely no sense, but that night after college, I had a feast of cheese and crackers.
Two days later, the scales showed a 5lb reduction. So there you go, the scientific way to lose a few pounds, and no running around the block!

As this blog is about landlady life, not a proper health blog the way other people do it, I’m putting in a disclaimer.This works: Starve on three days of juice (must be delivered because you will never buy enough fruit and veg and make it every day). 
Then you will feel faint, lose concentration, look better, so without exercise, personal trainer, boxing partner, treadmill and dumb bells or pulley gadgets you can lose 5lbs in five days.

Keeping them off, well that’s a work in progress. It's a week later, I want to throw the scales in a skip.They seem to be counting upwards again.

I saw an old-fashioned set in a hardware store. Supporting my local business and in the interest of further scientific research I bought them and felt sure this was all we needed. A needle that pointed to the correct weight at last.

I took it out of the box, carefully calibrated the needle, gingerly stepped on and discovered they’re only in kilos! Back to the shop tomorrow, and we better get the right answer soon.

Amid all this effort, Daft.ie lodger no 4 (I think) has moved in. It looks like the male-rule rules here. They can be exceedingly quiet if you get a good one.  They only want to watch Top Gear and at a push a rugby international, though I’ve recommended the local pub for that, good to mix with the locals. 

So far so good, from Essex ‘e is. Doesn’t boil chickens anyway, so we’re off to a good start, as for a name, Wyndham, will do.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

De-Tox in the Dail - they need it

It was the last night of the juice detox. The 25 year old sporty teacher in my class was morbidly inquisitive about bowel movement, nudging me nightly for detail. I lied. Anyway, I was going to have real food next day, my neighbor and I had arranged a scrambled egg breakfast to bolster our rehab.

My next challenge was to meet a couple after college in a restaurant, so that’s 8.30pm and my resolve was no problem, I ordered hot water and lemon and chatted, perhaps tapping my feet a bit manically as their food arrived. My phone was going a bit ballistic, I checked it. Lots of missed calls and an urgent text to call a senator. Oh holy f**k, I bumbled, slight oversight, a long planned dinner in Leinster House had been forgotten, you see it really does affect your concentration. I was wearing jeans (just to prove I could get back into them), a tee shirt and Uggs. I think I'd slept in the tee shirt, I have six wardrobes of cocktail dresses, and two of shoes, for once I’d have had an excuse to get dressed up this year.

My girlfriend was wearing a very fetching dress and offered to do a swap in the loo, the Uggs wouldn't have gone with it and her dainty feet didn't match mine. Hell, it was only Leinster House, I muttered bravely.  But I was already an hour late, that's bad no matter where you're going for dinner.

I zoomed up to the gates and asked the garda if I could come in, there were loads of spaces, I love when guards aren't checking your tax or breath. I got profuse apologies instead, they would let me in but those indoors wouldn't have it. Legging it back from several streets distant, the usher was very decent about me keeping him waiting and escorted me through.

My host was beyond understanding, he’d been late too, but I doubt if I'll be asked again, he and the other guest had already tucked into wine, no way could I heap bad manners on to the already bad mix up, and tell them about the detox. I couldn't even remember why I was there, to discuss senate reform or something, activism of some sort, but why waste time on that when there was gossip to be exchanged.  So I had the delicious seafood platter, it would have been rude not to have just the one glass of wine. Flip anyway, I nearly did the full 72 hours.

With the exception of my very healthy host, the Dail diners looked like they could do with a good de-tox. James O'Reilly came over to our table, all curious, and then Richard Bruton, and nice, charming rural TDs, wondering why the eminent senator had such a ruffian at his table. Well Chatham House rules about the gossip, but whatever you suspected about a certain high office, it is true. Only Worse.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Day Two De-Tox

Not scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and strong coffee
The irony of the juice diet is you've no energy to exercise, the dog is looking forlorn as I skip her daily walk, though the storms, grey skies and relentless rain would put you off anyway. OK, it's only day two, so the energy should be back by tomorrow, it says that on the tin.

The great comfort is my neighbour, Kerry, with two small children, also back in college - in Limerick! - is doing this too. We had a smoothie breakfast together. We're going to work in our bedrooms, as far away as possible from the usual desk, where snacking is a reward.

I wrote three articles last week, including a review on a ski trip in France I did the week before, went to college every night and out all weekend, no bother.

I didn't sleep last night, with the orchard of apples, plantation of bananas and field of beetroot that's inside me.

If I had to walk to the shops now, I couldn't. But it's only 11.45, I've tidied up a review of Morlaix in Brittany, for this week's Sunday Independent, and next up is a law assignment Zzzz

Monday, 27 January 2014

New Year: Are you nearly a *New You* yet?


How many de-toxing, juicing,  5:2ing and stonking get-fit regimes can magazines come up with? My first resolution is to ensure cost centre #2 takes all the party packs of crisps and jaffa cakes to his room. The kitchen is a danger zone, coffee, warm toast and sizzling bacon aromas waft across my work area which is way too close for comfort.

I stood for what seemed like hours watching juicer demonstrations in Brown Thomas recently, while everyone else was buying DVF wrap dresses or vertiginous Louboutins. Wish I hadn't given away the food processor I got as a wedding present, I'm sure it sliced peas and peeled grapes, but what are children for anyway? The juicer was fascinating, but too expensive, the blender beside it, a Kenwood KMix would take up less space in the kitchen. They patiently explained to me how it worked, I waited a half hour for them to find me one in the stock room, no hurry then, it’s only 300 euro to park for the afternoon. They only had it in red, I struggled with that, but i'd never get on the path of new year new you if I didn't start there and then.

This machine will be transformative, we’ll be renewed with  inspirational  soups and exotic smoothies. I stocked up on bananas, apples, celery, ginger, blueberries, pineapple and low-fat yoghurt and handed the lot to CC#2.

Children must have useful hobbies, they can never learn early enough how to peel and chop. By the time I had all the vegetables prepared for soup, the kitchen was like a compost heap. Hours later we had two delicious smoothies out of several kilos of fruit and gallons of bland vegetable soup which I managed to spoil by adding cayenne pepper to give it a kick.

That evening, to confirm I was truly on a health programme I cycled 2 miles to the pub. While out the back, I met a blonde, smoking doctor. The subject of girth somehow crept into the conversation and she told me she lost half a stone with a juice delivery programme, just three days she said. I was hooked, we lit up another one and downed more wine.

I already know I'm a new, new  me, there's loads of things I can't do anymore, tolerate late nights and loud pubs, can't watch University Challenge with the same pleasure, my brain is fried from college. Things that used to really bother me, don't. Window envelopes are top of the list, if you don't open them, no stress. Political corruption, wastage, pension overpayments and general unfairness bothers me, but there's always Twitter to give the impression that you are actually delivering your message to the offender.

In landladyhouse, my flame-haired Texan prospect found a room she could move into the very next day. I've to decide between a pretty young woman with thousands of tiny black hair plaits, doing a PhD in chemistry, a german IT specialist who’s very German and an Italian who struck me as very German. But then, I haven't brought myself to read about the Italian lodger who killed his landlord over a chess game, mainly because I was in France when it happened and I assumed it was in some crazy part of Europe. No. He's incarcerated around the corner from me.

I’ve a craving for someting that's decidedly intoxicating.

The bottles of juice arrived yesterday, I started the beetroot juice this morning and managed to get through a night in college, despite the off-license industry holding their annual awards in our dining hall, with welcoming free wine and beer as we walked in. Only 68 more hours to go.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Yes, Ma'am

Missing her friends
I've given up on the lodger interview process. It's time to let the dog decide.

I've had the Sudanese anaesthetist, weighed that up as a good idea to have a doctor in the house. He was keen, promised to sign any regulations, never heard from him again. Only today CC#2 asked if I knew that muslims are not supposed to shake hands with women, that'll be the reason; I always profer the hand in welcome, the eye contact. I could be looking for a room one day.

The Italian fella doing a PhD didn't want to leave without signing an agreement, 'give me two days to think about it',  I asked. He soon found something else. Then there was the 73-year old man who’d lost his fortune and home, he told me his life story in half an hour, I knew it wasn’t for him, I hoped he’d refuse,  he did, the distance from the bus stop was too far.

Since then, nothing but a deluge of requests from girls, I’m thinking the ban on women from the cost centers will have to go. Many are Italian doing PhDs in UCD, good for us if we’ve got such attractive learning programmes. And I love Italy, I could swap homes with their families, practice the lingo. But they're all too young; I’d inherit another child, just when I'm out of motherdom.

There's a 30-year old from South Africa who doesn't even want to see the room, her company will sponsor her, she sent a photograph, gorgeous, too like the beautiful model who died in Oscar Pistorius' home. She's with a cosmetics company, what's not to like? Too keen, and I bet she won’t want to share the cost centre's bathroom. On hold.

I reply to all of them, being very frank about the fact it isn't a fun student house-share, think of all you wouldn't want as a 22-year old in 'fun Ireland', suburbia, mum at home, who'd want that?

A flame-haired final year vet student arrived yesterday, she called me ma'am, she's from Texas, the dog was stashed in a bedroom, her bark is worse than her lick. I liked this girl, big time. Tess (the dog) has had nobody else to play with since 8 December when the entire family that shared her since she was a baby, emigrated. First it was the husband, two years ago, now his wife and three children have joined him. Tess had to put up with me and the costcentres squeezing in a bit of run with her, her girth is embarrasing, not far behind mine.

I let her out of CC#1's bedroom where she is confined while I write, as she barks the house down when anyone approaches the cul-de-sac. She and the Texan bonded, she could have her own private vet. Forget the sons; the dog rules.