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Kicking Up A Stink

Dear Fragrant (But Not In The Good Way) Office Colleague

I have tried with much heavy hinting to encourage you NOT to invade my personal air space with your undeniably stinky home-made broths of a lunchtime. You have failed to acknowledge any such hints, despite each being as subtle as a blunt trauma injury, and continue to perfume – though this is hardly the word – the general desk space with your evil fish and spiced muskrat potions. Your tenacity in the face of such blatant sarcasm would be admirable, if only you were not such a fan of all things rank-smelling.

Please, for the love of fresh air, stop! My newly washed hair, clean clothing and olfactory organs can no longer take such a sustained daily assault on their persons. The office microwave has developed a permanent aroma of rotting wildebeest. Clients entering the office are struck speechless for several minutes as they try not to gag in the warm chilli fug that summarily greets them before I ever can. Delivery men leave the room retching into their handheld walkie-talkies, unable to re-mount their mopeds effectively until the waves of nausea have passed. Enough is enough.

Worse still are the used plastic containers left unrinsed and pungently reeking in the kitchen sink. At least if you are going to make such god-awful smells, have the decency to keep them temporary during lunch, not continuing throughout the rest of the afternoon too. Entering the kitchen is akin to diving headlong into an overflowing landfill of sardines.

Consideration for your fellow workers costs nothing and will ensure you don’t receive the lemon-and-lime-flavoured condoms in the Secret Santa at Christmas. Maybe an air freshener or ten? I have tried wearing a peg on my nose but my clients think it odd and have been known to withdraw their patronage. Your fetid food odours are therefore bad for my business as well as damaging to my environment.

Let this be an end to your fart-tastic brews and perhaps, if you feel the need to always spice up your lunches, you could eat outside of the office? I will even pay for that to happen. Anything. Just go already.

Yours sincerely ( and I do mean sincerely)

Someone Who Wishes to Remain Cotton-Fresh

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“You’re not fat, Mummy, you’re Squidgy….”

Yes, that was the phrase uttered at full volume in the middle of the cinema on Sunday afternoon by my darling son.  To his credit, it is meant to be a compliment.  My son does not “do”  Boney Mummies, as he calls them.  In fact I would say he has an almost pathological fear of them. Which has always been good news for me!

Weight, or rather how I carry my weight, has been an issue ever since my teens. I fluctuate randomly due to an underactive thyroid that no amount of artificial hormone replacement can seem to address. I can eat next to nothing for weeks on end and become bloated….then the next month shovel down a full English, curry for lunch and pizza for dinner every day and not seem to put on a single inch. I am a medical mystery – someone really should study me and there should definitely be some government funding in there somewhere.

I have deduced that it must be something purely to do with metabolism. I believe mine to be dead from the neck down. Or at least very sick. The slimmest I have ever been in the past 20 years was actually when I was pregnant each time with my two children. I weighed more at the outset of each pregnancy than I ever did at the end. It wasn’t because I ate particularly healthily, for while I did up the intake of greenish things, I also felt that no-one would notice if I choked down a couple of bags of Minstrels or Maltesers a day, together with a few muffins and it would have been rude not to have the creamy lattes to go with them. In addition, my craving with each pregnancy was the boiled egg.  I would consume them in vast quantities slapped between slices of white bread, doused in ketchup; then offend the general neighbourhood with the by-product. You can imagine, I don’t need to spell it out I’m sure! I apologise to the local chickens of the time whose backsides worked overtime to provide me with my daily fix!

But despite this gorging self-abuse, I lost weight and in fact at the end of each pregnancy, got into jeans and clothing I hadn’t been able to wear the year before or even many years before –  even with a “joey pouch”, as my friend lovingly calls her left-over pregnancy overhang. I was most definitely a “yummy mummy” for a few months after each baby. Then it would all slowly creep on again, even though I always immediately dropped the chocolate/latte/boiled egg fetishes. So my children have grown up with the reality of a “sturdy” mummy who is not in any danger of being blown over by a puff of wind. And a house without scales in the bathroom. This is their norm.

“Squidgy” is a term of endearment in our house, not something to worry about. Until its broadcast at top volume in the middle of a public place, that is. Then, and only then, did I feel that perhaps the time has come to really think about doing something about it. I play sports at least twice a week, walk my furry son (the dog) for an hour or more every day and am generally quite fit. But the labels in the back of my clothes, coupled with the fact that my back-fat continues to hold a conversation with the people in a room I have just left, leads me to believe this is not reflected in my current look.

So watch this space. Because by hell or by Zumba, something is going to have to give and I have decided it’s the name “Squidgy” – sweet, endearing certainly, but absolutely no longer to be permitted. I won’t upset my boy by displaying any actual bone structure, of that I am certain. Realistic is my middle name, after all. But I am convinced I will feel a lot more comfortable in my skin if that skin is no longer the size of a small South American country.