I am not a crook.

  “Ninety percent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves.” – Sydney Harris.

I HOPE by the time you read this, the malady has passed. I hope by Monday I’m skipping with the exquisite relief that is only known to come after trials (plural) come blustering through your door, unapologetic and aggressive.

But today, I’m unwell. The kids have been sick too and the only good part about that is their thirst for nurture is dulled. Hot babies are generally quiet ones. If you don’t leave the face washer on their forehead for too long.

I had to drop my work in the hands of others but just before I did, I received an email. From a man. “Can I have your number or can you call me back?”

My stomach dropped through to the floor. I was about to receive a copyright bollocking. How much, I hear you ask, is a copyright bollocking? Well aside, from the frustration that despite all my best endeavours – the ongoing emails, the 2am calls to the US, the cheques, – I did not conquer copyright law, the cost incurred is $1400. Give or take.

I checked my records and saw that, indeed, I had secured and paid for licenses to all but one company. Despite the burning in my eyes, I put on my happy face and called him up. My “I’m just a girl” voice didn’t seem to satiate. Figured as much.

I could hear the authority in the smooth silence of his phone line. No screaming children or store-music. Not wedging his phone between his shoulder and chin while he irons, cooks, wipes a bum. I could imagine the vhooooop of his heavy oak door closing as he took the call from that vapid little thing in Queensland.

“I can’t deal with this right now. I have a family emergency. I will email you on Monday.”

I have a family emergency too. You’re it.

I rang my husband and cried – something I save for horrendous cash-blowouts. This setback – hey, it’s only money – has a flow-on effect that I know will prevent me from sleeping till Monday.

And I need my sleep.

My husband’s 30th birthday is on the weekend. We have relatives staying – fresh, full-bloodied rellies whom I adore but am stricken to consider that I may shed undignified tears in front of them (again!). (Must not bow to FIL’s well-meant offerings of alcohol. Must say no. Drunk mummy in 1920’s gangster get-up is Not. Cool. Flashback to younger days when my nephew watched an inebriated aunty tackle his father with due concern… Must not drink.)

When you’re feeling this way everything seems insurmountable. Everything conspires against you. While I have possibly the biggest deadline of my life looming (probably shouldn’t call it that since I’m trying to stress less), I’m also juggling work (relaunch anyone?), school lunches (a new horror that I already hate. Am I really meant to do this until graduation?!), book PR, website upgrade (which could be as simple as a phonecall that I never seem to get round to making), trying to exchange my husband’s birthday present, worrying about a new vaccine that I’m meant to book for my daughter – shouldn’t I research first?, returning my doctor’s calls who (three times now) books me in when my husband is working and I can’t leave the children with anyone, finding out what happened to a refund I was meant to get for the last present I bought my husband, visit two banks once a week to pay a painter who may be traipsing amongst snakes for the next fortnight because our tenants have – apparently – lost their lawnmower, and remember all the other little details… such as not breaching anymore copyright laws.

Of course, there’s all the good stuff. The fact I have the most important deadline looming in my life. Kids (one of whom, when asked what he did at school today, replied: “I didn’t push a pencil in anyone’s eye.” To which I effused: “Mummy’s so proud of you!”). The idea that buried somewhere in the recesses of my poor, poor brain lies an answer to any conundrum presented.

But as the saying goes (see above)… woe is begot from people who are strangers unto themselves. I think of this everytime I’m assailed with furious optimism in people’s Facebook status updates. And when I’m crying on my desk. I’m trying with every inch of my being that wants to be in a hot tub, to find an unedited – free from litigation – version of myself here.

So, what’s up with you? Sinking or swimming? Floating?!

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