First bit of work to do was read through all the handy little tips scattered throughout the text and find seven I thought I could put into practice. For example:
- Exercise while you watch TV. - Yeah, always mean to do this, but my brand new squashy leather sofa is far too tempting while catching up on my regular fix of trashy TV (America's Next Top Model).
- Take yourself off junk mail lists. - feeling very virtuous. Done this already.
- Do small jobs as they come up; don't put them off. - Whoops. Not feeling so virtuous now.
- Record TV programmes to watch later, cutting out the adverts. - Sorry, not that desperate (or that sad) to gain an extra fifteen minutes in each day. Will not be able to hold out during Grey's Anatomy anyway.
- Buy a sound activated device for your keys. Think how much time you've wasted over the years looking for them.
Two weeks ago I would have thought this was wisdom itself, as I am always frantically searching for my keys at school pick-up time/leave for work time/most of the time, but when I read this tip while having a bath, I laughed so hard I almost created a tsunami.
Only that afternoon I had dismantled on of these cursed (pronounced curse-ed to get an accurate sense of my fury) things after ripping it from my keyring. I had only had it for a week and it was driving me slowly insane. Whistling set it off all right, but so did:
- High-pitched squeaks from number two daughter.
- High-pitched squeaks from number one daughter (slightly less frequent).
- My laugh (anyone who has heard me in full giggle will know how loud it is).
- Me shouting at the kids. (Of course, this is theorectical; I never shout at my little cherubs).
- Other random noises.
- My husband's constant whistling. (Never realised he did it so much until last week).
On the other hand, I discovered I had lost the ability to whistle and the hoarse little noise I managed to produce only set it off now and again - and then when I was close enough to see my keys anyway.
So, for a week, I put up with my pocket going beep, beep, beep-beep, beep-beep-beep on a pretty constant basis every time I set foot in the school gates to drop off/pick up my daughters. The up side was that everyone thought they were text message beeps and suddenly I seemed the most popular mum in the playground.
The final straw came when I popped into my next-door neighbour's house for a little birthday celebration for the elderly man on our road who had just turned ninety. He was very happy to be invited round for chocolate cake and a cup of tea with a bunch of thirty-something women, even if we had at least eleven children (ranging from three months to nine years) racing in and out of the kitchen and pushing each other off the trampoline/climbing frame/grass in the back garden.
At first, the beeping of my keyring was an amusing talking point but, since it was set off about once every minute for three-quarters of an hour, I started fantasising about drowning it in my tea and then stamping on it in the manner of an enraged Daffy-Duck.
I will just have to go back to the frantic key searching. It's a whole lot less stressful than saving the extra five minutes looking for them maybe once a fortnight.