So – I think, I am sure, that today I have filed the content for the most miserable work project with the meanest client I have ever had. I have never really had a horrible boss – there was the coke-fuelled one who made me redundant at 6 months pregnant and who made me cry for taking a lunch break on press day, but she didn’t seem to have a problem with me *as such* – she was just a very brainy, unhinged and hangry narcissist with a penchant for shagging many of the unavailable men in the office and ignoring her husband. Pfft – we’ve all been there.

This other one, however,  seems to really dislike me (even though we have never met in person and she has been happy with my writing for nearly a year) and has been decidedly weird about me being pregnant – WHY DID I MENTION IT? There is no sisterhood.

She has managed, through a process of mostly ignoring my emails and then getting angry about them by way of passive aggressive messages, sarcastic comments about my grammar and a subtle derailing of all my confidence in my ability to write, TO MAKE ME CRY QUITE A BIT. But – (and I expect I am getting excited too soon, because nothing suggests she will accept the work I have just done with anything other than anger and unkindness) maybe it is finished and I can remember about the joy I used to find in my life. I would like to go about the world unburdened by the heavy warty Toad-Of-Work-Related-Despair which has been sitting on my shoulders since late September. Oh! To no longer have dreams featuring spreadsheets and pie charts! To open my inbox and see only kind people and sample sale invitations have stuck something in there! To no longer be cc’ed into emails where my inability to write anything interesting is discussed. It is my dream – and I can only hope I am not asking too much.

Meanwhile, the dog nearly died when he stole an unopened £8 Waitrose fruitcake from the kitchen bench while I was having very serious words with the teenager about his behaviour and then confiscating his phone. We emerged from the bedroom, Barnaby was shut straight back in, I came out into the living room, all hot and sweaty and angry, and found the cake (what a cake! the perfect cake to eat with tea of an evening, while you lie fat and pregnant on the couch, full of acid reflux but still desirous of cake, watching Glow, drinking tea, unable to move) all gone and the dog looking a bit ashamed. The other kids had not noticed the dog and the cake apparently, faces deep into modelling clay and youtube videos. The next morning I made a tiny little instagram story about the dog, whose belly had gotten quite round and whose eyes looked a bit sad, and made a poll about whether eating a whole fruitcake would actually kill him. It turns out that – actually, because raisins cause renal failure in dogs – it might very well have killed him. No laughing matter, fellas. So after many people hastily sent me messages explaining that he was probably going to sadly die, I took him to the vet and they sorted him out.

Who knew the inherent risks of Christmas-time fruitcake? I thought it was just chocolate but no – beware of raisins and grapes and avocados, too – there’s a whole list of toxic foods for dogs, and in all my years of (quite casually, really) looking after a dog, it turns out I knew nothing of this. So Magic spent quite a few days lying on the couch (no change there for him or me), drinking a lot of water and shunning his food, but it was less than a week before he was off scarfing rotten chicken bone carcasses from rubbish bins and bits of very old Subway sandwich castoffs from the side of the road. He has a stomach like a…cast iron oven or something? A vice? A truck? What do you say when you mean that Magic, the furry fat little dude, can pretty much eat anything foul and poisonous and can still bounce back looking a bit peckish?

Face is cute though, and he smells nice, like toasty wheaty biscuits and warm feet:


Speaking of smell

A few nights later, Magic came out of my bedroom reeking of Chanel No. 5. I raced in there, and found all eight vintage half-filled bottles (I know, it’s a weird eBay ‘problem’ I have) had disappeared, but the smell was very strong. I looked under my bed, under the covers, behind the bed, in my bags, in drawers, and finally found all of the Chanel bottles (but not the Tom Ford or the Prada perfumes) shoved under my dresser in a nice line. One of the stoppers had come off and both the carpet (and the dog, because he nuzzles into the small space between my bed and dresser) were drenched.

Who did this, I hear you cry? Well, there is only one man in the flat who is partial to a bit of fancy 50’s vintage glamour, and that’s Otis, the Human Magpie Of My Nice Stuff. He was asleep, and I was a bit mad and weepy and sick of people touching my stuff, and so I wanted to haul him out of his bed and interrogate him but Mark wisely said no. In the morning, I asked him about my perfumes and he denied all of it, looking very hurt that had accused him of any kind of blatant and disrespectful Chanel No. 5-related theft. I kind of believed him until he said he had seen Magic climb up onto the bed, read the labels and take them into his hiding place. He just went too far – I think it was the reading bit, or the absence of Magic’s opposable thumbs that confirmed it for me.


Clay modelling – this is why the kids didn’t notice about the near cake/kidney/dog/raisin-disaster (photo taken by Human Magpie Otis as part of a series of Mostly Blurry Living Room Montages) :


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13 Responses to Might Be FREE AT LAST OF THE MEAN LADY

  1. susananderson4 says:

    Hi Jodi I discovered your blog quite recently and I love your writing! Mean lady knows nothing! Sadly I have encountered more than one really mean lady (and one particularly horrible man) during my work life although luckily lots of very pleasant ones too. I love London and just spent a great weekend there, although I live in Glasgow. I write a blog too –
    although only a few loyal family and friends read it! And quite often when I ask them if they have read my latest blog post they look a bit embarrassed and they hem and hum and say that they have been busy recently.
    I have three sons and the eldest now lives in NZ and I am so pleased for him and his many adventures although I do miss him. And we have two cats called Tom & Flora.
    Anyway, Hello!

    • theharridan says:

      Hello! Thanks for popping by – it is always wonderful when you find someone new who reads your writing – I’ve had a look at yours and it is a lovely read. Sometime it feels like you are shouting into the void, so I reckon closet readers should say hi – it makes your day. Cheers to people who practice kindness….and down with the mean bosses. Wish me luck for ridding myself of her!

  2. Jo says:

    Fingers crossed for the mean lady to stop being a cow to you, I’m sure it’s not you and she’s projecting because she has a miserable life. My son wound up all my lipsticks with the lids on so they smooshed on the inside of the caps. V sad. So I feel for you on the perfume! On another note, what is that clay stuff the models are fab! Is it plasticine?!

    • theharridan says:

      Oh man, I have experienced all of the lipstick ruinations over the years…it is so painful. The clay is called PlayMo, cheapish on the evil Amazon, and oven-bakeable so they get hard and last. A total win, I tell you – has got them making stuff every day, and only a few ruined teatowels in the process.

  3. Clare says:

    Lady, you can write. Like a frickin boss! Take no notice of this woman, whatever her problem is it isn’t your writing.
    You take the grind and make it funny, snappy and moving, that’s writing and it is appreciated!

  4. Tutak says:

    I love your writing. And your straying dog too….next time he stops by my place I’ll be locking up the scent though. xx

  5. Frances says:

    You are a BRILLIANT and very funny writer – I always love reading your stuff. and I feel bad – I have never said so before, but I do! the cake thing sounds awful – it’s quite extraordinary how many things dogs can’t eat, isn’t it? luckily mine isn’t inclined to take stuff, but my friend’s dog got into the kitchen cupboard at 4am, knocked over an XXL Costco-sized tub of cocoa powder and ate it all. He and my friend spent the rest of the night at the emergency vet…

    • theharridan says:

      Hi and thank you! Dog seems totally fine now, although kind of more emotionally weird than before, and he bit someone. I have this idea that the raisins gave him rabies. But that’s probably *quite* imaginary.

  6. catalpa99 says:

    Don’t know what that boss lady thinks she knows about writing, or grammar – yours is always excellent and a treat to read!

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! I did have a wobble there for a moment and wondered if actually my writing and grammar was awful and I was in some sort of enabling liberal bubble for people who are massively deluded about their writing skills, but actually – on balance, think I’m probably ok. Language is fluid, right? I can break some rules and still make sense.

  7. rose says:

    You are so wonderful and I have been hoping the MEAN one has totally disappeared into her troll cavern to never reappear in your world. Trust your family is ALL doing well and getting ready for the holidays in a calm organized fashion … well, without bloodshed or severing of familial relationships, I do remember the age but not the volume of boys.
    Am writing to tell you what a positive impact your writing and posting has had on my world over the years and particularly how much it has helped over the just over past 2 years when ‘other things have been … well, you know. I check compulsively and re-read regularly in effort to stay grounded and hold faith in the future.
    So blessings on your and yours, joy in the holidays, remember life will get quieter in the future after a period of sleepless noise still to come. (I am SO EXCITED about the arrival and send you the most wonderful and glorious wishes for an easy smooth arrival too.) Have a fabulous new year and please please please keep writing to us!

    • theharridan says:

      What a totally lovely and dine and inspiring thing to say to me! Thank you so much!
      Just what a very tired, enormous, sweaty lady needs to hear – Merry Christmas to you!

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