Middleagedmum.com: F.O.O.D

Ok I have done all the washing, cleaned the house from top to bottom, lined up my blog posts for next week and ordered all the shopping from the supermarket. There is now no excuse not to tackle to the pile of correspondence staring at me from the corner of my desk.

It has been there for a couple of weeks now, waiting for me, taunting me, begging to be dealt with. The envelopes are horribly official and full of self importance with their corporate logos and branded envelopes. I don't know what’s in them and I would rather not open them but know I cant put it off any longer. I start with opening the envelopes and putting them into piles marked scary, very scary and too hideous to acknowledge (these will be handed to middleagedad who will also ignore them, making them even more hideous and scary and also very very late!).

Don't get me wrong, I am not in hideous debt or on the run from the tax man or the Next Directory, in fact quite the opposite. Since living the yuppie excessive dream and confronting negative equity in the late 80's, MAD and I have tried our absolute hardest not to have credit cards or scary debts. But somehow our legacy from that particular period of financial denial (when we never opened our bank statements!) is that I now have severe form and official document phobia, commonly known as F.O.O.D (Fear Of Official Documents).

I have a theory that creative people cannot process large portions of text and especially not when written in incomprehensible official jargon. For example, take the little booklets they send you containing the terms and conditions of a new bank account, life insurance etc.
Show me someone who does and I'll show you someone who needs to come to the Joiners Arms with me and the gay boys on a night out!!

Its not just forms and official documents that frighten me, instruction booklets do too. So many different ways to tune in a telly, set up a mobile phone, programme a dishwasher. When faced with a new appliance or technology, I usually huff and puff when flicking through the instruction manual, groaning 'Oh for Gods sake where's the English version.' Only to finally disregard it all together, in favour of thinking I know better. Surely my finely tuned instinct will get me through. So I fumble and fiddle, tweaking and touching, not really knowing what I am doing, shouting 'why am I the only one in this house who does anything' as middleagedad shouts 'I hope you're looking at the instruction manual.' Oops, by now its in the bin, along with the three year guarantee and I'm a little hot and panicky and pouring myself a glass of wine.
Teenage son is now required to rescue me. He retrieves the instructions, scans them quickly, flicks a few buttons and we are fully functioning and firing on all cylinders.

Anyone who is tasked with engaging me in anything official or important doesn't have a very easy time either. When I recently decided to become self employed I was required to become VAT registered. I promptly employed a highly qualified, extremely efficient accountant, only to field all his calls, and hastily shut down the computer whenever I received an email from him. He won me round eventually through sheer persistence and I now feel like I have been to therapy when I have filed my VAT return.

Our mortgage advisor took on a similar counselling role when dealing with our recent re-mortgage. After not calling him back for several weeks I finally confessed. 'Look I don't have a clue how much our mortgage is, how much interest we are paying or who our pensions are with. Its all in a drawer in the kitchen and I cant open it, not now, not ever, its too scary.'
Luckily he only deals with actors, designers and creative’s, so wasn't at all surprised. 'Ok just bring me the drawer and I'll sort it out'. So off I trotted to his office in Great Portland street, complete with drawer and he methodically went through it.
I could have kissed him when he had finished.

Practical, logical friends cant understand my phobia, some even like filling in forms. One of my oldest friends positively embraces an instruction manual, which I find amazing. The older I get the more I procrastinate and hate officialdom. Maybe there is a need for a F.O.O.D workshop, similar to those fear of flying courses you can take.
Fasten you seat belts ladies, its time to fill in your tax return!!

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