Saturday, July 30, 2005

My new hobby

I’m a little compulsive.

When I try something new, I like to really try it.

Do you remember a week or two ago I redesigned my template? Well I didn’t stop there. I couldn’t. In fact I got so carried away I’ve had to limit myself to designing ten templates (that doesn’t include this one!).

My favourites are nine and ten, but I like this one because it’s the beach I walk on each morning, but then… who but me cares?

Maybe I’ll rotate, although that may cause you to wonder whether you’ve reached the right blog when you visit me!

If you’d like to see what I’ve been doing on my sleepless nights, here’s a link to my other profile with the many templates with no posts.

Let me know which ones you like, or hate, but tell me in here or I may never notice ;o)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Who's here?

Out of interest, do any of you like gossip?

I’ve been thinking about this, and am wondering about the personality type that likes to blog. Of course there are many different genres of blog, but I’m specifically thinking about those of us who waffle without direction. I say whatever’s on my mind at the moment I happen to sit down and start typing.

I’m thinking blogging may well be providing a substitute for the gossiping I’m missing in real life. You see, I like to hear gossip, but don’t like to pass it on (I might get caught!). And reading other blogs is like that, but more perfect. If you do happen to spill the beans and repeat what you read, it doesn’t matter because most bloggers are absolute sluts with their hit counters!

By the way, did you see mine went over one thousand? A part of me is thrilled (the blogging part!) but then I’m gripped with fear. What if someone I know reads this? I know, I kind of know some of you, but it’s not the same because we don't see each other in context. We don’t really exist to one another, and my life has no bearing on yours (so I’m chuffed that you choose to hang around for a minute or two and read my little page!)

But… I dread the day when anyone I really know might swing by. And what’s worrying me is I have told someone about this blog. A friend in America, but she’s from real life, and I’ve realised she’s still in contact with a lot of people from here. I told her a while ago but she hasn’t said anything, so I’m hoping she’s forgotten.

If you're here, Cathie, please say hello. But please don’t tell!

And Wednesday’s post was a tad stressed…

I tried to get here sooner, but they watch my every move. If I leave a room, they follow. If I eat a biscuit, they finish the packet. If I dare to sit down, someone will spill something over the table/floor/sofa. When their screeches and giggles become too much and I ask for quiet, they fight. If we leave the house, some one always forgets to visit the loo first (last time it was me!). When we visit friends, they break things. When we go to the beach, one of them always falls in the water. And now they’re playing sleep deprivation games. I’m going insane. I don’t think they realise. They seem happy.

A post I started on Tuesday, and only just finished

Over the last week large envelopes have been arriving packed with papers from R’s secondary school. I did open the first and took a glance through, but hey, he doesn’t start till September, so what’s the rush?

Then last night, I got a phone call from the class gossip (I’m referring to a mother, not a boy ;o)) and true to form, I managed to let know her what a neglectful mother I am.

I thought she was calling to see if she could prize any info regarding Mrs A, who has recently kicked her husband out in favour of Mr B. But no, she stopped gossiping right after telling me Mrs C is in love and having a baby, but not with her husband. I expressed surprise and allowed her to think I didn’t already know.

Then she started talking about the class lists and asked me what I thought. As I hadn’t actually seen the lists, I mumbled about having faith in system (which BTW, I don’t really). She snorted and began commenting on how a certain young man managed to get into the fast-track group with his behavioural problems.

I drift slightly upon hearing the words fast-track. I only found out about this class a few weeks ago at an induction evening. The fast-track group (the A class) is supposedly the smartest boys in the year group, and what makes this desirable (?) is that the boys will take four GCSE’s a year early, and then ten the following year. To be honest, these numbers boggle me. I took six O’levels and failed two. GCSEs are supposed to be the equivalent. I don’t know anyone who sat fourteen subjects! I didn’t know there were fourteen different subjects at school level!!

Anyway, none of this concerned me as your child can only get into the A class if he receives three fives on his Sats.

Of course my child might have achieved three fives if I hadn’t started reading about Sats and got annoyed, so stopped. I was annoyed because they are supposed to be a standard national test, so the government can see how kids across the UK are doing, compared to one another. I have no problem with the theory of this, but what irked me was the way the teachers geared up as though these were A-levels! For months in advance we had mountains of revision, letters were sent home warning that the boys must not be off school for any reason during the week the tests were due, we were told where to buy test papers because several a week in school weren’t enough, and then warned about how to deal with the anxiety our child may suffer if it all got too much for him. It didn't seem like a fair snapshot of accedemic abilities, it felt like fit up for league tables.

So I kinda ignored it all. I told R to do his best, but didn’t know the results would determine his next seven years schooling (this is what happens when you don’t go and chat with the gossips!) I didn’t take the tests seriously, and felt shit when I realised R may have missed an opportunity because I hadn’t helped him to prepare.

But that said, we got his results with the school report and he earned himself two fives. Not enough for the fast-track, but bloody good in spite of a crap mother.

So while my gossipy friend was chatting, I wandered around the kitchen looking for the right envelope. (Do you know, it’s surprising difficult to hold a phone and open an envelope silently? especially if it’s been sellotaped closed!)

I screamed. I really did. Right down the phone. Because there, at the bottom of the ‘A class’ list – was my son’s name!

Before I read it, I didn’t really care he wasn’t going to be fast-tracked, if anything I felt a little sorry for the boys who would be expected to shine. But now his name’s there, I do care. I’m amazed. And pleased.

I think.

Oh, alright. There is a part of me a little unsure about this. But I don’t know why.

All this was racing through my mind as I heard the phone laughing.

“Debi, you are funny! You know, I never believe you when you say you’re scatty, but you really are. Are you sure that boy is yours?”

Well… you’ve got to wonder!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Now I feel bad!

The Godmother arrived just before four, but this wasn’t a problem as the BH and builder were still in full swing – in fact when the builder left at five-fifteen, she did too! Which makes me feel bad after the moan. Still, there’s something to be said for all four kids running around like maniacs (high on excitement and food colouring), and she did comment that she’s beginning to comprehend why I get stressed!

Oh, and the BH came and asked if I was upset with him for something (?!) bloody hell, can’t I even do ANGRY correctly? I said no, and apologised for my mood, which earned me a sorely needed hug.

I want a pause button

I’m in an awful mood, and am not going to post much because I might pass on the feeling.

It has nothing to do with S’s party (which went very well, even the weather behaved) and has nothing to do with her birthday (which is today and I believe she is enjoying).

No, my bad mood has come about, due to several factors. Firstly (though in no particular order) is my husband. Before the party yesterday he managed to get me cross by doing nothing to help with the party preparations (he conveniently forgot the one thing I asked him to do - clean the shower when he was showering), but instead wandered around doing totally irrelevant things like sorting the mismatched sock bin (all over the lounge floor right after I had vacuumed). Then today, the BH is off work to help our builder, Mark, work on our new deck. I normally look forward to his company but he managed to really irritate me this morning by not getting out of bed. I dropped several hints that time was short and reminded him I had to leave by nine to get R to cricket. Did he get out of bed so that S could open her pressies? No, but he sure jumped to attention when Mark drove up. (S finally opened he presents at lunchtime when we could all enjoy twenty minutes together)

The second irritation I discovered when S opened her big present from us. I got her a beautiful dress-up dress a week ago last Saturday. I knew it was the right size and didn’t keep the receipt (yes, yes, I know I AM STUPID), but when S went to try it on I found out the shop has left the security tab on. On the day I bought it I remember the alarms went off and I waited patiently by the doors for the okay to leave, they blamed one of the shop staff stacking shelves by the entrance. So now I have a dress that looks like I pinched it!

And what the made the situation frustrating as hell was when I called the store to speak to the manageress, the switchboard cut off my call four times! I wanted to scream about their incompetence (which I’m paying for!!), but can hardly do that when I’m trying to persuade them I’m not a petty thief! The manageress has asked me to go in, but they really would prefer to see the receipt. GGGGRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Another highlight of the day was S seeing her Uncle to go buy her ballet kit (which she starts in September). This was a supposed to be a birthday gift and as my brother likes to do the cool uncle act, he meets the birthday child in town and flashes his wallet (which is about the only time any of the family see it or him, in fact I have a theory that he’s too tight to spend on the postage, or petrol, or wrapping!). Anyway, the ballet shop has a sign on the door. CLOSED. CLOSING DOWN SALE ON SATURDAY 30th JULY. EVERYTHING HALF PRICE. Well my brother doesn’t mind (!) but my three year old is might upset and I’m fed up that I’m running around like a blue arsed fly only to have to do it all again on Saturday!

Oh and last, but rarely least, is S’s godmother. By the time I got to christen the girls I had used up most of the long time, faithful and thoughtful friends in my life. So I asked my father’s business partner. She’s very nice and I’ve known her many years, and in many ways, is the BEST godparent any of my children have. In fact she’s so darn good she comes every week to take them out somewhere. So what am I bitching about? To start with she’s an important career woman and has an attitude to match. After all I’m only a lowly stay-at-home mother and it’s not like I’ve got anything to do, is it? What does it matter if she says she’ll be here at two and doesn’t show till five-to-three? But I could forgive that, because it’s not like I can judge being the mother always last to arrive at parties (though apart from that one occasion, I’m never later than fifteen minutes!). But what really bites the biscuit with this lovely (and I mean that) woman, is that SHE WON’T FRIGGING LEAVE!! You have NO idea! Her skin is thicker than a rhinos and she’s oblivious to hints like ‘only an hour till bedtime, and I must get them fed’; in fact, I have discovered this is just about the worse thing to say as she then tries to make herself useful, and wanders around my house looking for the girls nightclothes (which more often than not are in my bedroom!). I don’t want people to wander about my house, it’s never tidy in every room and I close doors FOR A REASON! And then she comments! She’ll say things like ‘Oh, you made a real effort to tidy up this week, Debi.’ She really is nice, just ignorant of my world.

And why I’m especially irritated today is that when my parents popped by to wish S a happy birthday, my father mentioned that The Godmother would be around later. Huh? She hasn’t called, let alone thought to ask what we’re doing. It’s quarter to three and at four the builder is leaving and we’re supposed to be having a family tea time. Fat bloody chance now!

Wow well, I’ve been here longer than I thought, and I feel a bit better. The kids are quiet which means I should go check what they’re up to. Some fool gave S felt-tip pens for her birthday, god, doesn’t everyone know you can’t paint over the ink?! Ooops, now I can hear the BH shouting, so I’d better go make everyone happy.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Rain, rain, go away!

Rain forecast for tomorrow! Arrrggghh. My house is too small and my carpets too new!

Oh, and here's a picture of the cake (the icing melted a bit, cause it was hot today!), it's still got a couple of sugar necklaces to add - at the last minute (or they'll be pinched).

(It's supposed to be a jewellery box with ballet slippers on the front - but you knew that, right?!)

Book knowledge

This week I took the boys to the library to join the summer ‘Reading Journey’ activity. Over the summer holidays the boys are required to read six books and then answer questions on what they have read to gain a medal for the achievement(presented at school). For R, this is last year he can participate (presumably because he should be reading this amount without bribery! He isn’t), and for P this the first year he has attempted it.

Over the years R has discovered I was a creative child who found many ways to get around the rules of the household. I don't believe R’s often succeeded in pulling a fast one on me, ‘cause I know them all! For instance: at the dinner table no child is allowed dessert if they don’t finish their plate – sounds simple – but there is a way around their fathers eyes; you see, if someone eats their potatoes and gravy (before finishing other things) then they’re allowed to help themselves to seconds – and if you have seconds, you don’t have to finish your plate to get dessert! And what R does is help himself, then push the cauliflower in with the left-over potatoes. He thinks he’s clever, but I’ve given him the eye, and he knows I know! (I should add, that although I agree the children should clear their plates, a good attempt is enough for me and I can’t be bothered with the upset the strictness brings.)

So back in the library, R knows I will check the books he chooses to make sure they don’t have supersize writing and a reading age of five, and mostly importantly – he seems to have finally stopped trying to get away with this!

And then we have P. P loves dragons and pirates and being a good mom, I scoured the shelves with him and was pleased with what I found. He wasn’t.

It seems P has two firm criteria when choosing a book: the cover must be garish and busy to the point of sending you cross-eyed, and it can’t be over one hundred pages long. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.

I thought of fighting him on his choices, but the reading age was about right and so I decided he could learn a lesson about suffering through poor choices.

But it wasn’t him who learned something. It was me. The stories might have been all over the place, (a couple were about a detective mouse, one was about Jason from Greek mythology, another about a boy who falls into a time-slip) but he’s finished the lot (350 pages total) and had a wonderful (varied!) time along the way. He even begged me to take him back to the library to sit his questions and chose the next batch (which are longer!)

So P impressed me. Not so his father.

My BetterHalf was sceptical that the books had been read and asked P about the stories. Forty minutes later he begged P to shut about the damn stories (he didn’t actually use the words ‘shut up’ or ‘damn’, but you get the picture!)

Then the BH began telling P he wasn’t reading the books correctly. P shouldn’t have been able to read that much in so short a time. According to BH you should read slowly, fully relishing the plot and puns, and not race through it.

I don’t get it. I don’t read like that. If a book is good I can’t help but read it quickly, and if it’s not good then I’m not reading. And I said so.

P sat quietly as an exchange took place. (I won’t go into the details, because one day my husband might discover this blog and then I’d be up shit creek!) But we kept it down to calm sarcasms and the outcome was, I told P he could read a book any way he likes!

But it has got me thinking. Is there a correct way to read a book? Am I getting something basic, so wrong?

Friday, July 22, 2005

How to (not) bake a cake

This morning I was supposed to be baking S’s birthday cake. The effort of making the icing, baking and decorating can be fun and long, long ago I used to earn a little money doing them for other people. Of course these days I don’t have the time unless it’s a friend who has the nerve to ask, but I look forward to the chance of wasting* time baking for my own children’s birthdays.

So today when I sorted out which baking tins would be best and started to prepare the ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised when my girls expressed an interest and asked to watch. I winced but held my tongue as they dragged chairs noisily over the kitchen floor; I sighed as they fought over who should be next to me; I smiled patiently when S blew the flour all over the worktop; I groaned when J dropped the eggs and burst into tears as they spread across the tiles; I berated J for trying to turn the oven on, without my permission, and only succeed in stinking up the kitchen with grill fat (don’t say it… I know I’m a messy cow who should wash the grill after every use!); and I mentally grimaced when the boys came in and stopped to watch what we were doing.

Within minutes irritation had clawed its way through my entire body. I couldn’t move. They were everywhere. Each picking up and waving utensils. Fighting over who should hold this and that, and who should stand where and do what. This used to be something I enjoyed. I told them to all take a step backwards and said I didn’t want such a large participating audience.

“There’s only four of us mom!” R said and pulled as face at my melodramatics.


What I said was: Four children would be considered quite a lot by some people, and although I wouldn't be without any of you, there are moments when I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

J started crying, and I can assume she would require a lot of therapy if I ever repeated my thoughts to her!

Once I apologised and dried J’s tears, I delegated tasks. The first was for S and J to get the baking parchment out, P was to find the scissors (carefully!) and a pencil, and R was to grease the tins. But we couldn’t even do that.

The baking parchment wasn’t in the drawer, or the tin cupboard. I realised it wasn’t going to be found when I saw the boys glance at one another and start moving out of the room!

Oh, I cornered them. I asked where my parchment had gone. ‘Dunno’ was R’s shrug, but P can’t look me in the eye and lie.

The little beasts have used it as tracing paper! Did they ask? NO! Did they think to mention they had finished the roll? Ha! They hid the freaking finished roll so I wouldn’t know they had taken it in the first place!

So no cake has been made, and yet my kitchen is a total tip, my patience is blown, and I have to head out to the shops again.

I want to be a good mom, I really, really, really do! But god, they don’t make it easy!!!!!

*wasting time because it’s almost as cheap to buy them these days and the children don’t much care what they taste like anyway.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Is it happening again?

Three incidents on London tubes and one on a bus. One of the tube stations mentioned is The Oval, and luckily they are saying no ambulances have arrived which may mean no casualties; thank god. My dad’s watching the cricket at the Oval today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Just over twenty-four hours into the boys’ school holidays and I’m exhausted! Not a single chore has been done, my cupboards are now bare and the dog is surviving on a ten minute walk.

Good grief I’ve got to claw my way through another seven weeks! Better go, they want feeding, again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Chuffed to bits.

Last night was the final event of the school calendar – R’s leaving assembly (he’s leaving juniors and moving on to seniors).

It lasted longer than expected, but being an old hand at these things (!) I warned the babysitter that there was little chance that we’d be home for two hours - no matter what the invitation said! It was all very predictable traditional, even to the point of the deputy-head reading the same poem she’d read at P’s leaving assembly last week.

Here it is.

This particular poem irritates me. I have four children and I raise them with the same amount of love and discipline for each, they live by the same rules and opportunities, and yet no two are the same. Giving a child encouragement does not mean they are sure to have confidence; fairness is an individual perception; tolerance does not always lead to patience; and shyness does not come just because of ridicule.

Don’t get me wrong – the ideals of the poem are wonderful. But to read it at school assemblies as some sort of wisdom to raising children, isn’t fair. The insinuation becomes that if your child waivers with one of these qualities, then you as a parent must be at fault for the way you raise them.

Luckily this was my eldest child’s assembly, so my stomach didn’t flip for fear someone would look at my offspring, and judge me lacking! In fact by the end of the evening I was one of the proudest parents there (I can’t know that for sure, but I was very proud!)

The assembly appeared to have finished but then the headmaster asked the audience to stay put for five more minutes, because they had some prizes to hand out.

That started traditionally too, with the four outstanding sporting heroes of the year picking up a lot of the prizes (they really are quite something, and I’ll tell you about them another time). Then there were several prizes for academic improvement, and one for Disciplined Conduct, and finally came the shield for Honesty, Integrity and Fair-play. My boy won it!

I’m so proud of him. I’ve always liked to imagine he has these qualities, but to have other people think it, is enough to make me burst with joy.

Just hoping it's partly due to his upbringing, and not in spite of it ;o)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Double happy!

My friend popped by and dropped off some of the money she owes me! I’m stunned. And still confused.

She was without baby and dressed beautifully and I commented how nice she looked, and she didn’t hesitate to say she’d been for an appointment at the hospital. Being in the dark over her mystery ailment I offered her tea and a chat, but she wouldn’t stop saying she couldn’t talk about it yet, and that she had to hurry home ‘coz her partner was babysitting but needed to get back to work.

What I find confusing it that when I don’t want people to know something – I don’t say anything. Whereas she’s dropping hints all over the place and obviously wants me to insist she sits down and talk (I wasn’t insistent today). Post-natal depression has occurred to me (again) but another friend who had it, got so bad she didn’t want to leave the house and couldn’t do anything alone. This friend knows I helped out the other with childminding and shopping, so she must realise I’d understand. And ultimately, if I was sick I’d want my BH and baby with me at the hospital – so I don’t know what to think!

Except that – I have my money!! Granted, there’s still a hundred pounds to come, but WOW I feel better!

Guess who might now get a bouncy castle for her birthday party* on Sunday?

*(err, sudden thought – if you’ve never read my blog before, the party is for youngest, not me!)

Feeling happy!

In the early hours of Saturday morning my BH stumbled home (he’d been at a dinner/dance) and woke most of the house as he tried to remember how to undress. Once I had persuaded the kids that children’s TV wasn’t yet on, I turned my attention to aiding my drunken love.

He was very pleased with himself and kept mumbling about a raffle, but it was only when I emptied his pockets that I realised he was trying to tell me he had won! And get this – it’s an iPod shuffle!!

Now I know my eldest boy, R, wants a mini-iPod for his birthday next month, but there’s no way we can afford one and his father isn’t mad keen on him spending that sort of money, so this is a god-send! All I had to do was persuade R that what he really wants is the shuffle, and that he should forget the mini.

So on Saturday morning, whilst driving R to tennis I raised the subject of birthday presents. To my utter horror he said he didn’t want the shuffle his father had won (his dad wasn’t in the car or he wouldn’t have dared be so ungrateful!). But I had to think fast, and asked why he thought his father had won one. Turns out he hadn’t gone to sleep as quickly as I might have hoped and listened to us talking. I lied and said he hadn’t heard us correctly. I told him it was the man sat next to daddy who won – but that daddy had looked at the shuffle and wouldn’t object to R saving for one. But the conversation dived, because he knows the differences between the iPods and explained that the shuffle doesn’t display the name of the song playing, and has less memory capacity (where does he learn this stuff?).

Now I know I’m a ludite with no knowledge of these techie things, but does it really matter that the song name isn’t displayed?! And less capacity? How many songs can you listen to in one day? He can upload from his computer every night if he so wishes! These arguments, coming from a ten-soon-to-be-eleven year old seem pedantic to me and I could feel myself gearing up for the ‘when I was young’ speech. Luckily I thought better of it, as his father’s are way more impressive!

I reported the turn of events to my BH and explained I was out of my depth in convincing R to scale down his desires with this particular toy. So the BH took over, and persuaded R that the shuffle is just as cool as the mini, and if R saves hard, there might even be some money left over. Being a mercenary git, R always has a long shopping list, and so the BH’s reasoning worked its magic!

So I’m a happy soul. R will get his pressie and will still have his savings, and I don’t have to worry about expenses for his birthday. It’s nice when we all win :o)

Bad sleeping habits

It’s safe to say I’m a night person. As soon as the lights go out my mind goes into overdrive. And what’s really driving me crazy is I want to type all the time. This, by the way, is a good thing because for the past year I haven’t been typing much at all. And that was irritating beyond belief!

The trouble is, before, my typing had a purpose in the direction of my still un-edited, very long-winded book. And I probably could persuade myself to write stories again – if it wasn’t for this blog! I’m really enjoying putting down my thoughts and pleasures each day, and so instead of being productive I’m sitting here taking up your time!

Not that my writing was ever productive. I only ever shared the first three chapters and I can’t see myself overcoming my shyness, not that I even want to. You see, I was quite happy tapping away, but my BH kept expecting me to write something I could do something with. So, very truthfully, I explained that compared to most other people, my stuff was crap. This didn’t (and still doesn’t) bother me in the least. I never wrote expecting anything, I wrote because it felt good. Unfortuantely this was seen (by my BH) as a challenge I should overcome and he encouraged into the big wide world, whereupon I discovered I was even more crap than I thought! And that shuddered me to a halt.

But now here I am, at ten past two in the morning, fullfilling a strange urge to tap. Umm, maybe this blog is productive, I get to feel good without the guilt of never editing because it’s all over as soon as it’s posted!

Arrghh, I’m waffling and I’ve got to be up in five hours. Must get to sleep. Must! Must! Must!

Night all.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Aren't I clever?

Let me know if you like the new look, or not!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bits and pieces of my week

J and S attended the leaving assembly at their nursery. S won’t actually be leaving for another year, and because of this (?) mine were the only dry eyes in the house!

P attended his infant block leaving assembly. Each boy had to stand up and say something they liked about the school. When P’s turn came, he just sat there. For the first few seconds people tittered with amusement (assuming he’s forgotten his words) but I wondered otherwise! And I guess the deputy head did too, ‘coz she got up and gave him a pleading smile (which worked). He can be a sour git at times!

I’m very glad he’s moving up to the juniors as they shuffle the boys and with any luck he’ll no longer have to see The Tormentor (ooh and incidentally, after being bitten, he then got accidentally kicked in the face – by The Tormentor, grrr!)

J took her ballet recital very seriously! But blimey, it was hot in that room and they cut it short as we began to melt. I’m dying for air-conditioning to catch on, but I guess if it hasn’t yet…

R visited the dentist and needs two fillings. I lectured him the whole way home, and then in the evening, his father did it properly.

Today is the final day of the International Island Games (this year held in the Shetlands), and Guernsey have won, again.

As far as I’m aware only three other islanders read this blog – Moxie in Bermuda, who wrapped up the women’s gymnastics very well (not Moxie personally, or I’m sure she would have mentioned); and Mark in the Caymans, and the third islander is Karen in Trinidad, but they're not competing.

I have to admit my interest in The Island Games doesn’t stretch as far as it could, and with too many people like me about the place, it’s maybe why Guernsey keeps winning!

The World in Residensea visited the island this week. This is one big ship! And this was as close as it could get to our harbour.

When I first read about The World ship, I winced at the thought of living on board for more than a few weeks at a time, but having viewed their itinerary the idea has grown on me!

Here a couple of pictures of the girls in the garden this afternoon, please note that the lawn has now been cut.

They broke up at lunchtime and so summer holidays 2005 have officially begun!

And P’s second front tooth has just come out – thank gawd for that, there was blood everywhere at the dinner table when he bit into his pizza! And now he’s my baby-gummy-boy again, ahhhhhhh…..

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm so tired

Exhaustion has its benefits. For instance, you don’t mind how much noise the kids make, ‘coz your low level of consciousness tunes it out. And so long as you have your day detailed to near the minute (which I do), and keep to the schedule (which I sometimes do), you can get through the day on automatic, without a care. I think it’s a bit like being on drugs – but cheaper (and that’s good ‘coz I’m broke).

But there are drawbacks. You forget stuff, like complaining.

This week has been especially busy as I’ve dashed about attending school leaving assemblies, new school inductions, a ballet recital, a dentist appointment, a school surf day, as well as the usual daily, three school runs, homework and cooking for six. And by the time evening comes I’ve been too tired to gripe about the nuances and irritations of the week.

So last night when my BetterHalf raised the subject of my ‘slipping’, I was offended and took the time to explain (in detail) why the bedrooms are a mess, why the bookshelves haven’t been painted, or curtains not yet made, and lawns not mowed.

Very wisely, he backed off and made some jokes about him sitting on his arse all day (yeah, that’s sure to amuse me!) and asked why I hadn’t mentioned these things. Huh? I have! Alright, I didn’t bother telling him about the hassle I had getting a parking space in town, or how the supermarket computer checkouts crashed, or when the builder down the road started pointing and laughing when I drove past him for the third time in an hour; but I did tell my BH about the major events! And I told him, that I’d told him (if you follow).

Luckily for him, I was tired. I didn’t have the energy to fully assimilate the realisation that my husband doesn’t listen to me. Of course that may be a bit harsh, maybe he imagines these activities only take up the odd hour or two. So I didn't give him a hard time, I let it go with a sigh and some grinding of my teeth.

At this point stop, and imagine you are a man who has just offended his wife (a lot) and think of what you could say, in an effort to put things right.

Is it as dumb as: ‘Well, this time next week you’ll be on holiday!’ ?

Ah, ah, ah – before you get carried away and wonder why I consider this the worst thing a husband could say, lets’ define his use of the word 'holiday'.

In his sentence it means: At home. With four children. For six weeks.


Suddenly I wasn’t tired any more.

And tonight, he’s listening.

You really think so?

Complaints have been made. Apparently, I am slipping. According to my BH there seems to be more not getting done, than done. HA! He doesn’t know the half of it. I’m not slipping, I’m in freefall!

He suggested I spend less time on my computer – which I find kind of amusing – because if you added up all the stolen minutes I spend here in a day, I recon it would total about an hour and a half. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable, seeing as I don’t get a lunch break, evenings, holidays or luxuries in my life. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if I didn’t spend some time each day on my computer I would go insane from the lack of contact I have with adults!

I’ll be back, but the school have just called to say P has been bitten (by another child) and can I go in.

Oh yes, I’m living the dream!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Last word…I swear!

Woke up feeling less muppety. I do have to let this go (for mine own sake) but I’m not texting her. Heck, with friends like this – I don’t need enemies!

I choose muppet!

After the earlier misery of my previous post, I have now come to the conclusion that I make a lousy bitch, and am therefore making the decision that I would rather be a muppet. After lying in bed for the last two hours, I have realised one I can live with the other I can’t.

I hereby promise to put this whole bloody mess behind me and move on. Tomorrow I shall text my friend and let her know I’m here for her if she wants to talk. I’m not even sure whether we have a friendship left, but as I’m not a bitch, I shall make the offer in good faith and hope that we can salvage something.

Many thanks to Moxie and Mark for their encouraging words, but I just can’t live like this :o(

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Muppet or bitch?

I’m feeling miserable.

Saw my friend today at school. (The one who owes me money, and hasn’t returned my numerous calls over the past week.) She walked up bold as brass, but I couldn’t even raise a smile. I was incredibly rude and simply asked if she had received the text messages I sent (asking if she could meet me and sort the situation). Whereupon she looked confused (like they’re some distant memory she shouldn’t be expected to recall) and mumbles something about getting the money to me on Friday.

I suppose I should’ve be pleased. But I wasn’t, because we should be passing each other tomorrow and she could get it to me then – if she wanted – or heaven forbid, she could even think of making the long arduous journey across the island to my house!

Anyway, I really had nothing else I wanted to say to her, so I turned and watched the girls play. And here comes the real cracker! She burst into tears and walks away.

J, (her god-daughter) starts calling after her and keeps asking what is wrong. Of course, by then I was feeling like a total heal and told J to stay put while I followed her.

I’ve never seen her cry before. Not even when she left her husband. I stood there feeling wretched and asked her what was wrong. But she wouldn’t talk to me. Told me to go away before her son came out of school and saw her crying. I obeyed and left her alone.

So, now I feel like a bitch. Maybe she’s suffering post-natal depression. Maybe I’m a fool and she’s playing me.

One thing’s for certain, I not enjoying being a bitch or a muppet.

Sorry folks, crappy post for a crappy mood.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Yippee, oh.

The boys came home with their reports today (which surprised me as the previous headmaster always made sure term was finished before daring to incur some parents’ wrath!) Both have done well this year and their teachers had lots of nice things to say about them. Somewhat ironically my mother also dropped off an old school report of mine today too! Umm, was I really so awful? Or are teachers more wary these days?

R, being a Year Six boy and about to leave Primary, also had the opportunity to teach the Year Two’s today. And as it happened he got to be in charge of his brother! Now, if I’d been asked whether this was a good idea, I most certainly would have screamed ‘NO!’

But it seems I’m a worry-wart who has no faith in her children! R took charge and when some of the boys began playing up, it was P who told them they shouldn’t mess with his brother (and whilst his classmates don’t always like P – they're not foolish enough to ignore his fear ;o))

Driving home they both told me about their day and were full of smiles, P even had some good news – he found his tracksuit bottoms that he lost last September! This may not sound like a big deal, but bearing in mind they cost £22 a pair (that’s about US$40) and you might understand why this would cheer me up.

The amount of school uniform that goes missing is no joke, and I’m meticulous with sewing on those darn fiddly name tags! I find it extraordinary that even when my children come home wearing someone else’s tie/jumper/shirt/etc and return it, we never get our stuff back! On one occasion we lost a bath towel with P’s name embroidered in huge writing across one end – no-one could mistake the fact that it belonged to us – but we’ve never seen it again.

So I asked P where he found them.

“Aaron's got them,” said P.

“Aaron's got them? What do you mean?”

“Well, they’re Aarons now,” P rolled his eyes as if I was being dense!

“Whoa, hang on a sec, P! Is Aaron borrowing them? Or did Aaron have them?”


“What?! Please start from the beginning,” I said hoping to understand my non-too-clear second son!

“Well, I was looking for my bottoms and I thought I found them, so I put them on and Aaron told me they were his.”

“Why did you think they were yours?”

“Because they had my name in!” P said, starting to lose patience with his dim mother.

I frowned and pointed at the bottoms he was wearing, “Do they have your name in?”

“Yes! They both did.”

“So he’s wearing the pair you lost?”


“Does he know they’re yours?”

“Yes! His mummy told him to find some because he ripped his, so he found mine.”

“From lost property?” I asked with hope.

“No, I told him we checked there and he said he got from the classroom when we first got Mrs T,” but by this time P was bored with the conversation and dropped his cap out of the car window, whereupon I caused a traffic jam as I made my foolish seven year old get out of the car, walk back down the road and retrieve said item!

So the conversation ended there and I’m left confused. Aaron’s mother is one of my friends. Would she really instruct her son to ‘borrow’ someone else’s clothes – for an entire school year? In fact she’s not just a friend, she’s a social worker too!

Good grief, I truly don’t know what to think! This is going to take some careful treading, and I think I shall have to pass the buck to Mrs T to check Aaron’s tracksuit bottoms!


On another note, for those of you who follow American politics (or simply want the chance to win a spanking new book), Doug is running a Karl Rove resignation pool here

There’s no entry fee and you could win 'Cory Doctorow’s, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town', just for entering a date! So hop on over quick-smart (lest Karl beats you to it!) and check out the rules.

Monday? Not again!

I don’t really mind Mondays, on one level there’re the quiet after the storm. But on another, they’re the prompt that I’ve got to pull my finger out and get things done!

This week must do’s:

Send S’s birthday party invitations (the first we’ve ever done for her!)

Finish month end accounts (yep, I do actually have a real paid job!)

Kill part of garden due to be covered with deck (I’m after advise on this – my preferred option is liquid nitrogen, but as I can’t get any I’m going to have to find something else that won’t be poisonous to the wildlife. Any ideas? And no, I don’t have time to dig the slope!)

Must remember R’s dentist appointment (forgot last one!)

Make hair appointment (as unimpressed husband keeps humming the Munsters theme tune whenever I wear my hair down!)

Must read school newsletters – once I find them (am always last to know which teachers will be teaching my offspring!)

Make Doctors appointment for ECG (have purposefully put this off as am afraid of cost!)

Call plumber and order wallpaper for cloakroom (I know this won’t get done, I’m still broke. But if I add it to list – I’ll remember to transfer it to next weeks!)

Post god-daughters birthday present (yikes, I owe her several years worth as I’m always too wrapped up thinking of my kids birthdays! Am terrible godmother.)

Book summer activities for kids (oh why bother, everything will be full by now…bad, bad mother!)

Right. Must get off computer and prove that I’m not such a lousy wife and mother.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

What memories are made of...

Yesterday, we had P’s last ever party! I’m serious. Never, ever, again.

We hadn’t even got all the boys in the cars before he threw his first tantrum, which until yesterday, I had hoped he was past.

It was the seating arrangements that originally irked him, but what really set him off was a young teacher trying to reason with him. Don’t you just love the new ones? All enthusiastic imagining that their training will hold them in good staid when dealing with an awkward child. I tried to warn her (though the fact that the other teachers all moved away should have been warning enough!). Am I evil taking delight in her naivety? Probably, but it was fun watching a professional discover something university couldn’t teach!

Once her arms and legs were suitably bruised I showed her my dog training technique (consisting of walking away, opening the door and shouting ‘Now! or you stay here!’), and was relieved to find it still works! (One word of warning with this technique, you will be tested and have to follow through, so make sure your little-darling/dog is left in a safe environment on the first few attempts, till they realise who's boss ;o))

As P wasn’t finished spitting insults, we put him in the front with daddy and turned up the radio so his repeated screams of ‘I HATE you all!’ were drowned out, along with his fathers threats if he didn’t stop. This worked well except for the headache I earned after spending twenty minutes in the back of the car with loud music and shouting boys.

Once there, all looked rosy. They sat through the instructions and played the first game without becoming too hyper. But this didn’t continue through the second match.I didn’t actually discover what set P off the second time until we got home, because he wasn’t making any sense when his father carried him out. Turned out it was something to do with his gun not reloading (I find this strangely poetic, like it knows something!).

Luckily the second episode didn’t last too long, and when the scoreboard of hits came up, his mood improved hugely as it turns out he’s remarkably accurate even with only one load! And one of his little friends had a super compliment for him, ‘Hey, you’re really good, P. Look at my score, I’m crap!’ (ah, out of the mouths of babes…)

Last but not least came the meal, and P managed to redeem himself in comparison with his friends’ table manners, and he remained polite as the party ended. But still… parties for P are a trial I’m not in a hurry to repeat!

In contrast we had the girls’ sports day this morning, which provided an opportunity for me to remember why I love my job!

Much to her Papa’s delight, J won a couple of her races – which of course was delightful for me too, but as it was Papa shouting and cheering to the point of embarrassment, I’ll call it his delight. J is his favourite (he thinks we haven’t worked this out!) and I think he’s making up for all the years he had to watch me lose; I just hope it doesn’t give him a heart attack or rile one of the other parents to the point of bopping him on the nose!

S was a big surprise! She might have short legs, but this girl can run! It was amazing how she shot past all the competition, and I can only assume being chased by brothers pretending to be monsters has hidden benefits! (S is in pink, on the right)

And talking of brothers, we persuaded P to run in the older siblings’ race. It was nice because he knew some of them from his days at nursery. He stood next to his old mate Joe, who is the tallest seven year old I’ve ever seen! We all thought Joe would win it with legs so long, even him – and that was his mistake! P really gave it his best, and as the ribbon loomed, he drew close to Joe then launched himself in the finest rugby touchdown I have ever seen him do! This is the first thing P has ever won, and you should have seen his face! His friend Joe was a gentleman and congratulated P with a handshake, which I think gave P something to think about, and hopefully remember, the next time he loses.

It was a lovely day with everyone in a good mood and treating each other nicely, lots of laughter, hugs and kisses, even from the boys! These days don’t come along as often as they should and they’re the ones I cherish and live for, and most importantly remind me of how lucky I am.

In fact I’m lulled enough into thinking P's behaviour yesterday might simply be a one time slip-up due to the excitement of the day. Here’s hoping!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I haven’t written a post today because the day hasn’t been a happy one as I’ve followed what’s been happening in London. Those of us trawling the net are the lucky ones, and the people caught up in today’s events are in my prayers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Meet my toad!

I have questions.

Why do toads like to spend the night on my front step?

Why do the dogs on my road all poop in my garden?

Why don’t children tell you they need the toilet, with no less than 23 seconds to spare?

Why is there always someone in a public toilet when you need one?

Why is tip-ex so hard to get off?

Why does the covering on kitchen cupboards come off before tip-ex?

Why won’t red wash-out acrylic paint wash out of clothes?

How does a tissue always get in the wash?

Why can’t Carla ever get to nursery on time?

Why does Carla think I care that her little monster darling won’t sit in his booster seat when she’s blocking the nursery school entrance?

Why do weeds grow better than any plant in my garden?

Why are little girls’ whines so much more irritating than little boys?

Who thought it would be a good idea to put heels on little girls’ shoes?

Why do little girls’ think stomping their feet and shouting ‘You’re a horrid mummy’ in the middle of a shop, will entice you to give in?

Why show adverts for 12 certificate films when Miffy is on?

Why, when you’re blocking the car park entrance, is your child’s class always the last out?

Why does the fill up truck always get to the petrol station before me and block the entrance just as I’m about to run out of petrol?

Why aren’t tampon boxes childproof?

Why did I pay for box of tampons when half rolled away on shop floor?

Why is the only person to help pick up tampons, a gorgeous bloke in a suit?

Why can’t I open no-spill beakers without spilling the contents?

Who designed waxed milk cartons? And what the f*** were they thinking of?

Why doesn’t the chicken last to the use by date on the packaging?

Why can’t four children agree on less than three meals for dinner? And why do two change their minds as the food is served?

Why do children always sing at the top of their out-of-tune-voices when you have a headache?

Why do children always make you feel wretched by saying ‘I love you, mommy’ right after you’ve told them of?

Why does the spider hide until I’m shampooing my hair?

What does non-slip mean if you can slip?

Why is it only Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Someone's happy

The uniform buying went smoothly, and being a ‘hat’ girl J was thrilled with the school’s choice of head wear…

Shame the rest of the uniform was kak, with a truly horrid choice of material for the summer dress (not the one she's wearing!!) and a ghastly navy pinafore, which has to be worn over a blue jumper in winter, ugh!

Oh, and blue knickers are listed as required! Are they kidding? Will they check?

p.s. Have you ever noticed how a hat can alter the shape of your face?!

Oh good it's a new day!

Today is a new day, and although I’m still as broke as I was yesterday, I awoke with feeling less stressed. This lasted about ten minutes, until P came into the bedroom and announced he didn’t feel well and must have a temperature.

On any other day this wouldn’t be a problem but yesterday I discovered, yet again, that I’ve not being paying attention. You see, I called J’s soon-to-be-new school and asked about the opening times of the school uniform shop. And it was a good job I did call, because today (Tuesday) is the last time it’s open this term (before September!). And to make matters that little bit harder it’s only open for forty-five minutes between 2:45 and 3:30 this afternoon. (Is it only me who’s thinking ‘Bloody hell, how very thoughtful!’?)

Being that my boys get out of school at 3:15 I immediately started planning how I would get the boys (not just my boys, but O too, whom I also look after) to walk up to the BetterHalf’s college and wait for me there, whilst I get J her new uniform and bribe persuade S to sit quietly.

So P’s sudden illness was yet another spanner in the smooth running of my so-called-life. Except he didn’t have a temperature, and he wasn’t clear on what the aliments were.

R, being the eldest and something of a smart-ass, got in on the proceedings and announced (in a most un-diplomatic way) that P was faking. In fact I had already worked this out, but unlike R, I wanted to understand why, and know that the best way to deal with P is slow and careful. Unfortunately R seems to think he knows best, and started a riot before I had even managed to get out of bed!

By the time I managed to stop P attacking his brother, his hysterics were so bad there was no way I could send him to school. So I now have three children to take to J’s new primary this afternoon, to buy a uniform I can’t afford!

But I did manage to go and a see P’s teacher. She’s concerned too, and we both think there’s a good chance he’s been faking illnesses a lot lately. She kept mentioning how quiet he is at school, and how he doesn’t really mix with the other boys and we agreed I’d speak to him this morning and fill her in tomorrow.

God I wish I hadn’t. The poor little sod is so unhappy I’m beginning to think we may have a bigger problem than I previously realised. Except for four boys, he’s convinced everyone hates him and he wants to leave the school. If we lived anywhere else in the world we may have some choices as to what to do. But not here. Here, our options are very limited. And trying to explain this to a sobbing child is enough to crush a stone heart – and my heart isn’t made of stone. And even if I could get him into the other boys’ school (which is debateable as it’s very academic) I’m doubtful that things would be much better for him there.

He’s named the people who are making his life a misery – but what can I do? They’re not beating him up, or even calling him names (very often) and I can hardly go stomping around to the parents and demand their children stop being mean to my baby boy.

He says he’s told the teachers what goes on, but because he’s not being physically hurt, they won’t do anything. So I’ve given him an ‘empowerment speech’, and asked if he really wants to let these boys to dictate his future by driving him out of his school. I’ve suggested he challenge them, ask them what they’re looking at, laugh back at them, and make fun of their names/skills. He’s quite amazed that I’m saying this, but I figure this way it’ll come to a head, and meanwhile I guess I’d better make enquiries at the other school…

p.s. Later this luchtime: I have spoken with BH. Apparently this is partly my fault, for having a soft-spot for P and I baby him too much. P is over sensitive, and will not be changing school, but instead will have to deal with the situation, and should stop whining to his mother.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Look real close…

Go on, right there across my forehead. Do you see it? Look harder! Yep, that’s it, the word MUG in big black letters!

I swore I wasn’t going to repeat this sorry tale of idiocy on my part, but today, I’m feeling so shitty (or should that be shat upon?) I have to let it out!

I’m sat here, unsure whether I want to shout, scream or cry. One the one hand I keep telling myself it’s only money, but it’s not, it’s friendship too. And I refuse to take the blame for this. It wasn’t me who caused this, but I’d bet a tenner she’s not feeling this bad. No, in fact she’s swanning around pretending to be an air-head. Well I know her better than that, and she isn’t an airhead.

My tale of foolishness began last December. A good friend called me and asked advice on buying off eBay. I told her the things to look out for (feedback rating, payment terms, postage costs, etc) but then she said the seller only took paypal. Not a problem I told her, but she began panicking because the auction was up in three minutes and she was desperate. So I got the details, and won the item for her whilst we were on the phone. A few days later she came around to pick the item up, and told me about three other auctions she wanted to win. We looked at them together, and she asked if I would do the bidding for her ‘coz I knew what I was doing.

I had no qualms with this. I’ve known this person for six years, and she’s such a good friend that she’s J’s godmother. We see each other a couple of times a week and share a school run. What possible reason would I have for doubting that she’d pay me back?

When I handed over the items I gave her a sheet detailing win and postage amounts, but didn’t hassle for immediate payment as the amounts hadn’t come through on my credit card.

A month or so later, I mentioned that the bill was through and that was when the excuses began.

For months I’ve kept my requests for repayment light, not wishing to seem like someone who goes on and on about something. And she always had an answer. ‘Oh, I forgot again! I’m such an airhead!’ or ‘I meant to get to the bank, but the baby woke and wanted feeding.’ I said a cheque was okay, but she was going through a messy divorce and changing her name and was able to convince me the bank hadn’t sent her a new cheque book.

But I reached the end of my tether, or put more honestly, I’m broke and I’ve got three kids birthdays to pay for in the next five weeks, and I explained I’m now desperate for the cash. And I had hope because she said she’d bring it with on Friday, when we meet for afternoon tea. But on Friday, she dropped my boys off without stopping her engine and shouted an excuse about having to rush off ‘coz she forgot the baby’s feed.

She’s been avoiding me since I stepped up my requests, but I still had hope because she was bringing the boys home today and could hardly avoid me. What a mug I am. Of course she can – all she has to do is leave a message on my answer-phone saying her son has a temperature and so she won’t be doing this afternoons run. No mention of the money.

And that’s pretty much it, because I’m not due to see her again this week or next because of all the after-school activities with the end of term approaching. Then we have the six week break and I’m not holding my breath that I’ll hear from her!

I’m so angry. And I don’t think it’s even the money. It’s the total dismissal, like me and my worries don’t count. And I’d even be forgiving if she would just say out loud that she can’t afford to pay me back, but she cut me off when I broached the question. I’m also mega pissed at what the items were! My boy, P, has been desperate for a portable DVD player, fat-chance I told him, and yet – haven’t I (in a round about way) bought one for her son? And remember how R wants a mini-iPod for his birthday next month? – HA, You guessed it! I can’t afford to buy him one but I’ve already paid for her son to have one! Did I say anything when her son received two playstation games for Easter (from her), and all I could afford was three eggs for a fiver, for mine? Did I comment on the fact she and her new partner bought a new kitchen, a new car, or threw a fancy party for over one hundred people? No, I stayed silent because it none of my god-dam business what other people spend their money on!

You’ll have to excuse this post, and I may come back and delete it. I’m in a foul mood because I’m losing one of my best friends, and I don’t know what to do and I can’t see a way back.

I feel like an idiot, and I’m mad as hell at her for it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Math Lesson

The Better-Half studying P’s maths homework, ‘Okay, what’s half of one?’

Thinking hard, P says with joy, ‘Three!’

BH frowns, ‘Half of one.’

P, realises he must be wrong, ‘Oh, two!’

BH ‘Half. HALF. Think about it, P.’

P, ‘Umm, four.’

BH sighing, ‘HALF. Not double. Half. If I had ten sweets and gave you HALF, how many would you have?’


‘Good, P. If I had two sweets, and gave you half…’


‘Great, P. Now let’s think about one. If you have one sweet and halve it, how many do you have?’

‘Umm. Six.’

Friday, July 01, 2005

Something Secret

Observant readers may notice I rarely post at weekends, or yesterday. There is an obvious reason for this -- my blog is unknown to all in RL, and when my husband is home I don’t get any privacy, and he’s been home yesterday and today.

I didn’t intend not to tell anyone about my blog, but I didn’t mention it straight away and if I mention it now, it may appear that I was keeping something secret, and so now…I guess I am.

I’ve had moments of guilt about this, which in other moments, amuse me. The fact that I type here is hardly the secret-of-the-century, and I haven’t yet really bitched about my friends or BetterHalf (yeah I know I moaned about my husband’s meanness over my things, but I said the same to him, so it doesn’t count!)

I’m actually quite surprised I’m getting away with it. Or maybe I’m not. You see, the BH runs a college computer network and they’ve got Ranger (an all seeing package that allows no-one any privacy) and for all I know, we may have it at home.

But it’s quite nice to imagine I have a secret, and it’s a harmless one so I’ll be back soon.