Monday, February 27, 2006

What was I pleased about again?

Oh yeah, my eldest is home.

Why is it, when kids go away (even for just a week), you don’t get the same child back? This new one I’ve got, well, if this is an indication of the teenage years soon to come, then I quit!

I didn’t mind him being tired (only to be expected if you’ve been travelling for twenty-two hours and instead of sleeping, stayed up and watched movies), I didn’t mind him not talking (getting blood out of a stone would have been easier), I stayed calm when he called his brother a stupid idiot (though I reminded him we don’t use those words in this house), I shrugged when he refused to take a shower, and I patiently explained each and every time he demanded to know why he couldn’t go to bed until six last night.

But bloody hell it was an effort! And I wasn’t expecting him to be even worse today!

After thirteen hours asleep, we woke him for school. But he didn’t want to go. If it was just attitude he gave us, I could cope. But the endless tears and refusing to eat, had both the BH and I flummoxed.

I tried explaining that he had already had three and half days off school before half-term, and it really wasn’t on to take the mickey and stay home just because you’re tired. But his tears didn’t stop, and in the end I caved and said he could stay home. So all morning as I dashed about, he sat huddled in the back of my car with his coat on and hood up. Of course he’s more relaxed now, sat in front of the TV. (I did think of sending him to his room until we go out on the next school runs, but I’m too afraid he’ll fall asleep and spend half the night awake – only to be too tired again tomorrow!)

But honestly. I really need some time without the children! Have I even had a week since the Christmas break when at least one of them wasn’t home? If I have, I was too busy to notice!

But enough grumbling. You’re here, I’m here, and I promised to show you my son’s holiday photos. That’s what you came back for, isn’t it? Admit it! And I’m going to show you. ALL of them! So get comfy.

Ready? Okay here’s the first:

Yes. It’s meat. Not sure if this is a man thing, or just an eleven year old thing, but he wanted to take a picture of this meat. I’m saying nothing more for fear my sarcasm will get the better of me. After all, it’s probably my own fault, as I told him to take pictures of EVERYTHING (and I reinforced that request each occassion I talked with him!)

So onto the others. Here they are:

Yes. That’s right, four. Count them again. Four pictures. FOUR??!!!!!

And I know two are virtually the same, but I didn't have the choice I was hoping for.

I even checked the download twice, just to make sure I hadn’t missed any, of a pillow or something. But no, he has restraint and took just the four. Three, if you don’t count the meat. Which I’m choosing not to.

So much for that holiday scrapbook I was planning on making him. But then, the mood he’s in, he probably would have rolled his eyes at my daft idea anyway.

Overall he said he enjoyed himself, and I’m hoping his mood will thaw and we might even get to hear about some of the things he did. But at the moment, all I know is what movies he saw on the plane, that he came second in his class speed race, and in America they have Jesus action toys. Go figure.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The end of half term

And you can tell, because they’re all still asleep!

The alarm went off this morning, and if I was a good parent, I would have hurried to wake P for rugby. But he looked all cute and snugly under his duvet, so I let him be. Then I fell over another duvet, the one I left in the hall at four this morning after the littlest horror woke me with a screech to say her bed was wet. I do wish she would stop doing that – not so much the bed wetting, but the sound she makes as she hurls herself down the hall with shock and indignation that I would allow such a thing to happen to her! It’s like living with a bad-tempered banshee. But then I suppose banshees are supposed to be bad-tempered.

Anyway I’m losing track! This is quickie post because it’s Sunday and my biggest boy returns home today! By now, he should be back in the UK and if the early morning flight is empty, he could be home within the hour. But it’s the end of half term, so that’s unlikely, and we’ll probably see him around lunchtime when his seat is booked.

Been an odd ten days without him. He’s been away for a week before, and last time the house got really quiet. Not this time. This time it exploded with noise as the dynamics altered. Usually, it’s my boys fighting and the girls playing nicely, so when R isn’t here P wanders around feeling lost. But this week, P decided to make S his new best friend. At the expense of J. The result: the girls have fought more this week, than in their entire lives! It shall be interesting to see if things can resume their normal balance. I hope so, as the boys don’t get so upset and wail the house down, when they have a falling out.

And I’ve really missed R. I hadn’t realised how much I talk with him. Ha! That sounds daft. I always knew I talked to him a lot, but I hadn’t thought about how grown up our conversations had become. This week I got plunged back into life with only those under eight, and the conversation value is crap! Especially as P isn’t very articulate and often forgets the point of what he’s trying to say (which can be kind of cute, unless you’re busy, or driving, or trying to listen to the news, or attempting to retain your sanity).

Anyways, I’m hoping R took lots of lovely pictures with a little camera I lent him, so I may be back later to bore you with his holiday snaps.

And for those of you who have arrived after searching for ‘she wets her bed’ (you wouldn’t believe how popular that phrase is!), GO AWAY, as I have a strong suspicion you’re not after tips on how to encourage your toddler dry! (But if you are, please leave a comment and I’ll publicly apologise whilst my faith in humanity goes up a notch!)

Friday, February 24, 2006

A day off.

That would be from my regular routine, as opposed to doing nothing. I’ve been finishing the wallpapering in our bedroom. And you may remember me doing this before and wonder why it’s taking me so long. Three layers. Three bloody layers! First the damp resistant foil with the stupid glue that stinks and dries too fast. Then the horizontal lining paper which collapses on you as you try and paper an entire wall single handed. Then the expensive, and typically finicky to use, finish wallpaper. But I’m down to two final strips and the window area now, and shall probably finish it before I finish this post.

I say probably because I’m on a tea-break and every time I stop, I REALLY want to stop! I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. But if I stop tonight, I’ll have to get out the wallpaper table again tomorrow. And I’m sick of the wallpaper table.

But at least I get time to think. I’ve been thinking about a program I saw last night. A British couple relocated to France and took on the renovation of a HUGE house (four walls really) entirely on their own except for the hand made windows and laying of roof tiles.

It was amazing, these people weren’t spring chickens, they couldn’t speak the language, lived half an hour from anywhere and built their [fabulous] staircase after reading a how-to book! Of course having no life what-so-ever, and not in demand by children, meant they could work one hundred hour weeks with a smile.

Strikes me I’m envious!

We renovated the last house and are almost complete on this one (cloakroom, skirting, (two sets of) curtains and garden to go), but we’ve sworn not to do any more houses until the children are grown as it really isn’t much fun for them.

And anyway, I’m tired of here. It’s no fun renovating when you haven’t got any salvage yards, and building costs are through the roof with the captive market. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not daft enough to think it would be easy somewhere else, but more choice and other options would make the experience more rewarding.

Because I do find it rewarding. I'm now on my third tea break and have just finished wallpapering the bedroom! I’ve FINISHED something! Something that won’t have to be worked on again for a while! Do you realise how rare that is for me? Just about everything I do is never-ending. And even though the bedroom isn't totally finished just yet, now the curtain pole can go up, and I can start making the curtains, so it’s a leap forward. I suppose somewhat minor in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like I’ve leaped!

But I want to live in an old house again. I want the peace and quiet we have here, but I want it to go on for longer than twenty seconds up the road. And talking of roads, I'd like to live somewhere where I could get lost, or keep driving and get somewhere else. I think I want to live somewhere bigger. Which is odd, as the thought has always scared me before.

Until I was nine, we moved a lot. And even when we were moving here, we were only supposed to stay a year, but things in my father’s life changed course and we stayed. I find it strange to think I could have ended up on the other side of the world, if it had been a year later or earlier. But I also remember breathing a sigh of relief. I was so sick of new schools and memorising my mothers colour codes for moving boxes.

So here I ended up. Though I came and went between schooling and backpacking, so spent a few years away. Then the BH and I were planning to leave when we got married. I even travelled out to look at houses. But for several reasons it didn’t happen, and life moved ahead. Mostly with babies and houses. And they take up a lot of time. Which you don’t get a lot of, when feeding babies or painting ceilings.

But things will soon be slowing and I might find some time (after all two years ago, it was pot luck whether the dog got a walk, now it’s almost regular!). But each time I take a peek at where local life is now, I’m not struck with enthusiasm.

I want more sunshine, and I wouldn’t mind winter being winter. I want fields to vanish onto the horizon, and not just a seven minutes walk through the woods, I want a forest! And a mountain would be good, though I’d settle for some valleys. But I couldn’t lose the beach. In fact even the idea of changing the beach I walk on, scares me. I know my beach. I love my beach.

Damn it. I’ve just talked myself out of changing anything again. That’s what my problem is. I love this place. But I so wish it was more, had more. Or in some instantices, less.

And anyway where would we go? The kids are in school. The housing market is slow. The BH has a good job. Our friends are here. We don’t speak any other languages. Everywhere’s strict on immigration. Except Scotland. We could go to Scotland, well anywhere in the UK, but Scotland would be our first choice. But then, it’s so darn cold and doesn't come with summer sunshine.

And I’m suddenly thinking about distance. When I read some of the bl*gs about having to drive for a couple of hours to get to a particualr store, it sends shivers down my spine. I couldn’t do it. I’d be a raving loony in a week flat.

Wow, I think I’ve come full circle.

As I always do.

Ho-hum, did I mention my bedroom looks nice?

Who would have thought...


Can't ever remember it coming this late before (if we get any).

The little people are happy (though not the littlest, as we discovered she's drawn on our half-finished bedroom wallpaper and is still pouting from her telling off).

And Daddy's got the day off too. And has just agreed to go out and build a snowman with them. I on the other hand, shall stay inside, nice and warm with my cup of tea and wave from the window!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What a wonderful day!

Today my girl turned five. How can my eldest girl be five already? On the one hand I feel like she’s always been with me, on the other, she only just got here!

Of course she’s chuffed to bits that she’s finally reached five, and sees this milestone as a sure step towards being grown up (I didn’t have the heart to point out she got a way to go yet!). I, on the other hand, am slightly less excited and am glad it shall be a while.

It’s not that I mind her growing up – in fact I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with her life, and J's the one I'm most looking forward to being a friend with, but I also have the feeling she’ll be the first out the door. That normally raises some eyebrows. Most folks (around here anyway) have some bizarre urge to get their kids out of their hair as soon as possible. Seriously! I have friends planning their retirement as soon as the kids finish school, so they can downsize and live a sweeter life.

Not me. I live in dread of the day the last one leaves. Which I think will be P. Because while J has dreams of being a Doctor (or possibly a beautician after today’s excitement at receiving make up. MAKE UP! And heels! Not from us!!), and R envisions himself as an archaeologist (which disappoints my father, as there’s no money in it. Apparently.), P practices his stripping techniques with ambitions of being a strip-o-gram (Danny DeVito’s guest appearance on Friends has a lot to answer for!).

But I mustn’t turn this into a post about P and his amusing quirks, today is about J. It’s her day!

My beautiful girl turned five at nine-thirty this morning. Not that she’s yet bothered asking about that day – strange that, as both R and P knew the stories of theirs births by this age! But maybe that’s because I can remember theirs and recounted it to them (possibly unasked), but J’s is a bit of a blur. Which makes me feel bad, as I can easily remember S’s too. It’s just J’s I’ve forgotten.

I wonder about that. Why, especially when you consider what J means to me, should I have forgotten so much about her life? I say it’s a bit of a blur, but in truth, I can barely remember anything before she was three.

You’re probably wondering why I say ‘especially’, as all my kids mean the world to me. But J is different. J’s the one I thought I’d lost.

Strange, but I suddenly feel foolish. I thought I’d lost her when she had an accident with a fridge, and that day has never left me. It’s hasn’t dimmed in the least, and even the merest thought of it brings tears to my eyes. But when I sit here trying to find the words to explain the accident, my reaction seems so melodramatic. After all, she walked away from it with just a scratch (unlike me, who ended up with pools of blood and gruesome scar!). Umm, I don’t think I can explain in a few paragraphs quite how much that day affects me, instead (if you’re interested,) you can read about the day here, as I wrote it up the same evening.

But I mustn’t turn this into anything less than a cheery birthday post. The point is, she changed the way I see my children, taught me not to take them for granted and to truly value their presence, whether happy or scowling, each and every day. And I’m endlessly grateful to her for that. And that she’s still here to giggle and be loved. I adore my baby girl, and she turned five today!

And what a day! I asked three of the mothers from school to come around with their kids (the usual crowd), and I also asked my BF who’s daughter is J’s BF, then another good friend called to say she want to pop in, so I invited her and hers too.

I really should have added the numbers first, as realising I had seventeen people for afternoon tea was a tad stressful as I fell asleep last night.

But it all went really well! More food than they could eat (with leftovers so I don’t have to make dinner tonight, Yippeee!!) S’s mini bouncy castle in the lounge keeping the littlest people happy, roller skates around the kitchen, computer games in R’s bedroom for the older boys, no tears from anyone, and smokers hiding in the office! It felt like a party, and once we get J’s proper party out the way in a couple of weeks, I’ve decided I won’t bother organising and paying for things more elaborate in future. Everyone seemed happy, and I know J had a wonderful day!

Ooops, better go! Seems S has eaten J’s new lipstick!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

You're going to want to slap me

Not only do I not write a proper post, I'm also expecting you to give me answers!

Which is naughty as I know I’ve been a bit slack around here this past week and I am sorry and missing you all, but on the home front things having been moving along. The kids have now broken up for half term and we have a whole week with no schools runs. Instead we have extra rugby, swimming, J’s birthday and a day off for Daddy. It’s all kind of planned, except I haven’t gotten around to calling J’s friends yet for birthday tea. Would rather like to forget it really, as the house is a mess and the garden a jungle. But she's excited and so I’ll think about it tomorrow, after swimming.

Finished wallpapering the three walls of the office, and unfortunately I’m facing the wallpaper. But on the upside, my desk is always so cluttered you can hardly notice the design!

But I am making attempts to clear some space. Particularly in the nonsense-area clutter. You see I’m a bit of a hoarder at heart. Over the last few years I have managed to curb my habits, but am still swamped by useless items I purachased way back then, and have no real place in my life. And that’s where you come in!

I figured there must be some arty types among you, and I’m after some ideas for a few things I hate the idea of dumping. Basically because they’re old. It seems to me, if they’ve survived this long, it’s wrong that that I should be responsible for the end of their days.

I don’t even know what the first items are. I bought them at auction for a couple of quid as they struck me as quaint at the time. Which I know is a terrible reason, as well as a waste of money, and definitely I wouldn’t do it now. But I did then, and now I have them, and need a purpose for them.

I have about forty ‘slides’ and I’m guessing they were used with gas lights to make pretty pictures on the wall. A lot are religious, but some are of distant locations, others story based, and some might be family.

If you know what they are, or have any ideas what I could do with them, please let me know. And yes, I know when the BH reads this, he’ll be shouting ‘Put them in the bin!’ at the screen.

Next up is the Bible. I’m sure I never meant to collect bibles, but everyone in the family seemed to pass one down to me. And then a couple of friends noticed and got an idea to give me more. Then there were a couple that seemed lonely at the auction house.

That’s how I got this particular bible. Except it’s not really a bible. Was once. Once it was a huge beautiful bible (17"x11"), originally printed in MDCCVII (1707), now it’s a pile of pictures. The maps are gone, and that’s why the thing is just jumbled pages, as it’s the maps people like to destroy the old bibles for.

But the point is, it’s nearly three hundred years old and I can’t just throw the pages in the bin. And I don’t really want to part with them anyway. But at the same time, I’m not into the idea of framing the most detailed pictures and hanging them around my house – apart from the cost of framing and possibly appearing a tad keen to visitors, they’re awfully depressing depictions and dull to boot!

I did have a thought about wall-papering the cloakroom with them. But…it doesn’t seem quite right on too many levels.

So what do I do? I could offer them to the local museum, but I donated stuff from our last renovation job and the man said they were always inundated with people’s old rubbish (though he swore he loved the light fitting I was handing him!). And anyway, what would they do there? No one would get to see them. Not really.

So. What to do. Tell me! Dump them? Send them to auction? Paper the cloakroom? Give them to the kids to colour in? Force them upon the museum?

Knowing me, they’ll sit under my desk for another seven years!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

So how do you do yours?

Write posts I mean. With me, there’s rarely any planning and I’m usually trying to catch up because I feel late. And when I am late, I feel guilty. And I’m so totally late and behind with everything at the moment. As usual, instead of admitting my poor time management skills, I’m going to blame the kids!

This week is vanishing before it’s begun. What with taxiing R around on Tuesday, then J being off school yesterday because of her school’s open day, and she's off again today (and will be tomorrow) because she’s got the tummy bug (not badly, just enough to keep her off school!), and P finishes at two today for his school’s open evening tonight, and S is only at school till twelve each day anyway, but as we’ve had the worst traffic jams every seen in this island this week (and that’s official!!) instead of getting the usual two and a half hours, it’s been down to two, which may not sound a lot, but is, when it’s your half hour. Get the picture? I’m paddling upsteam, and getting nowhere fast!

So what’s this post about again? Sorry, can’t actually remember! Umm, something to do with being disorganised, and in a hurry. I think.

Oh and the boy called! Five thirty in the morning with him, but lunchtime with us, but he’s there safe and sound and hoping to ski this afternoon. Lucky sod. And he sounded like a happy sod too, which made me happy! Us girls are all missing him, S even started crying yesterday when I grew tired of her questions about when we were going to pick him up. I shouldn’t have snapped at her, but it gets real tiring trying to explain that ten days is longer than ten minutes (which is how often she was asking!)

And I also snapped at J this morning too, told her if she valued my sanity she should sush. It’s the incessant chatter, it drives me mad! Yabba, yabba, yabba, with constant babble. Doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do, it just never ends! And I know, I should be used to kids being like this, but day in day out, when your cooking dinner or driving the car, or listening to the news or trying to pee, it all just gets a tad tiresome when none of it makes any sense, or has a point. And my outburst must have really shocked her, as she was quiet for at least four minutes.

And that’s another thing! Back to the first point, and how long it takes me to write a post. I bet it doesn’t take any of you as long!! I come in my little den and write at five minute intervals hoping for some peace and lucid thoughts. Fat chance. They follow me! And they always want something. Food, drinks, bottom or nose wiping. You can’t blame me if I sometimes lose the point. In fact it’s a wonder if anything, ever has a point! It can take me hours, this post was started mid morning and it’s now heading towards two! Two? Oh sugar, got to go pick P up.

But quickly, must mention Thursday Thirteen, because it is Thursday (isn’t it?), and I don’t appear to have done my TT. Well, I have! But I’m so behind it's on my 40 x 365 blog, I thought I’d combine and catch up a little over there at the same time. So if you’d like to know about thirteen boys/ men from my teenage years, please feel free to head on over.

Hope your week is proving more productive than mine, and with a bit of luck I may get to visit you and find out some time later today!

Added: I remembered my point! It was: an apology for being so sporadic with my posts and visits to all of you :o) (Knew there had to be one somewhere around here.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I’m trying to smile

After all, it’s Valentine’s Day and I got a card. Even remembered to give one too.

And I planned a sappy post, complete with a picture of the first card I ever received. It was a cute card, hand made by a ten year old boy in my class. Though I nearly died of embarrassment when he gave it to me, in the middle of the hall, with all his mates watching. And laughing. But I kept it, and to this day I smile at the thought of how much work he put into it. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever put as much work into a Valentines for me since!

But you’ll notice the picture isn’t here. Can’t be bothered. My heart’s not in it.

Today isn’t just Valentine’s, it’s also the day my eldest, R, leaves to go skiing. It’s been planned for months. And I’ve been fine with the idea. Happy for him. Even a little envious. But now it’s today. And I feel sick.

Actually I want to cry (kind of am, but don’t tell anyone because they’ll think I’m an idiot). He’s only away for ten days. But he’s never been away for so long before. And it’s such a long way away. Lucky little sod is off to the UK today, and then Colorado, tomorrow. Half a bloody world away, and too far to get to him if he needs me. In fact even phone calls are going to be difficult with the time difference, and him being out on the slopes all day.

Not that he would need me. Probably won’t. He’d better not, or I swear he’ll never go away again! I’ve made sure he’s got his allergy pills and inhaler, so he doesn’t end up in hospital, like he did last time. (Not that he’ll be seeing any horses. Unless they have sledges like Austria. But I’m not going to start worrying about that, because he knows to stay away from horses. Umm, better remind him at lunchtime.)

I know I’m being silly. And I know when the BH reads this, he’ll end up teasing me for my fretting. I mean, the boy drives us mad half the time, so surely I should be glad of the break? He even managed to annoy me this morning, when I was trying not to cry for heaven’s sake! He walked past his brother and pushed him for some childish petty reason, which only makes sense to an eleven year old. So his brother shouts out, ‘Mom, R just punched me!’ And then R turns around and says, ‘That’s not a punch! Shall I show you a punch?!’

I’m busy spreading jam on toast and trying to smile and be all perky because it’s Valentine’s and because he’s only going for ten days, and say ‘Only if you want to see the door, R!’ I’m annoyed because he made me berate him, when all I really want to do is hug him and tell him to be careful. Which I already did last night.

And part of me thinks back to when I was eleven, by his age I was at boarding school and having to do my own washing (by hand!!). I was always hopping on and off planes by myself. And he’s not even going to be by himself, as he’s travelling with my parents. So what’s the big deal?

I don’t know. I’m just being silly I suppose, and I can’t tell anyone because they’re going to think I’m an idiot. In two weeks time, it’ll feel like he’s never been away, and I’ll be laughing at myself! I hope.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I used to be indecisive, now I just don’t know.

Ugh. Normally when you do a spot of decorating you come away feeling pleased about the change. But I’m halfway through papering the office, and have ground to a halt so I can wrinkle my nose and wonder if the design will grow on me.

I bet it won’t. I sort of had the feeling I wouldn’t like it before I began. But I had the paper, and the room needed decorating. And I listened to a man who obviously has no doesn't share my taste. Not the BH I should add. One of his friends.

Actually as soon as I had thought to ask this man's advice, I was on the road to feeling obliged to accept the choice. Not because his opinion carries so much weight, but because I had confided my fear that I wasn't sure I really liked it. Normally confiding such a fear would provide an escape clause. Unfortunately not when the person you ask, frowns before telling you it’s the design he has in his living room and it looks great!

Plus I have another problem, I can’t count. Or rather, I can, but didn’t bother. The paper wasn’t bought with the office in mind. I was bidding online for some bedroom wallpaper, but popped into a local DIY store which was having a sale. They had these six rolls for £1 each, and I figured if I didn’t win the auction, I’d have a back-up. But I did win. And that paper is a lot nicer, so is going up in our bedroom. Six rolls is enough for that job. But not this one.

Course I didn’t think about that until I was tidying up, after finishing a wall and counting how many rolls were left. So even if I carry on, I can only manage three walls. Suppose we’ll have to paint the fourth. Hey, maybe I can angle my desk so I face that one?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Whilst it’s still Saturday,

I just wanted to say a couple of things.

I need to say a big thank you to FTS, for spotlighting me this week! After the initial shock and subsequent panic at the state of the place, it’s been a lot of fun. And apart from the joy of receiving new visitors, it’s also led me to discover some great new reads! So thank you again FTS, it’s been a pleasure and an honour.

Also, have to seen my sitemeter went over 10,000 today? WOOHOO!! Time to dance naked in the rain again folks!


Yes, I know I told you about yesterday, yesterday. But I didn’t tell you everything. The stuff with the bank went down as described, and I left without raising my voice or cursing their stupid policies (I mean out loud).

However, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Agitated kind of sums it up. Unfortunately I still had some shopping to do. R’s stolen pens needed replacing, and J’s got a birthday coming up which I haven’t prepared for in the least.

But I’m also broke, and so riffled through my gift vouchers to see where I would be shopping. Except even they’ve changed. Nowadays you get store gift cards to slip in your wallet, but there not as good as tokens because you’re often never sure how much you’ve got on them.

But though I have a super stash of garden, record and book tokens, I didn’t have any store ones. Which was a problem, because R pens were going to cost near on twenty pounds. So I got clever. Figured I’d go into a well known stationery store that also sells a lot of books and thus accepts book tokens.

But I also know you’re not supposed to use book tokens for stationery. However being in an agitated mood gave me an edge not often seen, and I decided to try my luck.

Picked up all R’s pens and found a book for J, before heading to the till. There, I present a £25 book token and a gift store card I had found in my bag, but which I knew only had around £1.50 on it.

The girl swished through the £1.50 gift card first, before picking up the token without a thought. Hohoho I was feeling pleased with myself! I even gave her a smile!

Then she stopped. Only to tell me the till wouldn’t allow her to enter the token now she had entered the card.

My heart dropped! This was going to cost me more cash than not being clever in the first place would have! She asked for my debit card for the balance. But I seriously am broke! And after the nonsense in the bank, severely pissed off with being the customer who’s always wrong!

I shook my head and decided to be honest and explained I wanted to spend as little cash as possible. And at that moment she saw through me. And so she played the upper hand and told me I couldn’t use the £25 book token for the pens anyway.

It’s a fair cop. But at the very least I wanted the £1.50 off the pens, and the book to come off the token.

The stakes upped as the queue behind me lengthened and she complained she’d have to void the transaction and re-enter it. Now normally this pitiful plea of inconvenience would have me backing down and handing over my debit card. But right then, I wouldn’t have cared if she had to scale the roof to complete the purchase the way I wanted. I stood firm and gave her a shrug.

But I could see she wasn’t happy as she tapped her keys. Then in a very testy tone, she told me she wouldn’t be giving me cash as change from the token.

She got a smile for that because I love my friendly tokens! Cash goes immediately, but tokens sit quietly to save the day when I need them most, whether it be for buying birthday pressies when I’m broke, or cheering me up with something for the garden when I’m low (but still broke ;o)), I love tokens!

So first, she scans the book and uses the token to pay for it. But stops again and hurries off to get the manager. Very nice chap, know him from my younger days. She explains what I’m trying to do and he nods. With a smile he leans over and explains to me, they don’t do book tokens any more, it’s all store cards now. Would I mind a store card instead of a book token as the change?

Would I mind? Of course not! I smiled at the original assistant as she credited a store card and handed it to me.

Then we had the pen transaction. You know what happened don’t you? Hehehe

She totals the items up. And I hand over the original store card with £1.50 on it. Shortly followed by the store card she had just handed me. No cash involved.

Sing along with me: I won. I won. I won, I won, I won!

Ah, but if looks could kill. She hates me, I could feel it. Did I care? Strangely for me, not in the least.

Friday, February 10, 2006


The pop was my sanity around lunchtime today. Give me sick kids over traffic and town, any day! Does that give a hint to the mood I was in?

Such a shame too! As I’ve figured out pretty views really improve my day, and today the sun shone and raised my spirits gloriously. Here’s the view as I walked on the beach this morning.

Yes, I know the sun is glaring, and yet again we’re back to my tower. In case you’ve forgotten (or didn’t know), I love my tower. One day I’ll walk out there. When the tide is right and the sun is shining. Of course I’ll need some time too. And a babysitter. But one day…

So what decimated my mood so terribly I hear you ask (hey, someone has to care!). It started yesterday with a call from the insurance agents, to say my payment hadn’t gone through. Not the first time either. Last month it didn’t either, but I supposed that was because the Direct Debit was new and they were late asking the bank for it. Seems not.

I reassured them and promptly called my bank. Except I can’t call my bank, oh no, everything must go through the call centre. Which I hate. With a passion. This number, that number, you are in a queue, please select, and tinny music for ten minutes. Though I must admit on this occasion I had a very nice sounding young man, though I didn’t like what he had to say.

Apparently the account I was trying to set a DD up from, doesn’t allow DDs. So I asked if the dozen or so, I had already set up, were just in my imagination (which would kind of suit me!) After several holding minutes, the young man returned to tell me, I obviously had a special arrangement, and that I had to go into my local bank and tell them the DD was okay. I asked if I couldn’t simply have their number and call them. But that’s not allowed.

So today, after my tranquil and calming walk on the beach, I made the mistake of going into town to see the bank. This is another place that bothers me! Everyone’s so darned young.

After explaining my problem to three different women, the third called for male assistance, after we had the same conversation the young man from the day before and I, had had. The pair of them sat there, frowning at the computer screen as they scrolled through my numerous DD.

Very odd they declared, and surmised the account must be old, because these days Instant Access Savings Accounts don’t allow DD. (It isn’t that old. I opened it under bank advisement when I was a teenager.)

After several minutes of umming and ahhing they announced the present DDs could stand, but no new ones.

But that doesn’t suit me. So I told them I couldn’t care less what type of account it was, I just want to keep things tidy and have all my DDs together.

At first they agreed. Then exchanged frowns and a hushed conversation, before telling me it couldn’t be done.

Now I’m not going to bore you with the full story of why, but incompetence and a poor accounts package explains enough. To sum up though, to keep my DDs together, I have to close that account and open another. Should I care? I wouldn’t. If they could just DO IT!

I should add, I only have so much time to sit here and type this. And I don’t think I’ve conveyed how frustrated I was getting at this point. I was even having to resort to imagining these people as my friends, or rather my friends children. This is a safety mechanism I have, when the urge to shout and scream, is becoming a little too real. I know that nothing that came out of their mouths, was their personal opinions. Just bank policy. Though being so bloody young, didn’t help. And I did wish they’d stop going on about how damn old the account must be.

So there we were, me grinding my teeth and reminding myself to breath, and the young man explains to me (in a slow deliberate tone) I must return, with my BH to sign the forms within the bank, and have suitable ID. But not to worry, as it should only takes us twenty minutes or so.

After twenty years of banking there, they want to check who I am. No matter that my account served me well for those twenty years, or that the problem is because of their change of policy, or that I don’t care if they reduce the interest to zero. No, because all it takes is twenty minutes. For them to close the OLD account, and open a new one. And for me to fill in my tax form. And for me to call and update my insurance payment. And to transfer all the other DDs. Like hell! But I didn't say that, instead I tried to explain why twenty minutes was totally unrealistic when you take into account the time of all the people involved in this minor change added up to.

But I was also losing the will to live, as I at least, realised my efforts of logic were lost on these front people.

And now, having had several hours to think things over, I’m almost amused (not totally, haven’t got there yet). I guess I must really be getting old if I think repairing the old, makes more sense than throwing it out and hurrying in the new. Umm, and I think that’s also part of my problem. This account isn’t just a bunch of numbers to me. How insane does that sound? I haven’t had the chance to explain how I came to have this account, and I shan’t now, as I’ve bored you enough. But. But.

But nothing. I’m a fool. Having typed this, it’s suddenly that simple to let go. Wow, cheap therapy! Just wish I was a fool with more time, as this really will require more than twenty minutes all told, but you gotta smile, right?

And so, before posting, to finish on a high note of something pretty, here’s a picture of the moon above me right now!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday, again?!

Is it just me, or did this week go quick? I guess that’s what happens when you’re confined to the house with sick kids and the days begin to blur. Still, better make the most of today as I plan to get them back to school tomorrow, and that will mean freedom!

And being Thursday, it’s time for my Thursday Thirteen! This week my theme is wishes, now many of my responses could be interpreted as ‘What I would do if I was rich’, but as I don’t actually have the desire to be rich, I’ll stick with the simpler things I would like (if my bank account allowed! Though I guess, if I could afford them, I would be rich!)

Thirteen wishes for Jona

1. Get a driver for the school and activity runs. I know this is extreme luxury, but I would choose a driver over cleaner or cook any day!

2. For those times when I do need to drive, I would like a Volvo XC90, the seven seater that looks more like a jeep than a bus!

3. An indoor swimming pool. With the kids in tow I never get to swim properly. But if we had our own (warm, breeze free) pool, attached to the house, I could swim after they’ve gone to bed!

4. A roof. Tempting just to say move house, but in truth I would love to see the plans we had for this house realised, and if the roof was built we’d end up with a bedroom for each of the kids, and a wonderful master suite. And moving is hard work!

5. Visit many of you. Corny, but true. I would love to meet many of you in person!

6. Find and get a good look at my biological father and sisters. Don’t particularly want to meet them, but I have a fascination with people who look like me and apparently I have his eyes.

7. More children. I know that would be totally irresponsible and impractical, but when I’m not moaning about their habits, I really do like them!

8. Have a minor face lift. When I was younger, I swore I would grow old gracefully, but I didn’t know what I was talking about!

9. Have a mountain (as well as the sea) in my view. I know this doesn’t tie in with the not moving, but I’m reaching the dreamy stage and I love mountains!

10. To go with my mountain view I would like a horse. And some riding lessons probably wouldn’t go amiss too. Oh, and my son wouldn’t be allergic to them anymore either!

11. A chocolate Labrador puppy! This is probably the only wish on my list that I have any hope of fulfilling. Just not any time soon.

12. A month at Disney World to make up for all the holidays the kids have never had. Can’t say that this would be my holiday of choice, but it’s definitely theirs!

13. When I die I’d like to be cryogenically frozen. And when I return, I wouldn’t object to waking up with a body age of twenty. Unlikely I know, but the idea of seeing and living the future fascinates me!

And I'm going to cheat, because Thirteen isn't enough! Last but not least, I would like to see the Earth from space!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Another day, another...

I think I might start a betting pool, where you all get to guess how many of my kids will be at home tomorrow and what symptoms they have. Interested? Or is it too easy?

Well I’ll give you today’s. S is now home with the tummy bug, but I’m sure many of you will be relived to hear she hasn’t had any vomiting. With her it’s the other end. What a charming subject, and one which I shall drop right now!

But she isn’t happy. Because when she’s not busy in the bathroom, she feels fine. So for the most part I have a three year old serving me imaginary tea and pushing a dolls buggy around the house, as she asks what we’re going to do today. Doesn’t seem to matter how many times I explain she isn’t going out, my littlest has a spring of eternal hope that I might relent and make her life more exciting.

P is also on the mend (THANK HEAVENS!) He hasn’t been sick since yesterday afternoon when I thought to give him some coke to drink. As a rule the kids don’t get coke, but after reading some of the many uses for the stuff, I figured his insides might be shocked into keeping something down, and sure enough it worked!

No idea how accurate or truthful this information is, but think I’ll share the email I received in case you have some jobs to do around the house:


1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be gone in two days.

3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for sumptuous brown gravy.

8. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.


1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.

2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous Material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.

3. The distributors of coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Losing my mummy points!

Remember how I said I’d turned into Miss Popular and was visiting with people this week? Well, now I’m not. I knew this would happen. Though it wasn’t anything I did, just that P is ill AGAIN. Except this time, he's REALLY ill. The poor lad has got that nasty Norwalk tummy virus for sure, though I think he has had it three times before, just not this bad.

What makes it so bad this time is, he can’t stop being sick. And I don’t do sick.

You’d think after so many years of being a mom, I would have learned to cope with the sight, smell and sound. And in fact the sight doesn’t send me over the edge, and my sense of smell is poor anyway, but the SOUND. Ick! Ick, Ick, ICK!! There’s no other noise like it!

Just to make matters that little bit harder the BH had an early morning meeting and I had to do all the school runs – which meant having P in the car for over an hour . With a bowl. And when I say he can’t stop being sick, I don’t mean he actually is continuously sick (his stomach isn’t that big!), I mean he can’t go ten minutes without retching and making that horrible sound.

So being an awful mother who can’t do sick, I had to drive along with the windows open wide to make sure I didn’t catch a whiff, and the radio turned up high to drown him out. Dread to think what people thought as I drove past, shouting my apologies for being such a rubbish mom, back at him.

And then I had to do this at lunchtime too, to pick up S as the BH was still in meetings. But I’ve told S we’re not going to swimming this afternoon (she sobbed and told me I wasn’t a nice mommy. Not doing well today!) and I’ve arranged pick-up for J, and R is walking home. So at least there’s no more driving today stuck in a car with him!

I sound heartless, don’t I? I am. I’m horrid, and I DON’T DO SICK!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Angelic Nightmare strikes again!

S has a problem going to sleep. Or rather she has a problem keeping her hands to herself when she should be going to sleep!

Remember how a few weeks ago she got bored because J had fallen asleep and there was no-one to talk to, so she stuck a bead up her nose? She’s done it again! Got bored I mean, and luckily this time, it didn’t involve any beads or trips to the hospital. Or bean bags. No this time, she lay as quietly as the last, and coloured herself in. Literally.

I doubt we would have known about her artist experiment till the rush of Monday morning, but for her desire for a drink around nine last evening. You would imagine she might have realised we could SEE her endeavours, but remember she’s only three and not the sharpest tool in the box! (Yet!!)

Don't fall for that look of surprise on her face, she did it herself! Like it?

She did, right up until I started rubbing her face, arms, hands and legs with a flannel. But I missed the bit on her tummy till this morning, as I didn't think to lift her nightie!

And of course some of you may be wondering what sort of parents we are, to leave a biro within reach of a three year old (I know at least one of you will be! And you know, that I know, you are!). But it wasn’t just any old biro, it was J’s tiger biro which she got in a party bag and is magnetised and has hung without causing offence or riot, from the barrier of J’s top bunk for the past month. J loves it, and I hadn't thought S realised it was a pen!

But in truth this is nothing new for S. This child, our last (our very VERY last), has expressed her artistic abilities before. In fact so much so, we no longer allow colouring pens in the house. Or paint. Which may be sensible, but is very frustrating for the other kids, especially R who used to enjoy things like Warhammer.

Here are some examples of past art that we remembered to photograph!

The last really isn't so bad, just copying mommy! Each and every time we think we've removed everything that could possibly cause a mess, she loves to prove us wrong!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

What, here? Now?!

Have you any idea how many times I’ve started writing this post? Of course you don’t! And I’m not telling. I feel like I’ve just discovered I’m having an open house, but no-one told me and the cushions are on the floor, and the washing-up’s in the sink!

It’s all FTS’s fault. Because on Sundays he recommends a blog to his multitude of readers. I always take a look, and when I think about it, it’s how I came to know some of my favourite reads. But I’ve always wondered something: does he warned his lucky recommendation?

The answer is, No. And now it’s my doorbell ringing and I’m still lying in the bath trying to decide what I should wear!

This must all sound very ungrateful, and I swear I’m not! I’m thrilled and honoured and grateful!! Just... slightly… caught off guard (and I would say, with my pants down, but I don’t know who’s reading ;o)).

It’s not that I don’t always try my best when I write a post, any post, I do! It’s just that when you know the stuff in the lives of most of the people who visit, it’s not so scary to share yours. And they tend to be forgiving of the occasional waffle, I hope ( and it is only occasional, right?). If you understand what I mean. Which you probably don’t. Because I’m descending into gibberish.

Which happens. An awful lot in real life actually. I’m not good if I think people are looking. But rather than call myself shy, I prefer to think of myself as a quiet surprise, because once I start feeling comfortable, I’m somewhat noisy. Proportionally speaking, that is.

But the point is (yes, I’m really trying to get to one!), after thinking about strangers visiting, I’m panicking. Yes, I know you were all strangers once, but I've got kind of comfortful the last few months, and friends don't notice the mess so much. And when I looked through my posts of the last few days, all I am is momsey, but I’m not really. Well. Not usually this much anyway. I don’t think. And now that I've realised I truely am a mommy blog, I'm thinking I should try to be a bit more. If you see what I mean.

Crikey, this gibbering’s getting bad and I still haven’t thought what to post about! I flitted about looking for something witty and intelligent to post about (and not momsey!), but got distracted with pretty pictures.

Though I suppose they’re more interesting than pretty. If you click here you can see some of the other building developments too. Amazing stuff and when this lot are finished being built, I’ll try to go on holiday there. (That would be when I afford such a holiday, and hopefully before the sea level rises and claims back the floor space. That would really put me off the price tags. Then again I live on an island now, and won’t have paid for our house for another couple of decades. Flippin’ heck , now I’m depressing myself. I’ll stop there and concentrate on pictures instead.)

This is something else I found to distract me from my winter blues, a beach! (Not that I don't live near loads, but they don't look like this:)

Not quite my type of beach, as it’s too busy and I don’t think they’d appreciate my mutt digging up their sand, but it’s a view that made me smile. Especially when you see where this place is positioned.

Go figure!

And I discovered word clouds over at Dave’s today, and thought it rather fun. Apparently it’s been going around for a while, but as I haven’t seen it before I’ll take a chance that you haven’t either.

Also, meant to say, and should have said earlier, thank you FTS, you've made my day!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I meant to post last night

But I was just too exhausted. Though strangely unstressed!

I expected it to be hard having six kids through the day, mostly because other people’s children sometimes irritate me, not that mine don't too! But it all went incredibly well.

Barely heard a word from the boys, which I think was due to them being left alone with the playstation. It was certainly the equivalent of P’s dream day! Didn’t feel a moment of guilt either, as I was too darn busy with the girls!

In the morning we coloured in a huge sheet of paper and made fairy cakes. Neither of the guests had ever baked before and it was hilarious when they tried to break the eggs – one was virtually afraid and tapped hers till it was a mass of cracks, before having to poke her finger through the shell (resulting in five minutes shell removal by me). The other watched and decided not to take so long. I’m sure you can guess the mess she made as she walloped it on the side of the bowl!

Thankfully I had asked their moms to dress them in old stuff, so the spread of chocolate wasn’t a crisis. Did hesitate over letting someone else’s child lick the bowl (not literally!) as a lot of folks are freaky over raw eggs, but I wasn’t in time to make the decision!

Can you believe the fairy cakes took us most of the morning, so it was after lunch before we make the final batch of Daisy’s Kiss Cookies. I say final because we used the last of the kisses, though I shall be attempting a variation with the peanut butter cookie.

By the time the mothers arrived to collect their darlings, both girls had decided they didn’t want to leave and sobbed to stay a while longer. I’m taking this as a compliment, though it extended the day by another hour. And both moms were thrilled with their treat packages to take home (but I’m thinking they’ll be cursing me before the weekend is over, as I can bet those girls will harp on about baking again!)

All in all, it went really well, and the BH was very surprised to find me still smiling when he got home.

I wasn’t a while later mind! The tale of R’s pen theft just gets better! When all his pens were stolen last week, we checked he had at least one black ink pen for class – which he did, because it had been in his top pocket at the time of the theft.

Then the following day his teacher asks to borrow a pen and R lent his. But it wasn’t returned and R’s too shy to ask. So all week he’s kept quiet, but ended up telling us after getting marked down by another teacher for writing in pencil (he’s told R to come back and get remarked when he’s written it out in ink.)

I’m not amused! Especially as I called the school on Thursday requesting a meet with his teacher (it’s a young man BTW. Very young.) and his teacher calls me back (at home) at three-forty-five in the afternoon.

Seeing as R doesn’t come out of school till three-thirty-five, I almost feel like he was avoiding me. He probably wasn’t, but honestly, the brains of the man!

And I’ve been stirring. Talking with other mothers, (well email really, as I never see anyone at that school anymore as I’m always late from J’s) asking whether they’ve had problems (which I kinda already know they have) and what the school did about it. Turns out absolutely nothing, even when letters were written.

I’m thinking this poor teacher better jump when I go in, or I shall collect my resources and make his life merry hell. I’m also planning to tackle the poor mark issue, by commenting that some teacher didn’t return R’s pen (Him! It was him!), it’ll be interesting to see if I can make the boy him blush. That’s not very kind, is it? Maybe I’ll have cooled by then, but right now I’m cross at the thoughtlessness, and assumption I have money to throw around and replace these things ‘just-like-that’!

Umm, I posted this earlier and it vanished! If it appears twice, you now know why ;o)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It’s still Thursday!

Had to post again, as I’ve typed this and may not get a chance to post tomorrow, and anyway after my post of yesterday, I awoke with a new and improved attitude and figured I should share! And I have a theory about this: almost like you have hit the low to have the energy to bounce back :o)

But the day did start a bit odd. Do you remember a few weeks ago I (think ?) mentioned the dog peed in the kitchen one night? This was an extremely unusual event, but I accepted it for what it was, and didn’t think anything more about it. But now I’m wondering.

This morning I got up as usual and went to make the tea before rousing the house. Nothing was out of place and it was just like every other morning with everyone groaning as I gave them the five minute get-up warning. And it’s not just the kids who snuggle a little deeper in their beds – the dog was in his too, just outside our bedroom door, catching the last few minutes of quiet.

Except ten minutes later, R comes into the bedroom and says the dog must have peed in the kitchen as there was a huge wet puddle. But the dog hadn’t moved, and barely bothered lifting his head at the mention of his name – and I’m 110% sure there was nothing there when I’d made the tea ten minutes earlier! (I walked all over the area in bare feet!)

The BH and I stood in the kitchen trying to figure where the pool of water had come from. The ceiling was dry, the light fittings were dry, the dog’s bowl was still full of water and hadn’t been kicked, and so the BH figured R or P must have spilt a tipped cup when they emptied the dishwasher. Except it hadn’t been emptied yet, and I reckon there was too much water for that. And anyway they’re not babies afraid to tell if they’ve made a mess.

So I cleared it up, considering it one of life’s little mysteries. But it deepened. I unlocked the back door and went outside to start the cars so they’d be warm when we left, and this is what I saw: (sorry about the quality, these looked fine when I took them, and I guess you can tell what my eyesight is like first thing!)

When I called the BH out to show him and ask what he thought could have caused it, he shrugged and said there had been something similar a few weeks ago. (Maybe the day the dog allegedly peed?!) Now I’m not normally one to get chills up the spine and start thinking something weird is going on, but these patches didn’t dry all day, and they ARE weird, and look like something dribbled or dragged something wet along and off the walkway and rested on a step a while (the puddle isn’t clear, sorry!) Anyways, I don’t know where this water is coming from, inside or out, and any ideas are welcome.

And whilst I’m asking for help, I have a fun request! At the beginning of March it’s book day, and J’s school have invited the children to dress as characters from story books. I’m figuring Little Red Riding Hood is easiest, but am open to interesting ideas. But don’t forget she’s only (will be) five, and the idea mustn’t scare her or be too difficult to make toilet trips in!

And talking of her becoming five, the birthday party is finally sorting itself out. We’re not doing the all-in-party as the cost is about the same as one we could do ourselves, but if you recall I couldn’t afford what was suggested, so we’ve invited another boy to host it with us (his mother accepted!) and we’re holding it in a church hall and doing the food ourselves. Lots more work, but at least I can enjoy it with the pennies issue lessened!

I also received a call offering me a weeks work next week – which I jumped at. But they didn’t realise I couldn’t do full-time and said they’d call me back (they haven’t). But all things considered, I won’t weep if it doesn’t happen as I’ve turned into Miss Popular and am supposed to be going out with different groups of moms three mornings next week! Who’d have thought?!

But whether I’ll make the dates, remains to be seen, as I got a call requesting I pick P up at lunchtime because he felt ill. AGAIN. I don’t mean to sound like an unkind, careless mother, but I’ve heard this all before too many times not to be sceptical. But the school refused to take any chances as there’s this nasty tummy bug about and schools are closing left and right because of it.

So Thursday being ballet day, I dropped S off, with P in the car and headed up to J’s school to collect her. Only to discover – it’s closing! Though J’s class haven’t had any problems the whole place is closed tomorrow to be thoroughly cleaned.

And it gets worse. J’s best friend’s mother works, so of course… I offered.

But I was also giving a lift to another little sweetheart whose mummy works and I asked if she was alright for tomorrow. Well, no she isn’t. And just to make it more interesting, her son (in P’s class at his school) was sent home today and she didn’t know what she was going to do with him. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound… So tomorrow I’ve got two of my own off, and another three spending the day.

Now I know this must look like I’m a glutton for punishment, and I guess I am. I mean if I’m totally honest, I had plans. Especially as I’ve spent so much of this past week ill myself. In fact I did something incredible yesterday (for me anyway!) I said ‘No’ when the nursery school called to ask if I’d help out today. I’ve never done that before!

But in the case of J’s school friends, I figure my day is blown anyway with two home, so what’s another three? I’m right, right? Please agree with me. The BH gave me such a look when I told him what I’d volunteered for, that yesterday’s breakthrough appears like a one-off, but it’s not!

And so, I bet you’re wondering what I did with my morning that was so important I said no to nursery for… I cooked. Or tried to. The plan was I cook four meals in one. Spaghetti Bolognaise, halved to make two lasagnes. Sounds simple, till you remember that’s equivalent to cooking for twenty-four people, and that’s a lot of chopping! And I don’t make that easy for myself either. You see I have a thing about meat. I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m sure we all have our quirks, so you’ll understand. But I’m a tad freaky about what goes into stuff like burgers and mince. So I do my own mincing! And that all takes time.

But I had plenty of time, a whole two hours! But problems began with the very first onion, I sliced straight through the top of my left thumb. Quite frankly I’m impressed with how sharp the BH has got our knives, but not as impressed as I am with the amount of blood my thumb can bleed! I had to chop with a plaster, and tissue wrapped around, all stuffed into a rubber glove to make sure I didn’t bleed into the meal. And it hurt! Every time I held something. And trying to slice and avoid primrose gloves is tiresome too! Still, it got done, and dinner tasted great.

Anyways, I’ve bored you to death (anyone still here… with my waffle. But wish me luck for Friday! Five in the morning, a sixth by lunchtime, and a seventh to collect from school. Umm, I think I’m starting to panic as I realise I don’t have enough food in the house, and I have to get S to nursery for eight-thirty, pick up A for nine, and then E and H are getting dropped off at nine-thirty When am I going to shop? Oh heavens I can’t take them all with me! Now I’m really starting to worry!! But I did think to cancel my friend and her three sons for the after school tea we usually do. Figured I’ll have had enough by then…

It's Thursday!

Thirteen helpful tips to stop you having less glamorous moments like Jona

1. Smoking is bad for your health, especially when trying to light a cigarette in high winds. Eyes down in effort, as I walked with a non-smoking friend, I swear that lamppost jumped in front me. She damn near wet herself.

2. Bra’s can be unpredictable. Or at least mine are. Sitting in the front seat of my boyfriend’s car (many years ago!) my bra ‘popped’ undone, so I struggled to do it up. Didn’t realise I was providing a free flash till I saw the horrified face of a woman walking on the pavement and realised my t-shirt had risen in my effort.

3. Toddlers wriggle. So it’s probably not the best idea to hang them upside down over your shoulder when you chat with a social worker, as your reaction upon being kicked is to let them go.

4. Being heavily pregnant can alter your sense of balance. In fact it can totally destroy it, and sunbathing in just your knickers (even if your neighbours are at work) is inadvisable if there is nothing to hold onto, to help you get up again. At least no one was about to see my beached whale impression and subsequent crawl up the garden. I hope.

5. Lock your doors, even when home. Especially if you don’t have a bell and are enjoying a quickie with your ex (now my BH!), as love-struck work colleagues think nothing of entering your home to wait for you. And to the ex’s out there – best to put on some clothes before walking out the bedroom door.

6. Nerves lead to giggles when preparing to get married. And running through the vows in front of a sour faced vicar doesn’t help. You know the line ‘For richer or poorer’? Well when I said it, it came out ‘For Richard or…’ the BH grinned at me, ‘For Richard? Who’s Richard? If you doing this for Richard I’m outta here!’ And the memory makes you snort at the wrong moment when saying it for real!

7. If you talk in your sleep, it might be best not to sleep in public. Especially on a moving bus in the middle of the Australian outback, as standing up and screaming, ‘Please somebody help me!’ makes the driver and other passengers extremely nervous, and your companion less than keen to sit next to you.

8. Tampons should come in childproof boxes. But as they don’t, only us stupid people would let a toddler hold them as we wait in line for a till. And should the worst happen, you can be sure the only person to help you pick them all up will be gorgeous!

9. Generally I’m proud of my reversing skills. I’m better than most people, but occasionally get over confident and forget people move things. Like bins on bin day. I swear I barely knocked that bin, but I guess it must have been heavy, as it managed to demolish a neighbour’s wall when it toppled.

10. Being stopped by the police can make a person nervous. And I was young and had only been driving few weeks. So when the policeman asked me if I’d been drinking, I was completely honest and said yes. It took several more minutes for me to realise he meant alcohol (he didn’t ask that!) Though I was lucky he was so nice and understanding of my stupidity.

11. There’s no going back once you’re pregnant. And no amount of begging and pleading with the midwife, as you explain you made a mistake and aren’t really ready to have a baby, will change the outcome of the delivery.

12. When working at a travel agents, keep your arms down. Especially if the client you’re showing off talking to is cute and you have a tendency to get giggly. Have you any idea how many magazines they stack on those flimsy shelves? They make quite a sound when a wall’s worth collapses. Though it is very quiet in the moments after.

13. Keep up with old friends, as they may become rich and famous football stars. Of course when you don’t know this, and bump into them in the supermarket, it sure makes them smile when you ask what they’ve been up to in the intervening years!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (though I now realise I messed up last week and should have added TT commenters here, I’ll get it right this week!)

d.challener roe

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I’m slipping…

On Monday I thought I was on the mend and made plans to catch up with all the things I should have done weeks ago. I even had a list with a realistic timetable. But then on Tuesday I woke up in agony. That cold that had passed so quickly last week was simply in hiding upon my chest, and yesterday I could barely move or talk.

The BH was as wonderful as ever and ran around raising his stress levels and cursing the horrid school runs, as I slept on the couch. And then this morning I’m better again!

But behind. Luckily I managed to meet with the moms from school as I had planned, and had the opportunity to chat with Hamish’s mom about this party act. After taking a deep breath I admitted I couldn’t afford it, and she was great! We agreed to have the party at another location where everything is thrown in at a set price. Unfortunately, in the years since I’ve used that location, the price has doubled and I’d be no better off – so I’m back to square one and will have to talk with her tomorrow.

And there are a dozen other things I haven’t seen to, that I should. You don’t need to hear about them because: A. you’ve probably got similar things in your life and don’t need reminding, and B. how stressful can just being a mom be?

Except I am stressed. I’ve got this constant nausea eating at me. There are so many loose ends I don’t know where to start and I’m feeling like a rabbit caught in headlights, too afraid to move.

And I saw a rabbit this morning. Sitting by the wheel of my car as I was about to leave my friends house. I went back in and asked if it was hers. But it wasn’t. Just some poor sick thing trying to find somewhere quiet to die. She suggested I put it out of its misery by running it over. But my nausea nearly made an exit with the very thought and after seeing my face she said she’d get her husband to see to it when he came home.

Shame the morning had to end like that though, as I had been feeling better after chatting with these women. I’m still amazed at how friendly they all are, and how honest. People are incredibly screwed up and I like this bunch because they don’t mind admitting it. Not sure what that says about me, but as one of the moms said, she’s happiest with her own kind (meaning other mothers who don’t always cope!) Just wish we could come up with a magic solution between us.

Having said that, on the kids front, things are pretty good. We’re still finding bean bag balls all over the house, but I’m able to laugh. But poor R (my eldest) is learning about growing up, after he left his bag in his classroom and had all his pens stolen. We’re not happy because his art pens cost a fortune, and instead of doing anything (like asking the other kids if they’d seen anything) his teacher shrugged and told R it was his own fault for leaving his bag unattended. Well I contradicted the teacher when R told me, and said that though R was naïve, it wasn’t his fault there’s a bloody thief at his school. And apparently there is quite a problem. But do the school send out letters warning us to mark everything? Or do spot searches to try and catch the thieving gits? No. They tell the victims it’s their own fault and do absolutely nothing. I’m actually bloody annoyed and shall stop there, before this nausea gets any worse.