Wednesday 28 February 2007

It's a shame

Regret the huge number of mast erection objections I've signed. My part of London (specifically my kitchen) has crap mobile reception. Yesterday afternoon I missed a mate's call offering me a west-end preview ticket.

So, sat in the kitchen of my brother, Inspector Gadget, while my eldest lids did youth club. The Inspector lost another argument with three of his daughters. He knows, as the only man in the house of a thousand hormones, he'll never win.

Without harping on, had I received the call, could have been up-west, warmed with V&Ts, enjoying the spectacle of the buff Dan Radcliffe. In the buff. Instead I got my brother's revenge plan: to publicly rank each of their boyfriends. (The IT fix puts The Geek in the lead.) Deep as my love is, for all my friends and family...

Today was another dull day: Wet on way to school. Played the perennial fave game of dodge the dog-do. Had mick taken before I got out of the car at work. Ever thankful for the afternoon's dry run.

Was a grumpy taxi-driver tonight and had a rare row with the gorgeous boy. He doesn't read enough. Nor puts much effort into choosing. Had he looked inside the latest one he'd have seen that Thumbelina would have trouble with the print. He said it was his love of penguins wot swayed it. The tweenager briefly broke off from manic texting to ask what kind of teacher puts the Penguin book of Zen Poetry in a Year 4 library anyway?

Homework from the Tween's English teacher: ask your parents for three questions they'd like to ask at parents evening. My suggestion, as ever, was rejected. I only wanted a view on Alan Bennett's belief that Auden is 'too difficult a poet to bother with'?

And Finally: He-who-must-be-adored must be congratulated for going a whole day without a cigarette. Am in shock. At his effort. And, my strength of feeling on realising he was wearing one of MY patches.

If only I could congratulate him on retaining his good humour and positive outlook.Cheery Bob he ain't.

Tuesday 27 February 2007

Some kind of wonderful

Well polish my halo and call me a saint. It has been 7 whole days since my last cigarette. One since my last drop of drink. That's some kind of threshold.

Last night I had a dream. I found a solo cig in a packet while doing the domestic drudgery (I knew it must be a dream as I don't devote too much time to that kind of thing in reality). I put it in my pocket to save it for a rainy day. Even by the end of the dream, when I tried to have a conversation with the alarm on my mobile, I realised I hadn't smoked it. I'll admit I did keep getting it out of my pocket. And sniffing it. So now even in my dreams I'm a non-smoker.

Have returned to my senses. Taste, I lost again today on a too-hot cup of tea. Smell highlight: getting a sniff of my perfume, hours after administering it. Lowlight: the whiff of yesterday's broccoli when I open the bin. Scrummy time now.

A change is gonna come

Dispensed with the mommy-uniform of stains, denim and sensible coat. Used the time usually spent applying warm layers applying slap. A regret as the evil wind whipped round the playground.

A day-off obviously doesn't start 'til after morning bell and you're ensconced in the coffee shop. Felt virtuous having a frothy without a fag. Strike 6 to the Momma. Good feeling faded when a Lego knight revealed his position, poised for battle, in the left sleeve of the woolly excuse I chose as a coat today. I surrender to hatred of the way I lose the children and gain small plastic accessories.

The obligatory train delay allowed a chance meeting with an old mate, a theatre designer. Didn't chat much as she was in mobile-phone-work-mode. Noted that even designers wear warm coats. Couldn't help but overhear one call about a distressed old bag. Relieved to hear it was a costume accessory not an aging drama queen.

Finally hit the shops 40 minutes before my lunch date. That's 10 minutes longer than most solo shopping sessions since starting my family 12 years ago. Five years ago I gave it all up: the full-time career, lunch-hours and purchasing new-season wardrobes in said lunch-hours. Thought I ought to at least bring up one of my babies.

Time out of the west-end has taken its toll. Felt slightly sick at seeing fabrics back in fashion that I wore as a seven year old. Ran through the department store frantically searching for something, anything. Hitting the Dannimac section and pondering their practical aspects was the lowest point. Panic purchased a photo-album I neither like nor need.

Fancied a fag. But want my future 50 year-old face to have half a chance of not looking like a crumpled piece of old leather. On a pit stop realised the nicotine patch attached to knickers rather than belly was the cause of the craving.

Had a lovely grown up lunch with two entertaining male ex-colleagues. Wondered whether one glass and a half counts as falling off the wagon? No Mexican waves so judged to be doing ok.

After that had the afternoon in the west end to myself. Oh what to do? Can't go home before He and the kids. Too cold for the long walk to the bookshop. Head to Peter Jones. Disappointed by the do-up: same stuff, just not-so-stuffy surroundings. Heating was in overdrive so broke out in a hot flush. A change is gonna come. Wonder whether aged 40 and one month am too young to worry about the start of the change? Wonder will I ever enjoy shopping again? As a test headed towards handbags. Didn't have the heart to spend £64,000 I don't have on something in brown. Spotted shape-enhancing bikinis but presume I'll be a size 54 by the summer and the label clearly said enhancing not bloody miracle worker. Desperate for a day-off trophy I grabbed a smock top.

On the train, mood came further down, about the need for change. Listening to Nora Jones didn't help. Feeling the same way all over again. Neither fashionable nor freaky. Just mumsy. What an admission. Even worse: McFly lifted my mood.

My obvious joy of the intro beats was infectious. The woman opposite smiled at my head banging, foot-tapping grin. Managed to restrain myself from singing loudly and out of tune. A flying insect marred lifted mood. Reacted calmly by waving hands around in the style of one with mental health issues.

The thing with wings landed on her bag opposite. Decided me whacking her bag with my paper would not be considered a friendly gesture especially as she'd avoided eye contact with me since the hand waving. But we had shared a smile. I should say 'there's a flying thing on you, except its not flying now'. But that would break the sacred convention of tube-travellers. Only the insane strike up conversations with strangers. (Unless there are extraordinary factors. Such as the extreme weather you might find in autumn, when the trees do that surprise leaf-shedding business). Relieved my guilt by convincing myself she was probably not smiling but laughing at me earlier. And anyone that reads a choral prospectus is unlikely to appreciate kindness from someone uplifted by McFly.

Walking home I gave thanks to the Nolan sisters. For putting me in the mood for dancing, through the door, with a grin from my grand day out.

Monday 26 February 2007

Blame it on the boogie

Paid the price for Friday's frolic with glue and varnish and the stupor-spent Saturday. The Sunday hell of homework, housework and other dull deeds.

The gorgeous boy's Angel and Smiles homework foiled me with the fact it was angles and similes. Angles require a protractor. I have bought many. None were found within these walls. No admission for protractor liability from any of our children.

Must be those pesky burglars. Rather than breaking and entering, they enter and break things, or steal them. Returning often, they leave sticky footprints and muddy fingerprints. They use the last of the toilet roll, and put empty-juice cartons back in the fridge. A trail of wrappers and peels in their wake, they add pen marks to paint work. They use and lose the hairbrush. And whatever happened to the DVD controls? Am bored of looking. Strange how none of my dustbin-lids, I am assured, would ever ever do such things.

He trekked out to purchase a protractor whilst I did the high frequency words with the little one. How much practice does the word 'am' need? I chose angles so he could help with tweenage chemistry (I couldn't make head nor tail of it and suspect it wasn't in English).

Morrison's with Mustang Sally on the ipod was bearable. Just. But, listening to the Commitments did not make me more committed. The only light relief, now I have a non-smoker's sense of smell, was in the smelly candle section. Hardly a highlight.

While in this mode have to admit I can't stand Supermarkets. It's all that man handling. Of goods. Off the shelf, into the trolley. Out of the trolley, onto the belt. Off the belt, into the bag. Out of the bag and put away. Only to be brought out again for consumption in milliseconds.

He was a star today. He cooked in a big pot, managing to disguise an extraordinary number of vegetables. Saint Jamie would be proud. But then He has some making-up to do for allowing the little one to chose her own sandwiches last week. Does Jam have any nutritional value?

So all in all, a dull old day. Nothing happened worth writing home about let alone blog about. Still, here I am. I blog. Therefore I am.

Pleased to get my first feedback email today: 'Can you do it in a bigger font as we're all over 40 here and the old mince pies are a bit iffy'. As I said, all in all a dull old day.

Sunday 25 February 2007

Happiness, Happiness

Happy yesterday is over. Happy to start a fifth fag-less day. Happy we had a great Friday night. I know this from the pictures in my inbox. Memory somewhat fogged in a champagne mist. Luckily didn't drink as much as I was served having lost my ability to hold a glass around 9.30pm. What a waste of good champagne: on my skirt, the carpet, the sofa and the designer's trousers. Vague memory of being told to close my mouth for pictures – thought it was due to my too-wide grin. Discovered it was to deal with my chronic verbal diarrhoea.

Relieved drunken antics didn't extend to that booze Britain fave-past-time of breast baring. Only just. Much to the Mr Smut's disappointment. Am off the bubbles. For a while. Don't like the delusions. Such as believing bullying the entire party into Mexican waving, repeatedly, is a good idea. A bubble-fuelled tradition I started at the black-tie wedding of the Designer. Well it all smacked a tad too much of a smart do.

Sitting in the Forensic's house, opposite a field of cows, sipping champagne, overlooking the swimming pool, I pondered how far we've all come. The proof of humble beginnings in the birthday photo album. More pictures have arrived in my inbox of a girly gang seaside trip to visit the Chef. They didn't make it into the album as I deleted them the first time they arrived. Have seen saner-looking groups of mass murderers. Oh but didn't we have a laugh. Except for the Forensic One. Though to be fair, being 5 foot 1 and 7 months pregnant with monster-sized twins hardly makes for a chirpy outlook.

Speaking of which, Mr Smut, why have you not married her yet? It's worth it for the days off from the baby business: at least one night for the hen celebrations. A honeymoon must be at least two. She may not like you much this week but that's hardly the point.So all in all I was a bit of a disgrace on Friday. My behaviour being the main reason the birthday girl went to bed.

Need to draw on the positive: I may have been lashed but I didn't smoke. And the pix do look rather jolly.

To my sister-in-law, SheShe, I am forever in your debt for the buckets of sweet-tea you served whilst catering and caring for my off-spring as I was incapacitated in hangover hell. To Supersis thanks for the copious carbs at tea-time. Just the ticket to reconnect head to body. Both kindnesses will be re-paid.

To my niece the Techno Whizzkid. Thanks for the links. Point taken. Myspace is dull and needs jazzing up with techno script.

Finally, though in danger of the old pot and kettle business, He-who-must-be-adored wasn't looking good yesterday.

Saturday 24 February 2007


would the person who hit me over the head and hoovered my mouth in the night please own up

Memories are made of this

An unusually calm atmosphere here with the dustbin-lids farmed out. Should be a stolen night of bliss but He-who-must-be-adored is having a rare sofa snooze. He's worn himself out, what with saving London all week and painting the hallway all day. It was dark and dingy, in a shabby rather than chic way. Now it's brilliant. White. Sunglasses are required if you pass that way.

My forensic friend is 40 today, and we're going over to commiserate. Looking forward to getting together with more of the girl gang (hardly at our age), especially Mrs Lipman's Twin. Others with prior engagements will be sorely missed. He is looking forward to catching up with Mr Sarcastic, The Major and The Smutty One.

Regretted starting the making of gifts. In my usual style the lion's share of the making was left to today. Wonder will I get all that varnish off my hands before this evening. No doubt she'll be looking fab having shopped til she dropped with the Designer this week. I'll have just enough time to scrub up, throw something on and try looking like I've made the effort. The opposite of the current trend of making an effort and looking like you just threw it on.

Made her a birthday album. Enjoyed going through old pix. Hated that the first 25 years took no time with just a stick of glue. The last 5 years were more painful: the printer/scanner/copier sooperdooper do everything machine proved to be a pile of useless junk. Strangely thumping the top didn't work.

And, now it's finished. Not certain she'll appreciate the effort. No doubt the dodgy hair and clothes-styles of the past 30 years (and there are a shockingly large number) will be considered best brushed under the carpet. Was tres diplomatique and hacked off all appearances of exes. Mine and hers. A strangely satisfying exercise...

Must Be Love (Madness)

Attempted an early night last night as He-who-must-be-adored was working even later than his normal 'late' (saving London takes a lot of time). The first time I came back downstairs was for make-up-remover, (note why make-up is not worth the bother). Back at the sink I remember my mobile is somewhere downstairs. As the bedroom phone is lost (presumed broken) and the bedside alarm is sabotaged beyond repair (damaged denied by the little blighters) I need my mobile. The bedside clock will show the time if you know which button to press. I haven't touched it since I set it screeching in the wee small hours some time ago. If I want to know the time, in the dark, I flip the mobile so it lights up and point it to my watch (which has big hands). Why? Obviously the mobile typeface is too small to read without my glasses. Crap system. But it works.

Downstairs 'phone hunting I half-packed the lunch boxes, to potentially save precious morning minutes in the quest to exit the house on time. Finally into bed and can't remember whether I've locked the front door. This, He informs me, often, is of vital importance.

The third time downstairs I don't find keys but do find I've already locked the door. Also of vital importance is for keys to be in designated place. Since the fire safety officer visited gorgeous boy's class we've had to have a fire plan. Ours is again, crap, but at least we have one. It used to include a whistle beside my bed but that too is lost, presumed dead. Pleased to find my special pen, but no sign of keys, so head to bed defeated. In bed the keys show themselves.

This is one reason I never go to bed until He is home. For all his faults, which are many and varied, he does the night routine. And the finding. Without question. In that solid dependable way of his. In bed I realise replacing fags with fruit tea has a negative effect on the thrice-pregnant bladder. Up again.

Back in bed notice glasses are neither on my face nor beside bed. Blindly hunting them with morning-brain-fog may waste minutes I don't have to spare. I mentally re-trace my steps (up, down, up down, round and round etc etc) and find them next to the sink.

Collapse into bed, defeated. Too tired to read. I wonder what am I supposed to do with my cold feet without He with the hot body? I miss him. And am buggered if I'm heading downstairs again for a hot-water bottle

Thursday 22 February 2007

Day 2

A miracle me thinks. Still no fags. Haven’t done this well in yonks. My lungs may be cleaner, but they’re getting larger. Much larger. Lets face it, apples don’t really do it. Despite patch-wearing am craving – mainly crumpets. And nuts. And I may have had the odd bit of chocco as well. Am taking Jermaine Jackson’s advice that kindness is a strength. Being strong by not smoking and kind to myself by having whatever I damn well feel like. This strategy may have to be re-assessed following the week-end weigh-in.

My super sweet and special sister has excelled this week in capturing the spirit of what’s important to the little one. This term Class 1’s enchanted forest will be replaced by a post-office. So the super sister has been mailing notes and stationery on a daily basis. However, the delighted little one is adamant the stationery is for her. See it has her name on the envelope. She can read her name. And it doesn’t say Class 1.

Luckily she awoke in fine fettle today. The difference of an early bedtime. Maybe me and He should try it. She wanted to pick-up on last night’s chat and asked exactly ‘how are babies made? Twas a bit much for 7.15am but as I embarked on age-appropriate details He-Who-Must-Be-Adored shouted from the bathroom ‘can we leave that for another day, and can you both get dressed now please’.

Unusually, the gorgeous boy woke moaning. His new Polish swimming instructor doesn’t believe in the namby pamby approach and has promised reaching the top group within two terms. Think this morning’s aching buttocks have made that particular promise lose its appeal somewhat.

Office bound today so the Tweenager happily missed the bus and got a ride to avoid the drizzle. It hasn’t stopped all day. All that rain could make a person turn to fags you know. My boss‘Captain Chaos’is one of my six brothers. Working with him has its novel moments. And upsides. The downside, because of course there is one, is being referred to by my most-hated childhood nickname. Another brother, the Smiler, also uses our work site sometimes. I am tortured when they’re both in mick-taking mode and am ashamed to admit I revert to the same responses I gave when aged 10.

No grumpy taxi-ing tonight as the Piano teacher is coming to us. Neither the tweenager nor the gorgeous boy have practiced. He-Who-Must-Be-Adored thinks I shouldn’t waste hard-earned cash on things they don’t appreciate. I think they should be given the opportunities I never had. He feels the same. But about Lego.

I am a loser. Not in all aspects of my life. Just in this house. He-who-must-be-adored is a finder. The fact is I mainly lose things that he’s tidied away. His says it’s his way of switching off from the day job of saving London.  Sometimes think he’d like to tidy me and the kids away.

Will have to ‘post’ this now as am off to get the dustbin-lids from school. See ya later.

Bright Side of the Road

Get the 'no fags' flags out. Two whole days and I am officially a non-smoker. Surely?

Marched to school this pm in the drizzling rain accompanied by Van Morrison's Bright Side of the Road. Considered 'Why does it always rain on me?' but needed to get in good mom mood. Laughed at a teenager who bounced on a stray balloon, bursting it. When he turned round looking embarrassed I scowled. Really I was jealous. My best mummy buddy asked if it was the end of my working week that caused me to bounce into the playground. Embarrassed to admit it was down to Kylie and the ipod.

Supersis rang. Laughingly informed me of the expansion of the Class 1 post-office support programme to her entire office (nearly). The stationery cupboard was raided, parcelled up and posted to the little one. Hope postie arrives before afternoon pick up tomorrow or Class 1 will miss out: as she'll have a whole weekend to stash the stationery treasure. With that kind of supportive Auntie it's no surprise that the family tree on the Class 1 wall includes the little one herself, her brother, her sister, her cousin and her Aunt. No mention of mom nor Daddy. That's bleeding gratitude.

Though not usually prone to navel gazing (much) think the tummy rash may be an allergic reaction to belt buckle. With hindsight the flare-up coincided with the increase in overhang of my yummy-mummy muffin-top-tummy. In an attractive manner. Obviously.

Plucked up the courage to tell a few close ones that I now blog. Thought it only fair as I'm sharing the details of my day with the whole wide world. Responses have been varied: He-who-must-be-adored: suppose I'm slated. Captain Chaos: Why? Tweenager: will it show me up? The designer half of the 'accessorize or die duo' read it and rang, berating me for making her mascara run. Is my life that funny? No, it was seeing that I had '1 friends' consisting of some random bloke from the other side of the world that made her cry with laughter.

Despite a number of short telecons with the forensic half of the duo re champagne flutes, schedules and dips from my deli, I haven't 'fessed up yet. Fretting that she'll furrow her brow in her special way and inform me of the dangers I'm letting myself and loved ones in for. That, as they say, is what friends are for.

Ash Wednesday lateron

Gnarls (what kind of name is that?) Barklay’s Crazy proved to be the perfect upbeat tempo for the afternoon march to school. Something was needed to wipe away the non-smoking snarl. That’s the ipod revolution for me. Also made watching tonight’s swimming lessons far more bearable. Had completely forgotten Haircut 100’s Fantastic Day even existed. Twas great for drowning out the swimming instructor’s shouts and the kids squeals, screams and tears (there’s always one). Of all the activities, I hate swimming the most. It’s the smell of chlorine and the squish of wet changing rooms. Hated it since that incident at junior school, but that’s for another blog. I was woman on the edge – of a swimming pool - bopping my head-phoned-head. The little-one managed most of her lesson sans bands – a first. Hurrah. A proud moment. Heart then skipped a beat when she started sinking. She’ll learn. Proudness gave way to joy at the thought that I may not have to still be taking her to lessons in 6 years time. Hurrah for all that.

Gorgeous boy’s music teacher told me how impressed she was with him going for the singing auditions for the Year 4 concert. Another warm glow of pride swells inside me. ‘Til he came out saying his form teacher threatened to cancel playtime if no-one went. Being the stoic sort, he trundled along in the hope it wouldn’t take all playtime.

One for Sorrow. Highlight of the day watching a magpie pull apart the door-mat outside the office. Presume it was for nest building rather than wanton destruction but Magpie’s do get such a bad press. Usually I’m the one outside on the mat. Smoking. Not now. No more. The patches work well. Must be the superglue like substance they use to attach them to your body.

Another constant evening on the go: pick-up, laundry, swimming, cooking, clearing-up, more laundry, and bed-time routines. Tonight’s bed-time delaying tactic from the little one was good: where did the very first baby come from? Briefly ran through beliefs of evolution vrs creationism. She thought God must have had magic beans.

Was worried tonight that in that spare 3 minutes I had to myself after the swimming laundry that I may just be tempted to run out on a quest for real nicotine. So did something I haven’t done in years. Had a bath. The thought of it was quite nice. In the pre-children, pre-shower days I loved soaking and pampering sessions. Memories, however, proved better than reality. I’d been in there a good five minutes before I realised I still had my glasses on and that all my nice grown-up grooming products were in the shower room. Took an age to scrub yesterday’s superglue patch stuff off with green frog spit soap. Must be strong stuff as today’s patch stayed in situ despite a 20 minute soak. Got out feeling slightly sick and light-headed.

Can’t decide if the rash on my tummy was heat, nico-patch or eczema. Once the redness and faintness faded had to moisturise my entire body to stop the itching. If that’s what sitting in hot water does for you, where’s the joy?

A new dilemma: The tweenager is having a sleep-over on Friday at a friend’s. I’ve never met friend nor family, so obviously not inclined to allow it. He-who-must-be-adored bit the bullet and rang the mom. He’s now cool about it. So I have to be as he’s usually the real paranoid one. And we’re out on Friday night – a rare treat – so don’t want to spend the whole evening panicking about her welfare.

It’s my best mate’s 40th. She managed to dump babies, job, husband and chores today and shopped til she dropped with another best mate. Green-eyed monster hit me for a moment but then I can’t actually manage a whole day shopping as a) I don’t ever have a whole day and b) if I did have a whole day to myself I wouldn’t want to waste it shopping.

Report from the front: it may be fashionable but who wants to wear a smock top and look pregnant again? That’s one look we’re all happy to leave in the past.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

Ash Wednesday

Inappropriately Ash Wednesday is Day 1 of clean-lung regime. Sick of saying it, but I want to break free from the tyranny of fags.

Failed on Monday by 20. Lasted til 4pm yesterday. With Shrove Tuesday traditionally being a binge day, bought 10 and smoked them all, inbetween collecting kids, cooking tea and doing impressions of a grumpy taxi driver.

As He-who-must-be-adored is working 'lates' this week I should be able to avoid seeing him puffing most evenings which should make it easier. Surely?

Now I just need to learn to relax. In general. And, early enough after the little-one, gorgeous boy and the tweenager are a-bed so I can a-bed myself before midnight. Failed last night as waited up for He to return from saving London at 11.20pm. We talked over the big plan. A month into being 40 felt that's what we needed. Went to bed at 1am, slightly depressed at saying goodbye to my beloved fags, alongwith the realisation that the plan for this year is for us both to work like billio to reduce the debts, accumlated over my 5 year career break. (Break being the totally wrong word obviously.)

Now the little-one is ensconced in that institution called school I can work school hours. Will I ever be able to stop though?

So Ash Wednesday. Started on a the wrong foot with over-sleeping. Awoken by the tweenager shouting that she needed to leave for the bus in 10 minutes! This woke the little-one. Some mornings she wakes with a cheeky grin and a cuddle for me and I thank my lucky stars on having such wonderful off-spring. No such luck today.

The howling started in her bedroom. By the time she arrived beside me it had built to 1000 decibels. Screaming that the tweenager had ruined her really good dream. Oh the life of a 5 year old who can't get to bed early enough because her brother and sister have a life.

He-who-must-be-adored decided what was needed in this fractious moment was a lecture. On routines. On getting enough sleep. On respect for adults and I don't know what else becuase I couldn't hear it above the increasing howling. Its very tricky trying to do the morning personal stuff with a howling child attached to your leg, so no shower, no make-up, just a quick rinse around the gills. The promise of pancakes for breakfast gave me the breather to get dressed. This was deemed a great moment for a lecture on my parenting skills. But he's not the one with a howler attached to his leg.

Cheered the tweenager up with the promise of a lift on my way to work. Really it was just a ruse to escape the howling and lectures. In the midst of all the madness the gorgeous boy rose with a huge smile at the smell of pancakes.

Finally I have peace. In the office. Alone. Everyone out on calls, and with no post for two days I can finally set up a blog. Just been waiting to have one moment to have one un-interupted thought.

The ringing phones don't help, but at least there's no howls or lectures on the other end.Could kill for a fag