Friday, 27 February 2009

Why Why Why Delilah?

Don’t know why but I felt sorry for He-who-must-be-adored in having to work such a long shift on Wednesday. So, to show some solidarity I waited up for his return with a chilled bottle. Much much later I’d quaffed the lot before He fell in the door. Yes that’s right. Fell. Drunk. As a skunk. That’s the last time I feel any kinda pity for him. I am owed. Again.

Why did it shock me on the supermarket sweep to see so many Easter Eggs already? Tried not to salivate at the wall of cardboard and chocolate but I love it more than…well something chilled and fizzy. The chocolate, not the cardboard. But before mother’s day? Yet…in for a penny…I threw a few in the trolley for the Easter Egg hunt and made mental note to try to think up some clues before Easter Saturday.

Why, after only a brisk walk with the dog, did all the early Easter eggs get eaten? Well…who’s to know?

To Grovelands today. Just the two of us. He and me. Plus the dog. With no dustbin lids. Weird or what?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Beholder's Eye

In snooping round Facebook photos worry I am alone on the ageing front. Or does everyone else post old pictures? Or use software? I see my young fave nieces on there. Being young they get away murder. Jealous? Ha!

When we were young He-who-must-be-adored and I agreed. I would give birth to dustbin lids more beautiful than ourselves. Even in our young and beautiful days. Those days before the growth of extra chins and bellies. Before gravity took its toll. Before the ability to shake off pillow creases from our faces was lost. In return, He agreed to do the duty of bin night. And re-fueling the car. Today, with the poor excuse of a ridiculously long shift saving London, He broke the rules. I am owed.

Yesterday the little-un thought she was owed. But even I, with my low resistance to her pestering, draw the line at ice-cream on breakfast pancakes. I was kind about it and offered to dial child-line for her.

Is this cruel? During the dog’s usual post-supper sniffing round the kitchen she became still. And focussed. She stalked the fridge. I thought of mices. Then her tail wagged. She tried and tried before realising her tongue wasn't quite long enough to retrieve that which was under the fridge. I laughed as she tried different positions. And there’s only so much paw digging to be done on a hard floor. She switched between digging and stretching her tongue. And back again (whoah there Mrs is this an adults only blog now?) He-who-must-be-adored retrieved the discarded nectar and gave it to her. Killjoy.

To my book group last night. Was it my poor choice of book that led to such little bookish discussion? Or is the book just another excuse to sit about with other wimin smoothly sipping the bubbly stuff? A problem? Moi?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday morning

Up before the larks, a few pages under my belt I bake bread and pack up lunches. Uniforms are pressed and laid out. Extra-curricular kits are bagged and ready. Homework assignments are complete. Showered, fully dressed and ‘slapped’ I call the dustbin lids with a spring in my step. I lovingly prepare breakfast as they greet me with love in their eyes. A small chirping bird flies through the open window and lands on my finger. Then I wake up.

And it’s Monday Morning Take Two. Minus the calm charm. And the tweeting bird.

Does everyone leave half-term homework ‘til the last day? We coulda shoulda woulda gone out. Instead I supervise the older ones homework and cook. Against the grain I do some of the homework myself –explaining penicillin and making gravy was beyond me. Meanwhile He-who-must-be-adored gardens with the little-un. Well, not so much gardens, as hacks ferociously whilst the little-un ‘weeds’. My foxgloves. The foxglove seedlings I lovingly nurtured last year. The foxgloves that take two years to flower.

The joys of a family Sunday in the ‘burbs.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Glory days

Three alcohol-free days plus a mammoth sleepfest made for a little trouble settling to sleep last night. To Paul McKenna I turned. It has been over a month since I bought ‘Change Your Life in 7 days’. At last I’ve been sober enough to make it to Day 2. At this rate I should be sorted by the summer. When sleep finally came I dreamed of sunny days sipping champagne. When I first ditched the cigs the boy band I was managing (in my dreams obviously) kept making me smoke. Talk about living in a dream world!

There must be something about Paul because peace descended upon us today. For a few hours, at least. The sun shone. We all quietly did our own thang whilst He-who-must-be-adored was away saving London. Yesterday’s scenes of shouting were long forgotten.

But perhaps a little perspective: yesterday, as usual, I was not the first to shout. I rarely am. Neither was I born yesterday. So I knows things. Like, when the usually gorgeous boy is rude and shouts. Then is rude and shouts again in an aggressive sort of way. I know he has either overheard one of our laundry lessons or there is, somewhere hidden in this house, unbeknownst to me, a horribly violent video game. Being only 11 the boy knows not to snitch on his farter. ‘Hand it over’ I say and after only a small protest, hand it over he does. As is our way, we soon manage to make it up with some baking then taking the dog out to get wet and muddy again.

Back to the glory day of today: the dog walk was dry, so no added laundry or extra showers needed. When He-who-must-be-adored returned we went out for an early meze. Early because we had to be back home in time for Ant and Dec, or the little-un would be difficult. Let’s not kid ourselves about who really rules this roost.

I had to tear my eyes away from the newspaper story on Jade’s story this morning when the little-un announced ‘Mommy, You’re doing really well’. I swelled with pride and with eyes moistened asked what made her say that. ‘I’ve checked your blog and you’re had over 200 visitors now, I check it everytime I go on the ‘puter’. So neither my parenting nor blog visitors are as good as I thought.

The Cava is calling.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Wash out

After that nasty little bug I slept for a mammoth 13 hours last night. That’s two nights on the wagon. Do I qualify for a badge yet? Shan’t drink tonight as the Teenager is in her mate’s shed. Again. We might install a shed in our garden, with pool table and ipod speaker, so we don’t have to stay sober and, more of a challenge, awake, to collect her. But don’t suppose she’d let any of her friends round here. We only breathe and we manage to be soooo embarrassing.

Yesterday was a wipe out. My two achievements for the day were a shower and changing the bedding. In truth didn’t really achieve the second. Grappling with the clean king size duvet cover, I was close to tears over not having the necessary six arms when He-who-must-be-adored returned from the rugby run and lent a hand, or two. In fact yesterday he was an all round star (if you can have such a thing), apart from the laundry lesson. They say the lesson shall be repeated until the lesson is learnt. Our first decade together I wore only black because I learnt anything else wasn’t safe. Our second decade I took charge. I have told him. Repeatedly. I shout ‘walk away from the washing’. Still He sees laundry He stuffs it in the machine.

Asked recently what my family think of being blogged about in less than perfect terms I replied nothing. Because they don’t read it. They may look like my fans on Facebook. But only because I stood over them as they logged in and showed them how easy it is to be my fan. They hear enough of my whingeing without having to read all about it as well. The little-un does show an interest but she can’t read small type yet.

My forensic friend called - the stinking thieving bastard that burgled her has been caught, and remanded. Three times I’ve been victim to stinking thieving burglaring bastards and never have they left more than a smudge. She has one burglary and good bloody DNA is left inside her house and the stinking thieving burglaring bastard is caught in less than a month. Pleased as I am for her, it hardly seems fair. Still that’s one less stinking thieving burglaring bastard on the streets of London. Thanks to our last stinking thieving burglaring bastard I now have a complicated alarm system and spend the spare moments of my life walking or cleaning up after that bloody dog.

Mmm a touch of the post-bug grumps me thinks?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Mud bug

I've been somewhat less than my usual cheeky cheerful self this past day or so. I don’t have the stomach to share the full gruesome details. Except…

Yesterday the early signs of a crappy day were there. A rare morning when no-one had to be anywhere any time early. Yet, ye gods were agin any kind of a lie-in. My brain was slowly adjusting from blissful sweet dream (actually it was quite hard work rowing across the Atlantic, which is weird as a) I have never rowed in my life and b) I am petrified of the sea). Anyway the sloshing sea sound turned to something like fingernails on a blackboard. I pulled focus and decided someone, somewhere very near to my bed, was scrapping a shovel. On metal. Repeatedly. The littleun climbed in and asked ‘Who’s making a racket in the bathroom?’ I replied ‘it’s a shovel and it’s going to be shoved where the sun don’t shine’. But then He-who-must-be-adored informed us that it was a roofer, working across the way. As I asked how He could possibly distinguish a shovel and roof tile by ears alone, He shared his surprise at seeing a bloke on the roof, across the way, as he stood gazing out of the toilet window, doing his morning thang. I sat up and felt woozy.

Best-mum-chum and Tallest-mum-chum (sorry weak tag but I have been ill) met us at Trent Park. I apologised for being late blaming a woozy feeling. Tallest (who opens Cava in so practiced a manner) chirped in that Cava can have that kind of effect. They agreed I was just hungover and a muddy march would be good. Miffed (I’d only had half a bottle the night before in these cut-back days) we set out.

Our five children and dog bounced ahead like an Enid Blyton adventure. Clearly something was wrong with me as although I’ve enjoyed Trent Park for over 30 years, we managed to get lost. Some 2 ½ hours later, the children and dog, wet and muddy, dragged their heels with sorry faces as if they'd strayed from the path in a zombie movie, where you're never ever supposed to stray from the path. The photo-op on a log gone wrong ending with the little un’s legs in the air and her head bumped didn't help. She couldn’t see the funny side of being chastised for not letting me catch it on video and making £200 from you’ve been framed. She cried from then 'til we reached the cafĂ© and not even the promise of that well-known half term healthy lunch of chips and cakes could cheer her up.

The queezy feeling remained and didn’t really take a turn for the worse proper until after I’d said 'all kids back to mine'. When best-mum-chum came to collect she thought I looked yellow. Tallest-mum-chum thought I looked white. Either way the next 12 hours were amongst the worst of my life as the dreaded tummybug kicked in proper. On the up side it was an easy night for curbing the Cava. That makes a total of 3 alcohol-free nights out of the last 7. That’s 100% improvement on the previous week.

And every cloud: surely my jeans won’t hurt quite so much tomorrow?

A geeky note:
A huge thankyou to my fans, especially those on Facebook, although I still need 4 more to confirm I am who I say I am. And …I’ve worked out how to set the blog time to London time. Hurrah!

Laundry note:
Discovered bright yellow sweatshirt with denims today! Will He ever learn?

Title note:
Today's title was thought up by the little-un!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


And still a non-smoker I am. My lungs are getting clearer. My belly is getting bigger. But then as my bro’ says ‘you can lose weight anytime, you can’t grow another lung’. But my lungs appear to be growing alongwith the rest of me. But still, are clothes supposed to hurt? Luckily the Teenager’s growing social life is helping me curb the Cava thang. Tonight I’m typing as I wait to drive her ‘friend who happens to be a boy’ home from here. Yeah right that’s what I thought too.
To town today. Supersis drove so luckily no French issues tonight. We took the lids for a day out. Obviously not the Teenager. Not because we left her at home Cinderella style. Whatever she may say. No, she spotted the opportunity of a house empty of siblings and parents and had her own social thang instead. But boy did she miss out on a weird and whacky day. And boy was I not in no way uptight about what may, or may not, have been happening in my house of unsupervised teenagers.

The Gorgeous one was in boy heaven as we paid tourist prices to enter the weird and whacky (and downright disgusting) world of

Frankly I find it weird that a man (of course only a man) could devote his entire life to discovering the weird and the whacky. Then that he shared the weird and the whacky with the rest of the world. Then again, that there is just so much weird and whacky, odd and unusual and strange in this world. Some of it you really have to see to believe. I guess that’s why he called it ‘believe it or not’. Other bits, I wish I hadn’t. In fact we all agreed to run from the theatre-reel after less than 10 seconds of film, and we all agreed to run through the torture-themed exhibition.

The highlights and lowlights depend on your age and persuasion. Personally, I can’t decide, in the side-show-freak-show spirit what I enjoyed more. Seeing Gorgeous boy’s full freak out in the mirror maze or Supersis’s nervous breakdown on the rotating tunnel. She thought the Whizz kid’s wheelchair would fall off. The kid, of course, was steady as a rock. It’s not called the chicken run for nowt. The little-un loved that optical illusion the most. I could take or leave double-headed-lamb, the three-legged-chicken, the guy with the gold nose, the guy with four eyes, the junk duck, and the painting by a horse. Of course, as for the giant’s rocking chair: it rocks. It really rocks.

Am only slightly worried about nightmares tonight!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Green and pleasant land

Somehow the dull details of my existence have conspired agin me finding time to blog. Yesterday we were still in the green belt and my time was taken with cleaning up after all the muddy creatures (dustbin lids included) and mass catering duties. If I lived permanently near green and pleasant land I’d change my parenting style (if my current state of over-fussy and interfering could be called a style) to one of healthy neglect. After breakfast I’d kick the lids out with the dogs and other animals. I’d tell them not to come in ‘til they were filthy and hungry or even filthy hungry with tales of adventures to tell. Er, actually that’s what I did. But being a London softie I relented when the rains came. If I did make a permanent move I'd obviously have to give up with the cleaning malarkey – no-one expects that in the country do they? And more obviously there was no being kicked outside for the Teenager – one whiff of that and she demanded a ride to see a mate with more modern parents. Back home this morning I missed the Whizz Kid, the animals and the big green fix.

Hurrah! It’s half term. So pleased to have the dustbin lids home today I went to work.

Hurrah! He-who-must-be-adored is back saving London for almost all waking hours so no laundry disasters. For today anyways.

Hurrah! When the Teenager has been caught in trouble her behaviour improves hugely. I returned from the dog walk tonight to find floors swept, laundry folded, drainer cleared, dishwasher on, and most importantly chilled bottle of Cava opened. Me thinks she knows me too well. Me thinks I should have introduced this yellow card business years ago.

Lesson learnt: be careful what you wish for. After bemoaning the blog’s lack of followers am now plagued, on Facebook, by comments by the oldest sister-in-law (her tag not mine). But what do I make of ‘can’t decide if you’re more Edwina (ab fab) or Bree (desperate housewives)’? Or her notes to her step-daughter to ‘read aunty’s blog to learn how to become a mary poppins type mother …ignore the getting drunk in the middle of london bit it spoils the image’.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Country Living

To the green belt for the weekend. Supersis and husband (hers not mine) are on romantic mini-break while we care for fave niece, the Whizz kid, plus her assorted animals. For the record, again, I have over 20 fave nieces.

He-who-must-be-adored is doing the lion's share of animal care. Due to my extended stay in hangover central, yesterday was a blur of dullness on the wagon, and I couldn’t find my wellies. So, last night He put the animals away when dusk had already fallen and the Indian runners (small ducks with long necks) somehow found their way into the Goose House. He came in and told me this and I was not happy. The big white goose is big fat bully. So, a dilemma: I had used my daily criticism quota on yet another laundry lesson (neither denims nor black tights go in with 'brights'). It'd be pushing my luck to criticise He's animal-putting-away-skills. Especially coming so soon after his sweet kindness whilst I was incoherent and losing my way home. Unusually, for me, I fretted quietly as to whether the morning would be spent dealing with the burial of dead runners. How beastly can a fat goose be? In a dark enclosure? Against a small animal? On Friday the 13th?
Finally guilt got the better of He too. Without me saying anything He had his coat back on. Less than an hour later he returned, cold, wet, muddy and triumphant. He'd only had to let all the birds out, separate large from small (god knows how, but apparently the dogs were no bloody help) and put them all safely away in their own beds and sheds. There's clearly more to a happy marriage than laundry skills.

Now we only had the curse of the crazy cat to contend with. She cries to go out. Moments later she cries to come in. She cries for food. She cries for love. She cries for the dog. She cries for I don't know what and the whole routine starts again. Shouldn't have been quite so judgemental when Supersis admitted to chucking a glass of cold water out the window at her. We have only been here 36 hours and already I think the crazy cat is lucky to be alive. There's always the hope that the Hawk might take a fancy to her.

Today is Valentine’s day. Not that I've had any opportunity for romance. En-masse we spent the day trying to use as many eggs as poss, as the super-egg-laying-chickens have gone a-laying-mad. The little-un had pancakes for breakfast, lunch and tea. I had scrambled. The boys had fried. We've got Pavlova for tomorrow. Toad-in-the-hole for Sunday's supper. Still the pile of eggs does not diminish. Worry what this eggy diet will do for Gorgeous Boy's signature kiss/fart thing. Worry why the yolks are weirdly bright orange. I am a Londoner. He-who-must-be-adored is from country stock. He knows his eggs and He says they are just fresh. I prefer the version of country living you get from browsing the pages of Country Living (the magazine). I love the fantasy full of frilly love hearts and lavender cushions. No where in my fantasy does washing shit off the breakfast eggs feature. In fact no where in the fantasy does shit feature at all. Here in the country there is lots.

Thankfully today’s temperature rise meant I didn't have to start the day by marching through goose poo to take a shovel to the frozen duck pond.

As if looking out on all that green land isn't enough of a green fix we decided what we all really needed was a good tramp through Trent Park with dogs and kids. We have some work to do on the dog walking etiquette but that's a whole blog entry on its own. Speaking of ...briefly thought of joining the wimin's blog network but then on closer inspection, thought not. I hope never to write anything that might invite comments like 'You are a strong woman ...I'm sure your experiences will help others'. Am happy being my only follower.

Now off to coax crazy cat back in and think up more uses for eggs - perhaps throwing them at cat? Ooooh can't wait for tomorrow and the excitement of cleaning out the coops. Ah country life!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Missing in action

And I thought yesterday morning was painful! The kitchen boiler went from mis-behaving to all out strike. Hurrah as He-who-must-be-adored stayed home to sort. As I hunt for expensive-boiler-repair-man’s number the garage calls. With a beast of a car the cost of repairs and replacements is truly beastly. As a reaction to these costs He took a hammer to the boiler. It’s working away now. Good as gold.

Then to town. For lunch. With the producer. Getting off the tube I saw someone who looked like the Doctor. But it couldn’t be he, as he has a chauffeur. But the Doctor it was - these are strange economic times. We walked a while together catching up. Then before I know it I text the Producer ‘lunch venue closed. In pub nxt door. Wiv the doctor.’ She was confused. ‘Doctor Who?’ she says. That was the beginning of the end.

Drinking vodka, so soon after breakfast, is something I haven’t done since, well, since I used to work with the Doctor and the Producer!

We said our goodbyes and the Producer takes me down some strange back alley to a basement restaurant. With no natural daylight it is hard know the exact passage of time. I do know she and me hardly came up for air with all the gassing and catching up and laughter. Lots of laughter. And I also know, at some point, the Doctor reappeared.

Fast forward some 12 hours and I am having a Harry Potter moment. I am at Kings Cross station. I know this because the sign tells me so. This is not the Kings Cross I know. It is new and shiny. My platform is old and tatty. All signs point to Paris. I don’t want to go to Paris. I want to go home. He-who-must-be-adored calls and with patience and kindness talks me through a route out of that crazy hell. Never been so pleased to see my man and his dog as I finally fall off the train.

It was a day for history repeating itself: I demanded kebab and chips. The very kebabs I tell the lids are made from devil’s dust and are never ever to be consumed. When on the missing list I missed my boy’s debut for the school football match. I missed the little-un’s pick up. Luckily the teenager’s rugby was cancelled. Luckily He had the day off. So did I. Luckily I am not boring when drunk. Just repetitititititive.

Had a Britney breakfast – if the image that comes to mind is her looking hot in little black shorts, all shiny haired, fully made-up and prancing around full of beans, banish it now. Think more along the lines of crazed psycho mommy and you’re nearer the mark. A hungover mommy is not a happy bunny. Never has it taken so long to make so few packed lunches.

Have had to consume an obscene amount of calories to try and rid myself of this on a boat feel.

Lesson learnt: never trust the doctor and never ever go on facebook after any kind of a sesh.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

It's all geek to me

In these strange economic times, when in the office, I have a little time on my hands. The phones used to ring continuously, interrupting every little task. Now that is a sound so rare I half jump out of my skin whenever they do burst into life. I have given up checking whether or not they are working. The dial tone is there. The customers are not.

I now have time for Internet shopping but not the money. Instead of shopping sites, now I look at blogs, beyond the drivel I spill out. I have learnt how to load photos. Seemingly not a huge thing - but for me it was a major achievement. And it wiled away some hours. I added something ‘about me’ yesterday. Not sure it’s what blog readers want to know but added it is. Realised I know nothing about blog readers, other than the 2 close friends – including my sister! So I’ve added some ‘stuff’ to make this more of a two way street (think that’s the right expression for this kind of groovy thang). Real people can now ‘follow’ my blog. To date, I am the only follower. And that was a mistake I do not know how to rectify. I’ve added a counter too. It tells me how many visitors have come to my blog. It was very depressing to see that I had 1 visitor. I knew it was me, checking out that the counter had indeed been added. In piddling with the position of the counter (so that should I get a visitor they wouldn’t see the low low depressingly low number), I managed to get my count into double figures.

There is no confidence within me that what I’m blogging/doing is in tune with the spirit of the beast. But then I don’t know what the spirit or the beast is. Perhaps if I get some readers, they’ll let me know. There is a very clear link at the bottom of each post saying 0 comments. My readers prefer to wait ‘til I’m up to my elbows in grease before cornering me and commenting.

I know you are supposed to ‘classify’ your blog. I like to think defy categorisation. That’s not true its just pondering the question of where I fit in gave me a headache. Instead I added a click through ad thingy. After some huge number of clicks on the real adverts, (not just my page) I will earn a penny. Won’t be giving up the day job just yet then!

Am v v v pleased to see that setting up that little baby added another 5 page visits to my counter. So worth it.

Now, let's check out twitter.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Art of noise

Growing up with six brothers I’ve pretty much seen and heard every fart trick there is. So Gorgeous boy cannot surprise me with the shooting gun thang nor pull my finger, nor creak floorboards and get a rise out of me. Yet, somehow, he manages to take me to a new blow-off low. He tenderly leans in to kiss me goodbye. ‘Ah, my boy is still gorgeous’ I think. My heart is sunk: he managed to perfectly time his puckered lips with a trumping bottom. With disappointment I find myself stooping to his level: the only way to stop his fart-fest giggles is by name calling: ‘smelly fart boy’ is neither original nor clever, but it does the trick.

Did bottom burps used to be funnier? Or is it my age and part of the wider problem of oversensitivity in the ear department? As if the boy’s bottom doesn’t make enough noise the kitchen boiler has started to do impressions of the Tardis with a weird whirling wah wah noise. I find switching the thermostat right down puts a stop to all that. If only the boy was that easy to control! Temp zero is fine when I’m cooking and on the move but when you sit to eat supper and your fingers and toes threaten to fall off through cold it is somewhat less than fine. Add to that the fact that we have to remember to shut firmly the Nativity Room door before we sit to eat. Not to keep in the floods, but to keep out the superfastspinthing noise of the new washing machine. With the new space age kit the entire Nativity Room sounds as if it is preparing for take-off. Twice daily. Have made note to self to try to remember to turn down the spin dial before pressing go on the 53 different controls.

So, wouldn’t it be nice to think that when the day is done and you can finally slink off to bed, in the privacy of your own sleep space you might be spared the discomfort of any more noise pollution? For complicated reasons nothing ever gets finished properly in this house, thus our en-suite bathroom doesn’t actually have a door. Consequently at about 5am every morning I hear the upstairs boiler kick in as He-who-must-be-adored starts to run the shower.
This morning I was spared that torture as He-who-must-be-adored was having a lie-in. Instead of the usual morning water torture treatment I had my ears assaulted by his phone. Nothing as obtrusive as it ringing. Of course he wouldn’t dare be that insensitive. Just the usual 5am alarm. Plus snooze. Two or three times. Then texting to and fro between He and He’s team. I really had no idea just how loud each letter of a text being inputted sounds when close to your head in the comfort of your bed in the wee small hours. It was a relief when my alarm finally went.

On re-reading this am worried I sound like a grumpy old woman! Because in truth I’m neither grumpy nor old (not much anyways). At least I can draw comfort from the fact that I’m nowhere near as bad as Supersis on her worst days!

Monday, 9 February 2009

We are family

Without wanting to give too much away about the exiting nature of the private conversations I have with Supersis, it so happens that on occasion we will ask each other what each is preparing for dinner. Although blood relations we appear to come from different schools of cooking – she being the queen of the stab stab zing, me preferring to use the cooking space as an escape from the rest of my household and its chores. Yet, despite these differences, more often than I like it happens that we buy the same thing. So yesterday, upon her suggestion, we joined forces with our respective lamb joints, purchased separately and independently, yet roasted and consumed together. So, my family decamps to hers. Her vegetables are pre-prepared. Mine require endless standing at the sink. She does household chores and I cook.

Whilst I was carving (hacking more like) she tells me she has a bone to pick with me: she’s read my blog. As I was up to my elbows in grease I couldn’t run and hide so I racked my brains trying to remember what I’d written that could have offended. I’ve only been back at this for less than a week and already I’m having my bones picked!

I hereby apologise to Supersis for giving the wrong impression and I want the whole world to know. Yes she does live with a lot of animals. But not one single one of them is hers. Especially not the psycho cat. They have all come into her life via the whims of others: her husband, her daughter, her mother-in-law, her brothers, or brother-in-laws. Or they are foundlings and she has become known as an animal type what with being married to one and mother to another animal fanatic. Yet, she cares for the animals, she feeds them, helps train them, cleans up after them, she even breaks the ice on the pond for them (in the morning, before breakfast, as if there isn’t enough to be done, after the cat has poo’d in the sink and the dog pukes up a delightful raw eggs and dog food combo). She wants it to known that yes she does all this. And she more importantly wants it to be known that no animal belongs to her. And, more sadly: no animal is loved by her.

Whilst she ranted on I thought ‘every cloud’. So rather than certain people think I am a stealer of animals I want it to be known that I am the one and only one that bucks the trend in Supersis’s life. I am the first person to take an animal away from Supersis.

For this, I believe, I should be thanked.

Message in a bottle

As my consumption of nicotine disappeared my consumption of alcohol increased from near zero to well over the recommended guidelines. This will be a short lived thang and its only to get me through the worst of the first days, weeks (please not months!).

Usually He-who-must-be-adored sorts out drinks. Not because I am a weak-willed feebly sort of woman, but because he thinks of drinks way before me. On Friday night he was busy, doing that thang that he does at work. Now, I know it is not good form to start boozing before the lid’s play dates have departed, but I’d had an odd sort of week. After a struggle that appeared to last forever, (but was probably less than a minute), the teenager removed the bottle of Cava from my greasy mitts, and more expertly than I liked the look off got out the anti-slip mat. I was past caring, I just wanted a drink. Defeated she handed the bottle back saying ‘it’s a dud’.

Gorgeous boy then sunk his teeth into the cork. When that obviously failed he asked for a sword. Through gritted teeth I shooed him and his friend away (this is not the impression I like to project - whether it is true or not).

After 20 desperate minutes going at it with every thing I could lay my hands on I hunted about for a sword. At this low point, the mother of gorgeous boy’s friend came to collect. I really should have let her in the door before crying about the cork and could she please please please get the bloody bottle of wine open for me. In my defence I have known her for almost a decade so like to think we’ve seen some of the best and worst of each other.

She kindly said I’d probably loosened it up as she de-corked it instantly and expertly. Not for the first time was I left with a feeling of slight inadequacy.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Lessons Learnt

1. Pale pink is the wrong colour choice for winter boots worn in post-snow slushy dog walk.

2. A damp dog will shake itself after a walk in the rainy post-snow dirty slushy mess.

3. Said damp dog doesn’t know the hallway is painted white (whose stupid idea was that anyway?).

4. A damp dog doesn’t know that it is not good form to shake black rainy post-snow dirty slushy sloshy water from her body all over the kitchen cupboards and freshly washed kitchen floor.

5. A floor mop should be rinsed at least a thousand times after it has tried to mop up washing machine overspill containing summer breeze washing powder.

6. If you fail to rinse said mop at least a thousand times when you try to clear up after damp dog you get a sudsy mess.

7. A hard floor washed with hint of summer breeze is a near death trap.

8. The dog does not move out of her bed when the mop is out.

9. Supersis is right to diss the dogs daily.

10. The uplifting mental health benefits of walking the dog in piss poor weather are a short lived thang.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Weather storm

I should be grateful. I married a man that can use the wash machine. After two decades He-who-must-be-adored has learnt: a white wash is a wash of whites only. Glee of the lesson learnt ebbed away: the white mat the dog sleeps and slobs on was in the machine. With my whites! With tea-towels! And underwear! School shirts! What else? The mat was out and the whites back on one of the two washes the old machine can still manage: boil or quick chill. Is this a metaphor for my marriage?

The rain on top of the half-melted-half-iced pavements is snow joke. It was a slow slip-slide-skid all the way to school and back. My first thought at the weird screeching as I returned revealed itself to be the washing machine. It was as upset as I. The Nativity Room floor was under an inch of soapy water. The drum was full to the top. More poured from the door and drawer.

He was enjoying his second lay-in this week (not that we count because he works late into the night ‘saving London’. He does a hard job and he brings home the bacon). I shouted ‘HELP FLOOD’. He flew down the stairs in the dance that only the freshly woken from a deep and pleasant sleep can do. Followed by the headless chicken routine while I fetched more towels (this was an emergency and more towels are always needed).

Amid a blur of frantic mopping and moving an extraordinary large amount of stuff from the smallest room in the house I made mental note to self to sort this crap out. Then the volume of He’s ranting filtered in….

“Why do you have such weird hygiene rules? Is it just to cause upset? Why do dog blankets have to be washed separately? What difference does it make if they are getting sloshed in water? This is all your fault! It you weren’t so weird that wash wouldn’t have been re-done. This would never have happened during my first lay-in in ages (Monday? but we don’t keep scores). Why are you so controlling with your stupid rules? Why can’t canvas shoes be worn in the snow? Why can’t shoes go on the table? What is that whole weird dishcloth/floorcloth differential”.

There was more. With expletives. At a high volume. The tipping point may have been his discovery of my stroppy note written when I thought it’d be a good 18 hours before our paths crossed again about did he not know the dog blanket wash rule for HEALTH (underlined and capitals) reasons?

I can’t remember what else was shouted. It wasn’t pretty. In my defence I didn’t use as many expletives as He. I was not the first to raise my voice. I soon after threw in the towel (mop actually even though it wasn’t doing much as there was just too much damn soapy water).

And, it was NOT with a clear calm voice that I said (and I am paraphrasing here) “we could support each other and clean up the mess together. However due to your inappropriate language and behaviour you will be doing it on your own”.

I stomped like a grumpy toddler. Slammed the door. Over-revved the car. And off to work I went. This is all within minutes of his waking. This is all before his morning coffee fix. This is all 3 weeks after we both decided we would be free from nicotine.

Tonight peace is restored. The old machine is gone. Bbecause of an underwire from my underwear it was my fault. The new machine has a control panel a small aircraft would be proud of. No more wiggling the door to make it work. It spins on every wash you wish. The drum paddles don’t fall out after you do towels.

Sensing the tension the dog stayed in her bed ‘til I returned from work for the school run. I am over the snow fun factor. I don’t appreciate being mistaken for a ski-er at decision corner: even though my arms were outstretched and I was dragged along the ice by the dog.

‘I suppose you want an apology’ is not actually an apology.

He-who-must-be-adored is trying. He took the night off. He cooked supper (a curry dish I’ve always expressed a dislike for). He collected the little-un from Rainbows. He walked the dog. He got the laundry up to date. He is trying to fix the family pc of it’s jinxed crashing problem.

I welcome the new day.

Puppy love

After 12 years of the constant whencanwegetadog mantra, we surrendered. We did research. Puppies are cute. But untrained. You wouldn’t let an unsupervised nappyless toddler crawl about the place. Would you?

Serendipity stepped in. A new puppy came to live with Supersis. So they had a dog too many. We had none.

For the record, I didn’t ‘steal’ a dog from Supersis, We came to a more formalised version of the existing arrangements of dog sharing. They still have visitation rights especially when we have gallivanting to do. In exchange we’ll look after ALL their animals when they are off and about. I think it’s not quite a fair exchange as they have goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, dogs, a psychotic cat and hawk (not so sure about the hawk). But the dog lives with us so I'm living with it.

Now Supersis has a half wild puppy and we have Princess Josephine, a trained six year old pretty blond thing. Am quite surprised how quickly the doggy love has grown, in a totally healthy way. Obviously. Although am worried at the number of doggy conversations I’m currently having. Especially as Bestmumchum told me I was boring her with all the doggy talk.

The dustbin lids are happy. They don’t see any frustration in newly washed floors instantly covered in muddy footprints and blond hair. Since Mr Supersis explained the power of the doggy treat behind the thumb trick she’s behaving ever better for me. She’s pretty good at sticking to my side. Except for when we get to decision corner. We have the daily battle of the lead as she tries to pull me towards the doggy heaven park and I attempt to pull her towards the hell of the school gates and the noisy hub-bub of 600 lids and carers at the end of a day. Today was worse for the fact that the lids have been treated like caged animals with matching behaviour – that’s the power of ‘elf n safety’ in the snowy aftermath. Am only slightly jealous of how many friends and fans she has at the gates – people I’ve been nodding to for years now happily do doggy chat with me.

The dog continues to behave princess-like. In the morning I open the door: she sticks her head out and if it’s cold or wet she will not go out, no matter how long since her last visit. Sometimes she won’t eat her doggy food, although this is easily resolved with a little something human in her bowl. As if doggy food alone is beneath her.

I find myself worrying whether that’s normal for a dog. God a whole new field of neurosis for me. Now I’m afraid! I’ve done a whole blog on the dog. Am I in danger of turning into one of those dodgy doggy types? Yes, she is a kind-a baby replacement. Yes, I am always prepared with a placky bag. Yes, I do talk to her. But I think there’s hope. I know she can’t talk back to me and I’m not yet wearing a waxy jacket with sensible shoes covered in dog hair and spittle. And, as yet, the dog and I bear no resemblance. Although they do say blondes have more fun….

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ain't it thrilling?

The last time it snowed was a revelatory moment for me. Whilst the world and his dog tobogganed and gamboled in the snow I was a misery. I spent the day be-moaning: the river running through the house, the cold, the endless damp pile of clothes, the cold, the extra laundry, letting the heat out, the danger, the cold and all that malarkey. That was then.

So when the first fluttery flakes started to settle on Sunday night, the little-un was ordered out of her jarmies, to wrap up, get outside and bloody well enjoy herself! So keen was I not to re-visit the hum-buggery of my past that I made an executive decision that even if the schools were open, if this proper, powdery snow settled my dustbin-lids would not go to their institutions. Warm childhood memories made on a snow-day-home-day are more important than anything the fun-killers could attempt to teach whilst keeping them caged inside.

Monday morning we were up and dressed with whatever was to hand. No teeth nor hair were brushed. No faces washed. Biscuits for brekkie then out the door. Has the parenting pendulum swung too far from the hum-buggery past towards the present is a gift to be ENJOYed at all costs?

With the excuse that the path needed to be cleared we started the snow man pile under the constant bombardment of snowballs. They do hurt. They do sting. They are cold and wet. No matter how many times you say ‘no headshots’, your head continues to be pelted. A humbug I am not. This was snowy fun.

My ‘live for the moment’ happy parenting nearly crashed and burned with the teenager accusing me of ruining her life with my hateful rules. I fought the instinct to shout back in true toddler tantrum style ‘don’t ring me to take you to the hospital with your broken limbs, or frostbitten toes’. Instead, I said ‘You can go out and play with your mates when you put some dry non-canvas shoes on’.

Later in the park we laughed at the giant snow penis, the pathetic assortment of make-shift sledges, the groups gathered behind giant rolling snowballs, the snow walls behind which snow-war-balls were built and fired. Our blond dog up to her muddle in snow.

Londoners are not known for their friendliness but when it snows ain’t it thrilling? It brings out the best in people. We smiled and laughed with strangers. Passing people asked if they could photograph our snowman. Now I know the country nearly came to a standstill, schools were closed, rubbish was not collected, accidents happened, the economy is in enough trouble already. But it snowed. And we was happy :)