Thursday, 26 March 2009

Five minutes peace

Should be packing. I’d rather have five minutes peace. In order to have two days off, I’ve crammed the effort of a whole week into my day. But now am on top. Almost. Except for the fish. I haven’t the brain space for them. Am sure they’ll survive.

Have called in favours from the world and his wife. Just to cover the three dustbin lids and the moulting mutt. Luckily Supersis is not known as Supersis for nowt. Although I don’t think she knows the half of it now the Teenager has a busy social life. With ever-changing details.

The last time I sloped off to see He-who-must-be-adored in the so-called sunny city, it was the coldest weather in 40 years. The rain in Spain falls mainly not on the plain, but in Madrid this Saturday. Sunday morning the clocks spring forward, and I have a lunchtime flight.

He rang tonight. With a slight slur he said he is sitting outside a bar in a cotton shirt. I got caught in the torrential downpour today and got soaked down to my underwear. I am still to pick up from Rugby, dump the dog and pack.

Have never felt so like Eyeore.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Was gonna write about the weird and wonderful folks I have met since dog walks became my life. Now am too spooked: since 10/02/09 the number of visitors to my blog has been 666.

'Nuff said?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Walk away

Trying not to lose heart with the walking. Tis not easy when He-who-must-be-adored is sunning himself/working overseas whilst I play single parent 24/7 (will I find time to unwrap Sunday supplements before bin night?) I failed to create an energy gap. I did up my energy use. But my appetite upped itself. After a week of walking endlessly I gained a pound. Am happy my lungs are cleaner without the fags, but am stretching the elastic allowance of my clothes beyond their limits. I thought I looked bad when I had only one extra belly!

Hurrah for the fish have arrived! The little-un loves them. And their poop. We get a running commentary: poop length plus how long it takes to disengage from their bodies (and I thought my life lacked excitement before!) The boredom abated briefly when they started doing bubble tricks at the surface. We have a geeky Teenager. She read the fish book. She said we were being entertained by fish gasping for air. Through lack of oxygen in the water. Whoops. We immediately performed an emergency 50% water change (with expensive de-clorination of course). As directed by the Teenager. I know it’s wrong but I miss the cute little gasping motions. The Teenager told the little-un she had to be more responsible. (at this point I walked away to deal with laundry). Or else the fish might die. (She’s a teenager so allow dramatic licence.) The little-un said ‘I’ve never touched a dead fish. I’d like to try’. Should I worry? Perhaps the goldfish police were right after all.

Today was a double grumpy day. It’s Monday. Not only did the sun not shine, but I got drenched. I’d forgotten just how horrible that damp feeling is (not to be confused with the other non-horrible damp feeling, though I can hardly remember it).

Speaking of…He-who-must-be-adored was supposed to sort out the chicken coop for Spring. It is spring. We have no chicks. We have no coop (just plenty of dog poop!) The real reason is our disagreement: I want a small two-hen thang. He, being male, wants some Peckingham Palace effort. That involves major groundwork. That involves He being around. Perhaps it’s a stalling device as He doesn’t want to spend his rare days off dealing with chicken shit as well as all the other shit I save up for such days. So I drive to Supersis for fresh eggs. This weekend I try a new egg recipe: crème brulee. The little-un says it tastes like tinned custard. Why do I bother?

I just caught sight of a Sunday supplement heading: 'birth with multiple orgasms' – they can go straight to the recycling bin this week. He-who-must-be-adored very nearly didn’t survive the birth of our third child – because I very nearly killed him.

Which brings us on to Mothers Day. Not much cause for celebration: my mother is long dead and buried and He-who-must-be-adored hasn’t forgiven his mother for a miserable childhood. Whilst He was sunning himself overseas my day started with the little-un prizing my sleeping eyes apart to admire her hand-made handiwork of a card. This was at least two hours before my eyes were ready to open. I then endured/enjoyed cold toast and tea as breakfast in bed, whilst reading my cards: ‘we’ve turned out OK, so you must be a good mum’. Faint praise indeed.

Could be worse. We could be living the life of my forensic friend: her little-un puked in the car. She left puke and weekly shopping-filled car at home with Mr Smutty whilst she did volunteering work for the benefit on her little-un, even though her little-un was too poorly to attend. Upon her return she finds the sun had been shining strongly on the car. And the puke. And the shopping. Mr Smutty had neither emptied nor cleaned. His poor excuse: dealing with a poorly little-un. Plus even smaller twins. Plus Granny. Who had fallen. On her face. Ouch! Needless to say my forensic friend didn’t respond to texts nor calls. All day.

Am hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Walk this way

Have been marching the local streets and green spaces for five days now. Too early to see any physical benefits yet. But am certainly feeling something. Bleeding knackered I think. Surprised how easy it’s been to fit the walking in. Then again we have had completely unseasonal gorgeous weather. Would it be so easy to nip out with the dog in the rain or snow? No, obviously not. This is clearly going to be one of those short-lived faddy things which I shall try and enjoy/endure whilst I can.

Haven’t done much in the way of writing though. Am fearful of using the dustbin lids as blog fodder since the ‘my son is a druggie and I’m gonna make money’ story broke. The mother also authored the Guardian’s ‘living with teenagers’ column. The one I used as a yardstick – and smugly thought we’re not as bad as them. Yet! But then mine are a bit younger. I will stave off the smugness a while longer. Added to that Gorgeous Boy was grumpy with me for writing about the tin man costume. Me thinks he’s turning into a grumpy teenager and any excuse will do. I put effort into making it, so I’ll take the credit. But it made me think. Should I respect their privacy a little more?

I concluded probably. Yet…my blogs are dull enough, without the lids? Let’s take yesterday: He-who-must-be-adored left to save London before I awoke and returned after I went to bed. (Not much relationship fodder there then). How can I be sure he came home? Little tell-tale signs: the lion’s share of the duvet was on his side of the bed this morning; some dirty clothes and an empty red wine glass had appeared overnight. Whilst He was out I walked, catered, taxi’d and provided cash and laundry service for the ‘others’ that live in my house. I went to work during the school hours. I walked some more. More than 11,000 steps to be precise. Who cares?

So back to the lids. I stupidly believed letting a dog live with us would satisfy the pet cravings of my youngsters. Clearly I was mistaken. This has always been my kid theory: give them an inch and they take a mile. This weekend a certain small person wore us down with her logic. She still has Christmas cash that was burning a hole. It’s lasted this long because we’re teaching the value of money. After some long hard thinking she decided a goldfish would not be wasteful. A goldfish is a good thang. The goldfish police think otherwise. She frugally chose a bowl, some un-naturally coloured gravel, and a net. He-who-must-be-adored had to be restrained (by me) from buying into the whole lighting filtered effort. (Who needs the money/value lesson?) So off to the tanks we trot. Except, apparently, these days, you can’t just buy fish and tank on the same day. You have to de-chlorinate the water (at more expense). For at least five days!

When I was younger I won a goldfish at the fair. My father said it wouldn’t last long so I was not to waste my money on a fancy tank (clearly he wouldn’t have wasted his). It lived in a pyrex dish (a fairly biggish one), with no interesting features, on the windowsill of the downstairs toilet. I never cleaned or fed him. Somebody else must have because he lived to be the oldest goldfish in town. There was something strangely soothing about sitting in that small room watching him swim round and round the pyrex. But Mom was very pleased when he eventually passed on so she could have her dish back.

Now, we sit on the sofa admiring the water bowl and un-natural coloured gravel. No fish. Tis neither soothing nor interesting. A bit like this blog. Thank goodness it’s not long ‘til fish on Friday.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Shock shock horror horror

Changing the habits of a lifetime appears easier than previously imagined. Or else aliens have stolen the brain of He-who-must-be-adored. It’s not that I have no faith. I just thought the towel would be thrown in on the second night, as per usual. But no, to my shock and horror, He’s taken this weekday-wagon seriously and returned from a ‘do’ last night…sober! Apparently, and this is the real shock shock horror horror: a pint and a half was enough!

I, on the other-hand, think the night-cap is the only way forward. To my delight I no longer have to cope with less fizz as I discover mini-bottles containing under a glass and a half. A perfect night-cap limit surely? Even better still, the tiddly bottles are currently to be found on ‘special’ offer. What more could a girl want?

No longer a smoker. A low-level drinker. I’ve even been going to bed early (and not just in night-cap desperation). It’s the eating to be tackled next: the weekly weigh-in shows a substantial post-fag gain of 19 pounds. I’d rather not buy a whole new wardrobe (even though the wardrobe is the only thing I can comfortably wear right now). And I’d rather not be destined to a life of elasticated waist-bands. Drastic times and all that leads me to conclude that I need to create an ‘energy gap’. Shock Horror: I really need to move my butt more. Gave myself a severe talking to, plugged into Paul McKenna for a brain retrain (aka lie down) and came up with a new regime brimming with positivity.

Although a journey begins with one small step and all that jazz, I just don't think you can go straight out and shake it all about. I got myself a plan. And obviously the plan demands proper equipment. I know I have previously owned at least 3 pedometers (I come from a long-line of gadget lovers). But He-who-must-be-adored is sometimes left alone in the house. When alone he either tidies (his stuff) or dumps (everyone else’s stuff).

A new pedometer was needed before I could start: I must have taken at least 2000 steps before I found one. I’ll keep the price to myself just in case He-who-must-be-adored ever reads this…these are, after all, strange and unusual financial times (we are still broke). But, oh, have I got a whiz-banger of a piece of kit. Now I really can back up my bragging with numbers: ordinary steps, aerobic steps, kilometers marched, and weirdly calories consumed. I presume this is piss-poor translation as how can such a small device be so clever as to know what I’ve consumed? Really really hoping it means calories burnt as today’s ‘consumed’ level doesn’t cover my pre-breakfast snack. Anyways, as I’ve invested so heavily I feel obliged to ensure cost per use ratio pays off. So now I march about like a madman, sometimes dragging the dog to keep up my ‘healthy heart’ target.

Yesterday I broke through the healthy heart barrier and achieved the aerobic fitness target, almost making it to the ‘energy gap’ level (despite niether myself nor the little electro-sucker knowing whether I stuck to the recommended daily intake). But, even in my ever-the-optimist mode I can’t see that one day counts for much. So, this morning, instead of sitting sipping coffee my forensic friend and I marched. Am hoping if I keep this up my not-insubstantial chest will, once again, stick out further than my belly. Just like we know it should.

For added calorie consummation I’ve worn the old tigger-type MBT shoes. As they say, every little helps!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

First Night

The first night was the worst. Without the sedative effects of alcohol, He-who-must-be-adored had trouble sleeping. What with the creaking floorboards, the neighbours, the dog’s noisy dreaming and the little-un climbing aboard. He escaped to her bed. She’s refusing to accept the difference between a reading light and a night light. Consequently in her bed He feels like He’s slumbering under a search light.

So, on the shopping list is yet another night light. And a new bathroom door. Actually it’s an old door. That matches the bedroom door. Therein lies the problem - a failure to match anything up to our old stuff syndrome. Without a door I hear the boiler kick in just before 5am. Just after that I hear He-who-must-be-adored getting ready. I am drifting back off when the Teenager thunders in for her shower. By 6.30 I give up the ghost and rise to take my lack of sleep out on lunchboxes and laundry.

Unsurprisingly there is a weariness about the Weekday Wagon Day 2. Yet at 200 calories a glass and our fear of angry liver syndrome we are determined to keep going. He-who-must-be-adored is home in time for tea. Hurrah. But not necessarily in the best of moods. He’s in busy mode. Again. And wants to know, unreasonably in my opnion, why there was a vase-sized Vat on my side of the bed. Err…because we are on the wagon with the exception of night caps!

I persuade him to take the dog out. I cook, although I am not eating. I am having supper with my girly-fab-mob. I should have plated a small portion for myself. Instead I hover and hoover straight from the hob. The left-overs enjoy a similar fate. Don’t you just hate waste? On the road to my dinner date I plan to stick to water. I am defeated by the open bottle of fizzy already on the table. As a driver I have only one and a half small glasses. And a good night out was had by all in less than two hours. Upon my return home all was quiet with everyone abed. I pour my nightcap. A first for me: the same bottle of fizzy in the fridge since Sunday. It tastes foul. But I take it upstairs anyway. I check on the little-un. She is sound asleep. Arms above her head she sleeps in the surrender position with the reading light trained directly on her face. I point the lamp to the floor and hit the sack.

Everyone stays in their beds ‘til this morning. He-who-must-be-adored says He feels worse than He’s felt in years. Mmm my plan is working.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Dry Lines

When the Teenager brings me tea in bed at daybreak I think she is lovely. I do hope she never learns that it takes a whole lot more than tea in bed for me to agree to a Monday morning bunk off. It was a great start to a new week.

And a new chapter. He-who-must-be-adored and I are jointly on a weekday wagon. Because of a small incident last week. I can't decide what's worse: using the dog’s needs as an excuse or my need for an excuse? The development of an emergency alcohol run is hardly one my life’s finer moments and is not something worth bragging about. Not on a blog anyways! But hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! Last week the dog and I walked the emergency bottle home. After walking, a bottle of the fizzy stuff is best left alone. For a wee while at least. But this was an emergency. And the best laid plans…sadly the majority of the fizz didn’t make it into my glass. Before I could enjoy even a sip I was wiping the wastage from walls and cupboards.

It stank of come-uppance. So onto the weekday wagon we climb.

He-who-must-be-adored conceded that since finding freedom from fags He, like me, may just have gained a little extra weight. And, giving up liquid calories could be a good thang. He only drove me slightly mad tonight by keeping himself busy. He attacked the everything drawer in the kitchen. You know the one. It contains everything. But nothing of worth – those things have proper homes. I do not like to be quizzed on the contents of my drawers. I do not like to play Mastermind with my un-chosen subject of the last time certain objects came in useful. Or not. And I do not like to admit that yes, dammit, I do need all those thangs. At all times.

Not much later...apparently when on the weekday wagon, according to He, it is perfectly acceptable to take a nightcap to bed. He went to bed early tonight.

Thank goodness for small mercies.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a penguin. And a Tin Man. The penguin was happy. Even though she had to walk like a geisha girl. She loved being penguin. She is not Pingu. She is penguin.

The Tin Man was not so happy. He didn’t like the silver stuff his Mommy tried to smear on his face. It tickled. The Mommy gave up with the face-smearing. The Tin Man did not want to go to school. The Mommy told him not to be so silly.

The Tin Man walked in quite a self-consious way. It was difficult to be inconspicuous: with the silver funnel on his head he stood at almost 6ft. He walked like Boris Karloff. Thermo lining is a reflective substance. It was a sunny morning. He glistened like a star. That he is.

The Tin Man worried he would stand out. He had a point. On the walk to school he didn’t see any other dustbin lids in costumes. That was the cause of some concern. In the distance ahead, we saw some furry ears. Apparently that’s not unusual and means nothing. We saw some lids behind carrying plastic bags. The Tin Man wanted to know why he didn't bring his Tin Man-ness in a plastic bag? Because then the Mommy wouldn’t have been able to gaffa tape him into character. A couple of passing cars almost crashed when blinded by the sun reflecting off the shimmering Tin Man and the geisha -walking penguin.

A kind nice parent would have stroked the Tin Man’s ego and said encouraging words. But his Mommy had put time and effort into that bloody costume so he was not going to be allowed to rip it off half way down the road. Even if the thermo leggings were tickling his bottom and he was unable to walk properly because the silver shoe cover thangs were making him trip. You didn’t hear the little penguin moaning about having to walk weirdly? No because she was entering into the spirit of the thang.

The Mommy knew she shouldn’t have ranted. The Tin Man tried to hide his sadness beneath his tin chest. She felt bad and squeezed his silver hand. This made it worse. The nearer they got to school the more small children started to stare. And point. And laugh. Eventually someone said ‘brilliant’. Finally the Tin Man smiled. It nearly broke the Mommy’s heart.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Thermo, Tin and Other Things

Against my atheist instincts I pray its cold tomorrow as the Tin Man is materialising from General Purpose Thermo Wrap. Every cloud … after tomorrow The Tin Man will be recycled behind our radiators. As Peter Pan would say ‘Oh the cleverness of me!’ Currently awaiting further cleverness on what to do with the General Purpose Thermo Wrap. That Boy had better be grateful.

To the Junior institution this morning to complain. It seems a small matter but to Gorgeous Boy it is becoming a big thang. At 11 years old he is already almost 5 foot 8 so most of his classmates look up to him. As do the majority of the female teaching staff. He handles the kids cusses and is happy to have a bit of a reputation as the Cuss King. However he knows he can’t use this particular coping mechanism on teachers. Especially the short ones. They say ‘you are too tall’, ‘stop growing’, and my least favourite: ‘what is your mother feeding you’. This is already a sore point between us. I don’t want the Risotto thang coming up again, so to speak. I do not put baby bio in his milk, nor do I put him to bed in a grow bag. They wouldn’t dare make comments about the shapes and sizes of other kids. I am extremely grateful to have Tallestmumchum to talk to about the insensitivity of it all.

Again, against my atheist instincts, let us pray that the Tin Man will not be mistaken for the Iron Giant tomorrow.

Now I really need to get on with the tin.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

London Calling

London must be in a sorry old state as He-who-must-be-adored has been so busy saving London He’s hardly been home this week. He treats this place like a bleeding hotel. Now I know the keeping of scores is not the mark of maturity. But, dammit. I am what I am and I want it known. For the record. That’s the second week in a row I’ve done the bin thang. This is not the deal I thought we had.

Moving swiftly on: surprisingly, Postie managed to deliver the secondary school letter in time for afternoon pick-up. Unsurprisingly, given the sibling policy, Gorgeous Boy will be joining the Teenager at her school next September. Sadly, but again unsurprisingly, there are a lot of disappointed Year 6 parents. The majority got a local school. Just not one in their top five. Fortunately, by a freak of fate, the Teenager’s school wasn’t all that when she started. So she got a place easily. Since then, driven by a new Head, its star has been on the rise. Would like to think it’s because of my Teenager. Ha! I know we was just lucky: this year almost 1400 kids applied for 240 places. Is this not a bit of a crazy situation?

Unfortunately, Postie didn’t do as well with the book club: my book was a tad too big for the letter-box. Usually he sticks it in the recycling bin. This time he re-routed it to the depot. The not-so-local depot. The not-so-local depot that is only open for a few odd hours. The very same few odd hours that the parking restrictions outside apply. The very same not-so-local depot that will refuse to give me the parcel addressed to my husband (he opened the Amazon account) as all my ID is in my maiden name. Just because I couldn’t be arsed to write a few dull letters when we first got married (alongwith a deep desire not to have the same name as my mother-in-law). So me and He have different surnames. He also hasn’t confirmed on the social networking site that He is married to me. I wonder is He trying to tell me somefing?

Yet, this week I have started to use my married name. But only on social networking sites. I lay the blame with my fave eldest neice. The one that still has the same name as me, because the lovely boyfriend still hasn’t made an honest woman of her. Even though they have two dustbin lids! Anyways I find I am questioned about thangs. Thangs I have no recollection of saying or doing or posting on social networking sites. Thangs my eldest unmarried fave niece with the same name as me (you know who you are) has posted online. I have moments of worry: was I so high on bubbly that I didn’t know I was bored – there was me thinking I’d had a good time. What the hell would I want with a waxing client? Why was I cross border living? My hair is already short. Isn’t it? Despite what it says I said: I feel quite well. The whole thang has been a bit too vivid an early insight into living with Alzheimer’s. And way way way before my time. So the married name it is. Oddly, given that my dustbin lids have both our surnames, the Teenager likes to be known by her father’s and Gorgeous Boy by mine. The little-un is too young to make choices.

My least favourite aspect of Gorgeous Boy starting his online life is his critique of my gastric attempts. Master chef has a lot to answer for. I really don’t appreciate my chicken risotto being rechristened ‘Risotto Horrible’ online. For all to see. Will carefully plan my revenge.

Aha! His World Book Day costume. So far we have hat, and cardboard clock and poor attempts at shoe-cover-type-thangs which in all probability will be destroyed by the time we walk the half mile to school. So of a more pressing nature is the unfortunate fact that there have been no (none whatsoever) developments on the Tin-Man costume front since Monday evening. I should spend tomorrow in a tin-man sewing and/or spraying frenzy. What will be sewed or sprayed? I am not yet certain. But Gorgeous Boy is expecting a costume to materialise by Friday morning. At breakfast tomorrow I shall point out that if he continues his public and negative critique of my cooking, I just might, very publicly, let him whistle for it.

My reality will be the day spent rumaging in make and do mode. Hmm so pleased about the penguin.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Hey Mr Postman

Thanks to Royal Mail we now have one penguin costume. With 3 days to spare. And it fits. It was tried on before breakfast. At the point in the day when there is so much spare time! What we don't have is the secondary school letter. I did not complet an online application so I can not check the website. By 7.00am it had crashed.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sex, socks and secondary schools

I read on Facebook that my teenager is now ‘in a relationship’. This explains the increase in phone credit usage and why no-one can get through on the home phone (it's usually only Supersis that tries). It explains why the friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy now features in every conversation. When not msn’ing or ‘phoning or texting, the boyfriend is here. Or she is there. The upside: I am mostly kept sober as I can’t bear either of them getting the bus in the dark. Equally unbearable is them in the den. In the dark. Apparently watching TV. The little-un has had a lot of errands to run in there.

To supersis’s on Saturday. On an egg hunt and it’s not even Easter yet. The pesky Bantum chickens keep finding new places to lay. The little-un found 17 eggs in the goat house. Wonder is fairy liquid the best substance to remove shit from eggs? It works. But is it ethical or organic?

Paid the price for being out and about on Saturday by Sunday spent tackling laundry mountain. After trying 4000 different settings on the new washing machine I discover programme 5 fits all: with adjustable temp and spin button. Secretly get v frightened of the top spin speed. It sounds like the Nativity Room is preparing for take off. On the upside there are no more torn t-shirts or single socks. That’s a lie. There are always single socks because a) the dustbin lids think it funny to fire dirty socks like missiles (the target is never the laundry basket) and b) all three insist on never ever wearing pairs. No matter that much of my life is wasted on sorting socks. Pairs pairs are ripped apart as if the wearing of matching socks is some sort of crime against ...against feet?

For some reason, only understood by the smallest in this house, the little-un has been asking for a penguin costume for the longest time. With World Book Day this week I relented and ordered one from t’net. Panic is on lowest setting for post office doing its thang and delivering by Thursday. I have a back-up plan. It is crap. But it is a plan. It involves lots of bandages. However Gorgeous Boy, for his last year at primary, wants to go all out on the costume front. So far we have home made hat (He-who-must-be-adored sprayed funnel silver and nearly gave us all asthma attacks in the process) and shoes (silver fabric overcoat for trainers) for the Tin Man. Am hoping inspiration for his middle bit will come over the next 48 hours.

Also, eagerly awaited in tomorrow’s post is Gorgeous Boy’s secondary school placement letter. Am assuming he’ll get place with his sibling. Second-time round have found it easy to avoid the Year 6 parental hysteria. Assuming the sibling thang will work. Assuming the post office will deliver tomorrow. Assuming haven’t got to do the hideous appeal thang.

Hmmm ….think both my mental health and this blog might benefit from getting out and about a bit more!