musingsponderingsandrants

Parenting, profundities and humour

Adulting…it ain’t all that.. — December 7, 2018

Adulting…it ain’t all that..

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‘So,’ Eldest said this morning, ‘What are you going to do on your day off?’

Well son it’s like this.

First I am going to go in to school (in the rain as it happened) to hammer out an agreement on which netball matches your sister can miss next term so she can at least step onto a football pitch.

Then I will probably tackle the weekly round of scraping dried on shit stains off 3 toilets and cleaning mine which of course still smells of roses, collect an obscene amount of almost but not quite empty shower gel and shampoo bottles, sweep finger nail cuttings off window sills into the bin (why do finger nail cuttings end up on widow sills? it flummoxes me), remove layers of toothpaste off every available surface so that you can all take great sweeping spits at the mirror later to put them all back, remove around 20 used toilet roll tubes and then try to remember which child said they needed them, presumably for some ‘fun’ Christmas homework or other, shine sinks so that your father can shave his head onto at least 2 of them during the weekend covering them with a plethora of tiny little hairs, fight back the tide of hay that seems to migrate from the guinea pig corner into every other pigging room in the house, put muddy shoes outside, hoover the stairs which get miraculously filthy even though NO ONE is supposed to wear shoes upstairs. Etc.

At some point during this process Sainsbury’s will arrive with over a 100 quid’s worth of food which will probably last until, oh I don’t know, Sunday? And I will spend a good half an hour trying to resurrect crisps that have been helpfully placed in a bag under the 5 kilos of potatoes, unpack so many bags of said crisps it is obscene and try to work out how to fit all of it in the fridge. If I am lucky it might be the fit, friendly young chap dealing with my returns. But it is more likely to be Mr Miserable.

Oh and then I will do all the admin for all the week which I no longer have any time to do including trying to work out who is where on Saturday morning and at what god forsaken hour I will have to arise, filling in Scout camp forms, updating Pitchero, and ensuring we don’t go overdrawn.

I will wade through the 6, yes 6 separate sport’s kits that were left in the washing basket (or indeed on bedroom floors, on chairs, on the floor next to the washing basket) last night and which are covered liberally in mud, sweat and quite possibly blood and which without fail are inside out.

I will take delivery of numerous parcels as Christmas arrives from Amazon. And again wonder where to put it. I will wrestle with my conscience about not sending Christmas Cards this year…due to a lack of time rather than any environmental values.

I will attempt to start 2 tax returns, determined not to leave them until January again, but I will no doubt be confounded by on line banking and call centres.

I will drive to Sainsbury’s to buy all the missing items from my on line shop and take the umpteen billion empty bottles to the bottle bank which will no doubt be full.

I will move your cereal bowl which I have absolutely every confidence you will leave on the coffee table after breakfast rather than putting it in the dishwasher…

‘So nothing fun then?’

‘Well I will eat a whole family bag of Tyrell’s Salt and Vinegar Furrows for lunch, because I can’…

Adulting, it ain’t all that…

 

 

 

Bad news…buses…idioms… — May 13, 2018

Bad news…buses…idioms…

bad news

Bad news always comes in threes. Doesn’t it? Or maybe bad news is like buses…nothing at all and then loads all at once…

It was hubby’s birthday on Wednesday. He had to work. I had a Governor’s meeting in the evening. We were going to pass like ships in the night. We decided to postpone his birthday until Saturday.

I decided to book us into a nice steak restaurant. On our own. This hasn’t happened since, well probably 2010. It was due. Youngest agreed that she felt comfortable being left for the evening with Eldest and Middlest. Result! No babysitter required.

I booked the restaurant and got the last table at a slightly earlier time than I had wanted but still beggars can’t be choosers.

My mum came round on Thursday. I had to pop to town for something. She wanted to look for summer weight trousers. We had one of those shopping expeditions when all the planets align and everything you try on fits and is in your size and colour. We spent a fortune. I replaced the 4 pairs of shoes (probably c 2004) which broke last summer. And got some new tops. And some new swimsuits. And some new sports bras. And hoped I didn’t look like mutton dressed as lamb in any of them. My mum said otherwise. But then she would. She’s my mum…

I decided to wear one of said tops and a new pair of rather gorgeous nude heels to our night out. Well it was his birthday.

Of course it was raining cats and dogs and so the overall look was going to be slightly ruined by the waterproof coat. But never mind.

Just as we were about to leave I noticed a damp patch on the landing floor. Weird I thought. I went to investigate only to be dripped on through the light fitting.

Up to the loft I went in my new top, my rather gorgeous nude heels and a head torch to discover that yes, indeed, my roof was leaking. Copiously.

Suddenly leaving the kids alone for the first time for an evening didn’t seem so appealing with the possibility of ceiling collapse or indeed a fused house. Still hubby wedged a washing up bowl, to my mind rather precariously, amongst the insulation and we set out.

We had a lovely meal. It stopped raining. The meal was unfortunately taken up in part by a contratend on the best way to deal with the leaking roof. I was hoping it was a blocked valley gutter easily solved by our lovely gutter men. Husband thought the whole roof was likely to need replacing. Glass half full versus glass half empty. Either way it was added to my to do list. But hey that was Monday’s job. There were virgin mojitos to drink and crème brulees to eat.

We got home and all ceilings, electricity and children were intact. We decided to deal with the washing up bowl in the morning and let sleeping dogs lie.

In the morning I headed up to the loft again, this time more appropriately dressed, to retrieve the partially upturned washing up bowl. Some water had indeed been collected. Quite a lot actually. Maybe I had been barking up the wrong tree and the gutter wasn’t to blame after all.

Whilst I was abluting I heard mention of ‘cakes’ and ‘House decorating competition’. Some time ago the boys had mentioned to me that they had put their names down at school for the House Cake Decorating Competition. Seriously who dreams up this shit. I had decided to cross that particular bridge when I got to it.

Apparently they had also agreed to make the cakes to be decorated. News to me. I had certainly arrived at the bridge, and it needed to be crossed.

Do not worry we will make them, they trilled. With what, I retorted. So we had to add ‘going to Sainsburys’ to the list of unappealing jobs to be done today which included revision, getting Middlest’s glasses straightened, trying on clothes and ensuring Middlest had the kit required for his imminent school outwards bounds trip, grass cutting and weeding .

Eldest then got a call from his mate and disappeared out calling back as he slammed the door that he would be home by 5.30… not sure when you will get that cake made then son.

The rest of us went to town for lunch and to go, yet again, to the opticians. I have been there so often lately I feel they should name a chair in the waiting room after me.

Wanting to kill several birds with one stone and with Middlest’s glasses duly straightened we nipped to Go Outdoors to replace some outward bounds type kit that sprouting Middlest had outgrown. During the trying on process he accidentally bashed me in the face bending my glasses… another trip to that optician’s loomed. But not today. Please not today.

Best foot forwards to Sainsburys to buy cake ingredients… just as we were about to enter the shop I noticed 7 missed calls from my husband who left town after lunch to drop Youngest at a play date and start the jobs which involved the garden.

Seven missed calls seemed quite high on the ‘urgency’ scale so I bit the bullet and called back.

Eldest had had his bike nicked from outside the cinema in town. He had locked it up along with his mate’s bike to a bike rack but some toe rags had come along with bolt cutters and half inched them. Leaving the boys stranded in town. They then spent an age talking to staff at various premises (who told them there had been 3 other bike thefts that week…might have been nice to put a sign up to that effect maybe?) and calling 999 and leaving messages for the closed Management Suite who deal with the CCTV.

Strictly speaking it is husband’s bike. Eldest out grew his bike about a year ago and it has now been passed down to Middlest. He hasn’t got a new one as he is sitting on the fence about what brand, type, colour of bike he would like next.

So now as a family we are down 2 bikes. Plus we had dealing with the police and insurance company to add to that unappealing list.

Eldest’s mate’s dad had brought them home and Eldest was prevailed upon to mow the lawn. He then got the starter pull cord tangled in the blades. His happened when Middlest and I were in the middle of baking the first cake of three. To be honest it felt like the last straw.

I didn’t really need to deal with petrol and mangled lawn mower starter cords at just that moment. Not really. Once I had the cord unwound from the mower blades the mower thankfully started again although the smell of burning oil was quite unappealing as it wafted in through the open kitchen door. Luckily I don’t need to eat that cake.

Anyway to cut a long story short it is now 8pm.

We have a crime number which we obtained after Eldest gave his account of the situation to the police who rang back whilst we were eating our roast dinner which I certainly wouldn’t have planned to make had I known about the cake baking fest.

I called the insurance company whose out of hours operatives took some details and promised me they would call back tomorrow. I’ll believe it when I see it.

The last cake is nearly cooked. The other 2 were too small for Middlest to pipe soldiers around the edge of (your guess is as good as mine) so this one is a monster and taking an age to bake.

I don’t even know where to start with the roof. I tried to have a look to see if I could see a loose tile by bouncing on the trampoline but had to stop pretty sharpish for reasons best left unsaid.

I’ll be back to the opticians at some point. Like a bad penny.

Serves me right for buying nude heels. Who was I kidding?

The Change… — May 2, 2018

The Change…

menopause

Here is another post that I have deliberated about penning or not. It is up there with Let’s Not Skirt Around the Issue– which incidentally remains one of my most popular blogs of all time- however it is raining here, it feels like December, I have a half eaten bag of Liquorice Allsorts to finish and the only alternative is cleaning. Or binge watching Outlander. This feels more productive. But possibly less fun.

Deep breaths then everybody.

I am a woman of a certain age. 48 to be precise. Therefore I have experience of being a woman. Quite extensive experience. And it is safe to say that being a woman sucks on many levels. And one of those levels is the beginning, middle and end of one’s reproductive life.

Currently I am grappling with the end. For those of you possessed of a penis (you lucky, lucky sods I am envious, really I am, seriously you don’t know how lucky you are- what have you had to deal with?- really?- a bit of shaving (if you feel like it- it isn’t even obligatory especially in November- it is more obligatory for me apparently which goes beyond unfair)- the occasional knock to a vital area causing extreme discomfort- and – and- no, that’s it – get over yourselves) I should may be explain.

For some considerable time, when I was happily producing reliable levels of oestrogen, I was labouring under the illusion that I would have a few hot flushes and maybe put on a bit of weight and then that would be it. The menopause would be done. No more periods. It sounded quite attractive. I would be done with the Feminine Hygiene aisle. The years of debilitating cramps and bloating would be over. I could go swimming whenever I wanted. Calendar watching and forward planning would be done with. I would no longer pull something unfortunate out of my hand bag whilst buying tiffin in Costa. I would caper gaily in meadows neatly eating baguettes with my new dentures and going on cruises.

Oh yes from the mire of PMT it all looked quite beguiling.

But no, the end of one’s reproductive life as a woman (and let’s not forget here that a man never ends his reproductive life, ever, he can remain potent up until the day he drops- again beyond unfair) has stages. And those stages can take years.

When I went to my GP about my severe breast pain (I am not a hypochondriac but even I thought something may be up) he quizzed me on the when this occurred and once we had established it was cyclical he put it down to hormones. But, I asserted, I have never suffered from this pain due to PMT before. Well, he patronised, as a woman ages her PMT symptoms often change. He also suggested I might be peri-menopausal and suggested I go away and look it up.

I think I have mentioned this GP before. I can’t remember where, I have had a bit of a look but it escapes me. So I can’t link it. Sorry. Anyway I found this whole consultation deeply annoying. After I had resisted the urge to punch him I trotted off like a good little woman with my frankly debilitating breast pain and googled the peri menopause.

I wished I hadn’t.

So here is the gen. I had my terminology wrong. The menopause hasn’t happened until a woman goes without menstruating for a whole year. The run up to this when the ovaries start producing less and less oestrogen is called the peri- menopause and can take up to 10 years. Seriously. 10 years.

There are all the classic symptoms. Hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, mood swings.

But there are others. I had spent the previous 6 months gently worrying that I may have early onset dementia. But, no, my inability to remember words, what happened yesterday, my kids’ names, how to make macaroni cheese is also down to the peri-menopause. Seriously. It is called cognitive decline. Who knew oestrogen played such a role in braininess? Well certainly not the other half of the population. And I guess it just backs up the old adage that men think with their… well whatever.

The literature suggested I try Sudoko. My god. I hate Sudoko. I thought I would blog instead. Maybe I should track my vocabulary usage and see if it is declining as I make my weary way through this never ending desert of the peri-menopause.

My perky fitness instructor recently attended a training course to learn to deliver menopause exercise classes (not something she is going to need for herself for an annoyingly long time). Apparently one does a lot of weight bearing lunges (to combat bone and muscle loss and CV decline) whilst counting backwards from 100 in sevens. Once she had outlined this at our group circuits class yesterday she diplomatically asserted that she wouldn’t need to run that for our class anytime soon but that we could ‘do it for fun’ one time if we fancied. Meanwhile I was stuck at 93. She could start running them for me tomorrow as it happens.

And then ‘mood swings’ doesn’t really come close. Homicidal mania may be more appropriate. Seriously there are days in my ‘cycle’, normally when merely dressing is agony, when it is best to avoid me. And I certainly wouldn’t recommend asking for the whereabouts of your glasses or open the new box of cling film wrongly or alter the height of my desk chair. Not unless you want to be killed with a spoon. Slowly. I think this is nature’s way of ensuring men cop for some inconvenience. It’s about time.

I don’t think I get hot flushes. Yet. I am feeling the heat more though. Weirdly I am having arguments with my husband that the house is too hot. Those that know me will find this distinctly odd as I am usually cold. And I still feel the cold. But not at night. Or first thing in the morning when I wake up feeling like I am sleeping in the desert because hubbie has had the temerity to turn up the thermostat to 18.5 degrees. I might buy him flannelette pyjamas.

And then there is hypermenorrhea, a technical term for bleeding like a stuck pig. Many, many women get this in the run up to the menopause. Heavier and longer periods. Great. So now for 2 days a month leaving the house gets difficult. Thanks for that. A right kick in the balls. If I had any. So in order to stop having periods one needs to have worse ones. Is it just so we remember forever? Is the body having one last ‘hurrah’ at our expense? Whatever it is deeply unfair. Deeply.

There are other symptoms listed which I am not going to go into personally as you may have to leave the room… such lovely things as vaginal dryness, loss of libido, incontinence (maybe I won’t have much time out from that feminine hygiene aisle), loss of bone density, a decrease in cardio vascular function, muscle loss, insomnia, worsening of PMT symptoms, fatigue, depression.

I look forward to running the gauntlet of these over the next 5 years or so.

But I guess the hardest thing in all of this is that realisation that soon (if not already no one can tell you in any given month if you have ovulated or are just having a period for ‘fun’) one will be redundant evolutionarily speaking.

Facing the end of one’s ability to birth children, whether one has had them or not, through choice or not, whether one wants more of them or metaphorically runs screaming to the hills at the mere thought, can be hard. More than hard.

So again the penis owning ones amongst you spare a thought for your wives, mothers, daughters and sisters as they ride this particularly scary and frankly not fun at all rollercoaster to old age.

And if any one suggests (especially in those homicidal 7 days a month) that I will be reborn after the menopause into a golden age of my life where I will have much to offer free from the burden of my own fertility I will tell them to fuck off. Seriously. You have been warned.

Early to bed, Early to rise… — June 1, 2017

Early to bed, Early to rise…

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There are many unnerving and frankly annoying things about owning teenagers. And I speak here as a mere amateur as I currently only own one teenager who is at the very early stages to boot.

I can only imagine it will get worse. Watch this space…

But perhaps the issue I am currently finding it the most hard to adjust to is the fact that he never goes to bed. And then won’t wake up in the morning.

This is somewhat of a departure from the norm. If I had written this blog anytime up until about a year ago I would be bemoaning the fact that Eldest woke up every day at 5.30am. In fact this was the pattern of his childhood years. He always believed that morning began at this ungodly hour and could not be persuaded otherwise. Despite trying all sorts. Clocks with pop up ears. Black out blinds. Baby whispering. Lavender. Etc.

When he was in a cot we used to ignore him by means of putting pillows over our heads. But even so we had to resign ourselves to the day beginning at 6am when his clamouring became too insistent to ignore.

Once he was in a bed (shortly after Middlest was born) all hell broke loose on a daily basis as he rampaged around the house waking his brother and demanding attention. In the end I put a stair gate on his bedroom door to contain him until a time I considered to be morning. Basically anything starting with a six.

So for many years my day began at 6am. Even when he started school and got more biddable he still woke early but was able to keep himself amused until getting up time of 7am. But I was still awake because as every mother knows once the child is awake so is the mother. Even Saturday and Sundays began at this hour although husband and I would take it in turns ensuring one of us got a lie in until around 8am.

Even as an older child on holiday having been allowed to stay up late to attend the disco or karaoke he would still awaken bang on time at 5.30am. Maybe after a week of such late nights his body clock may have shifted a little bit but generally he would just get tireder and tireder until he was begging to go to bed at his usual hour.

For the flip side to this early rising was the fact that for those many years all my kids were in bed asleep by 7pm. The bedtime routine began straight after tea with bath and milk and TV (I have very fond memories of In the Night Garden; how I miss Makka Pakka and his OCD stone piling) and stories (often the same one for weeks at a time- The Little Red Train being one of them) and then straight to sleep. This gave me around 3 hours of solitude. At least two of which I could spend how I liked once chores were accomplished. And yes I had to brush their teeth and wipe their bums and dry their little bodies and tuck them in. But all that could be achieved in the knowledge of the peace and solitude that awaited me downstairs. Oh and the sole custody of the remote control. And possibly some Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips. Once I had started on tea it felt like I was on a downwards slide towards those three hours and how I craved them.

Times have certainly changed.

So for instance tonight I am writing this on my I pad upstairs in my bedroom.

Eldest has commandeered the front ‘adult’ room to carry on with his Arrow binge watch. Youngest had on some American teen rubbish in the family room and so I had retreated to the garden to enjoy the sun. Then Middlest and Youngest decided to come outside to boot a ball around in my general vicinity, Middlest having stopped browsing for new hockey sticks for long enough to be persuaded outside by his sister. So I retreated back inside only to have the teen rubbish put back on once the ball had been booted over next door’s fence for the billionth time.

So I have come up here. For a bit of peace.

I am lucky if I have them all dispatched to bed by 9pm and then Eldest rather begrudgingly so. I know eventually he will be going up later than me. But I am still in mourning for those three hour evenings. I can’t quite let them go. And so I still force him up ‘early’ so I can have the one hour that still remains to me. Which often turns into more than that. Which is a pretty bad idea as our day still begins at 6am. For totally logistical reasons.

And now waking him up that early is almost impossible. Sigh.

So to all those parents of young ‘early risers’ and ‘early to bed’ers enjoy it while it lasts. Enjoy those evenings. For they don’t last forever.

 

I Told You So… — March 19, 2017

I Told You So…

sockets

Today a thing happened that hardly ever happens. My husband was right.

I made a big thing about being magnanimous about it. To be honest it happens so infrequently that I thought I ought to be big about it and make a point of telling him how right he was.

My husband and I are both the sorts of people that are always right. Well obviously I am the person that is always right but he believes he is the person who is always right too. To be honest it sometimes makes our relationship a bit… fraught. Maybe we both should have married other people who aren’t always right. But we didn’t. In the first flush of love maybe we didn’t realise that we both always had to be right. Or maybe it didn’t matter. After nearly 17 years of marriage I can tell you it is something that people should ask themselves. Before getting married.

If we were also the sort of people who shout and storm our relationship could be quite fiery. But actually we are also both gentle (and not so gentle) seethers. So there we are a lot. Gently seething. And being right.

For instance after we moved into this house we bought fitted wardrobes for our bedroom. We spent a very very very long time with the designer from the wardrobe company one evening whilst he talked through our requirements and showed us the frankly mind boggling array of wardrobe insides available and then drew (mind blowingly slowly) scale layouts of our bedroom and new wardrobes. Just when we thought he had finished he said that he needed to go over it all in pen and would be another half an hour or so. It was getting perilously close to my bedtime and to be honest I wanted to get into my slobby tracksuit bottoms and lick the chocolate off the top of my evening digestive and he was somewhat in the way.

The drawings he produced reminded me of the graphic design module that I did as part of a rotation of arts subjects in the year before picking my O level options. I had toyed with taking it before plumping for Fine Art. Just think I could have had a successful career out staying my welcome in strangers’ kitchen diners having discussed their underwear storage requirements. What had I missed?

Anyway after this prolonged experience another guy came out to check the designer’s measurements in a more scientific way (an engineer in wardrobes I believe-another career that has slipped through my fingers) and tell me that we would need to get our downlighters capped off. The lovely designer had failed to mention this.

And then we had to empty the entire room and sleep elsewhere for three days whilst a further man hand built the wardrobes in my bedroom. Don’t get me wrong I love my wardrobes (although I should not have gone for the shoe rack….it only works for high heeled shoes of which I have precisely one pair) but the process was long and turtuous.

Despite being involved in this long winded and tortuous process my husband has always been convinced that our wardrobes were built by Neville Johnson. This is wrong. We purchased the wardrobes from Sharps.

He was vehement in his claims. About a year later when my mum was moving house we visited a Sharps showroom to get ideas for her new fitted furniture. There, in the showroom, was a display of our wardrobes. I took a photo and a photo of the shop front (because otherwise he still would not believe me as he clearly thinks I am capable of claiming to have been in a Sharps showroom when actually I was in a Neville Johnson show room as if I had the energy for such duplicitousness). He still did not believe me.

When my mum got her quotes for her furniture I dug out our invoice to see if the prices seemed reasonable. I left it out on the side so my husband could at last see the error of his ways.

When I got back from whatever I was doing he had stuck a piece of paper over the Sharps logo and written on it ‘Neville Johnson’. It would be funny. I suppose. To anyone else.

There have been countless and I mean countless other occasions when I have been right, I won’t bore you with them all here. But for the sake of balance I should perhaps explain what he was right about today.

The Christmas before last, our first in this new house, I treated myself to  a set of 400 outside lights with which to adorn our frontage. My husband is not a big lover of such ‘tat’ as he calls it. But the kids and I are. And we outnumber him quite considerably and I had hooks and a hammer.

I came to set up the lights and was disappointed to find that there were no electricity sockets in the garage in which to plug said lights. I toyed with using the hall sockets but that would have led to unsightly wire strewing and created a trip hazard. And even I was not up for that.

I mentioned the lack of sockets to my husband who claimed that I must be mistaken as he could distinctly remember, on one of our viewings, the previous male occupant  of the house being in the garage building model aeroplanes and using a desk lamp. I countered that maybe he had misremembered the desk lamp and that in fact the overhead light had been on. We both gently seethed. I think husband came out better in this scenario as we were tacky-lightless over the festive period and indeed the one after.

Soon we are getting our front garden landscaped which is a complicated process which has involved tree surgeons and will involve lead pipe replacers and a landscaping firm. Husband is buying an electric car (the two are not related) which also involves getting electricity to the outside of the garage.

In order to get the new water pipe laid and the electricity point put on the garage I needed to make the garage accessible. And so today, after wheeling ten tonne of felled tree logs round to the side of the house, Youngest and I set to.

First we had to get all the stuff in front of the trailer out. Our lawn was strewn with football boots, kindling, camping fridges, wine, bikes, scooters, balls, extension leads, hose pipes etc.

Then we hauled out the trailer. I needed to re pack it so I could get the water proof cover back on so it could live on our lawn for a couple of weeks. The repacking was necessary after a couple of years of me hauling random stuff out of it (such as the air bed pump and folding chairs and matches and unbreakable crockery for Cub camps) and then just repiling such items back on top in a kind of Jenga fashion.

Then we had to tackle the back of the garage where the new water pipe and electricity point need to come in. The stuff that has lurked mostly untouched behind the trailer for nearly two years and been partially covered by a layer of cardboard discarded from on line deliveries. We moved roll mats and surf boards and boot bars from cars we no longer possess and crutches (left over from husband’s broken foot c 2007) and camp beds and power tools and dinghies.

And there behind one of our many tents (I believe the four man or it could have been the two man not sure) were a couple of pairs of sockets.

So husband was right. He had correctly remembered that sad man modelling in the light of a desk lamp. He was probably hiding from his wife. Who was right about something.

Anyway I get the last laugh.

Twinkly lights at Christmas.

 

 

Pants*…. — December 18, 2016

Pants*….

pants

*Before we start, and for the avoidance of doubt as many of my readership are Americans (bizarrely), pants in this context refers to undergarments or as you like to call them shorts, which everyone who speaks proper English knows are actually trousers with short legs worn in hot weather or all year round if you are a postman or a small boy at a fee paying school, preferably without socks but then us English are not renowned for our sartorial elegance. Oh and it also means Damn! or Fuck! or Bother! depending how crude you are…..

So I am a lady. As many of you know. And as a lady my life is ruled by cycles.

Before you all run screaming to the hills this is not a post about my menstrual cycle although my god that needs writing. Another time. Oh go on then just a bit now. I have piqued your interest I can tell. See the thing about menstrual cycles, other than ruining your life for forty odd years, is that they have their own macro cycles too. Just as you think you have the whole bloody thing down it changes on you. So over my thirty odd years (please lord let it be over quicker than in another ten) I have run the gamut of all the symptoms of pre menstrual syndrome. Or as it should more accurately be called ‘most of the month other than the four honeymoon days in the middle’ syndrome. From excruciating cramps to spots to depression to sore boobs to clumsiness to homicidal mania.

Mostly the homicidal mania is directed at my husband, poor thing. Although he has just bawled me out for buying the wrong ‘Coronation Cream’ for the Christmas cake. To my mind the word cream implies a pourable fluid. The stuff I can remember putting on tinned fruit cocktail as a child. That is evaporated milk. Apparently however what he actually needs for his grandmother’s Christmas Cake Recipe is condensed milk. Which isn’t pourable. And is so sickly just to look at it makes me want to, well, stick my finger in and suck…. and yes I shop for these ingredients every year. But hey only the once. So I think I could be forgiven for getting it wrong. The whole ‘husband makes the Christmas cake with the kids’ saga was adorable when the kids were two. It gave me an hour off (as the only things I were required to contribute were lining the cake tin and washing up every baking implement I possess) if I could ignore the screams of ‘no put the flour in the bowl not on the carpet’ emanating from the dining room. Now I don’t find it so adorable as the kids have to be surgically removed from their electronics and fight over who does what and husband rearranges their decorations after they have done it, much to their disgust. Anyway I had a stir and made my wish. Not sure my wish was that seasonal. Frankly he deserves my homidical mania.

I went to the GP a few years ago because I thought I was going mad or had early stage dementia. He assured me it was just my hormones. I was in the homicidal phase at the time and he was lucky I didn’t lean over the desk and lamp him one as he sat there all smug with his constant and unfaltering testosterone quietly circulating around his nervous system. I could only hope his prostrate would give out and wipe that sanctimonious ‘my god not another hormonal women thinking she is going mad’ smile off his face. He did a blood test. I wasn’t ‘perimenopausal’ (in the run up to the menopause). Oh god. I still have all that to come. It was just your average common or garden hormones deciding to change how they interacted with my body. Again. Just because they could. Bastards.

So anyway this post wasn’t about that cycle. Other cycles affect women too. Kids for instance. They have cycles. Phases. Sometimes they are adorable. Sometimes they are not. One tries to be understanding when one’s sons are dealing with a testosterone surge (apprently 7,  10 and obviously at puberty) or when a toddler wants to do stuff they can’t and vents her frustration on the nearest safe adult. Which is me. Always me.

But to be honest with three kids all quite close in age there never seems to be a time when we aren’t in a difficult phase. I think I remember about 6 months a few years ago that were quite pleasant.

Then there is the seasonal cycle. Which seems to revolve ever faster. Each has their own challenges. Currently we are dealing with mud and darkness. Perhaps my worst combo. Although the twinkly lights of Christmas keeps me from plunging into complete depression. I save that for January. When the mud continues to flow and the darkness seems to never abate. I long for summer. And then in summer I resent all that suncream.

Then there is the largest cycle of all- age. There is nothing good about getting older. No really. People who say that are trying to make themselves feel better. Forlornly. It is bollocks.

Anyway what cycle did I really want to talk about today. I’ll tell you. My lingerie and hosiery cycle.

Do you not have this? Maybe you are the sort of lady (or gent, let’s not be sexist) who regularly clothes shops for oneself and throws matching lingerie into the mix. I am not one of those. I have a cycle. Like all cycles it seems to be getting shorter. Maybe because the quality of lingerie and hosiery has gone down. Or maybe because I cut my toe nails less. Who knows?

Anyway I am currently at the ‘all the pants and socks I possess have holes in them’ part of the cycle. This means that sometime soon, when I can no longer avoid putting my big toe through my sock by swapping the socks over and having the hole at the small toe end…because that end too has a hole, I will have to go shopping.

I will go to Marks and Sparks. Like most people. I was slightly worried recently when M&S announced they were going to downgrade some of their stores to food only. I imagine the one in our town will be one of those. Then what will I do? I really think they need to sell underwear in their food shops. The statistics of how many people by their undercrackers at M&S is quite phenomenal.

Anyway whilst I can I will go there and buy a couple of multi packs of knickers. In any colour except white. White is a really bad colour for pants. They never stay white. Best to go for bright or patterned.

Before I set out I must try to remember to read the labels of my current pants (that is if they are still readable after bazillion goes through the washer. Interestingly I think my current pants might be older than my current washer) to avoid that ‘buffer face’ look I often get in lingerie departments.

For there is a bewildering array of styles of pants. Often called names that help not one iota in your decision making process, names such as tangas and high legs. Really. And no I don’t remember what I bought last time. And my kids are now too old and too easily embarrassed to reach into my jeans and pull out the knicker label. They did that once for me. Eldest may need therapy.

Anyway I will write my current style and size on a piece of paper and put it in my handbag. Size is important too. I am often overly optimistic when buying pants. Is there anything more shameful than going to a Customer Services counter and having to swap a pack of size 10s for size 12s?**

Then I will throw in a couple of pairs of socks. I am able to remember my shoe size. It is less variable than my arse size. But not socks with days of the week on. I bought those once for Eldest and it set off his OCD. I favour black with maybe an animal print. As I won’t do that in lingerie. Too racy.

And that will be me set for another few years, quite how long is uncertain. As I have no idea when I last went.

By then I will be picking them up in the dry goods aisle. If M&S has any sense.

**More clarification for Americans Size 10 in the UK is actually quite small….just saying…

 

 

 

Things What Make My Life Easier… — October 9, 2016

Things What Make My Life Easier…

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This is a piece about first world problems. There is nothing deep and meaningful here. Sorry.

Last week I took delivery of a new dishwasher. Those of you who count yourselves amongst my oldest and most loyal readers will know from a blog entry back in the depths of time (well Summer 2015) that my old dishwasher was, well, pants. If I could be bothered to trawl through my old posts I would give you a link here for those that are keen. Or at least keener than me. But I am not. Bothered that is.

We inherited this dishwasher from the previous owners of the house. Along with dodgy electrics and a leaking downstairs loo. A couple of viewings and a survey are never enough are they? To fully identify all those little ‘quirks’.

Anyhoo it has never worked. Quite how bad it was has only really become apparent since I took delivery of my new dishwasher.

I bought it from a local Euronics dealer which my children call ‘the plug shop’ as it has a giant smiling plug on the roof, which lights up at Christmas and is joined during the festive period by a blow up snowman and Santa. As such I already liked this shop before I even set foot in it. I like shopping local. And independent. And they were happy to provide a man called Steve to fit the dishwasher in for me. There was no way I was going to rock up at some appliance superstore and buy one to fit myself. No siree. We don’t do things like that here. I will plumb in washing machines if I must. But I draw the line at integrated appliances .

It being an independent retailer the brands on offer included some I had never heard of. I was still in mourning for my Miele dishwasher which I left behind at my old house in favour of my current piece of built in crap. But they didn’t sell those. The salesman said he had something almost as good. At around half the price. And it had a cutlery tray. One of those things that makes life easier. Is there anything more horrible than trying to drop food encrusted cutlery handle down into a cutlery basket? Well is there?

I had never heard of the make- Blomberg. I have heard of Bloomberg and was momentarily confused until I spotted the missing ‘o’. The company is apparently German. Always a good start. I know, I know I should buy British. But really one cannot beat a German appliance. Plus it came with a 5 year guarantee as these missing ‘o’ people are so confident in the durability of their product. They haven’t met my kids yet.

We went for it. I balked at waiting 3 weeks for the lovely Steve to be free to fit it. Until husband pointed out that we had been living with ‘top basket falls out when pulled, smells constantly of curry, moves dirt from plates onto glasses, sounds louder than a Jumbo jet’ for over a year. Fair point.

Anyway Steve over delivered and turned up 3 days early. I could have kissed him. But that would have been a bit ’50 Shades’ and also embarrassing if I had to call on that missing ‘o’ 5 year guarantee. I could just imagine all the chaps in the shop laughing over him having to return to ‘so excited about getting a new dishwasher three days early she kissed him’ woman. So I restrained myself.

It was a good idea I did get this lovely chap (and he was quite lovely) to sort the fitting for me as as soon as he tried to remove the old dishwasher things started to get a bit hairy. In such a way as the ‘cupboard’ door it was attached to was ‘not right’. The side panel of the end run of my units was actually glued to the side of the old dishwasher. The cupboard next door was a bit rotten and so had extra longs screws holding on the hinge which would have scratched my new lovely dishwasher and needed replacing. With a bolt. Etc. God I hate this kitchen.

Steve was not happy with the outcome of his fitting. The door levels are uneven. I have no side panel anymore. The kick thingy doesn’t stay on very well. I couldn’t care less. The new dishwasher is awesome. It easily rivals my Miele. It has passed the ‘porridge stuck to bowls left in it all day’ test. It has passed the ‘mashed potato’ test. It has even passed the ‘reheated macaroni cheese dish’ test. My glasses sparkle. It has reduced the amount of hand washing-up exponentially.

It has really made my life easier. And more joyful. I actually look forward to opening up the door, once the little red light projected onto the floor has gone out signalling the end of the (very long) wash cycle, to discover how it has tackled my latest challenge. And, yes, I love that light. It is so cool.

This got me pondering on other things I have discovered that make my life easier, more joyful, better. So here you are. In case you are interested.

  • Baking parchment circles. Before I discovered these little circles of loveliness, and once I had returned them to the store and exchanged the 9 inch ones for 7 inch ones, who said men are the only ones who over estimate size?, cutting out rounds of baking parchment to line cake tins was my least favourite baking step. No more! I merely smear my insides liberally with Stork and pop in one of these beauties and get onto mixing. Genius.
  • Not ironing. Nothing is ironed in this house. Well that is not strictly true. Husband occasionally irons something. I have been known to iron a Beaver Scout necker before life got too hectic to care about the state of one’s scouting children’s neck ware. But generally nothing is ironed. I hate ironing. It hurts my arm. I send out my husband’s shirts to a lady who does like ironing , for cash (my god that makes me sound SOOO middle class, but hey I am so there) and everything else is merely hung up straight from the washing machine to dry. No one ever comments that I or my children look unkempt. Maybe we do but if no one says it what do I care? Life is quite honestly too short.
  • Cutting chicken breasts with scissors- I know it sounds nuts. This was my little brother’s idea passed on to me via my mum. Cutting up chicken breasts, to make a curry or some such delectable dish that at least two of my family will love and two will declare inedible, with a knife is a ball ache. Well not actually, as I don’t possess testes, but you know what I mean. It could have something to do with the sharpness or otherwise of my knives, but even so. Bro suggested using scissors instead. It has revolutionised my life. Again not quite but it certainly makes butchering more bearable.
  • Avoiding moving dust- you can’t see it unless you move it. Or the light is unkind. As it is when it shines on my (annoyingly badly installed) kitchen black granite worktops. But in dimly lit spaces unmoved dust is virtually invisible. Giving me back hours of my life.
  • Delay timed washing machines- I love my Miele washing machine which I consoled myself with when I had to leave my Miele dishwasher behind and my old Bosch died in the move. It has a delay timer. As do a lot of models. And so every morning I wake to a drum full of freshly washed laundry ready for the line. Simples.

So there you have it. Some solutions to my first world problems. Try some if you like. Especially the no ironing one. Go on I dare you. Or at least stop it with the underwear already. OK?

 

 

 

Putting A Brave Face On It… — August 16, 2016

Putting A Brave Face On It…

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I recently went in to Boots (other pharmacies, that also sell other crap such as photograph albums and kids clothes so that there are hardly any staff left on the actual prescription counter meaning you have to wait days for your child’s asthma inhaler, are available) to restock my face creams.

It may come as a surprise to some that I use face creams. I do not wear make up. Anyone who knows me personally knows this. Why not? Multitudinous reasons. My mother didn’t wear make up when I was a child and so I never ‘learnt’ to apply it. Or more accurately I never learnt to ‘need’ to apply it. It didn’t figure in my parameters of being a women. I can’t be bothered to get up earlier to make time to put it on. I similarly lack the will to take it off at night. I do not know what ‘palettes’ suit me. And frankly I can’t be arsed.

There may be many people wandering around catching sight of my un made up face and inwardly cringing at my gaucheness. But then equally I walk around seeing people at the gym or next to the swimming pool on holiday in full make up and think- you muppets. So touché.

But I do use face cream. This desire started in my twenties when I first started to get a few laughter lines. The fact that I panicked quite so wholeheartedly at that point is now frankly laughable as laughter lines etch into wrinkles and my neck acquires a droopiness that no amount of foundation would disguise. Oh the naivety.

But anyway I started on the road of face creams. I began with Body Shop stuff. Seduced by the tangle haired founder’s claims of naturalness and lack of animal testingness and other such stuff.  Once everyone caught on to this particularly welcome band wagon I switched to Simple. It was cheaper.

When I had my first child I decided all this political correctness and affordability was all well and good but what I needed now was something that actually worked. At the time Boots (don’t forget other such stores, with appalling customer service and overly made up beauty counter assistants who scare me, are available) was heavily advertising its new No 7 miracle creams. They had actual scientific evidence that wrinkles were reduced. Beautiful models glowed radiantly out of posters. I hadn’t heard of Photoshop, the IT troglodyte that I am. And so I went in to purchase some items.

At the time my age, general skin type (normal) and lack of skin problems landed me firmly in the Early Defence range. Well I wasn’t really firmly landed in that range as it was designed for 20-35 year olds and I was 34 at the time but the counter assistant I discussed it with knocked a few years off my age and I was too flattered to contradict her. This hasn’t happened since. And anyway, I argued with my inner voice, I was still within that age range. Just.

I nearly had a heart attack at the pay desk. This stuff is seriously pricey. I was so overwhelmed I was suckered into a Boots (remember other stores, which so overstock their shelves with ‘gift sets’ at Christmas (which always contain a product the recipient will never use, in my case body lotion) making it impossible to locate the Savlon, are available) store card. The points I amassed buying day cream, night cream, eye cream and serum entitled me to a small cruise. Well I exaggerate but I did get a free tube of toothpaste.

Anyway I religiously began to apply said creams. Well when I say religiously I mean as often as I remembered/ had the energy/ had the time with a squalling new born.

The next five years passed in a whirlwind of babies and nappies and toddlers and bone numbing, aching tiredness. I must have replaced those creams occasionally. I certainly remember graduating to the  35- 45 years cream Protect and Perfect Intense at some point. Whenever I say that in my head I always shout the ‘Intense’ part out louder. Not sure why. Maybe it makes me feel better about the even larger price tag. Presumably this cream has more of the ‘stuff’ in it that 86% of 83 people believe reduces their wrinkles. Seriously can’t they ask a few more people. It is not like Boots (remember other stores, which smell the same wherever you are in the UK and always hide the dental aisle very comprehensible, are available) isn’t some international company.

Anyway I must have replaced those creams as some more free tubes of toothpaste came my way and some very welcome two for one vouchers courtesy of that reward card. Which of course I can never find when paying. It is usually under the Costa card. Which says a lot for my priorities.

I started applying it more regularly as I came out of the fog of early motherhood. And it has an SPF factor of 15 which makes me feel better about walking in the sun.

Before our holiday I needed to replace my night cream. I knew that on holiday after my daily ‘post sea and pool’ shower my skin would feel tighter than …a very tight thing (I thought about being coarse there but thought better of it- my father reads this blog) and would need generously smearing with that night cream.

I approached the right area of Boots (remember other stores, that coyly call tampons feminine hygiene products, are available) and dodged the over eager, foundation plastered, twelve year old assistant to grab my night cream. She wasn’t to be deterred. She was determined to ‘assess’ me. Flustered and in a hurry to get back before the school chucked out for the day I rashly provided my actual age when she enquired. Rather than politely and yet assertively asking her to eff off.

She then politely and assertively told me that I needed their over 45 product, upper age range not specified, called Lift and Luminate. I sheepishly took down a bottle of this magic elixir. And paid yet more money at the counter. Presumably it has yet more of that ‘stuff’ in it. I thought they might offer me a discrete brown paper bag to wrap it in, such was the shame I felt. But then these people are used to selling feminine hygiene products, condoms and haemorrhoid cream and so are immune to customers’ embarrassment.

I took it home. The vessel that contains it is a soft purple, the smell is faintly ‘old ladyish’ and yet perversely I quite like it. However I am yet to feel Lifted or Luminated.

Oh god age is a bitch.

 

 

 

 

Why Are There No Aspirin in the Jungle? — August 11, 2016

Why Are There No Aspirin in the Jungle?

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Because the parrots eat em all….

That is one of my all time favourite jokes. Along with What is yellow and dangerous? Shark infested custard.

Say the former out loud if the punch line escapes you.

Anyway we have reached the penultimate day of our holiday. Here in sunny Portugal. And today we will be spending a portion of our time searching out analgesics.

We did not rashly arrive without pain killers. I always pack a selection of drugs which includes paracetomol, nurofen, Migraleve, Immodium, rehydration salts and insect bite cream. The digestive portion of this list is possibly a hangover from my early forays abroad when water and food was less reliable than it is now. None of us have had the squits on any of our family trips abroad. But of course if I didn’t pack them then we would all come down with raging diarrhoea. (I have tried to avoid using this word as it is impossible to spell. And I can’t even get near enough for auto correct to guess at it. I had to look it up…) Probably simultaneously and explosively.

So I had pain killers covered. And I had liquid versions for the kids. But we have run out. And here are the reasons why.

On our first day, which was cool, as I did mention in Wind Up, we went along to ‘family football’. There were a few reasons for this. One the football pitch is the only amenity on this entire resort that our villa is close to. Everything else is at least a kilometre away. Breakfast. The sea. The pool that we like. Reception. Lunch venues. I didn’t wear my FitBit here. Which was a mistake. Merely getting to the dining hall racks up 1000 steps. I would have been quids in.

Secondly the hour long daily session is free. Not much else is. We paid a small fortune to come here for two weeks. And we are paying amother small fortune staying here. We thought taking advantage of the free activities wise.

Three it sounded fun. Family football implies a safe, fun, non competitive activity for all the, well, family.

Four. My kids love football.

So off we went. Relishing the around twenty steps to the pitch. Which is a sandy all weather type surface.

Well the Harrrisons (for that is us) formed a team and also took on a random Irish person to help out. It is safe to say that ‘family’ football is a slight misnomer. There  were plenty of lads and dads. But also a few random teenagers with and without footwear, an extremely competitive coach, and myself and Youngest the only people on the pitch without a penis. The dads where without doubt all failed Ronaldos living out their broken dreams thrashing the pants off four year olds and a woman of a certain age. Go them. I am sure they felt better about themselves after they had Pana’d that toddler.

We did OK though. We play a lot together so know each other’s strengths. OK OK I have bigged this up. Daddy and the kids play a lot together. I watch a lot of them playing so know their strengths. At one point I heard a member of a team who were sitting out mention that we were all a family and had chemistry! I puffed up a bit at this and toe punted the ball to the opposition so destroying any credibility I had built up. Anyway we did OK. Won 2 lost 2.

I think it was during the second match that husband fell over a teenager (I think the teenager in question may have been the one playing in bare feet, nutter) and landed awkwardly on his foot. I didn’t really notice because I was busy defending at the time but it did strike me as slightly odd that husband played in goal for the last two matches. Thus loosing all chance of nutmeging a four year old.

Anyway we came off at the end. Once I had got my breath back and stopped feeling sick I noticed he was limping. I asked if he was OK. He said not because he thought he may have re- broken the foot bone he broke several years ago when he fell down the stairs after stepping on an Iggle Piggle sippy cup I had ‘haphazardly’ left at the top of the stairs. It has long been a bone (excuse the pun) of contention in our marriage as to whose fault that accident really was. Was the cup left ‘haphazardly’ at the top of the stairs or tucked neatly into the banIster during a middle of the night ill child rescue mission? Undertaken by yours truly. But whatever, the outcome was the same. A broken foot bone.

This time, however, I could not be blamed as I had been on the wing when he fell over the bare footed teenager.

So my husband began popping the analgesics with alarming regularity. And he also began limping those 1000 steps to breakfast.

The issue was compounded a few days later when we rashly agreed to go back to ‘family’ football. We didn’t enjoy it quite as much this time. Eldest dumped us to pair up with a teenage lad and his team (I think, ironically, the teenager husband had fallen over on day one) earning him the nick name Judas. The remaining four of us joined up with some Germans and a couple of teenagers from Wandsworth (who clearly thought that girls can’t play as they tackled Youngest mercilessly all afternoon despite her being on their team and actually a decent player) and battled it out against ferocious opposition who were clearly bent on winning at all costs.

I took a ball to the face which broke the arm off my sunglasses and left my cheek smarting and tears in my eyes. Involuntary tears. It bloody hurt. Even more ironically it had come off the ‘broken’ foot of my husband as he limped in the goal mouth clearing balls in a way I can only decribe as ‘haphazardly’. I left to walk the twenty steps to our house to retrieve my actual glasses so I could see anything at all.  There was no way I was giving up on the match and giving the extremely sexist coach (who I had heard saying, and I quote, “don’t worry it is the team with the woman and girl in next”) the satisfaction of seeing ‘the woman’ ‘ball-in-faced’ off the pitch.

We decided after the session to go to the nearest pool, one that we hadn’t ventured to before, to cool off. Youngest jumped straight in and declared it deeper than the other pools. I was dubious as I was sure all of them were 1.2 meters deep. Husband jumped in full throttle and landed heavily on both heels. Further aggravating his foot issues. He was now limping on both feet. Although I guess a limp on both feet just means you walk extremely slowly everywhere.

The lack of sunglasses saw me get two migraines over the next two days one of which was brought about by staring futilely across the vast Atlantic Ocean trying to spot dolphins for an hour and a half and mistaking every blinding crest of a wave for a dorsal fin. We were left disappointed. And me migrainey.

Just as husband’s limp was improving slightly both Youngest and Middlest developed earache. There is a nurse on site but being British we decided ‘not to bother the nice medical staff’ with our minor health concerns and just used analgesics in liquid form to ease the increasing discomfort.

Yesterday the waves were up at our resort’s beach and so we headed down there for our third body boarding/ bobbing up and down in the waves session. I managed to wipe out only the once. Unfortunately I did it much more spectacularly than my wipe outs in the previous two sessions, which had merely resulted in bruises to my ribs and thighs and sand grazes to various limbs, by banging my head quite forcefully on the sand and jarring my neck.

It was whilst trying to deal with the considerable discomfort that thus ensued as my neck seized up during the evening that our lack of pain killers got very acute. I did consider ‘necking’ a few gulps of Calpol but cognisant of the ear ache situation didn’t dare to for fear of leaving my aurally challenged children dry.

I gingerly made my way upstairs this morning to brew a morning cuppa and came across Middlest on the sofa groaning in pain and complaining because he had got no sleep at all due to his ear.

Enough was enough it was time to prevail upon the nice nurse. Who was very nice but unable to help as nurses in Portugal are not equipped with orthoscopes. For the looking down of ears.

So Middlest, Youngest and I have had a fun day going to the doctors in Praia du Luz (which the doctor reminded me was where Madeline McCann went missing, you’d think they would want tourists to forget that), paying a small fortune in the pharmacy and eating a celebratory antibiotic crepe. Praia du Luz is spectacularly beautiful and we would probably never have seen it if it hadn’t been for that ear ache. So that was a silver lining.

We are back now. The kids are banned from the pool. I have to administer four types of medicine on a mind bogglingly complicated schedule.

Oh and whilst I was at that pharmacy I bought more paracetomol for husband’s feet and my neck. He will probably wash his down with a gin sling. If I drank I might do the same but I will settle instead for a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Thank god that hasn’t run out. That would be a bone fide disaster.

 

 

 

I Swear…. — July 26, 2016

I Swear….

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So I have a ‘potty’ mouth. I am a terrible swearer. I curse a lot. Particularly in the car.

Of course I tried to moderate this behaviour when the kids were little and I think I did an OK job. The odd ‘bloody hell’ may have slipped out but generally I was better behaved, language wise.

Recently I have given up. I am not sure what is driving this. I may be peri-menopausal. Who knows? I am certainly getting older and in the manner of older people I have completely lost the ability to be patient. Especially with people driving cars. Or bikes. Or lorries. Or motorcycles. Or maybe it is just that the amount of driving I do has increased exponentially over recent years. And a lot of that driving is done under a certain degree of time pressure.

For instance today I dropped Youngest off at the second day of her week long football course at 9. Because it was the second day we were not able to register them ten minutes early. And so I was first out of the blocks when I was finally allowed to sign her in. Quick peck on the head and it was a race to the car to avoid the car park Jenga that would then ensue. I felt a bit like Anneka Rice in that helicopter game show but without the terrible eighties jump suit.

And the reason I was so rushed was that I needed to have both boys to their orchestra course by 9.30. The orchestra course is a minimum of 23 minutes away from our house. Which is about 6 minutes nearer to the orchestra course venue than the football course venue. I know it can be done in 23 minutes from my house because I managed to get them there at 9.29 am on the first day after having to turn round part way because Eldest remembered he had left his cello bow at home…I may have cursed then too…. On that occasion we re-left home at 9.06…

‘Cello bow gate’ happened on a Sunday. Today was Tuesday and therefore traffic was likely to be more of an issue.

I hate being late. My children also hate being late. Both boys were getting more and more anxious in the back seat. This consisted of them asking me every 30 seconds how much longer the journey was going to take and discussing between them who was going to brave Mrs Bentley, the course administrator and woodwind tutor, and what excuse they were going to give for their tardiness. I suggested they just tell the truth. That mummy had too many kids. They weren’t keen. Then they both needed the loo. Their bowels react badly to stress. All this  wasn’t helping. Much.

During this carnage I may have called a lorry driver, who pulled out behind me into the fast lane on a very short bit of dual carriageway (the length of which I have got very very familiar with over the last three days as I race from drop off to drop off) to overtake an even slower lorry in front of me, when I was clearly indicating to pull out first, a tosser.

That was a new one on the boys. I had to ‘explain’ it. Whilst overtaking. I suggested they didn’t use the word in front of Mrs Bentley, who may inadvertently swallow her oboe reed. Or indeed in front of any adult. Even me.

Of course that is double standards. But, hey, they weren’t the ones going bumper to bumper with the juggernaut.

Do as I say. Don’t say as I say. Ok?

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