Friday, 27 April 2012

I'm getting a new discount card!

It's been a good week. Several things have happened to make me proud and I'll cut to the chase on the most important one. yesterday, I, aged 44 and a bit, mother of four, and blonde, got an unconditional offer of a place at university. It's day release, not full-time, but in two years I'll have a BA and, more importantly, for the next two years I get that fantastic excuse to save even more by shopping more - a student discount card! Siggy is worried already.

But then, I'm really a little worried about Siggy. When a middle-aged man begins giggling whilst in the bathroom, I think it's time to consider getting in some professional help. He, as usual, had some mildly-believable explanation, but honestly what do you think of this one - he was laughing, first thing on a Sunday morning, at the thought of me taking drugs! I have never, ever tried drugs (and apparently that makes me a bit unusual, but I've just never fancied it) and Siggy just thought how funny I'd be because he reckons I'd become very calm, quiet and rational compared to those he call "normal people" who, apparently, tend to get a bit manic, noisy and completely irrational. 

Anyway, his reason for these musings was that I had recounted to him a conversation I'd had on Saturday with Gordon about drugs. This came about because he was telling me that two of his friends had apparently been "stoned". As you can imagine, my first reaction (internally at least) was not in the slightest calm, quiet or, indeed, rational. Gordon, however, was pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing. According to him, and I have no reason not to believe him, drugs are probably easier to get hold of than booze. This confused me considerably, as Ive always found it very easy to get hold of booze - I just ask Siggy to get me a wine/cider/vodka and as if by magic, it appears. Wine/cider/vodka isn't, of course, my favourite cocktail, but it's OK on a weeknight.

Back to Gordon's story - the only bit he was concerned about was that I might have known the parents of the boys who were stoned and would tell them. Moral dilemma right there, but as I don't know the parents, it's only hypothetical. Overall, we had a very sensible and mature conversation about why using drugs is wrong, even if it is only a bit of cannabis, why booze is also not good for 16 year-olds (or 44 year olds when the amount of wine is measured closer to gallons than millilitres, which Is why I had to give it up for almost a week recently) and why it's important that the boys talk to us as parents. I'm occasionally both surprised and worried to find that there may actually at least four proper adults living in our house, but generally it doesn't take long for one of the twins to do something so spectacularly stupid and infantile, that I can feel better again.

At the moment, though, I'm trying to enjoy the possibilities and last Saturday we passed another milestone - Peter made his "babysitting" debut with his girlfriend by being allowed to watch Scott for a few hours while we went out to a show. This was, we thought, a good test because we would only be out for few hours, Siggy would be driving so we could get home quick if needed and at the same time, we'd have a show to watch  and occupy us rather than just go for a meal and spend all the time talking about the babysitting and worrying about it. In the event, though it was all fine. We even made it easier on ourselves by grounding Donald in the afternoon because he went out and left his mate, Calvin, in the garage with Erin, Calvin's girlfriend. Donald, true to form, tells us nothing so you can imagine my shock to go out to put a washing on and find two teenagers snogging on the couch. So to cover our embarassment, Donald got a bawling out and grounded. 

The bawling out also meant we were cutting it fine for the theatre as usual and it's just lucky that Siggy is, without exception, the luckiest man I have ever known at finding car parking spaces. I should qualify that statement by just noting that I dont actually get in cars with a lot of men, but if anyone is luckier than Siggy they'd been in the papers. Siggy actually gets upset if there's more than about three cars between him and the nearest possible space at the supermarket but on Saturday he has accepted that, being late, we'd need to go to the overpriced multi-storey car park behind the theatre, so he drove down the street next to the theatre and, surprise, surprise, a car started to pull out of the second closest space to the theatre door just as he was about to pass. Thank God for seatbelts! he hit the brakes so hard, nearly went through the windscreen, but i didn't say anything as I'm so used to him spotting spaces and taking what he calls "appropriate action" that I barely notice now.

And so into the theatre. "Tickets, please", says the usher as we get in.I looked at Siggy, who is responsible for these things.

"What are you looking at me for?" he says.

"Ha ha, get the tickets out," I say

"i've not got them" 

"They were on the table" 

"I know they were on the table," he says, "but I didn't pick them up"

" Well why not, you always pick them up"

At this point, I realised that we were beginning to attract a lot of attention and not in a positive way. It must have been like watching one of those bloody Direct Line adverts being filmed and it was time to take action. I went to the box office, explained loudly that "My husband is a registered idiot, but it's his weekend out without his regular carer, can you lease help me out here and check if our tickets can be re-issued." Then just for effect, "I am a friend of the theatre, you know. " Hyacinth Bouquet would have been proud.Anyway, the tickets got re-issued, we watched The Monkees musical, sang Daydream Believer and were home to the house still standing by just after 10pm. Result. Peter can now babysit more regularly and we start to get a proper life back.

Sunday also saw another proud moment when I watched Scott and his team win their first Rugby tournament of the year. Siggy, as usual, had to point out to the ref where he had slipped up and Donald is following in his father bootsteps, getting three penalties against him for, you guessed it, talking back at the ref. Not that it mattered to Donald. His view is that if the ref is wrong he should be told he's wrong. He'll never learn because his coach doesn't set the best example. Yes, Siggy is the coach. But offside decisions going against them or not, they still won the final, so I had a good day. Of course, it was made an even better day by the look on Siggy's face every time he caught sight of me with his worst nightmare - a three week old baby in my arms!

Maybe I am getting a little broody. Maybe I just haven't known anyone with such a young child for a long time. Maybe it was because it was a boy called Gordon. Maybe it was another of the 34 signs of the menopause (I've got up to 14, my friend Toni is at 18 and Phoebe wont even tell us where she has got to - and she's only 40!)

I'm not sure what it was, but it broad a huge grin to my face every time I had that tiny little bundle of joy in my arms. Even the fact that he's ginger didn't matter a jot to me.It was just lovely.

Maybe it was just that I knew Siggy would be supportive as well as he could do with something to make him feel younger too. Ultimately, though, I suspect the biggest attraction was the fact I could hand him back. But Granny's do that and NO WAY do i want to be a granny.

Let me just repeat - NO WAY do I want to be a granny. Not yet at any rate, but I guess there are worse things than a beautiful new life coming into the world. I wonder if there is some way of getting Siggy unfixed? I should probably ask Phoebe because she and Siggy had definitely got it going on genetically. Let me just explain that, but first I'll need to tell just a little more about Phoebe.
Phoebe already has one of those magic discount cards as she is taking a course in animal psychology. Well, something to do with animals and something to do with psychology, but at the moment she's been studying like heel for the genetics bits. Now I did biology, I really loved genetics but Phoebe and Siggy have taken to holding long BBM convos about genetics problems which go way beyond anything the rest of us can hold any interest in. It's so in-depth, at times, that I'm beginning to think that they have some secret code and its got bugger all to do with passing a genetics exam. Would any of you be worried if your hubby suggested to one of your best friends that "perhaps a good blob of some protein on your sticky ends would get things going?" 

All  in all - if you set aside Donald serving up dinner for the six people in the house to just three of them, because he assumed everyone else was eating out (I was particularly peeved at that one as it was corned beef pie and I had had my usual 6 failed attempts to open the corned beef tins with that stupid little key thing, why dont they make them ring pull cans?), me having to prepare for the twins exams by buying new white shirts because I know my mum - whose an invigilator in the exams - goes around with one of those little cards to check how white your teeth are to see which kids have the whitest shirts and me having had to listen to ANOTHER lecture on why its actually quite important to put the petrol cap back on (He wouldn't need to give that lecture if he did his job properly and filled my car up when I obviously leave it in the right place in the driveway for him to take it and fill it for me instead of leaving me to put ANOTHER £5 in it) - it's not been a bad week at all.

I'm off to look up what discounts you get with these new cards, just as soon as I've checked why Siggy appears to be giggling in the bathroom again....... 

Friday, 20 April 2012

I think I've finally plipped...

It's been a strange week - kind of typical for the first week back after a wee break. During a BBM discussion earlier in the week, I said to Siggy, "I'm so tired, I can't believe it's only Tuesday" He pointed out that it was Wednesday, but somehow that didn't make things any better and it didn’t make the week go in any more quickly. Quite the opposite in fact

Apart from genuinely not knowing what day of the week it was most of the time, I have been nice and calm and hardly had any problems at all this week. I think that I should probably spend more of my weekends with a whole day in bed as I have definitely had a more incident-free week.

Not like poor Siggy. He has been rushed off his feet and sometimes I really think that his work is taking advantage of him. I mean, he started back on Monday and spent the whole day down in Dumfries, so didn’t get home until nearly 10pm. Tuesday, he had the same presentation to give at another venue and then had to go through to Edinburgh to head office for another late meeting and – get this – he even had to give a colleague, some younger blonde female, a lift back to the office. Poor soul had to endure her company for over an hour. I know this because he explained it to me when I asked him if he though my hair was getting longer and for some reason he started on about “Oh those hairs on the passenger seat, you mean” Weird.

So Tuesday had been another late night for him. Then he’s back in Edinburgh the next day at the crack of dawn for a morning meeting and then lunch at some Michelin-starred place as another colleague is retiring. The lunch went on so long, he almost didn’t make it back to watch the Twins playing in their rugby final. (lucky I was around to get them, half the rest of the squad and several girlfriends to the match. Poor Siggy only just made it in time to watch the warm-up and the match itself). Then on Thursday he was back to Dumfries again and only just made it back in time for a rugby training session before he went to cubs. Poor man, what a week he’s had!

Anyway, I’ve been a really proud mum this week. The Twins, Peter and Gordon, had what is likely to be their last ever match with the rugby team they have been with for the last 7 years and it was a final. The reason it could be their last game is that the age groups change next year, so they will be in with the older half of their squad and the younger half of what was previously the squad above. Anyway, the fact that they were playing in the final and have also got to study for their exams made me feel unusually kind towards them, so I thought I’d give their rooms a really good clearout so they didn’t have the distraction of working round the usual debris and detritus that usually adorns their floors, beds, desks, and any other surface. See, I really am a good mum. You can only imagine my shock when I found that between the two of them, they had four copies of a magazine I’m going to call “Raisins!” which is crammed full of information about football and cars. Oh yes, and plenty of advice about girls, sex, moisturiser, girls, sex, hair gel, sex, girls and, eh, sex. As a result, what should have taken an hour or so took me most of the day as I had to research all the stuff I never knew about, well, all of that stuff. Luckily, there was a section where a real girl answered some of their questions (not the twins themselves, just some questions the editor had thought were burning issues that had presumably come out of a focus group. I strongly suspect the focus group was entirely male, met in the pub at lunchtime and probably all of whom were employees of “Raisins!”)

OK, I’m happy to accept that the real girl answering the questions was real enough – she must have been as they had a really nice picture of her to accompany the whole article. I liked her instantly, because I also have some purple underwear, although I do tend to wear mine with some overwear too. I now know where I may have been going wrong in so many ways. I mean, why haven’t I ever thought of only engaging in intercourse in public places or making sure that I always have some chocolate body paint in my handbag “just in case, because you never know when you’ll need it.” Closest I’ve ever come to that is having a Galaxy in my bag, but I’m not sure that counts as I generally do know when I’ll need it and that’s about ten minutes after I’ve put it in there. I’ll need to also check with my friend Bianca as the real girl in the magazine also said she had eggs in her handbag “in case the mood took her when she was alone” and see exactly what mood she means. Bianca is bound to know as she once ate a whole Easter Egg whilst waiting at the traffic lights and I’m sure she’ll know what mood she was in at the time. I did ask Siggy if he knew what it meant, but I don’t think he heard as he was busy reading the “Ladies confess” page about a girls hockey team who found out only one of the showers was working in the changing room.

I should point out, of course, that Raisins! wasn’t the reason for me feeling so proud. My pride came from Peter scoring in the final – a try which loads of the supporters told me was genuinely brilliantly taken. Of course, as it was the rugby with my own sons playing, I didn’t really see that much of it as I tend to look away whenever I can because it’s just too scary. It’s strange because I love watching the senior guys in the Six Nations and stuff. Don’t understand any of it really, but it is nice to see genuine athletes giving their all against each other in those new breathable, tight, colourful, tight tops. Even with my first aid skills, I don’t like watching the game so close up where real injuries could happen to my boys.

Before getting there, though, I had to once again run the gauntlet of the CCTV at the station when I had to go down and collect my laptop as Siggy had taken my car to the station and I had left it in my boot. I hate that car park, it’s just so – big! I was running a little late as usual, having gone to work and only realising after an hour and a half that I didn’t have the laptop with me – I was dealing with children and parents, before anyone asks why it took so long for met notice -   so when I got there I was a bit harassed. I drove around in the usual “find a space” mode before I remembered I wasn’t actually going to park and then I spied the White BMW 1 about half way down the last row. I pulled up alongside and hopped out, pointing and “plipping” the key on my way out. I went to open the boot, but it was still locked. I tried again, as I sometimes press twice and re-lock it, but again nothing happened. Strange, I thought, and I tried the boot lid again but nothing happened. I walked around the side of the car and tried the drivers door – nothing again. Exasperated, I got back in Siggy’s car and moved it to the side as an older couple had just came out a space further along and, being over 55 and presumably just back from using their bloody “travel anywhere for a penny” special offer to get themselves into town, they needed to have a gap big enough for a “convoi exceptionnel” wide load to get their bloody tiny and silent hybrid through. They passed by and I waited a minute in the car as I was desperately trying to listen hear enough of a good song on the radio to get “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” out of my head. It had been played on the breakfast show and was stuck in my head ever since.

Sorry if it you now have that stuck in your head, but, after all, what are friends for if not sharing?

Back to the laptop problem. I got back out the car with “Purple Rain” in my head (see, remove Chirpy Chirpy Cheep for you already) (Oh bugger, I’ve probably just put it back in again, sorry).  Plipped the key again, several times, but nothing happened again. I was really beginning to get quite frustrated but then looked down and realised that I was pointing the wrong keys at the car. It’s an easy mistake when you’re in a hurry and I went back across to the other car, yanked on the door handle and nearly took my shoulder out it’s socket! Of course, I’d locked it hadn’t I?


I was in the big car and got the BMW keys from the passenger seat.


Aimed squarely at the BMW and “nonchalantly” took a grip of the boot lid again.




I stepped back and was nearly knocked down by a bloody silent hybrid! The old duffers had driven around again and were looking very suspiciously at me and taking out their mobile phone. That’s another thing – why are they still called “mobile” phones when old people use them? They always stop absolutely everything else they’re doing, often in the middle of a flow of human traffic on a crowded street and causing a near pile up behind them?  

Then it dawned on me, they thought I was trying to break into the car! What with all the tugging at handles, looking around and trying to appear nonchalant, coupled with the beetroot face I had started with because I was running late and which was now worse as I’d just about been knocked down, I suppose it was an easy mistake to make. It was then I had a sudden realisation. I am not the only person who drives a white BMW 1 series and it is extremely unlikely that Siggy would change the registration plates when he drives it.

Then I made what could have been the biggest mistake of the day. In my defence, I was panicked, late, hot and needing the loo, so jumping straight back in Siggy’s car and driving off with tyres squealing probably only made them more suspicious. I looked in the rear view mirror and seen that they were following me, silently, so an idea occurred to me. I drove out of the car park – noticing my own white BMW kind of obviously parked in the very first space on the way in – and made sure they saw me pull in to the side of the road. I watched them pass at the obligatory 17.5mph and waited until they were almost – but not quite – out of sight before I pulled out again and did a very obvious U-turn back into the car park. I parked opposite my car, opened the boot and waited for almost a full minute. Sure enough, I spotted the Hybrid back at the top of the ramp into the car park waiting to turn right.

Another ten seconds and they were on the ramp. I grabbed the laptop, roughly slammed the boot shut and jumped into Siggy’s car. I pulled away as fast as I dared and covered my face as I sped past them again on the way back up the ramp. I saw them “screech” to a halt and watched as the mobile phone was passed across to the driver.

In my mind, that was a piece of community service. I have ensured that they have a story to tell on their next visit into town to meet their friends for coffee and carrot cake.

Driving hasn’t really been my thing this week again. For the first time ever, I gave another driver the V-Sign when he blew his horn at me. It’s not his lane and it’s not my fault that I couldn’t remember where the opposing rugby club was. It’s not easy when two nervous teenagers are in the back giving directions.

Mind you, I did set a new record and beat the AA route planner for the journey from our house to the Scout Hall. Admittedly, the 14 minute run being completed in under 11 minutes did have the motivational aid of being at home at 8.58pm when I remembered that I was meant to pick up 10 year-old Donald from the Scouts at 9pm. They were still finishing off anyway when I got there, so I hadn't even had to rush away from my counting up how many of the 34 signs of the menopause I had, which reminds me, I must must finish that list - see, our magazines are so much better than Raisins! More of that next week, if I remember. Damn, amnesia, another one ticked off.

It really has felt like such a long week, but I'm told that may be caused by the reduced dosages I have been on since last week's terrible bout of vinblancitis. Mind you, I do now feel that last weekend's vow of abstinence may have been a little premature and I have to thank everyone for their encouragement and support and their steadfast refusal to believe me when I said "never again." I will be taking their advice and starting with some small doses over the coming weekend.

Happy Friday! Oh god, is it only Friday?

Woke up this morning and my mama was gone, ooooee……….

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Why are School holidays so much less fun than they used to be?

OK, I know that holidays when you were at school yourself are bound to have been more fun - you dont have the same responsibilities, the same worries, the same constant need to tidy up after everyone, but surely they should be some fun, even as a adult? Well, week 2 of my holidays just didn't work out that way. I did everything right, I thought, by getting most of the house work sorted in week 1, but, no.,no,no.

On Sunday, we set off for a few days break starting with a day at the races. I was super-prepared - we even had a picnic made up. OK the more observant of you will notice that I was super-prepared, but we had a picnic made up. I admit it. Siggy made up the picnic, but only because he was out at Tesco whilst taking Gordon to work anyway and he like doing that kind of thing. Also, I feel he was working his own agenda and taking charge again because I made a teeny weeny suggestion about how we could smuggle a bag of wine into the races. He says that when the website, the confirmation email and the tickets all say, in bold, that you're not allowed to take drinks in with you then, generally, you're not mean to take drinks in with you. I want to smuggle it in in Scott's bag, but Siggy point blank refused and says it's not appropriate to use a ten year old as a wine mule. He's getting to be a right old fart at times. He never complained about age appropriateness the day I let the twins take Gordon into a 12 movie whilst we went into the next screen along and watched a PG ourselves, did he? Well, maybe a bit when the usherette came in with Gordon in tow and said he had to stay with us or we could leave. He still let me try it again a few months later. Mind you, he did complain quite a lot that time when we were caught again.

Anyway, back to the races. We got there and I was mightily upset when I didn't get frisked by the stewards on the way in. Not that they were particularly attractive or anything like that, it's just that I could have had my "Lost Sheep" wine bag with me after all. Got in and LOADS of people had wine on their picnic tables. Siggy said they had bought it in there and didn’t I notice that they were all drinking the same brand, strangely? I didn't think it was strange, but maybe Tesco Musselburgh had a special on that day. So, 7 races later, and with something like 3 winners out of the 42 bets we had put on, we headed back to the hotel for a nice quiet evening in. Too quiet, The Masters was on so that had everyone else’s undivided attention. 

And so to a relaxing Monday. As it was a bank holiday, breakfast was extended to 1030 in the hotel. So we arrived at 1025 after a relaxing 45 minutes or so of screaming at Peter, Gordon and Donald to get a bloody move on and get out their beds. The hotel staff, though, were great and even cooked some extra breakfast up for us all so that was a great start to the day and off we went to the pool.

As a Pretty Woman once said, “Big mistake. Huge”

We arrived to find that even on a holiday Monday, the aqua-slowrobics for the genteel ladies (oh, and one very wrinkly old bloke) of Musselburgh is still on. It’s not exactly the most high energy class in the world, just a dozen or so old women walking around in the water whilst one very young, very bored looking girl stands at the side of the pool saying things like, “You’re doing really well” and “That’s it, one foot in front of the other” Several families hang around the edge waiting to get in whilst inhaling deeply of the lavender oil and Yardley wafting out from the pool but I, in another bit of rebellion, joined the three of four others who were swimming in the “one person only” swim lane that was left free.

Eventually, they all finish their very slow wanderings around the pool and everyone else gets in. I gave up after while, but not before I’d had a chance to build up a good sweat by sitting around in the sauna and steam rooms. I went back to changing rooms and realised almost right away that it hadn’t been a good decision. The air was thick with that awful mixture of mothballs and Orange toilet water (Why do they call it that? Bloody awful name) that only comes from having a bunch of retired old ladies and believe me, it is magnified a thousand times when they have only just put it on and are in various rather frightening states of undress. That, however, wasn’t the worst bit. I had to endure listening all sorts of nonsense conversations, most of which were just inane chatter or general moaning about the fact that riff raff non-members (I think that was us and anyone else who were hotel guests), but there’s always one who has to “take charge” – “Right ladies, that three teas, two coffees and a raspberry and camomile infusion, now who wants carrot cake and who wants walnut and toffee?” – and several others who were nothing short of bitter and twisted old bags. One shot me a look that would have killed when I dared to have my bag on a chair that she clearly wanted so that she could sit on her wrinkled old bum whilst doing the whole hair and nails makeover. Another appeared stark naked from the showers, but still with full make up intact including black, perfect mascara. It was like a naked Cruella de Ville and I’m pretty sure I know where she had at least one Dalmatian hidden!

Once I came out though, I found out that it wasn’t only in the changing rooms that these old women were behaving badly. Siggy and the boys were waiting outside and once we were back in the car I found out that we were, indeed, amongst the aforementioned riff raff. Apparently, once the aqua-slowrobics class had finished, and the riff-raff had regained control of the pool, the boys had been playing a bit of water volleyball and Siggy had been sitting at the side of the pool watching once he came back out of the sauna (we don’t often work up a sweat together these days, but both still enjoy it on our own). He had noticed that two old ladies were in the swim lanes – one in each, good, law-abiding folks that they are – and they kept looking over until one of them could control herself no longer and spoke to Peter. Siggy said that he could tell she was having a moan, but the boys weren’t disturbing anyone, were in their own wee bit of the pool and had even been good enough to get other balls out of the store at the poolside for some of the younger kids in the pool to use as well and to be honest I’m sure that would be right as they weren’t playing up at all this morning, by their standards. Anyway, apparently Peter just listened politely and explained that they were just passing the ball around and, Siggy says, he seemed to handle it very well. They went back to playing but were soon bored anyway and ready to go out of the pool. As they did, the second old lady stopped her swim, turned around and began clapping and cheering “About time too.”

The boys, apparently, just shook their heads and kept walking. Siggy, however, had had enough and walked around the pool and had “a discussion” with her. He had to walk around the pool the pool because his hearing’s really not that great and there was a lot of noise around the pool. Anyway, he said to this “lady – complete with the ludicrous daisy pattern swimcap – that she was being extremely rude, that the pool was for everyone to enjoy and she should show the same good grace as the children had done when waiting for her to finish her classes earlier. She asked if he was a member and he said no, he was a resident. “Right, well maybe we should speak with the manager” she said.

“You speak with the manager all you want,” Siggy replied, “But you’re still being incredibly rude and ought to know better.” The Manager appeared as if by magic (or perhaps she heard the “discussion” from the reception area, which backed on to the pool) and it was explained what had happened.

“I’m very sorry,” The Manager said to Siggy with a look that said “she’s like this all the time”

Siggy replied, just to make sure that the rude old woman was getting the point, “Thanks for that and I’m more than happy to accept your apology on behalf of your club, but some of your members ought to take a good look at themselves”

“Well I wouldn’t look at you anyway” says the old woman.

“You’re only proving my point,” said Siggy, “No need to be rude or personal. It must be very sad to be so bitter”. And then he turned and left.

I actually hope the shock of someone challenging her brought on a coronary. These old folk think they have a right to rude and nasty and I wouldn’t have wasted my new found CPR skills on her anyway.

The rest of the day went really smoothly. Except for the bit in the cinema later. I don’t seem to much luck in cinemas but we had been super-prepared again and had bought the tickets BEFORE we went for dinner, just to be sure we’d get them ok and so when we had eventually got though the dinner we breezed into the cinema and up to the entrance to the screens. We were in screen 12 and so we followed the signs – yes, I followed signs* - for screens 7-12 and walked down past the small group who seemed to be standing around chatting.

“Excuse me, excuse me, Can I see you tickets?” someone in the middle of the group said . Bloody usherettes. How was I supposed to know it was a queue? Anyway, they were all going to screen 7, which was in a different direction to screen 12.

And another thing, if there are "VIP" seats and "Standard" seats, why don't they make it easier for people like me to tell which are which? Accoridng to Gordon, It's dead easy to tell and that's why he chose to sit five rows away from me because he reckoned I was sitting in the VIP seats and only had tickets for standard seats. I still don't know how you can tell the difference and the bloody usherette didnt come in to check anyway, so wehre's the harm? And in any case, he had to move back to get his share of the sweets, so he's an accomplice if - and its a big if in my mind - if we were accidentally in the better seats.

Oh well, This Means War was Ok, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to This Means World War 2! We rounded off the Edinburgh trip with another new experience – deep fried Cream Egg! Again, won’t be rushing out for another, but it was OK.

* Ok, I followed the boys, who were following the signs. Signs, like roads, just make things more complicated I find. Same thing happened when we were going back to the car, everyone else knew where we were going but I’m sure we had never gone down that lane before.

The rest of the week was quite quiet as well. Apart from Tuesday, when no-one had dinner until 10 o’clock at night after we had left the three teens to their own devices as a result of them being huff (not us, of course)

Oh, and Wednesday when I hoovered up Donald's retainer. I have warned him to keep it in a box, but will he listen???? Anyway, I rescued it from the tube of the hoover - well vax or whatever - and it seemed ok. He's only had it just over a week, so it's not due to be broken/mangled/eaten by Dappy for another week or so yet.

Thursday was quiet - luckily my outfit for Friday had arrived by super bloody express delivery from my very favourite onlie retailer (we'll call them "" for now). I say luckily, but apparently luck needs the extra help of £6.95 special delivery and hate paying anything for delivery. I have even been known to very cleverly avoid paying delivery  by a more expensive version from a different online store if they have a product I need. "Need" is a very difficult word to define, don't you find? Siggy always seems to misuse "want" when he refers to products I need.Strange).  

Friday was spent preparing for the murder dinner we were having that night. We have a great system of dividing up the preparations for these things and Siggy spent the day in the kitchen whilst I set the table. I don’t know what the hell he was doing because he only came through to shower about 5 minutes before the first four guests arrived – names withheld for now – when I had been through getting into my Marilyn outfit for some time. He was only ready about 5 minutes before me too.

Anyway, Toni, her husband Jack, Phoebe and Bobby arrived later and great night was had by all. Must have been, I’ve seen the photos.

However, I did come down with some terrible, terrible bug – vinblancitis, I think – which cause me to sepne all day Saturday in bed and so apologies for the blog being a bit late this week. Most of my memory functions are back now, but Friday evening and all the way through to 4am Saturday when apparently I got to bed is still a bit of a blur.

Maybe I’ll remember more by next Friday – especially now that I’ve decicded to stay off my medicine for a wee while.

Friday, 6 April 2012

This is my world - and you're welcome to it

After a chance remark by a "friend" - we'll call her that for now anyway, but perhaps once Toni sees how she might feature in these weekly summaries of my life, she might find that an "ex-" prefixes itself to that. Toni and I share a lot of things in common- both of our lives proceed at a minimum 200 miles an hour, neither of us should complain about our lot in in life, but we do anyway and both of us are prone to the occasional mishap. My mishaps are, I think, mainly caused by other people, but I'm not sure Toni agrees. You can make up your own mind, but this blog thing was Toni's idea, so blame her.

I'm Aud. I'm in my forties and that's as much as you need to know on that front. I have a husband (haven't thought what to call him here yet as some of the names need to be changed for legal reasons) and four sons - 15 year old twins Peter and Gordon, 14 year old Donald and Scott, whose 10 but really thinks he's a teenager. For most of the noteworthy things that happen in my week, blaming the children is usually a fairly safe bet. Where anything is not directly their fault, there's bound to be what lawyers would call a trail of causation leading directly back to one, some or all of them. Recently, through no particular fault of his, the trail of causation seems inexorably tied to Gordon, but more of that later.

Our house (which reminds me of another slightly Aud occurrence from years ago, but I'll need to check with hubby if I can tell you all that one) is also home to my real soul mate - Dappy is 3 years old, is mad as a brush and has a canine form of ADHD. This basically means she is is incredibly affectionate, full of energy and occasionally needy. She came along as a puppy to raise oestrogen levels in the house and thus was meant to balance my life better. Of course, it hasn't quite worked out that way. The other thing you need to know about Dappy is that she doesn't like dogs, which is also a bit like me, but we get along just fine.

Anyway, Toni had the idea that I should start a blog to chronicle the goings-on in my life which, she claims, are a source of encouragement to her. I'm pretty sure that means that she thanks her lucky stars each day that her life isn't quite as mad as mine, but I think that's an unfair reflection and anyway she has it all to come. To give you an idea of what I mean by that, just remember that Toni is a founder member of SPOT - Stressed Parents Of Teenagers - a Blackberry Messenger group and now Facebook page which keeps us close to sane. The other founder member is Phoebe, who has a girl aged 15 and a boy aged 13. Toni, to prove her madness,  has three kids two girls aged 4 and 10 and a a boy aged 12. So she is just getting into training early for the teenage stuff. Typical Toni, she likes to be organised but sometimes life just takes over and makes it all a bit mental.

So, the point of this blog is catharsis. I get to write down some of my week and reflect on where it could have been better. You get to read about it and reflect on how much help you don't need in comparison. Hubby says it's not a blog, it's a case study, but then that just the frustrated psychologist coming out in him (in his case, I definitely blame the parents, so until I come up with a better name for him, we'll just call him Siggy). Siggy is very supportive of the whole blog idea - me writing quietly for him to read later keeps us both happy as I get to play with technology and he gets, well, he gets me sitting quietly. My one fault that I will admit it to is that I do talk a lot. I extend this to testing, BBMing, Tweeting and Facebooking a lot, but that's still just one fault in my book? (I'm also not great with numbers, but who's counting).

So to this week. What to say? I've been on holiday from the nursery where I work, so really quite uneventful. Except Monday. Monday was the day the outlaws came and pretended they hadnt noticed Gordon getting out the back of a Police Van outside their house the previous Friday. Like I said, Gordon is currently at the end of all trails of causation and he had been "helping" a friend of his on town on the Friday, which was the last day of school. They were stopped by the Police who asked what age they were and when told they were 15, did they do as you would expect and take them back to school? Oh no, the police response was "that's a pity, if you were 17, you could have earned a tenner. What age did you say again?" Honestly, what has happened to the police these days? Gordon, quick as a flash (that's him, Flash Gordon!), answers "17" and  finds himself taken off in the police car, skipping red lights and generally having a whale of a time to take part in an ID parade, for which he earned £10 and, surprisingly, wasn't picked out. He then gets a lift back to school in the police van, which was lucky really as when they were picked up they were going to get the train at a different station to avoid the ticket barriers, and they drop him off outside his grans house. This is immediately across from the school he should have been in, but no-one except Siggy and I seems to be bothered by that bit. So Monday was spent explaining that to the outlaws whilst they pretended not to have noticed. Like hell they hadn't.

Monday was also the day I allegedly ran into the janitors car at when dropping Scott off at Rugby training cause Siggy left in too much of a rush to take him with him. He's always the alleged accident is Siggy's fault, not mine. Anyway, As I waspulling out of my space, I spotted Toni leaving with her kids, so of course had to stop for a chat. BIG mistake (actually, as Toni stopped me leaving, the alleged accident is maybe her fault instead of Siggy's. Whatever, it wasn't my fault). While we're chatting, the Janitor comes raging out saying I've hit his car as I was pulling out the space next to him. "Raging" hardly covers it as he was banging on about "It's all smashed in" "It's covered in scratches", "it's the wife's car" and "That's all I need." All HE needs? What an idiot. I was dead calm and just apologised IF i had touched his car, but I'm sure I didn't, there wasn't a mark on mine and the marks on his were almost invisible. I've got a photo of it and if Iever work out how to upload them, I'll show you. Anyway, like I said, I was dead calm and told him it would probably just T-Cut out. Then Siggy came out and swapped etails with the guy, telling him there was no way it was an insurance job, etc. I was a little shaken, but in the grand scheme of things, he was a silly wee man who had spent his day "at work" washing his bloody car. Toni says she'll be a witness that she didnt see me hit his car, but Siggy spoke with him the next day and "settled" on paying £40 to get the sccratches fixed. He wanted £85, but Siggy, wh teaches people how to negotiate, told him he could "F**k off and take £40 or have nothing." In fairness, he took £40 and f**ked off.

The rest of the week has been pretty low key too. The usual taxi-ing yesterday, though, turned into an adventure. Siggy had the big car - it's a seven-seater - and had  left it at the park and ride to go to meetings in Edinburgh. Donald,14, announced that I was running him and his posse of 5 mates to Xscape so they can play Adeventure Golf. Fine I, think, until I remember I have the wee car which only has 5 seats. "That's OK," I think, "I'll just go down and get Siggy's car from the station and leave him mine. Easy? Well, apparently not.

I drove to the station, having BBM'd Siggy to tell him I'll hand my car keys to the ticket office guy nd he could collect them. I had his spare keys so no problem there. See, it's when I think there's no problem that there invariably is a problem.or several.

I arrive at the station and find the big car. So far, so good. I go over the bridge - cause I know where the ticket office is now and which direction the trains go in (another story, another day) - and lo and behold, the door to the ticket office is closed. I don't make a fool of myself by pushing it, because I know it's aan automatic door from when I was playing a wee game to see how close I could get to it before it would on a previous night out. I thought no-one had noticed me playing my game, but apparently not.  Sorry, back to the point. Ticket Office is locked, so what can I do? Just thinking of putting the keys on a wheel arch when a train draws in. "You're ok dear, you can get a ticket on the train" a kindly old gent says to me.

"Oh, It's OK" I say, still trying to see if there's anyone in the ticket office.

"No really, it's just the same price, you can get it on the train" says kind-old-man.

Now, I'm told that what I did next is not what most people would do, but I'm not so sure.They weren't there and so don't know how much pressure I was under to get the car situation sorted and take Donald and his mates out, let Siggy know what was happening etc., so they cant really be sure how they'd react.

"OK, thanks," I said to kind-old-man and turned towards the train which was now standing at the platform, doors open.

I know what you're thinking. Your thinking, "Just get on the train, go one stop down the line and then come back up." I know your thinking that because that is the obvious thing to do and that's what I thought at first. But no, I was smarter than that. I turned away from kind-old-man and walked towards the back of the train, checking over my should to see when he was safely on. Problem was, kind-old-man was actually slow-as-treacle-man in disguise and I had to actually step on the train and pop my head back out the doors to make sure he had got on, then jump off at the last second,just before the doors closed. Don't worry, I made it.

As the train pulled out, the Blackberry and it was Toni. I explained my predicament and she suggested that I should just go with the Big Car and get back before Siggy was due back from Edinburgh. She's so bloody practical at times! So that's what I did, easy really.

Well, not really that easy. I got in the car and immediately that bloody yellow petrol pump thing was flashing at me. Siggy deals with petrol for the cars, so that was a real pain. BBM sent to ask advice - would the 34 miles it said I had left be enough to get me there? I went home and picked up Donald + 5 Mates and by that time had been reassured by both Siggy and Phoebe's husband, who shall remain nameless for now until I think of an appropriate pseudonym to hide his guilty identity, thatthere would be enough to get me to Xscape, but maybe not quite enough to get back.

So off I went, carefully watching the gauge drop down mile-by-mile. I worked out that it was actually going down more slowly than I expected, so stopped watching it and decided i'd probably make it back and Siggy could do his usual filling-up duties. Then, just as it was going so smoothly Mate 1 - who had been watching much more carefully, let out such a yell that I nearly crashed into the car in the next lane. "It says --- miles now!" he said. Damn. I still had about 3 miles to go to get there and I was sure there was a filling station in the shopping centre, so decided I'd have to put some fuel in (no way would I fill it, that's Siggy's job and he could pay).  

Donald + 5 dropped off and I set off to find the filling station, but before I knew it I was back on the motorway. No problem, really as I could go to the Asda two junctions away. BBM's Siggy to keep him up-to-date with developments. he likes to be up to date.Well, I think he does at any rate and sometimes he can have useful suggestions. Made it easily to Asda and drew in at the pump. It was only when I got out that I realised that the fuel filler was at the wrong side. Tried to stretch around the car - didn't work. The guy at the next pump tried to help out and put the hose over the car. That didnt work either and I could tell he was thinking "Dizzy blonde" as I got back in the car and waited in the queue to get through the drive through pay booths.

As I waited a BBM from Siggy arrived "The fuel goes in the hole at the back of the car on the passenger side." Oh, ha bloody ha. Could have told me earlier.

Another buzz "Remember its diesel". Very funny again. I had known that.

Buzz again, "That's the hose with the black handles" Oh, right, that was lucky. 

As I drove through the paybooth explaining that I hadn't actually got any fuel, I'm not sure whether the odd face pulled behind the glass was "Yeah, right" or "Dizzy blonde" again, but I really wasn't bothered.I got out of there, around the roundabout and back on the motorway.

I got off at the next junction, went back the opposite way, off again at Asda and this time got my £10 worth of fuel no problem so I could get back and hand over to Siggy just as he came back from Edinburgh, so all's well that ends well I'd say.

Anyway, apologies for such a long first crack at this. In future we wont need the long introductions and most weeks are far less eventful, I think. I'm off to see if anywhere has any Easter eggs left before Sunday.

Have a lovely break and don't do anything I would do.