Monday, 4 June 2012

Be careful what you wish for (part 1)

Some of you may have read my previous weekly update, when I rather stupidly said things had been a bit quiet in my world. I really must remind myself to be more careful what I wish for.

Less than hour after I had posted about that quiet week, I was flashed at. Not in the speeding camera way, in the good old fashioned guy-gets-his-bits-out-and-shakes-it-all-about kind of way. I was amazed - I really thought people didn't do that kind of thing anymore. I mean, we're living in a digital age when exhibitionists can get their kit and their rocks off to a worldwide audience from the comfort of their own bedroom with the aid of a webcam. Weirdly, though,I also heard that same night about someone receiving that other right of passage of yesteryear - a heavy breathing phone call. Good to know some of the old traditions are still on the go, I suppose. However, I didn't get the heavy breather, so can't comment on technique or anything like that for them.

The flashers, though, I can comment on. 9am on a Friday is not really when you expect to be getting mooned at but a group of young boys who had clearly had a sherbet or two, but mooned I was and not just once - time and time again. OK, the extra times were really because I kept going back out to check them out again, so perhaps I should explain.

I arrived at the nursery on Friday morning and parked at the back door as normal. When I got in, it seemed a fairly ordinary day, with parents coming in and dropping off children. Then at about five past nine, one of the mums came in looking a bit flushed and giggling nervously. In my best diplomatic and sensitive manner, I asked her if anything was wrong. "I..., I've ....I've just been mooned at!"

Biting back my excitement, I asked "Oh, dear, that's awful, are you, OK?"

She began to laugh, waving away my concern with her right hand, "Oh, I'm fine, it was just some young guys waving their bums around as I came in. They'd better watch, looks like it's going to be really sunny today and they really don't want those pasty white backsides getting burnt"

Well, what could I do but go out to check? Sure enough, young lads, clearly the worse for what I assumed was a heavy nights sessions, were in the park outside, trousers at their ankles and pulling down their boxers at each of the mums as they came in to show what were definitely very pasty and very white backsides. I know they did this to each mum as they came in and told me. And if they didn't mention it, I took them back out to show them. A bit of naked flesh is, after all, a bit of naked flesh.

I also called the police because, funny though a bit of mooning may have seemed at the time, the fact is that it is entirely inappropriate behaviour for anyone, but even more so for the children coming in as well. We also had some of the older children from the school coming across for our weekly "book buddies" session (book buddies is our initiative to improve literacy for both our children and those at the school. It has been highly praised from many quarters and is quoted as a model of excellence. I like to remind people of this whenever I can). I wanted to school to be aware so they could take the children in a different way to avoid the idiots (or so that the teachers could be ready to get a better view, you decide).

Now some of you may be thinking, a wee bit of mooning - so what, it's hardly "flashing"? Not just a bit of mooning, I'm afraid.

Having called the police, who agreed on the phone that this was disgraceful and given that we were a nursery they would make it a priority, nothing happened for the next half hour and they still hadn't arrived. I nipped back out to see if they had left, being conscious of the potential waste of resources if they had moved on and thinking I could cancel the police call out. That's when I realised what a lucky girl I've been all these years.

"Aw, here doll, you wanting a bit of this?" He didn't actually say "this", but I couldn't make out exactly what he said, think it was something to with male chickens. Anyway, I wasn't really listening as the brave young lad had decided that showing off his bare bum wasn't really enough and had now turned around so he was facing me, boxers still at his ankles and waving his manhood around with a degree of pride. I really don't know why. I mean, we were having a bit of a mini-heatwave , so it was definitely very warm that morning. And he was clearly quite excited to be out in the sun but honestly - "a bit of it". This was not something that would required to split up into smaller portions and either he had really, really big hands causing a bit of an optical illusion or I have really been spoilt. Must ask Siggy what he thinks.

Eventually, the local boys in blue turned up. Unfortunately not Clive, who is a fairly regular visotor and really cute, but another officer we didn't know and he began to ask some questions, mainly the usual, "What's your name" "When did this start", "Did other people see them", etc.Then he told me that they had actually picked them up and asked "Would you be able to recognise them again?"

Well, that got me started. Not ranting - giggling. "Well, which bit exactly do you want me to look at?" The poe-faced officer looked a bit puzzled, so I added "I wasn't really looking at their faces." Still no danger of any upturn at the corners of his mouth, even though I was now shaking like mad inside as I tried to bite back the giggles. Honestly, it was like being back in school when one of the teachers went off on one. I always dissolved into helpless giggling then and spent most of my time in the corridor as a result. I thought I'd go for more physical comedy, "I mean, what's the ID parade going to look like," I half-turned, directing my own bum at him and pointing.

"I'm not sure you're taking this seriou..." he began, but just at that Marie, our French tutor arrived for her session.

I've always thought of her as a bit of a no-nonsense character, despite the slightly hippy attitude - she arrives on her bike and always wears big floaty, flowery clothes, which is enough to be a hippy in my book. "whats going on here she, " she interrupted, "We've not done anything wrong I hope?"

"No," I replied, "There's been some flashers hanging around outside this morning waving their bits at our mums." I shot a sideways glance at PC Poe-Face and could see he was unimpressed with the "waving their bits" part of that expression.

"Oh, excellent, " replied Marie, "Where are they now and are any of them tasty?"

Well, that was me finished. I burst out an excited giggle and relayed as much as I could to Marie who was more animated in responding than I had ever seen her. We proceeded to to debate potential viewing positions and compare approximate sizes with wholly inappropriate hand, well, finger, gestures.

"I don't believe I'm listening to this, " intoned Poe-Face, but I'm sure there was just a hint of of snigger behind his attempt at a stern gaze and there was a decidedly pinker tinge to his cheeks. Maybe he prefers hippies.

After a short time, we had cleared up the fact that yes, there were four of them, yes around 19-20 years old, various heights, various types of denims and joggers on (ok, we did revert to giggling again when I said some of them had white joggy bottoms, but come, on....) and the police were ready to leave.

"So had they been partying all night then?" I asked as they were about to leave.

"No, just a bottle of vodka for breakfast it would seem."

Unbelievable. Perhaps that explains the rather less than well-endowed pair.

(Vodka, though, featured again later in the week as we prepared for the twins birthday party, but more of that later. I told you it had been an exciting  week.)

Later on the Friday, despite Gordon still having one exam to go, the Twins were off on a mountaineering camp with the explorers. Siggy was working from home and had taken Peter during his lunch out to get a few last minute bits and pieces such as energy bars but otherwise, miraculously, the twins had pretty much got themselves entirely ready for the weekend and were mostly all packed. This is definitely one of the advantages of the boys getting older and having had all those years of experience in Scouting. They can be pretty independent when they want and to be honest we had not had to take much to do with the camp, except paying for it of course.

When I got home from work, Siggy asked when they were leaving and, as it was to be 4.45pm, he volunteered to take Gordon round his papers first, but said that he would need to work on then and I'd need to take them down to the hall. He also texted Bobby, who's also the Explorer leader just to check if he was needed to transport them to camp, but he was told it was alright, they'd manage.

Looking back, Bobby must have though this was a strange question because, when I dropped them and we were just chatting about the weekend, etc, I casually asked where exactly the were going, "because Siggy didn't think there was much mountaineering to be done around Auchengillan" Auchengillan is a scout campsite about 16 miles from us, which presumably explains the peals of laughter from Bobby and Tom, the other leader.

"The Lake District," they replied in unison.

"Oh, right" was all I could find to say and for a while I was genuinely concerned that I hadn't realised this and thought how awful it is that my children are growing up so quickly and need me so little. That lasted nearly half a minute before I got over it and just smiled in satisfaction over how we are looking towards having a life of our own again, With Scott nearly 11, we reckon another 15-20 years should do it.

And so we rolled into the weekend, which was pretty quiet with the twins away and incredibly no overnight garage guests with Donald and only the task of getting birthday presents for the twins that really needed dealt with urgently. We settled on headphones for both plus a MP4 player for Gordon as his ipod died some time ago and the headphones he wanted were quite a bit cheaper anyway. Clothes for both had already been bought by me on a shopping trip on the Saturday morning which was super-efficient. I only visited the one shop and came home shortly afterwards. I say shortly afterwards, Siggy said, "How did it take you two and a half hours to come back with three bags from one shop? " He also said, "Why do the twins need two sundresses, a couple of vest tops, size 4 Converse trainers (they're both size 12's), two pairs of tiny shorts, new underwear including three bras, a bikini and a sarong?" He just doesn't understand the concept of efficiency in shopping as he proved on the Sunday.

On Sunday,Siggy had to take Scott to a football tournament on the Sunday morning. It was a fantastic day again and latter we were to see why there really is value in putting sun tan lotion on, even in Sunny Govan. As he has stood at the same side of the pitch all morning watching the football, Siggy had managed to turn a deep shade of red down one arm and one side of his face as well as having a genuinely red neck. By Sunday night, it was like having our own wee belisha beacon in the corner, but that may have been due to his "heroics", more of which later. I digress. Sorry.

Once I had came over to Govan to find the last game was going to penalties and therefore came over to watch and found that, you guessed it, I couldn't watch.They lost in the shootout, but at least it wasn't due to Scott this time and so the level of distraughtness in the car was minimal. Well Siggy's car. Scott went home in that so I was only left with Dappy bouncing around in my car like she always does when she gets out on a car trip. I honestly don't know how you see dogs with their heads out of car windows - if we opened the window whilst moving, I know for sure that Dappy would jump out after a bird or something.

We went home left my car and Dappy there and set off to HMV to get the Adidas headphones Gordon had asked for.None there, damn. Off to Argos. They had the MP4 player we were going to get but not the headphones, so we decided to leave the MP4 and head off to Currys instead. This meant leaving the shopping centre and riving to another retail park, but we reckoned they would also have MP4's so that would be fine.

We arrived in Currys and couldn't see the headphones. This created a problem for Siggy. There are two things Siggy is incapable of. Actually, there are a lot more than two things, but only two are relevant right now. Firstly he doesn't use the phone to speak to anyone except work and friends - therefore ordering chinese, arranging holidays, etc all falls to me. Of course, he will sit in the same bloody room as me and add in his thoughts (criticisms, corrections, call them what you will) as I go along, but no, he doesn't do phone calls. Actually, I've just realised that that isn't relevant, it just annoys the hell out of me so thought I'd share.

The other thing that he is incapable of, and this is relevant, is asking for help in shops. If he cant see what he's looking for, he is more likely to look around for half an hour then leave the shop grumbling that they "didn't have anything" than he is to ask for assistance. I have reminded him before that they are call "assistants" for a reason but, apparently, he doesn't need any help. I have honestly seen him respond to assistants with his standard "No, we're just looking, thanks" line when they approach him, even if it is blindingly obvious that he does, very much, need help. Therefore, when we got to Currys and they also didn't have the headphones, I had to go and find the assistant to see if they could help.

Some people say they dream of getting into a threesome. Some people even lie and tell you they have had one. I am not telling any lies when I say I have now had a threesome and it was not fun. Nor did I find it in any way satisfying in the end. Picture the exchange - just to be clear, this occurred with all three parties within touching distance of each other, as you would expect of a threesome:

Me (to assistant): We're looking for some headphones for my son's birthday.
Assistant: Certainly Madam, any particular ones?
Me (to Siggy): Which ones was it he wanted?
Siggy(to me): It was the Seinhesser Adidas ones.
Me (to assistant): the Seinhesser Adidas ones.
Assistant (to me); Is it in-ear or over-ear you're looking for?
Me (to Siggy): In-ear or over-ear?

To be honest, I had no idea what that question meant

Siggy (to me): Over-ear
Me (to assistant): Over-ear?
Assistant: I'm not sure if we do those ones
Siggy (to me): Well, they had them on the website, ask him if he can check the website.
Me: You had them on the website, could you check, please?
Assistant: Of course, which website did you use - Currys or PC World?
Me(to Siggy): Currys or PC World?
Siggy(to me): Dunno. Thought they were both the same one
Me(to Assistant): Sorry, we're not sure
Assistant: Ok I'll just have a look
Me: Thanks
Siggy (under breath); Not much bloody assistance him, is he.
Me: (under breath): He's trying
Siggy: Yes, bloody trying
Me; Shut up.
Assistant: Any idea how much they were/
Me: ?

I didn't actually say anything, juts raised an eyebrow and made sure Siggy was facing the assistant

Siggy (turning to me): I think they were around £50 weren't they dear?
Me: Yes, about £50.
Assistant: Ah, found them (shows me the screen) Is that the ones?
Siggy (looking over my shoulder); Yes.
Assistant: Sorry/
Me: Yes, that's the ones.

The poor assistant hadn't heard as Siggy, as usual, was talking to me and facing away from him.

Assistant: We don't have them here, but we seem to have them in our Coatbridge branch.
Siggy: Could he phone them?
Me: Could you phone them?
Siggy: And ask them...
Me: And could you ask them to put them aside?
Assistant: DO you want to pay them here or when you get there?
Me: We'll just pay up there , thanks.
Assistant: Certainly, just give me a minute.

Off he went. "What bloody difference does it make if we pay here or there?" said Siggy, moaning.

"I don't know, why don't you ask him?" I replied.

"Doesn't matter".

Unbelievable. Mind you, he has passed on his patience for shopping to his youngest son. Scott spent this entire episode moaning about having to be out shopping, but then wandering away to look at ipads. He had spent all his time in The Fort also moaning and also wandering away - in HMV, he went to look at games, in DW Sports, he went to look at footballs, then rugby balls, then Rangers strips, In Argos, he wandered out altogether and went to game. All of which meant it took us twice as long as we had to try to find him again! Sometimes, having had years and years of experience with children and therefore losing any semblance of self can be a blessing. It means that you are no longer embarassed about a lot of things and therefore you no longer need to go for subtlety, even in public places. Instead of continuing the usual frustrating and very time-consuming task of searching for hie from aisle to aisle. I resorted to the much simpler and less energy-sapping option of standing roughly in the middle of the shop and screaming "Scott!" at the top of my voice. I had to do this several times in HMV, but by the time we got to DW Sports, one call was all that was needed. See - efficiency is important.

The assistant came back and we headed off to Coatbridge where not only could we get the headphones, there was also another Argos so we could get the MP4 whilst we were there. The ones in Currys were too expensive so Siggy wasn't going to part with the extra cash when we could get it in the Coatbridge Argos.

We got to Coatbridge. Of course Argos didn't have the MP4 player, so we got the headphones, headed home and dropped off Scott and I as I had had enough and Scott was very close to tears. It wouldn't be the first time he has actually taken to crying just because we asked him to come to Tesco with us for ten minutes. Siggy traipsed back to the original Argos to get the MP4 player. Amazingly, they still had it, but honestly, could he have been any less efficient?

So that night, with the twins safely home FROM THE LAKE DISTRICT, we all settled down, exhausted and with Siggy glowing half-red-half-milkbottle-white in the corner.

"I think that tree's on fire" said Gordon, looking across the street to where we can see a neighbours back garden.

"No, it'll just be the way the sun's setting down behind it" said Siggy.

"I don't think so," Gordon replied, getting up as the rest of us looked out and saw that yes, a 25 foot tall conifer was indeed fully ablaze. The three older boys and Siggy ran out and went across the street, whilst I dialled 999.

Before we knew it, all four of them have jumped over the garden wall across the street and a fair number of others were beginning gather in the lane next to the house.

Siggy tells me that when they got over the wall, Ronnie, the house owner was nowhere to be seen and one of the other neighbours was standing looking at the tree as ash started to drift towards the garage roof.

"Better watch, that roof might catch," said the neighbour. Siggy just stared at him and wondered why he was standing next to the garden hose, already plugged into the garden tap.

By this time Ronnie had appeared, understandably shocked as various neighbours had banged on his front door and told him to get around the back a s the trees were on fire. He just stared, saying "Oh my goodness" a lot. Several other neighbours all came around the side of the house then. Siggy reckons that including our three boys, there were about a dozen people in the garden, all staring at the tree scratching their heads and saying really useful things like "We've phoned the fire brigade", "That ash might set the garage roof alight" and "Do you think it was deliberate?"

Siggy, being a bit more practical, said, "Maybe we should put it out then," turned on the tap and pulled to hose over the tree where, miraculously, lots and lots of water seemed to put the fire out. Meantime, all the neighbours stood back and said more helpful things like "There's a lot of steam," "You missed abit there, " and "Do you think it was deliberate"

I was being far more sensible. I stood in the lane with with collected dog walker and generally other nosey folk whilst I bbm'd everyone I could think of to tell them that there might be some firemen here shortly and top get around if they wanted to see some hose action. In the end, they did arrive, asked Siggy if he wanted a job and left. What a bloody disappointment, especially as one of them was a firewoman and Siggy reckons she had been an East German shot putterin a previous life. Or perhaps just earlier in this one.

Anyway, I said I wanted a more exciting week and you can see I definitely did have, but that was only the weekend and we still had the 16th birthdays and associated party to come.

For now though, I reckon I need a coffee and you will need a fresh one, so look out for part 2 later today. Thank goodness this is a long weekend.

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