Friday, 30 December 2011

Fetish Fever!

I’ve had my suspicions for a while now and it’s as I suspected.  I’m fairly sure I have a fetish!  I’ve just checked and this is what the dictionary says:  Fetish: (noun) something about which one is constantly thinking or concerned. And that would be me alright.  How about that?   And here it is:  My name is Gwen and I like nail varnish. Very much.  There is something about those little pots of glossy colours that makes my heart sing.  Nail varnish doesn’t care if my hair is dirty, my socks need changing or there’s nothing in the house to eat except Donegal Catch and oven chips.  Nope, nail varnish exists just to make a little corner of my world a brighter place.  I like them very much.  I like the way some colours work on my toe nails only and I wouldn’t dream of putting them on my fingernails.  I love the way they tidy up my hands.   I love the way I come home from a shopping trip, a little bit despondent because yet again, I couldn’t find anything.  Except nail varnish.  The knowledge that I have one, two or maybe more bottles in my bag, makes the shopping trip worthwhile.  Today I came home with no less than 4 new colours. I only went into the chemist to find the nail tip whitening pen my sister has.   I wasn’t able to stop myself. Maybe it’s the names I like.  I bought a Rambo No. 5, a Bohemian Brown, a Kinetic and something from a Nude collection.  I picked up a Midnight Red and put it back down.  I still don’t know why as it’s been tormenting me ever since.  Especially as I’m not quite sure if it was called Midnight Red or Black Red.  But, it is by Barry M and Boots carry it so I contacted She Who Knows About These Things, or on this particular occasion, She Who Works Across The Road From Boots In River Island On Grafton Street and instructed her to bring it home to me at the weekend.  I’ve even cleared out a little place in my fridge for it, in beside its new sisters.  Nail varnish is like a car.  Forever destined to be a she, never a he.  So you noticed I keep mine in the fridge then?  This is the best storage place, according to some magazine or other I read several years ago and who am I to contradict them.  My sister in law opened my fridge last week and commented on my little collection, neatly lined up where the eggs are supposed to be.  Even though everyone knows that eggs are supposed to be kept at room temperature and not in the fridge.   But I digress.  I’ve got them all.  Rimmel, Collection 2000, Catrice, IsaDora, Mavla, Essence, Barry M, Revlon, Bourjois, Natural Collection, you get the picture.  The only ones I don’t have are Chanel. Another thing I like about a nail varnish splurge is it won’t break the bank.  My nail varnish fetish does not extend past a tenner for a bottle of nail paint. Chanel does not tick this box. I find it also chips within 24 hours.  I indulge in my sister’s collection every once in a blue moon so I have road tested the more expensive brand and found it seriously lacking.  These days I find myself thinking about the next colour I am going to wear as I’m applying another.  It used to be all about organising my wardrobe for the week.  And I reckon that’s how this fixation began.   One morning last winter, Screecher Creature No. 1 patted my arm and asked me if I loved my top.  I’d been wearing it for four days in a row.  Up to that point I had been thinking he had no interest in clothes unless Mario or a Power Ranger was on it somewhere.  He also enquired of me another day, why all my clothes were black.  At the time “all my clothes” consisted of 2 pairs of jeans and 3 (black) tops. This winter, I could not understand how I seemed to have no clothes to wear.  Then it occurred to me that I have had three winter pregnancies and my maternity stuff was packed away (thank god!).  It’s widely known and agreed that maternity clothes are hideous altogether.  Unless of course you shop online where there are some fabulous pieces that cost so much you would have to sleep in them to justify spending those sums of money.  So, in order to jazz up my very basic and limited pregnancy wardrobe, I used to buy “maternity” boots, “maternity” bags and “maternity” jewellery.  And “maternity” nail varnish.  I can’t wear the boots anymore as my feet have yet to return to their pre-pregnancy size.  Well, one of them anyway. Plus I’ve also completely lost the knack to walk in high heels.  I’m going to start practising in the New Year!  The bags had to go as there simply wasn’t any room for a packet of wipes and a nappy after I’d packed my bank card, a lip gloss and house keys.   I find kids like to destroy and then eat jewellery so I was forced to abandon my trinkets as well.  It seemed the only certainties I had left were death, taxes and nail varnish.  It only took 15 years to break my nail biting habit.  I’m so glad I did! Now I have nice, strong healthy nails on which to paint all the colours of the rainbow.  Let’s see, Monday is looking like a Las Vegas day. Maybe Wednesday I’ll go for Silver.  A French manicure is always nice for the weekend.  I swear, knee high oxblood boots never gave me this much fun!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


“Good man, Mammy!” Praise indeed from Screecher Creature No. 1 when the trap and not me, caught the pesky mouse that had been eluding us for two weeks.  Two weeks it took to nab him.  Two whole weeks.  But nab him I did.
Now I have another dilemma.  We have a new lodger. Or very possibly a few of them.  I mean, there’s rarely one mouse, right?
This one, or at least one of them, has a fondness for the fruit bowl.  Pears in particular.  His appetite is bigger than our 6 year olds!!
And I can’t catch him/them.  With their sophisticated palates in mind, I’ve dotted sweet and savoury baited traps about the place in an effort to wipe them out. Not working so far.
Many an evening I sit here and a little whiskered, twitching nose will appear at my right side.  Even the tapping of the keyboard doesn’t deter him.  He’ll have a little cautious sniff, and tiny bit by tiny bit he makes his little way out.  One night he practically played with my feet.
The cheeky bugger runs around my floor, darting in under the couch, over the legs of the baby chair and along the fire place before scooting into the kitchen.  Probably heading for the fruit bowl.
See, we don’t have a Tom so these furry Jerry’s seem to move into our place in their droves.  They have a tendency to drag those little Styrofoam balls out from the wall cavity.  It’s annoying because they are immune to the sweeping brush and the two and a half year old likes to push them up his nose.  These mouses have got to go!!
A couple of days ago I set a trap at the end of the couch and I watched as one of them literally diced with death.  He would approach the trap, and at the last minute scurry away from it.  A tiny confession here.   I wanted him dead but I didn’t want to witness it so I clapped my hands whenever he got too close to those jaws of death and he lived to experience life for another hour or so.  Or at least until I retired to bed.  The next morning, there was a little stiff and lifeless brown body sandwiched in the trap.  I almost felt sorry for him. And then I threw him into the bin.  On top of all the nappies our youngest two like to fill.     
But this latest mouse, or mice, has me baffled.  He’s almost a pet at this stage.  The lads are not the quietest musical instruments in the band, but they don’t seem to bother Fivel.  Maybe he enjoys the company. 
So I’ve arrived at a solution.  I’m going to have to take a shot at him myself.  I’m currently going through my options.  I could use a shoe or a book.  My new weights are pretty hefty and would make it very quick altogether but I’m not loving the very possible and likely occurrence of blood splatters.  And then Mickey could be a Minnie.  With little baby mouses somewhere.  Ah, here.  I never thought of that.  Maybe I’ll let the matter rest for a night or two.  After all, you can’t be too hasty about these things.  But now I have another dilemma.  It’s been a while since Stuart Little came out to play.  The Styrofoam balls are still there each and every morning, but no sign of Stuart.  But, and it’s a big But.  A big smelly But.  I am getting a distinct and nasty whiff of something in my kitchen.  The washing machine has been hot cycled on empty.  Still squiffy.  The fridge has been cleaned out.  Still dodgy.  All my presses have been Miltoned into oblivion.  Still nasty.  I strongly suspect that there might be a lifeless little brown body decomposing down the back of the presses.  Where I can’t get in! Mister Husband thought I was losing the bit I had left until he admitted to “getting it” yesterday.  Now he reckons that Pinky’s heart gave in as a result of all the chocolate baited traps I left lying about and he was only seeking revenge by dying behind the press.  And you know what?  I’m glad!  Glad he’s dead, even if he chose to do it in an inaccessible area. I just found a bag of Cadbury’s Mini Treats in my Secret Christmas Stash that have been well and truly tucked into.  I reckon though it’s the Town Mouse that’s rotting away in my kitchen.  Because a Country Mouse would have much more sense than to Die By Chocolate!!  

Monday, 26 December 2011

A Whole Lotta Things For Christmas

Like Penney’s, I gotta whole lotta things for Christmas this Festive Season.  A couple of nice things happened and one was even slightly miraculous in its own way, but more anon.  The first really nice thing was Screecher Creature No. 3 defied all my expectations in the Baby Led Training department and more or less, potty trained, of his own accord.  He has set a new record in our house, being not quite two and a half years old yet, and a whole 7 months younger than his older brothers when they were trained. Some of you may recall my attempt at potty training him some time ago.  And how I packed it in using the feeble excuse that I needed to be at home for a good three days to have a decent go at it.  Well, Screecher Creature No. 3 had other ideas. One day last week, in the pre-Christmas madness, daily business was conducted as usual.  Came home from the first school run of the day and decided it was not going to be one of those days where cleaning of the food and cooking of the toilets got in the way of my cyber world.    No sooner were we in the door when he appeared before me, a little skinny vision of nakedness from the waist down, a nappy dangling from his hand.  At first I thought he had gone on the floor somewhere, but no, my little bright spark wanted to use the facilities.  And what’s more, he didn’t want the potty, he wanted to pass go, collect 200 euro and use the toilet proper.  Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I plonked him on the throne and waited to see what might unfold.  I didn’t have long to wait.  Like a performing seal, he did his business and delighted with himself, announced he wanted his “big boy pants.”  I did as I was bid, no further instruction needed.  Four days and counting he has had as many accidents.  These days, if you are passing our house at any given time, you are quite likely to hear loud cheering and several rounds of applause.  All the better to encourage him and ensure he starts as he means to go on.  I don’t quite know what to do with the extra time on my hands.  I’m quietly confident though, that I will come up with something. Or someone else will on my behalf.   The other thing that happened was very nice indeed.  And very unexpected.   I won a hamper from The Bay Tree on Christmas Eve! At Screecher Creature No. 1’s excited insistence, we hot footed it in to Tony to collect my bounty. This was a nice round up to an otherwise dubious afternoon.  Basically, who puts paint for kids into a tube and in teeny tiny small print declares that it is “not suitable for finger painting?”  FFS!!!  A half hour of floor washing got most of the green paint from my hands but the Screecher Creatures are still sporting green palms.     And then Christmas morning arrived.  It was on the cards anyway, it being the 25th and all, but, it didn’t start out too early for us.  And for that, words cannot express how pathetically grateful I was for that small blessing.  I am not even remotely religious but I admit to offering up a small prayer before going to bed on Christmas Eve.  I eyed up the loot before retiring and closing the door behind me.  There were an assortment of bicycles, several VTECH educational recording toys (hasty note was made to self - watch P's & Q's tomorrow. High chance of being caught on tape bitchin') some boxes of Lego, a horses head on a stick and four fuzzy red Christmas stockings. Tomorrow morning, I whispered in pagan prayer - let's be havin' ya!! But not too early! In my head I was hoping for 5am at the earliest.  I could just about handle that.  But the Screecher Creatures stayed put till 6.30am!!  Happy days.  Excitement was rife and several shouts of “this is the best day ever!” brought home again, that Christmas really is for kids.  But that doesn’t mean us adults can’t enjoy the materialistic side of it too.  I was delighted with a new collection of notebooks from my Wise Men “for all your scribbling, Mammy” and a bottle of my favourite perfume.  Someone obviously heard me wailing and moaning about my expanding waistline as a new Davina DVD ALSO made its way to my house.  I’m looking forward to a cup of coffee with a packet of biscuits later on tonight when the Screecher Creatures are in bed because I intend to sit down and watch it.  I feel I can indulge because…………………….. I’ve kept the best bit till last.  Despite all my greed over the last two weeks, I’ve still managed to lose a whole pound.  I got up on the scales today just to torment myself, expecting the worst and thinking a bit of shock therapy would catapult me back into action.  But I got a lovely surprise.  It’s only a pound but it’s encouraged me to get walking again now that we’re on Christmas holidays and there will be someone at home to watch over the Screecher Creatures. I’m going to start tomorrow morning.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.      

Friday, 23 December 2011

Shyte Shape

Like a lot of ideas, at the time it seemed like a good one.  I was curious and decided to weigh Screecher Creature No. 4 by stepping on the scales with him in my arms.  Then I was to step down and weigh myself.  I knew I still had a lot of post pregnancy weight and also that he wasn't anything close to two stone but by God I had been hoping for a better reading than the one the scales was giving me.  There was no getting away from it, I was officially “heavy” and it was time to face the music.  Four back to back pregnancies had finally taken their toll.  Along with a good bit of chocolate and little or no exercise in as many years. 
Something clearly had to be done. On the first night of the New Me Regime, Mister Husband was heading to the shops and asked if I wanted anything.  I put in a request for a small bag of peanut M&M's.  Heavily stressing the small.  He just never listens to me.  He returned with one of those pouch bags.  You know the ones; in theory you're supposed to save some for later and there’s a little bit of (useless) tape on the bag to seal it closed.  Don’t know about you but this clever little marketing ploy is completely wasted on me.  Naturally enough I ate the whole lot. I was disgusted with myself.  And Mister Husband for not listening to me. 
The second night of the New Me Regime didn’t roll round for about a week.  I was easing myself into this.  I popped the Pilates DVD into the video machine, made a cup of coffee, grabbed a fistful of cookies and got ready.  To watch it.  That was as far as I got. The lady instructor put the heart cross ways in me.  I thought she said that exhalations and inhalations were to be 45 counts long.  Each!  After I stopped choking on my choc chip cookies, I realised that something had been lost in translation.  The lady on the DVD was Australian.  She said 4 to 5 counts long, not forty five counts long.  Accents! 
A couple of months later I donated it to the Bring and Buy Sale in Screecher Creature No. 1’s school.
All was not lost, however, and every cloud has a silver lining as they say.  I got a bit of a fright with Screecher Creature No. 1's health over the summer and it inadvertently galvanized me into action. Thus began a massive spring clean of the house and a war was waged on the dust mites. I lost over three pounds that week alone just from scrubbing floors.  I was greatly encouraged.  For the next month or so I continued to loose up to a pound and a half a week and all of a sudden I was half a stone down.  I was on a roll and I even went so far as to download a workout session that promised results after only three half hour sessions a week.  I walked the roads each summer evening until the winter beckoned and I had to stop.  Determined not to fall at the first hurdle, I turned to the gym.  Aqua aerobics took up one night a week with a tummy and thighs class another.  After approximately 6 months, I am over a stone and a half lighter. 
And now this week has happened. Keep fit class is over till the New Year, I haven't visited the gym in a week and the same can be said for my DVD workout.  I run on empty most mornings and lately I am giving into my sugar cravings.  I cram a couple of those mini brioche type things into my mouth and slurp a cup of coffee as I run round getting the boys dressed and fed.  Today alone Screecher Creature No. 3 and I shared a large pack of those chocolate Kimberly heavenly creations.  I swear, I don't know how that empty Roses tin got there.  I can't stop thinking about a bottle of gin I've got chilling in the fridge. I actually had a junk food hangover the other day.  My body is slowly but surely grinding to a halt.  It's all going to hell in a fabulously, frothy cappuccino cup.   I try to lessen the guilt by reminding myself that because I am breastfeeding, I can wave goodbye to at least 500 calories before my feet even hit the floor in the morning.  But at this rate, I don't know how it's not chocolate milk my body is making.  My little lipo suction of a son is going to have to double up on his feeds if he cares about me at all.     
This is Christmas week and it’s getting harder to be good.  My waistband is feeling decidedly tighter already but fek it.  Because you know what, if you can’t indulge at this time of year, when can you? 
Wishing you all, near, far and wide (distance folks, distance not body shapes!) a very merry festive season. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Crap Day

I know it’s going to be a crap day when…………………

I look at the clock and think I’ll be out the door in 20 minutes.  An hour later I’m only opening the front door to walk to the car.

Not only have I changed two dirty nappies in ten minutes, I’ve also had to do an entire clothes change due to a cat poo “incident” in the garden.
Oh, and the shoes as well.  The type with the grooves on the soles.

I walk into the laundry room to find “someone” has played with the industrial sized box of washing powder.  There are little tyre marks made by the little trucks that were pushed through mounds of white powder sprinkled liberally on the floor by the little ……….

The dodgy smell emanating from the front room turns out to be the missing nappy your toddler “hid” two days before.

Don’t mention the weather.

I can’t find my car keys.

The car won’t start because the boys had been in it the previous day and left a light on.

I leave the house with one perfectly made up eye, and the other one forgotten about.

A rogue tissue has been left in a jeans pocket in the wash and well, you know the rest.

I get a letter informing me of my driving test date.

A small child appears naked by my bedside at 7am informing me that he needs to “go to the loo” and decides the carpet is the best place to “go.”

I leave “them” alone in the front room while I made a quick bathroom stop. I swear to God, I was only gone ten seconds (And I’ll admit I didn’t bother washing my hands) to find on my return, had they not only plucked every single green leaf from my beautiful Peace Lily, shredded it and the single flower I had lovingly cultivated for the last four weeks, but they had also tossed out most of the clay onto the carpet.

Don’t mention the weather!

There are spoons in the fridge.  I put them there.

I’m in my local department store.  I’ve got go faster stripes down my trouser leg (yogurt and breakfast remains), I’ve brushed my hair (I think!) no make-up on and the security guard is keeping a very obvious eye on me.

I’m in Next returning a purchase bought from the internet only to be told it’s A-Wear I should be in.  Or was that the other way around?

 It’s potty training time!!!!!!!!  (This one could last several weeks!)

I’ve filled the car at the service station, paid and gone to another shop for a coffee.  Then and only then I see that I have neglected to rub in my dots of foundation. 

I put petrol instead of diesel into the car. 

I’d get back into my bed only the sheets need to be changed and I haven’t got the time to do it!!!!!

I’ve sucked hot ashes into the Hoover cleaning out the grate.  When the fire is lit.  It takes two days for the smell of burning rubber and hairs to leave the house.

I can’t find the marmalade.

Still and all it’s got to be better than the story I heard lately about the lady who ate poo. She thought it was a dot of chocolate on her jeans.  It wasn’t!

Monday, 19 December 2011

In a Spot of Bother

I am not usually prone to histrionics but…………. I’VE GOT A SPOT!!   It is not the first one I’ve had and it certainly won’t be the last I wager, but this carbuncle is starting to look like it needs its own passport.  People are no longer making eye contact with me.  Their eyes are firmly on my chin as they converse with my festive looking spot.   It’s all too reminiscent of the first time I got my eyebrows tinted.  The beautician held up the mirror for me to approve her handiwork and like the novice I was, I told her to give it another go.  I ended up with two magic marker like Mr. Pop eyebrows.  They were not totally unlike a large raven taking flight across my forehead.  When people spoke to me afterwards, they sub consciously rubbed at their own eyebrows.  It took 10 years before I was over the trauma and ready to try it again.
So battling with the eyebrow memory, I contacted She Who Knows All About These Things.  My sister.  I fired off a quick text, “quick, give us a good face mask.”
Not only is she fully versed in the beauty area but she is bionic in her ability to text people.  Seconds later she was back to me with her recommendation for a tea-tree oil scrub. 
Ah no, I told her, I’m on the ugly side of 40 and need to be kind to my complexion.  I’m after something kinder than a scrub, if you don’t mind.  She knows her stuff, does my sister.  The only problem this time was, the mask she had in mind got such a glowing, culinary description, I wanted to get a spoon and eat it, never mind spread it on my chin. 
In the same way I’ve often wondered what that person was actually doing when they discovered how to milk a cow, I pondered on the clever clogs who decided to put foodstuffs into facial products.  The almost 40 year old mind boggles. 
Then she suggested something much more readily available to me that was, in her knowledgeable opinion, the bees knees altogether for tackling blemishes.  None other than the cheap and cheerful, ubiquitous tub of Sudocreme.  Or, if you’re Irish, Sudocream.  Either of them will do the job.
But it’s not such a good look for Saturday morning shopping. 
All the same, I remembered her advice and whitewashed my chin before bed.  And whaddaya know?  Low and behold, the following morning, the lighthouse that had taken up residence on my chin had been decimated in size.  That stuff really works.  I wonder what else I could try it on.  Would it work on my hips???  And what about the lads’ winter snot?  Would it clear that up before Christmas?  I could put it to the real test.  Mister Husband reckons he’s coming down with something, possibly man flu.  Would Sudocreme work for him?  Or would it be kinder just to put him down?

Friday, 16 December 2011

Irritable Bould Child Syndrome

Screecher Creature No. 3 has gone off the rails.  There’s no controlling him.   He is fast approaching two and a half years old and afraid of no-one.  Before it is put to me, no, the others were not like this.  They were not.  This child is in a class all of his own.  No-one else has a child like him.
I used to joke when he was really little and tell him to stop looking at his older brothers. Stop looking and learning I used to say.  Too late I am a feared.  He loves nothing more than a good colouring session on the walls.  Chests of drawers can be emptied and the contents flung to the four corners of the room in the blink of an eye. If there is anything within his reach that can be thrown, it will be thrown.  I’ve lost count of the times something has made contact with the back of my head when I am driving.  Yesterday, he broke Mister Husband who was forced to pull over on the side of the road when an IFO (Identified Flying Object) sailed past his left ear.  Namely a small, brown leather shoe.  The offending child got a bollicking from his daddy but matters aren’t helped much when there is a 6 year old in the mix who is particularly good at encouraging his younger hardy buck.  Not that he needs egging on but he seems to feed off it nonetheless. 
He loves an audience.    
His latest delight is to scream as loudly as he can when I’m driving the car.  This has the power to cut through me like a hot knife through butter. 
I can just about tolerate high jinks and rambunctiousness but draw the line when I get kicked in the shins after I correct him.  He has a penchant for spitting which is never tolerated but at the same time, isn’t showing any signs of stopping anytime soon.
Today he unstrapped the baby in his rock-a-tot.  I heard a surprised and startled cry mixed in with a thunk.  Screecher Creature No. 4 was face down on the floor where he had been unceremoniously thrown from his seat.  “Don’t care-ah” was the offenders cocky reaction to my distress.
The other night Mister Husband told me he was going to be late home.  Words such as these have the power to strike fear in my heart.  It’s hard enough trying to get the baby settled when Mister Husband is here but to leave the sitting room and kitchen at the mercy of the three older boys, is just asking for too mucho trouble.  I decided I would lock the sitting room door from the outside so they would not have access to either room and I put them in their bedroom with a firm instruction to stay there.  Sometimes small miracles happen and 15 minutes later they were still within.   I took advantage and crept up to the sitting room.  The door wouldn’t open.  It was well and truly locked.  Crap!!!  Naturally enough, the Screecher Creatures sensed drama and they emerged en masse from their room.  Forty minutes later I had the handle off and was pouring liquid soap into the lock in an effort to loosen it up.  No joy.  Mister Husband arrived home and got no good of the lock either.  Bob the Builder.  Handy Manny.  Mister Husband the Carpenter.  As Ray D’Arcy says, spot the odd one out and you will win for yourself, an odd one out hoodie.
He had to call in the cavalry who showed up with a saw!  After a good two hours of Mister Husband and me scratching our heads, my Daddy had the problem solved in about 5 minutes.
I am not going off topic but have you seen the You Tube clip with the two little boys and a bag of flour?  Well, I locked that friggin door on the wrong night. Tonight my Irritable Bould Child got his hands on a large box of Cheerio’s while I was settling the baby for bed.  In the time it took Screecher Creature Number 1 to come and rat him out, the boy who looks like butter wouldn’t melt, had himself a most excellent adventure with it.  Naturally enough, there was plenty for everyone in the audience and the other two sheep joined in the shenanigans.   I’ll be picking those darn “irresistible crunchy O’s” out of the toaster for days to come.   My mother in law bought me a fridge magnet last week. It says “We child proofed the house. But they keep getting in.” She hit the nail on the head with that one!