Monday, 30 July 2012

Guilty Pleasures

So Mister Husband comes home from work and says, “d’you know there are two extra kids outside?”*   I didn’t.  I tore my eyes away from Facebook to half look at him.  “Are there?”  There very well may have been extra kids outside but the truth of the matter was, whoever they were, I wasn’t going to mess with the fantastic job they were doing at keeping our four quiet.  I was enjoying wasting some time on tinternet! would be disgusted.  Once upon a time that was the one and only website I devoted my attention to.  These days; not so much.  Very rarely in fact.  It’s been cast aside in favour of Facebook. Rest assured no animal or child have been harmed in the making of this addiction.  Mildly neglected perhaps, but only in a tiny way.  They still get watered and fed which is more than I can say for myself.  And I practically had to be forced into signing up.    Twitter is going to be my next project.  Hey, if Angelina’s leg can have 15,000 followers anyone can.  Yep, Facebook is definitely one of my guilty pleasures.   I’d be lost without it now.   And while I’m talking about guilt and pleasure, one day in the not so distant past (Last week. Maybe. Even.) I cracked open a bottle of wine before half past five!!!  It was only one glass and it was eked out over the guts of an hour but dam it was nice!  It tasted like another one so I had another one.  A few days later I found myself at the fridge door again and my hand was extended towards the wine.  It wasn’t even five o’clock.  I left it there. It’s a slippery slope that one.  There are guilty pleasures and then there’s a drunken lush.  Not such a good look!  Moving on to a much easier one: Home and Away.  Yeah, I know.  What am I like?  But I love this crap!  I’m not into Corrie or any of the others.  But Home and Away is different.  It’s mindless fluff, cringe making, leave your brain outside the door for the next half hour total escapism.  And Brax lives there.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.  Do I?  I know you’re out there too!    At this stage even the Screecher Creatures roll their eyes and say “we know he’s your boyfriend, Mammy.”    I wasn’t aware I was going on about him. But there you go.  Is it ok to “hate” someone on soap land?  Ok, good.  I hate Ruby.  Not fond of these overly confident pushy teenager types a tall a tall.  Anyone else recognise John Palmer from A Country Practice?  He used to be Brendan, married to Molly?  No?  Well, he was.  Oh dear, I seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent there.  It’s to see if I can link it all back together.  Kind of playing mind games with myself.  It’s supposed to be good for senility so in an effort to keep mine at bay, I occasionally buy a dreadful older woman’s magazine because I really like the crossword in it.  But the last one I bought is still sitting on the counter top in the kitchen.  So much for exercising the old grey matter.  And speaking of grey, (see?  See what I did.  Linking!)  Another of my guilty pleasures is plucking out grey hairs.   I truly love this.  I think it is my new hobby. Some liar out there once said that red heads don’t go grey.  Well, they never met my nana!  A flaming red head in her youth but I only ever knew her with black hair going grey at the front.   I reckon it’s all a big, mad rotten conspiracy to stop you having fun.  Don’t pick your spots, you’ll end up scarred.  Don’t shave your legs, you’ll get ingrown hairs/it’ll grow back as a pelt.  Leave any grey hairs you find, alone.  For every one you pull out, you’ll get two in its place.  Great I say, all the more fun with my tweezers.  Oh yeah, and don’t pluck your eyebrows from the top.  I think that’s because they’ll grow back upside down or something.    Guilty pleasures?  Bah, they’re like rules that are meant to be broken.  It’s just more fun that way.
*Mister Husband was being a tad dramatic.  The two extra kids were the girls from next door.  They’re always over putting manners on our lads and trying to smooth over their rough edges.  Mister Husband was road testing his smart mouth.  See the computer now lives on the dining room slash family room table.  So I can work!  (Listen, all this bitchin’ and moanin’ is going to earn me some money one day, alright?) Because said computer migrated from office slash bedroom to its new location, I spend a lot of time sitting at it.   I admit to it.  Other people have fancy phones that they take with them when they stand at the sink, sit on the loo and go to bed. I don’t have that luxury.  (Reminder – there are 131 days to my birthday (a milestone one!!!!!!) and 147 days to Christmas.  I’m just sayin.’) So they probably spend the same amount of time on their hand held computer as I do at my sit down one.  It just looks worse when you’re sitting down.  At least I don’t leave slices of bread scattered around with chocolate spread on them, or pots of yogurt within easy reach, water bottles filled to the brim on the kitchen counter and peeled, sliced apples and banana’s all ready for their convenience so I’m not interrupted whilst I work.  I don’t! Well, maybe just the once!    

Friday, 27 July 2012

Home Freakonomics

I had one of those mornings during the week that made me reminisce about my life BC (Before Childers).  BC my wakeup call was an alarm clock at 7.30am and not a child between the hour of 6 and 7am.  I fired a pile of All Bran into a bowl, chopped a banana on top and added milk.  Got dressed in clean clothes that had been carefully left out the night before.  With matching shoes.  Once someone even stopped me on the street to admire my suit and ask where I got it.  God, those were the days.  I took massive delight in their shock when I told them the suit was bought in Penney’s. When you’re a size 8 -10 you can wear anything well.  Sometimes I even brought in a cappuccino and a croissant for a treat before “work” started.  “Work” involved, depending on the various positions I held, answering phones, imports and exports, booking people for work, Dictaphone typing, dealing with money, coping with the public, drinking tea, doing a spot of filing, photocopying, arranging house viewings, going on a lunch break, then watching the clock in the afternoon for the countdown to home time.  It used to take me all day to do that.  Just look at all I can get done before 8am these days. It was six thirty on this particular morning recently and I needed to get up as Mister Husband was on his way to work and some of the Screecher Creatures were awake and restless.  This is never a good sign.  Things get demolished on mornings like this.  On peeling myself away from the bed and slowly standing up, I was assailed by Things That Need To Be Done.  One of my pet hates: bed linen. Two double beds, a single and a cot needed to be targeted.   Screecher Creature No. 1’s pillow had dried blood on it having had 5 teeth extracted the previous day. Blood is a bitch to remove.  The hot press was teeming with clothes and looking to be cleared out to make room for what was in the washing machine.  Which would be refilled from the over flowing laundry basket in the bedroom.  Kids were waiting for their clothes so they could get dressed, then have their breakfast and their teeth scrupulously cleaned afterwards.  A distinct odour hinted that a nappy needed changing.  But before that, the potted plant in the hall had been attacked again – several Screecher Creature No. 4 sized handfuls of soil were sprinkled on the floor. The same child had also gotten into the bathroom and taken a shower in the toilet.  Which hadn’t been flushed!!!!!  The kitchen sink was overflowing with dishes that had mysteriously appeared overnight.  The draining board was also piled high.  There were empty beer bottles (5 in case you were wondering) that should have been put into the recycling bin along with the empty cardboard boxes and yogurt cartons that also graced the counter top.  The floors were in dire need of a sweep.  And a wash.  The toddler was busy emptying two drawers in the kitchen; stuff all over the floor, some of it had rolled under the press where the kicking board had been removed since last winter.  Funny smell emanating from there too.  One child was expected at Montessori in an hour’s time.  The others would be expecting entertainment at home thereafter.  I still wasn’t dressed.    I took a basket of clean linen out of sitting room and shoved it into the hot press where I could forget about it until I opened the door again.  Another toddler alert.  This time he managed to pull the pipe out from under the sink and there was water all over the floor.  One job inadvertently done I suppose. The older boys were going mental in their bedroom, refusing to put on the clothes I had left out for them. Instead they were going through their drawers, (each other’s!) to select their own.  Screecher Creature No. 3 had at that moment decided to wake up.  It was still only 8am and he was in the horrors.  His underpants were caked with the half-finished poo he made in his sleep.  He was refusing to let me help him so I went into the kitchen to get out the bowls for breakfast.  Spotted my phone on the counter top and hoped no-one had been trying to contact me as it had upped and died the day before.  Too much sweat and condensation from running had finally taken its toll.  Another thing to replace.  Made me think of the car and how it needs fixing too.  Still.  I will drive to town for milk and essentials only but no further.  Too dangerous.  Especially on roundabouts or whenever I need to stop which is often.  Screecher Creature No. 3 was still roaring but acquiesced and allowed me to help him in the bathroom.  Screecher Creature No. 4 was crawling around after me shouting as he wanted the tails of my top to hold as he sucked his thumb.  I threw a pair of tights at him and he sat back on his haunches, humming.  Content for another five minutes until I prepared his breakfast.  Shit!  Did we have milk???????  Upset child was clinging to my leg as I did the necessary to his rear end.  He needs to see a doctor.  Tonsils are so large they are affecting his hearing and quite possibly the reason he has been so lethargic of late. I wanted to take the thoughts of another hospital visit and bill, stick them in the hot press along with the laundry.  Dammit!  Now I was thinking of the laundry again.  That made me think of the state of the house in general.  Toys everywhere.  Most of them broken.  The unused stairs piled high with bags of clothes for recycling, tools to be stored upstairs, a cooler box from our holidays that had to be returned to its owner, magazines, books and various other bits and pieces.  And that’s only the inside of the house.  I am beginning to think there is a lot of truth in feng shui.  De-clutter your home and it will de-clutter your mind.  Back into the kitchen where I tackled the stinky pile of cloths from the sink leak.  Emptied the washing machine so I could store them in there.  Made breakfast for a toddler who would not wait any more.  Cajoled the others to the table for theirs.  One was dressed, one was naked and another was half and half.  Watched as they ate and dropped food onto the table.  Their childish toilet humour made me smile.  Screecher Creature No. 4 has a tiresome habit of sticking his thumb in after each spoonful of food.  We were going to be there all day but as I hid the one and only Coco Pox bowl, at least the others weren’t taking turns to eat.  Began to mentally download my list.  Needed to get code from a weekend break away card to order school books on line.  But first had to get to the bank to put money into my Laser card so I could pay for them. Was thinking that maybe Mister Husband could do that for me.  It would save me heading into town in the broken down car with small kids.  Screecher Creature No. 1 seemed to have had a growth spurt on holidays as his trousers wouldn’t fit.  Stop growing!  I can’t keep up!!! I hope his trousers for school will still fit him!  Had to go in search of something that did fit him.  Found it but it was too short.  It would just have to do.  Took out veg, garlic, ginger and various other ingredients for a stir fry for dinner.  Will invariably get one of them that will refuse to eat it.  Tough!  I am sick of mashed up beige and brown food for them, chicken nuggets, spag bol, disgusting pancakes and drop scones, bowls of Weetabix, toasted sandwiches, yogurts and the never ending peeling of bananas and apples.  It’s my choice of dinner today.  Made me remember Monday’s dinner.  A proper roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings to make up for the stodgy holiday food the week before.  It took me all morning to prepare, and I was the only person who sat down to eat it.  I am slumming it today with a stir fry.  Three quarters of the kids were fed but it was time to offload one of them.  I issued loud instructions to find shoes or whatever they wanted to put on their feet, put them on and get into the car.  I put Screecher Creature No. 4 and his tights into the car first to buy me some much needed bathroom time.  Nine o’clock on a Wednesday morning.  How are you?  What else have you got in store for me?  Please let me get this child to Montessori and have a bite to eat when I return home before you throw anything else at me.    

Monday, 23 July 2012

Busmans Holiday

Finally, there was one sleep left before our summer holidays. At last, cries of are we there yet? when we weren’t even in the bloody car could come to an end.  But first there were a few pesky little matters to get out of the way before we set off.   My life is one big list.  I have a list of lists.  I have ones in notebooks, ones on the wall calendar, ones on the computer and ones in my head which always get forgotten and this is why I need all the other backups.  So I consulted my Things To Do Before We Go On Holidays list.  The clutch wasn’t clutching so in order to put an end to the tiresome need to stop on every roundabout and pump it furiously to get the car going again, we needed to get it sorted out. It transpired that it was a slightly more complicated matter than driving it to the garage and having them wave their magic wand over it.  Under the bonnet and engine was mentioned along with car out of action for about two days.  So we riposted with “grand job.  We’ll see you when we come back.”  Thankfully Mister Husband was going to be doing all the driving so we would most likely get there under three hours and in one piece.  I could feel myself starting to relax already.  Are we there yet?  No! The Screecher Creatures were given a wallet each from their nana with some paper money and lots of loose change “for the slot machines” and they were made up.  But it was time for the hard part: packing.  Something that should have taken me an hour was running into its third hour.  The rocking chair was groaning under the weight of all the bed linen and towels we needed to bring.  I had to go in search of a third bag for Mister Husband to use and I still hadn’t packed swimming gear, my clothes or the obligatory rain gear.  There were two boxes filled with nonperishable foodstuffs, two cooler boxes waiting patiently to house dairy produce, an empty box for shoes and welly boots, another on the kitchen counter containing cleaning products and we still had to pack the travel cot. And the football.  And the buckets and spades.   I had visions of the two smallest boys sitting, strapped onto the roof of the car.  The morning of our departure actually dawned bright and promising. Are we there yet?  No!  But at least we were getting closer.  We enjoyed our usual Saturday morning breakfast in town, picked up a few last minute provisions and then went home.  The lads didn’t want to get out of the car such was their eagerness to get going so we packed our things in around them, making sure they could see out and over the mounds of stuff.  Then the key was being turned in the ignition and at long last, after a month of nightly countdowns, we were on our way. Talks of basking sharks and jellyfish were the order of the day on the trip to the seaside.  Screecher Creature No. 3 hadn’t a clue what holiday actually meant, and kept asking were we at holidays yet?  A small row broke out over bunk bed rights but the threat of turning round and going straight back home again, ended it quickly.  Driving and talking about holidays is hungry work so we stopped off in Bunclody for some potted muscles and herring in case we get famished before dinner.  Oh wait, that’s Van Morrison.  We found a deceptively decent looking pub in the town and went in to order what looked and smelt like a very tasty dinner indeed.  Alas, an hour later, with still no sign of our lunch and the demented cries of “are we nearly there yet” changing to “when are we getting our dinner?” saw four hungry kids and two pissed off big people, leaving the premises.  It was only chicken nuggets and chips for the kids and a club sandwich for Mister Husband. Maybe they had gone out on the boat to catch my fillet of haddock order.  But no matter, I’m sure if we stopped off on the way home it would be ready for us.     Forty minutes later, “are we there yet?” was answered with “here we are!”  Relieved and hugely excited, we all piled out and went in to meet the owners and receive the grand tour of our holiday home. Everyone had a question to ask.  “Where is the beach?” “Do you have broadband?” ”Can we see the bunk beds?” “Where’s the nearest doctor?” “Can I do my wee’s?” “Is the water safe to drink?” Everyone discovered their own little gem about the house. “Look! I found Lego under my bed!” “Look at the view from the sitting room window!” “Hey!  There are two bunk beds!” “OMG, they have black out blinds!” “Look at the telly!!” “There’s a washing machine and a tumble dryer!”     There was also a small house to be unloaded from the car parked outside.  But no matter as one of them contained several bottles of Pinot Grigio which needed to be put into the fridge immediately.  Are we nearly there yet?  Hell, yes!  Let the holiday begin!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Happy Birthday Liam

Today our third son celebrates his third birthday.  Liam is the proud owner of the softest, dark blond hair that curls in the heat and smells gorgeous after a shower.  His eyes are blue and always twinkling.  He is a professional procrastinator, a fekin scourge and suffers badly on occasion from selective hearing.  Affection pours out of him by the bucket load.  He loves a hug and a kiss and is very fond of dishing them out too.  He suffers a bit from echo-itis and despite not having a clue what he is saying sometimes, he still likes to inform us that we are “not the boss of him” when he’s getting a scolding.  This is closely followed by us not being allowed to “share his presents” at his birthday party.  He loves a treat and has a real fear that he “will die” if he doesn’t get one.  When he does, he makes it his business to ensure that he can give the same to Conor and Iarla.  Because he has two older brothers, he is quite physical and thinks nothing of administering a thump every now and then.  The lovely, if unfortunate thing about Liam is that he is above average physically.  He looks a lot older than his age and his body acts older too.  He literally falls over his own two feet at times and this can outrage him.  He is the same height as his four and a half year old brother and as tough.  Even though it’s his 6 year old brother he gets into wrestling matches with and unfortunately, comes out the other end a sore loser.  All of this boyishness looks very much out of place on the days he has his nails done.  Much to his daddy’s chagrin Liam is partial to the odd manicure.  Personally I don’t have a problem with it; when a child such as Liam can store that much muck under his fingernails, nail varnish is nothing to get upset about.  Liam is very fond of his grub; some of his favourite foods are pasta, pancakes and apples. Some of his preferred cartoons include Max and Ruby, Lazy Town and Wonder Pets.  He is also very amenable to a bed time story and loves to hear about The Lonely Beast.  He has got himself a fine imagination.  Most mornings he wakes up complaining of the bad dream he had during the night.  The boy has no idea what a bad dream is.  All he knows is it is something he has heard his brothers mention.  His birthday party has been planned for weeks, complete with bouncy castle and guest list.  His “friends” have been borrowed from Screecher Creature’ No. 2’s Montessori group.  He thinks he will never get to school but I reckon he has no idea what is ahead of him and my brave little soldier may turn out to be not so brave after all.   Currently he is doing his damdnest to wear out the word “why?”  closely followed by “coz!”  He is the curious mixture of a night owl and a lark, being the proud, if not so careful owner of a feked up circadian rhythm.  I think he is so afraid he will miss something his body clock is set on “Wake Early Or Miss Out” and he can be up with the birds which follows that at 11am he is like a bag of cats.  A snooze in the afternoon can be delicious, least of all for him, but it could run to three hours which sees the problem happening all over again at bedtime and the following morning.  I had my suspicions of late and indeed they were confirmed since, that he is the main trouble maker when it comes to bed time these past few months.  Liam has graduated into the Big Bed, which he shares with his older brother, Conor.  Bed time used to be a 20 minute affair but now it could be an hour or more due to his penchant for bouncing on the thing, tormenting the two that want to sleep and generally causing ructions.   But there is nothing like his sleepy head peeping round our bedroom door first thing in the morning, telling us that he has had lovely sleeps, it is daytime and now his sleeps are finished.   When it comes to using the facilities, a personal observation would be that Liam has the most accurate aim.  I am told by the tallest person in the house that height has everything to do with it, in that he doesn’t have to aim too far but I don’t concur.  I am just delighted that one of them doesn’t make a mess.  Liam is a bit fond of the odd obscenity.  I used to swear blind, no pun intended, that I didn’t curse until I heard him repeating one of my oft used words, over and over again one day.   He is also quite independent.  Getting them all into the car is no mean feat but Liam likes to do up his own strap which is great and all, except it takes ages as he keeps getting his clothes caught in the buckle and refusing assistance.  It is just a mighty pity he is not that way inclined at all when it comes to picking up after himself.   Although he does like to help with the hanging out of the washing.  Liam is hardy, cheeky, loveable, tough, stubborn, affectionate, inquisitive and loves a bath.  He is literally happy-out with the exception of a short lived morning mood and then he just barrels at the day with gusto.  Happy birthday, Liamy.  Smell the dead men!