Sunday, February 29, 2004

Does anyone ever read this? Some people reportedly make a fortune and get a book out of their blogger. Where am I going wrong?! Maybe my life is just too sad to be publishable!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Can you believe it is two months since Christmas? One sixth of the year gone already! I haven't STARTED to think about next Christmas yet. I'm sure a true Supermum would already have Christmas gifts, bought in the Sales, all stashed away. Damn, failed yet again!

What a day this has been. The school rang Super Spouse just after the kids had gone into school to say that our middle boy was very pale and felt sick. Could he collect him? Thinking that he could hardly take a sick boy to work with him, he said no, then phoned me. At work, that is. I had to untangle myself out of various meetings in order to go by underground back to the shopping centre where I’d left my car.

Somehow it hadn’t dawned on Super Spouse that if I was going home, there was no reason why he shouldn’t spend his free half-morning going and getting the invalid from school, then I’d be at home to look after him. As I left work, I phoned home and clarified the position! After all, he was five miles nearer to school, and had a car outside the house.

They arrived home ten minutes after me – Super Spouse telling me wrily that he had found the invalid sitting waiting in the corridor for him – eating his chocolate play-piece as he waited. I ask you – what sick child will gorge on chocolate?! If the school secretary had glanced outside her office, she’d have noticed what he was up to!

Anyway, there I was at home with a not exactly sick invalid. I took him back to school at lunchtime, once he’d tucked into his packed lunch with his normal relish, then went back to work myself. The message is that you don’t get to stay at home with Mum unless you truly are ill!

So, here I am at home after two trips to work, one to school and, after tea, a trip to no.1 son's piano lesson. Oh, and a dash to Asda during the lesson, because sons nos. 2 & 3 won’t eat the breakfast I bought last weekend.

The younger two are in bed, and I've practised with no.1 son and his cello. Schoolboys are not as hard work as when they were babies and toddlers, but they’re still fairly high maintenance!

The social worker phoned today to ask if we’d like Super Spouse's dotty auntie to stay on another month in the residential home before finalising the arrangement. She thought Auntie was settling in quite well, and advised not to visit too often, as it would only unsettle her. Which makes sense.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Well, it sounded as though my Dad survived his BUPA explorations - he was sleeping the sleep of the just when I phoned last night, but hopefully I'll speak to him on the phone later on tonight.

Sometimes being a Pseudo-Supermum is over-rated. You know those statistics calculated by economists, working out what a mum's domestic contribution would actually be worth in financial terms? Well, let them do their statistics based on my weekend! How do you calculate the time taken up by:

The weekly supermarket run, plus trips to optician, rehearsal, party
Preparing meals etc, 5 loads of washing, hanging up, folding and sorting it when dry, and some of the ironing (but this week I left some for Super Spouse, since I did the whole of last week's lot myself!)
Stripping beds, emptying bins, clearing "junk" off the stairs, putting out clean towels, mending a zip, cleaning the hamster cage (no-one else ever thinks that these chores need doing!)
Not to mention supervising tidy-up sessions for clothes and toys! Alas, I didn't manage to factor in time to supervise instrumental practices, so they didn't get practised. That's another sore point. Is it worth the effort?

Poor, worn out Pseudo-Supermum chose to nap on the settee after lunch today rather than go swimming. I stand, as accused, a couch potato. A feeble, rotten thing of neither use nor ornament, and negligent in my duty to my boys. Son no.1 was my accuser. Not in quite so many words, but along those lines, certainly.

Well, ain't that tough! It gets to the point where even a worn out Supermum needs a rest if she is to continue functioning normally!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Super Spouse (he doesn't like being called Noble Spouse, but what else can I call him? No, don't answer that!) - went to see his aged aunt in the residential home last night. She gave him hell! She was "terrified", and hadn't seen a soul, and hadn't sat and talked to anyone, nor seen anyone at mealtimes. What a lonely couple of days she must have endured. And she wanted to go home. Super Spouse was worried - until he spoke to the nurse in charge, on his way out. "Look", she said - and there was Aged Auntie sitting in the lounge, chatting away to another resident with whom she has already become quite friendly. Apparently it is quite common for old people to spin this story to their anxious residents, whereas in actual fact they are settling in quite well, and experiencing no real problems at all!

Pseudo Supermum (I can't be Supermum - there are two Real ones out there already!) has had a busy Saturday, as part of the family taxi firm. Took no.3 son to Glasgow to get his new glasses. No.1 son to Paisley for his orchestra rehearsal. No.3 son to Bearsden for a birthday party. Not to mention doing the washing, the ironing, stoking the bread machine, preparing meals, and doing some organ practice during the birthday party. No rest for the wicked, as they say!

Meanwhile Super Spouse was doing an interlocking taxi service in different directions! We didn't believe friends who gloomily predicted this situation, some years ago ...

It is just after 9 at night, and I can triumphantly announce that two out of three boys are in bed, but not asleep, whilst the third is triumphantly on the net on his Dad's computer, having waited "AGES" for Dad to finish using his own computer.

Now I need to phone home, to see how my father got on at the BUPA hospital today. He was getting a colonoscopy and and ileoscopy - poor devil, I don't envy him at all. As I said to my mother, now Dad is into the BUPA system, his health checks have become almost like another hobby - except of course, that you dread them finding anything nasty while they're exploring his innards. After the dreadful time he had a couple of years ago, it is a good thing that they're keeping an eye on him. Hopefully by now he's at home, having a well-deserved sleep in his own bed.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I have a problem. One of my penfriends emailed me during the past week to tell me she had a new email address. I accidentally deleted her email and now I can't write to her. Please, dear German friend, please write to me again!
Well, five days later - my friend's asthmatic boy is thankfully home again, and making progress. The fellow professional in Birmingham is out of hospital, but I don't know any more than that. Closer to home, our confused Auntie has realised our worst fears, by wandering around her neighbourhood on Thursday morning - begging friends and neighbours to take her home. "They've left me here, and I don't know how to get home", she was saying. Golly mick, this can't continue - she's clearly not safe to live alone any more. Friday saw my husband in conference with the care-providers, psychiatric nurse and so on, agreeing that a fortnight of respite care in a residential home might be a good first step. How soon can it be arranged?! This is too much stress for the Noble Spouse to carry around with him day by day.

Oh, sorry. He doesn't like being referred to as a Noble Spouse. Must think of something else.

Nice quotation from our youngest boy - he was listening to Classic FM on the radio, and told me at lunchtime that he'd "been listening to a piano concerto. A Greek piano concerto." I racked my brains to think of a Greek composer of piano concerti, and finally realised the composer wasn't Greek, but Scandinavian - Edvard GRIEG! Not many five-year olds have such an in-depth appreciation of the classics, do they?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Hospitals and greetings cards

In just 12 hours, we heard about a friend's son in an Australian hospital with pneumonia - or is it bad asthma? Worrying when the experts can't make their minds up! - and then a fellow professional in Birmingham having a massive heart attack in his early fifties. From the vantage point of 45, that doesn't seem very far away - scary indeed! I hit the post office's card display with a vengeance, got my two get-well cards, phoned Birmingham to ask if they'd forward the card - posted the cards - and then realised later on that I'd forgotten to get the birth congratulations card for friends who have just produced their second offspring. Ah well, I have to go to the post office again tomorrow in any case because I've been busy selling stuff on Ebay.

Noble Spouse is just back from visiting his confused auntie. The confusion is descending like a thick fog - she doesn't know where she lives, how long she's lived there, where he lives, who Noble Spouse is married to, or how many children we have.

She doesn't know how many ROOMS are in her flat, or what kind of a flat it is. In Glasgow terms, a "room and kitchen" is the smallest kind of tenement flat. The term says it all - although there will of course also be a bathroom. But the fact is, she left the family "room and kitchen" four decades ago. She moved to a "quarter villa" when she married (a quarter villa is a building with two flats upstairs and two down - literally a quarter of a villa each, but with their own individual front doors of course.) She no longer knows that she lives in a quarter villa.

She remembers her husband's name - but when she mentioned him, that came as a surprise - she hasn't mentioned him for a good long while. He died 10 years ago.

Noble Spouse made the first phone-call asking about residential care for Alzheimer's sufferers, today. It was only an initial enquiry, but is a recognition of how bad things have got. And he's depressed.

Since I had to be at work for 12 hours yesterday, I took this morning off. I took it so thoroughly off that I stayed in bed until 11 am! Not that I slept - I read, actually - but being curled up in bed with a good book for a nice long read is something delightfully novel to someone who gave up Good Night's Sleep with her first maternity leave!
I phoned home - finishing the call when Mother had to go and get ready for her hair appointment. "And you'd better get up now, dear", she advised me. Why, exactly? I had no plans to go out until 1 pm.

I made another call to No.1 son's piano teacher, and a third to the mortgage company to ask for an explanation to a circular we'd recently received. Quite a useful morning, actually!

This evening, I watched Faking It- a Cambridge undergraduate choir-girl given a month to turn herself into a convincing Rock Chick, with intensive tuition. She did quite well, all things considered. I've often said that the TV programme ought to take me on - 45 and a little heavier than I used to be - and turn me into an aerobics tutor in the space of a month. Now, THAT would be a challenge. I have a great musical sense of rhythm, but two left feet when it comes to moving in time to the music. And flexibility is hardly my middle name.

Enough! Supper then bedtime. Who knows, I might finish that book soon!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Full of busy as ever! In the past 24 hours, I've written 2 articles - one on my Commuter Stress appearance with Granada TV last Spring, and one in connection with my work. Tuesday night saw me taking no.2 son to a guitar lesson, and today was the piano lesson for no.1 son, who now has to do his cello practice for the lesson at school tomorrow...

To think Nana wants no.3 son to learn the bagpipes! God help us. I bought a practice chanter, but he'll have to learn to play it under close supervision. I don't want to find it getting teeth marks before he can even play a note!

What I really ought to do in the near future, is get back to writing short stories for hard cash. All I need is some inspiration, but somehow it eludes me these days. Ah well, I'll have to just keep thinking.

Excuse me - I need to accompany the cello practice, to ensure it gets taken seriously!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Pseudo_Supermum is WEARY! Yesterday afternoon I snoozed for an hour before I did the weekly supermarket run. I felt as though I still hadn't properly woken up when I drove back home afterwards! We nearly chickened out of going to see The Marriage of Figaro at my work last night, but it was so good that we were glad we'd made the effort to go out.

So, now it's Sunday evening. Behind me, the ironing basket is overflowing with malevolent intent not to mention ironing. "Psst! Iron me, you lazy creature! See, you're useless, you haven't even got the energy to tackle me. Wimp!"

However, I also have three little boys who need baths and hairwashes tonight, so I'll probably attend to them first. Ironing, you have to wait.

This afternoon we visited a fabulous place called Sharmanka. Described as kinetic sculpture, it can best be described as moving mechanical sculpture with drarfs and gnomes, monkeys, angels and other macabre creatures, animals' skulls, and bits of machinery like bicycle chains, old typewriters and lawnmowers. Add in a mesmerising soundscape and inspired lighting effects - the children loved the half-hour show. I do like taking them somewhere that stretches the imagination, and Sharmanka certainly did that.

Okay, I'll get the ironing board out ready for the ironathon, then start the bath routine. Listen carefully and you'll hear the protests, wherever you are in the world! If I sit down, I'll fall asleep, so I just have to keep going .....