Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Would you believe it? That dear little baby gerbil lasted just 3 days, then grew feeble and died. No.1 son says our garden is like a graveyard (2 hamsters and a gerbil) - I said it was better to call it a garden of remembrance and be grateful the pets weren't bigger! (Ours is a very, very small garden.)

He tried to say that the cage was unsuitable, then that the gerbil was in a draught (how come the hamster lived for 2 years in the same cage, same spot?) - then that it died of a broken heart because it was lonely ...

Well, we'll take the cage to the pet-shop on Saturday to make certain sure it is suitable for gerbils, get the replacement gerbil promised us by the pet-shop man, and a wee pal to keep it company. I'm getting tired of pets!

Last night, as you'll gather, was a bit stressful. I was also supposed to be revising for a First Aid exam - but by the time I sat down to do it, I was so tired that I promptly fell asleep. No - I didn't practice resuscitation on the gerbil - it was a bit small and a bit too far gone!

This morning, the St Andrew's Ambulance depot was the very last place I wanted to be, but I did manage to pass the test and get the badge. With that in my pocket, I went and I joined Noble Spouse at the school parents' evening. In our house, we have one shiny halo and wings, and two moderately shiny sets. I won't say who has which.

Tonight, everyone was tired - me and no.1 son in particular. His piano teacher thought he was too tired to do any significant work - that says it all. He didn't object to going to bed a bit earlier. Neither shall I.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

What a week! Two concerts for no.1 son and his cello - to his embarrassment, his cello spike got stuck and had to be retrieved with pliers. Guess who will take pliers to the cello exam tomorrow morning, just in case?!

Because of the exam, we are trying to get lots of practice done. Here's hoping it pays off! I think his school-teachers are getting tired of him getting leave of absence!

Yesterday, we bought a baby gerbil, borrowed a library book about gerbils, got knee and elbow pads for no.1 son (who has just taken up roller-blading), and had a surprise invitation for no.2 son to go and spend the day with a friend. The two of them made the arrangement but forgot to tell me! So it was all arranged after breakfast yesterday morning! It's a shame that no.2 son was upset because he couldn't get through to his friend by phone, and the friend was upset because he hadn't phoned - but we adults didn't even know why they wanted to speak to one another!

We got up this morning to more pouring rain, two vandalised car mirrors, and vandalised windows at church too. What a weekend!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Bloggity Blogger folk are all having a knees-up in Texas tomorrow. It's not fair! In the interest of cyber-equality, I demand a bloggity knees-up in Scotland next!

You don't want to know how yesterday went. No.1 son behaved himself, but sons nos.2 & 3 were really rather badly-behaved at Godmother H's. They were an embarrassment at the tea-table, and bickered contentedly before and after tea. Mind you, the crumbed turkey aeroplanes were a bit well-done, so I suppose no.2 son could be forgiven for looking up as a plateful of turkey dinosaurs appeared next, and asking innocently, "are these burnt, too?" At least everyone laughed.

Today has been a near-normal Sunday. Bribed by the thought of cheap sweeties, the boys were no trouble at church. Lunch disappeared like snow off a dyke - it's WONDERFUL being able to put virtually anything in front of the boys and see it demolished, after several years of being profoundly picky eaters.

Unfortunately I spent WAY too much at Asda this afternoon, but I suppose a jacket for no.3 son, and a mothering Sunday gift, did account for a bit of the overspend. (no.3 son had frayed the sleeve of his winter anorak so very badly that I couldn't let him go out of the house in it this morning. I'm not proud, and I'm not the type to be embarrassed at some slight damage discovered at the last minute. But that sleeve was so tatty that it was distinctly beyond repair.) Of course, Asda didn't even have any winter jackets in their "reduced" section, but hadn't yet got round to displaying summer jackets. I scoured the place, went round the clothing section three or four times - and emerged triumphantly clutching the ONLY jacket for any boy older than 3 but younger than 15! It'll be fine in a week or two, and until then he'll have to wear no.2 son's cast-off jacket. I spent half an hour repairing that and changing over the name-tags.

Now, I'll do a little bit of sewing for my Ebay project (that counts as relaxation, please note), and then I want to get into serious research-mode. I need to ensure that no-one has ever tackled my research project, before I actually get started on it myself. I foresee some hours spent turning the internet inside out and backwards, for a start!

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Sparky the hamster had to be put down at 9.05 this morning. No.1 son is very upset, understandably, but the alternative - an operation, then going to the vet to get the wound dressed every two days for anything up to six weeks - was simply not an option for an elderly hamster. There has been a funeral down by the hedge at the end of our garden. We were asked if we wanted to take Sparky home to bury him, and no.1 son decided he did want to. The most distressing part was when we were asked back in to get Sparky. We had assumed that "being put to sleep" meant that Sparky's eyes would be closed. They weren't.

I've got some cold-y virus, so have all the boys, and it's a damp, miserable morning. We're going to have tea with one of the godmothers this afternoon, which they're looking forward to. Walking the dog (the highlight of the visit) won't be much fun in the rain, but maybe the boys won't mind. Meanwhile, Super Spouse remains the only healthy one. This can't last. (He would have sympathetic PMT if it was biologically possible - I never feel ill but he has whatever it is, worse!)

Friday, March 12, 2004

Took no.2 son to a percussion concert on Wednesday evening. We survived the first half, but it's embarrassing when you've deliberately picked front seats - and a little voice beside you says, "Mu-um, I'm BORED!" I hadn't intended to stay for the second half of the concert; I reckoned half a concert was enough for someone who is not quite 8 years old! He loved the drum opening. There were seven players in the line-up, and it was astoundingly loud. The marimbas etc were great, and the piece for marimba and alto saxophone was stunning. The marimba soloist deserves to go far - I understand he's heading to music college in London for further studies after the summer.

Tonight (Friday), sons no.2 & 3 came with me to hear no.1 son in his first string orchestra concert, and a good noise those players made, too. There were no seats left in the audience when we arrived - and we WERE on time, too - so we sat on the floor and leant against a pillar at the side of the hall. I was the only parent sitting on the floor, but several other kids were there with us! The Terrible Two squiggled and wiggled beside me, and I lost count of my "shushes", but they were fairly quiet really. No.1 son had a fantastic time, but was eager to find out if we'd missed him! As well as the music, they'd done archery, tree-climbing, Highland games and a disco - quite a busy week, all in all!

Sparky the hamster has survived to the end of the week, but is going back to the vet tomorrow - this time, a proper appointment at our own vet. It turns out the vet. nurse at our practice was on duty when Sparky went to the PDSA last weekend, so she'll be able to compare how he is now, compared to then. I reckon he's considerably worse - tomorrow could be curtains for Sparky. Still, two years old is quite an age for a hamster. There might be a few tears, all the same.

No.3 son crashed out as soon as his head hit the pillow. No.2 son is ready for bed, and no.1 son is telling the world about his week on his own blogger. What a bloggity family we're turning into.

While he was away, I read two books recommended to me by no.1 son - so I can now recommend Catherine MacPhail : Run Zan run (a Scottish girl deals with bullies and makes a new friend), and Michael Morpurgo : Kensuke's kingdom, which is a modern Robinson Crusoe type tale with a twelve-year old boy and an old Japanese castaway as the heroes of the story. Both excellent.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sparky the hamster isn't living up to his name. I mean, it kind of suggests a lively, funky little furry creature, doesn't it? But Sparky is no bright spark this week - I don't think his spark-plugs are firing much at all. He's not comatose - he just doesn't come out to play. I don't know if he'll last the week, so I hope I won't have to break bad news to no.1 son on his cello camp. If he doesn't ask, I won't say. I'd rather explain it when he comes home, if that's the way things turn out.

"Mum, if I was ill, would you spend £39.50 on me?", I was asked. To which I replied that thankfully Tony Blair's NHS still pays for humans to get medical attention when they're ill (or should I say, our taxes still pay...) - but that there's no NHS for hamsters!

As for the work computer system - the problem I identified last night was a temporary one and is resolved today, but two of us have encountered a different fault. Hey-ho, I am off to the second day of my St Andrew's health and safety at work First Aid course tomorrow, so I won't have to go into work at all - apart from lunch, which is ironically provided ... at my work!

No.2 son has a stuffed up nose and a cough. I think he was swinging for a day off this morning, but the ruse didn't work. He isn't even under the weather! And tomorrow, Mum HAS to be at the first aid course. I fail, otherwise - and that's a whole course fee wasted. Can't risk that! What a good thing I stocked up the medicine cabinet the other week - we've got plenty of Calpol and cough mixture for emergencies. (Not the same as the recommended contents of an Official First Aid Box. Would you like me to tell you what they are? No, I thought not.)

Monday, March 08, 2004

Ghastly day. It began with Super Spouse alleging I had given him duff info about a packaging firm's quote to package something. The only part I had in the proceedings was being given the firm's phone number, writing it on a piece of paper, and handing it to Super Spouse. No way could I have remembered the phone number, still less phoned the firm to get the duff gen - I no longer had the number, did I?!

It was busy, busy, busy all day at work - especially now I have to log every single query I get, whether phone, email or in person. And at the end of the day, the computer system started misbehaving. But no-one believed me.

Am I paranoid? I absolutely HATE being falsely accused, and I equally HATE making what I perceive to be a valid point and having it brushed aside as of no consequence. How loud do I have to shout to make people acknowledge me? I DO know what I'm talking about, and I am tired of feeling marginalised.

Anyway, if the computer system isn't working properly, then I can't do half of my job. Tomorrow could, therefore, be fun. I'll have to sit and watch a backlog accumulate that I can't deal with. (We have to monitor how long it takes us to process things, too.)

Ah well, I am home now - safe in the bosom of my loving family, ha ha! I'd better help no.1 son pack his bag for his music course. Then get no.3 son ready for bed, followed by no.2 son, and maybe at some stage I'll be free to sneak out for petrol while Super Spouse holds the fort and plays computer games. (I haven't got three boys - I have four!)

Sorry - I am feeling exceptionally grouchy today. Humph, herrumph!

And I don't think the hamster is getting any better. More about that another time.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

97 Australian, 73 American, 109 New Zealand dollars! For a couple of days I'd been thinking that the hamster's cheek looked swollen. By this afternoon, I was convinced that Sparky had an abscess. Oh yes, I was right. Off we drove to the emergency vet, which cost £39.50 to get the abscess drained and antibiotic administered. I still think I was right to go - how could I leave an animal suffering for another 48 hours until there was a chance to take it to our normal local vet. (Which would still have cost a fair bit, but not the emergency Saturday-afternoon rate!) We were shown the amount of gunge drained out of that poor little hammie - horrendous and revolting, I can assure you!

The hamster is two years old. I leave you to work out for yourself that it is quite elderly in hamster terms, abscess or not ...

Well, what shall I do with the rest of my afternoon? Maybe continue my Ebay craft project? I haven't finished making my wares yet, but it will be interesting to see if I can sell them once they're completed.

Picked up no.1 son from his sleepover at 11.15 this morning. I expected a happy boy. I got a tired, trainee- teenager mega-grump who would barely speak to me. Took him to orchestra and got a row for not having the cello spike protector which HE took off recently - actually, I think he threw it away, but he won't admit it. Anyway, he wanted it to be my fault that I brought the cello minus this little rubber ferrule thing. I brought cello, music and music stand, and thought I was doing well, actually!

"Mum, I've got too much happening", he whinged. "The music course, all these concerts, the cello exam ..." Come on son, get real. If a well-balanced ten-year old can't cope with four buckshee days off school for a music course, then I am sorry for him! And if you go on the course, it follows that you'll have to do the concerts after it.

Better go and do something real rather than virtual for the next hour. Happy relaxing weekend, folks!

Friday, March 05, 2004

What a week! To Stirling for a meeting on Tuesday, then a first aid course on Wednesday, and a four-hour job evaluation meeting on Thursday. A choir practice on Thursday night - the heating was much too warm, and we were just about melting, by the end of the practice. I don't think it's my age (yet) - everyone was half-dead with the heat, too. The piano was beside the radiator, and the radiator has lost the knob for turning it off - so it stands to reason that I was in the hottest place in the room! It also explains why the piano sounds so off-key.

no.1 boy is away having a sleepover with a friend tonight. My little birds are fleeing the nest already!

What do you do when your Super Spouse is a computer game addict? The only way I'll be able to tempt him downstairs for supper is to whisper "cheese on toast" in his ear, as seductively as I can manage. The seduction might not work, but the cheese on toast is a sure winner!
It is International Women's Day on Monday 8th March. What shall we do with it, sisters? How about NO HOUSEWORK for 24 hours? Possible? Tell me if you succeeded!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

We've been for the piano lesson (whilst I did some organ practice), then to see my friend the cellist - and now we're home again. No.1 son is chilling out before tackling his homework. I should chill out, too - having spent the day on a first aid course, I feel fairly tired and almost overloaded with Useful Information! No.2 son is chilling out with pencil and paper, and no.3 is already abed. Yawn! I wouldn't mind a bit of shut-eye myself!

Monday, March 01, 2004

Being the Pseudo-Supermum of a musical boy ain't half a time-consuming business! Saturday saw two trips to and from the string training orchestra. This evening I was at a parents' meeting in connection with a music course. Came home to practise guitar with musical boy no.2, then cello with musical boy no.1. Tomorrow evening - oh joy, an evening at home! Wednesday - piano lesson then take our cellist to visit a professional cellist of my acquaintance. Thursday - my own choir practice. And then next week - the music course! A concert at the end of the week, and two concerts the week after. Finally, I have to try to arrange to accompany the first cello exam.

Dare I whisper it - Nana wants boy no.3 to learn the bagpipes! We already have a cheap chanter, but he doesn't yet understand that you don't BITE the mouthpiece. Well, he is only five, and his fingers are very small still, so I'm not too worried. Nana doesn't understand that bagpipes are very loud, and we live in a very built-up, urban area - no wild hills and glens for him to go off and tootle in! The best place for pipes and drums in the centre of a city is, according to a local expert, on top of a multi-storey car-park. So park your car cannily, or you're in for a BIG surprise!