Saturday, September 25, 2004

Still busy - this week, Tuesday was spent on in-house staff development and Wednesday and Thursday were spent at the SECC - the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, beside the River Clyde. I was attending a trade conference - Scottish Education and Teaching with Technology. I went round all the stalls, attended seminars, and practically wore the soles off my feet!

Whilst there, I fell in love with a wizard piece of gadgetry - Dana by AlphaSmart is based on Palm technology and is like a full-sized Revo. I love it! And I want one. Here are the reviews. Wouldn't anyone want one?

Still, it's Saturday now, so I have to stop dreaming and get on with serving up tea. More anon maybe ...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A sad tale about BT Fault Progress Reporting Service

Once upon a time there were two pensioners in a village that only just escaped being a suburb of a medium-sized city by dint of half a mile of green fields. One of them had just come home after a week in hospital. That was on Monday. His family wanted to phone to welcome him home, but ... the pensioners' phone was dead.

Their soon-to-be daughter-in-law reported the fault. That was Monday, too.

On Tuesday, their oldest daughter phoned her soon-to-be sister-in-law, and found out what was up. She also learnt that her father had taken seriously ill. A home-visit had been requested from the doctor. (Her mother had to go next-door to a neighbour to phone the GP, as the phone still wasn't working.) The soon-to-be sister-in-law had called BT again. The oldest daughter tried, too, and impressed upon the call-centre lady that this was an emergency. "Yes, we have it down as a priority."

Wouldn't you think that would merit quick action? No. They'd rectified a fault with the exchange but a different engineer now had to check the line between the house and the exchange. That wouldn't be until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, both women complained again to BT. In fact, the older daughter asked how much of a priority a priority had to be, for it to be dealt with in less than 24 hours. No answer. So she said she was phoning the evening newspaper. And that quickly finished the call.

On Thursday morning, and again at midday, there was still apparently nothing happening. The sick pensioner was now more comfortable - still in bed, but now out of danger. And then, at 3.40 pm, the daughter tried phoning home once more - and someone answered!

"I should think so too! You've taken long enough to get my phone fixed!", came the angry answer. Not what you'd have expected, really.

"Mum - it's me! I've been doing all I can, considering I'm in Glasgow and you're in East Anglia ..."

"Hmphh! Sorry - I thought you were the BT lady." Ah well, we all make mistakes!

But the chilling thing is that the daughter learnt today that her father nearly died on Tuesday night - and her mother couldn't even have phoned to tell her. All because someone dug up the road at the end of their street, and severed a connection. Okay, that wasn't BT's fault. But wouldn't you think BT might have investigated sooner?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Give me strength! Son no.3 was six a couple of weeks ago. "Oh, he wants Mario Kart Double Dash", said his biggest brother - with the confidence of a Brother Who Knows.

I ordered it. It arrived. Then Son no.3 started telling me what he really, really wanted for his birthday. Mario Kart didn't feature.

Back to Amazon.co.uk - obtained the currently coveted game. Which was well-received, on the day.

And NOW (and I mean now, literally five minutes ago) - "Can I spend my birthday money, Mum? Can I buy Mario Kart online?"

"NO!!!!! screeched Pseudo Supermum as she clung onto the phone trying to sort out Nana's telephone problem remotely. "Wait - do NOT order it online!!!!!!!"

Back into the lounge went Son no.3, wailing in protest to his father. "Mu - Mu - Mummy won't let me spend My Own Birthday Money."

Super Spouse : "Mum - what's all this about?"

I still haven't sorted out Nana's telephone problem, but Son no.3 is now playing Mario Kart happily upstairs. Super Spouse is reassured that I haven't turned into the Mummy from hell after all!

And I'm considering ordering a book from Amazon - What kids really want that money can't buy!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Google is wonderful! After the Sunday morning jaunt to church - teeth clenched in the car while the boys bickered - I thought I'd look for something relevant to write about. I typed in "children behaving in church", and lo and behold, there was an Orthodox American lady, Matushka Ann Lardas, writing a whole long contribution about Children in Church. Whether in an Orthodox American or a Church of Scotland church, the problems seem to be very similar. At least today, mine did behave in church - after squabbling furiously all the way there. Give me strength!

And there I was, urging "now remember, don't run and shout. It's harvest today - DON'T drop the fruit! Here's your collection. Look, it goes in your pockets - right down in your pockets - you don't drop it down the wee gap in the wall covering, because it'll never be found again. You remember to put it in the collection plate at the right time ...."

Then, as the service progressed, I had to sit there at the organ watching Small Fry lie on the pew, squirm about, make faces and mimic what's going on - all the time thinking, what a good people not many people can actually see what's going on ...

My friends, there is nothing new. Take a look at this Perthshire diary for April 9th (our wedding anniversary, coincidentally!) 1593. Big Grammar School kids were misbehaving in kirk in those days. At least mine will have learnt some sense by that age!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Two parties in six days is almost too much! This afternoon we were off to the Lagoon, Paisley. I was taking seven little boys ice-skating. But everything went pear-shaped. Last Sunday, they assured me that the Lagoon Ice Skating Rink was open to the public from 2.30 to 4.30 pm today. We got there to discover that there was a skating championship, all day and half the night.

Gulp!

Everyone dashed home for swimming togs, and we all swam instead. Noble Spouse was supposed to join us at the rink after he'd played for a wedding, so I primed the front-of-house staff to look for "a man in his sixties, wearing his suit and looking as though he's been to a wedding". Which they did - rather to his surprise - so he found us and drank coffee while I wallowed in the pool with the boys.

Then we came home for scampi or dippers and chips, loads of cola (hyped up little boys to follow!), and birthday cake in the shape of an "eleven". Oh, I do try! Not forgetting the party bags. I tried to suggest that eleven was too old for party bags, but that didn't go down too well, so I had to rush to organise them this morning.

Now for our slimming tea! Some joke, even if we stick to the diet sheet, given that we've nibbled chips already ...

Monday, September 13, 2004

Pseudo-Supermum cheats! We didn't attempt to have a sixth birthday party at home. Instead, we went to Brewsters at Brewer's Fayre. The kids jumped and bounced and screamed and generally went wild - BUT IT WASN'T IN OUR HOUSE! Fabulous. I'd recommend it to any working parents. All this and no clearing up afterwards - who could ask for more?!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Dangerous stuff. Pseudo Supermum has had a brief course in HTML and web-site posting. And been told about affiliate advertising. What will she get up to next? Is there a little entrepreneur lurking beneath that demure exterior? Watch this space, and see what happens!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Pseudo-Supermum has had a frustrating day. Three optician's appointments this morning - God help me, but God help the optician, too. No.3 son wriggled, squiggled and giggled. Nos.2 & 3 acted up, then nos. 1 & 2 bickered all the way back to the car. Ergo, no sweets were bought.

This afternoon I lost the back door keys. Clearly I need either an Angel of the lost keys (picture by Beverley Ashe - artwork at OutsiderArt.info), or a Domestic Angel (a poem, The Angel Connection, by Virginia (Ginny) Ellis – includes the memorable line “domestic angels find lost keys”). Had I lost them outside the house, the Royal Mail has a service which would have helped me - but I hadn't.

Noble Super Spouse found them, two hours after I started looking. On the wrong hook. Still in the kitchen, but next to the sieves on the wall. By that stage I was convinced I must be suffering premature dementia.

Time to cook tea. If I remember where I left the ingredients ...?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Frantic Friday
Pseudo-Supermum took the afternoon off in order to play for a wedding at my church. Then went home, compiled a shopping list and went to Asda. The Just4weeks diet adds pounds to your shopping bill, but is definitely working, though we're grumbling a little at what "the menu" decrees we're going to eat each day!

After tea, Noble Spouse took no.3 son to Anchor Boys (at the local church) . A little later, I took no.1 son to my church for Boys' Brigade. Went home to collect no.3 son from Anchor Boys- and then, a couple of hours later, went BACK to my church to collect no.1 son, leaving a babysitter in charge of nos. 2 & 3! I've made five return trips to church in three days. Is this a record?

Noble Spouse is out at a tram meeting. They're probably into Valuable Drinking Time in a local hotel by now. Lucky them - there's not even a sniff of wine in our fridge tonight!

Precious little time in which to do any serious reading, so I am going to put my feet up in the lounge and do some now. If I did less, I'd do what was left, better. Work that one out!

Anyone reading this - spare a thought for our family this weekend; my father is to have a complex hernia operation tomorrow. We're all hoping it goes well, as he has a very involved medical history.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wild Wednesday
Pseudo-Supermum has been haring about like a mad thing today. Worked a half-day, then in my half-day's leave this afternoon, I dashed to school to collect no.2 son. Took him to hospital for his regular mole-check by the dermatologist. Went home so he could change and have an ice-lolly, then took him BACK to school for after-school soccer.

No.3 son is six today, so I collected no.1 & no.3 from the playground and we went to buy a hamster while we waited for no.2 son to finish his soccer. Nana will be so delighted to think that her birthday money bought a hamster - more cage-cleaning for hard-working Pseudo-Supermum, since no-one else ever offers to do it!

Back home with all three boys and an albino hamster. There are now three females in our house - me, a gerbil and a hamster. Things are looking up. The hamster has pink fluffy bedding - arguably the most feminine accessory in the house!

After tea - and birthday cake (stuff the diet for a few minutes!), it was time to take no.1 son to his piano lesson and no.2 to Junior Boys' Brigade, then collect no.1 after his lesson and take him home.

As I write, Noble Super-Spouse is away to fetch no.2 son home again. I hope he's had a wonderful time - it was his first time there. It's a well-run group, so I anticipate a positive reaction.

Did I mention diet? It's a low-carbohydrate diet, being featured in Glasgow's Evening Times newspaper at the moment. Significantly, we've stopped snacking and eating supper. So in a sense, whatever else we eat, we are likely to lose weight! I am a little concerned at how little carbohydrate there is in the diet, but once we get to a reasonable weight then we'll just add bread in again. We're certainly doing better with fruit & veg these days, and I've lost about six pounds, which is a reasonable start. Virtuous, but dull - that's me!