Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mind-numbing but necessary - I'm sure everyone has mundane chores like that at work. (Not only work, come to think of it!)

Anyway, there I sat today, feeling my mind turning to sludge, when an email slunk into my inbox. I'd been awarded a scholarship to defray expenses on a week-long research trip! A thousand blessings on my benefactors. After that, there was a nice warm glow as my mind continued to turn into sludge!

I had an appointment with my research supervisor at the end of the day. The contrast between "mind-numbing but necessary" and "intellectually challenging" couldn't have been greater. This research business isn't good for me. It makes me think - and it makes me dissatisfied. It's all a bit unsettling!

I ought to be reading right now. In fact, I do intend to do some reading, very shortly. This is just a brief diversion in between the bed-time routine, filling in school forms, and settling down to proper work.

The goldfish are swimming in the middle of their tank again - phew, what a relief! This morning they were slinking about at the bottom of a decidedly murky, smelly tank. I dashed to the pet accessories store after tea, bought new gravel, fish medicine, a dinky wee net for getting reluctant fish out of tanks, and some holiday sticks that we can leave them when we go to my brother's wedding. Anyway, you'll understand now my relief that they look happy again. I don't know how I'd have explained to Cello Boy that they had snuffed it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Our hero came home triumphant after his first two days at secondary school. School's cool, but the halls of residence are five-star rated. Everything seems to have gone smoothly. Do you know what pleased me most? Those three little boys, all music scholars admittedly, sat down and played music together, for fun, after tea on Thursday. I think that's great!

(Image: www.thejazzsmall.com)

We went for a tandoori last night, to celebrate the start of the new term. Someone should tell Super-Spouse that you don't buy little boys two Cokes each, and then wonder why they're hyper and unable to get to sleep later ... Well, he wouldn't listen to me. Very much "I told you so!"

So, here we are - Saturday again. We were back at swimming lessons again at 9 am. No.3 son gave me the run-around round the changing rooms again. I despair! Then this afternoon, we went to the optician. Sons 1 & 2 had eye-tests. Viola-Boy's eyes are actually improving! No.3 collected his new glasses, since the old pair broke last Sunday night. And I collected Super-Spouse's repaired glasses, which broke on Tuesday. I'm praying mine don't come to grief - I'm the only one who didn't do business with the optician!

I'm still labelling and shortening school trousers after the grand hand-me-down. No.2 gets no.1's old uniform, and no.3 gets no.2's old uniform. The charity shop that is virtually opposite the school got no.1's tiny cast-offs. I can see I'm in for a busy evening. More sewing, a supermarket run ... and some research? If I stay awake long enough?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wednesday. Life won't stand still long enough for me to blog it. Today's the day - Cello boy starts secondary school tomorrow. A music scholar, he'll be boarding from Sunday night to Friday afternoons. Things are never going to be quite the same again!

I took the afternoon off in order to be there for the ceremonial arrival at his boarding accomodation. Never was a boy so excited. It's going to be quiet at home tonight. I'm proud but sad at one and the same time.

Research? Did someone mention research? I'll get back to it soon, honest I will!

(Helter-skelter image thanks to altham.com)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Cello Boy is joined by Viola Boy: we bought a diminutive viola for no.2 son, today. We now have the teacher and the instrument, and just need to fix the lesson times!

It was a busy day - in town for haircuts at 8.30 am (that's so that the boys don't annoy any of the regular punters - you don't want to know the history behind this!) - waiting outside the shoe-shop at 8.50 am, waiting outside the violin shop at 9.55 am, home by 10.30 am!

After that (phew!), I dedicated the day to the family wardrobe - sewing in name-tags and altering garments. School begins for Cello Boy next Thursday. Only two pairs of trousers to go, then he's all sorted out. Only two more boys to do. At least we have another week before they return to school.

Oh, and I've done laundry and ironed ... my halo is shining.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Not so much Cinderella going to the ball - more like, Ugly Sister going to the wedding! This morning was a lovely, shiny summery morning - definitely a good sign. I phoned BhS at East Kilbride, to find they had just one size 12 skirt. It's now mine, which means I won't have to alter my size 14 skirt to go to my brother's wedding. (I nearly said, my little brother's wedding, but he probably weighs twice as much as me, so that would be a bit inaccurate.)

And the engineer came and fixed the cooker - there was a loose connection on one of the hotplates. Here's how big it was:-

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And that made all the difference between proper cooked evening meals and hastily improvised microwaved ones!

Finally, the day has even ended well; Cello Boy has learnt to tie his school tie. I can tell you there were cries of triumph about that.

It's yet again too late to do any sensible research, but at least I can do a quick search for some stuff I'd like to look at another day....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I have an insurmountable problem. I'm on a diet, and the skirt suit I plan to wear to my brother's wedding may not fit me by the time we get to the wedding. I suppose the jacket will still be okay, but the skirt will hang on me. I bought them from BhS only a few weeks ago ... but before their Sale started. Does Sauchiehall Street have a size 12? What do you think? Braehead? Nope. Edinburgh? Don't think so, but someone else will look in the morning.

In desperation, I emailed BhS. Now say a prayer for me, or keep your fingers crossed. I don't want to have to alter the size 14 myself, though I'm quite prepared to if necessary.

SuperSpouse bet me I couldn't lose a stone in three weeks. I've lost three pounds in three days, and now he's worried.

Meanwhile, I went to see an orthopaedic surgeon about my sore knee this morning - and I'm stuck with it. It only hurts to kneel on it. I don't kneel to pray, but I do kneel to help readers find books at work! The cure would be worse than the condition, so all I can do is avoid kneeling! (Good thing I'm not a nun or a priest, I suppose.) I missed 2.5 hours of work - but at least I won't be missing any work for an operation, and I'm relieved about that.

I must show you my wee kilted Scotsmen. I'm so proud ...
I should explain that no.1 son doesn't have a kilt just now, having outgrown his own and passed it on to no.2 son! One day, we'll get them all in kilts, of course.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bloody, bloody cookers! Previous visitors to this blog will know all about the Exploding Tricity President. It was very old - it was replaced. The new one arrived eight days ago.

Today, I was about to cook lunch. Phhhht! Tiny flash, off went the cooker fuse in the fuse-box. Phoned the warranty company - they might be able to send someone before Thursday, otherwise it's Improvise with Microwave Combi time again. Was I sure it was the cooker that was at fault? No, to be honest, I'm not sure. We may have a wiring problem. But I do need the cooker checked over, to be sure that (a) it has nothing wrong with it and (b) no damage has occurred by whatever happened.

I asked if the lady on the helpline would like me to reset the fuse and try to turn on the main oven, to see what happened. Yes, that would be a good idea. I did.. Phhhht! Bigger flash, and off went the cooker fuse again. I'm not trying again.

Anyone know any obliging 'leckies to check our domestic wiring from fuse box to cooker? I shall ask around at work tomorrow!

Meanwhile ... sons no.2 and 3 wore kilts to church today. I thought it was best to get them used to the idea, so they won't be self-conscious at their Uncle's wedding in England. They had their thick knee-high socks, and their sporrans, shirts and ties. "Oh", said the minister. "You do look smart. What's the special occasion?"

Loud and clear, no.1 son explained. "It's a dummy-run for a wedding in England." Riotous laughter from the congregation. Red-faced mum at the organ!

I still maintain that this reduces the risk of the two lads flicking up their kilts and dancing the Highland Fling in Norfolk, and incurring the wrath of their disapproving Nana. We may have to repeat the routine next Sunday, and the next one, to be completely sure.

The well-meaning adults in charge of the Sunday Club wanted to take them to the park, and before the service, they sent no.1 son to ask if I minded. I just said that they could, but I didn't want them going down the slide.

Had they had fun at the park? No - in the end they decided the kilts might cramp the kids' style, so they stayed indoors. What a shame! Although I am relieved that no ill befell the kilts, and that no.3 son's new cream socks are still pristine!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Three cheers for SuperSpouse, a noble fellow. He has gone with no.1 son to a Christian rock concert. But before you express too much admiration, I have to admit that he went with a face long enough to trip himself, stating emphatically that he was going for no.1 son's sake, and not because he wanted to!!!

All the same, I was relieved that he phoned from the venue saying that maybe it wasn't going to be as bad as he thought, and there were other - ahem - older people there, too.

Meanwhile, after running them to the Underground station, the rest of us got petrol, then came home again. I washed his car, to keep him sweet. (Wonder if he'll notice?) I've cleaned the hamster cage. And now I'll ring the Cleansing Dept to get the rubbish taken away from our side lane. Fly tippers should be shot. Dumb Dumpers, as the advert says. Knowing that it might have been neighbours who left those cupboard doors and other assorted bits of wood there, makes us even madder.

The downside of the rock concert is that I can't go to the supermarket until they get home at whatever time. I don't do shopping with the kids in tow if it can be avoided!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Black bra and boxer shorts! Yes, you heard me. It took me until lunchtime today to realise that I was wearing a black bra under a white shirt. Not my usual style. It might suit Patti Smith (see left), but I'm an information professional, not a performer. I dashed into Marks & Spencers at lunchtime, for a plain white strappy vest (the cheapest) - after all, standards must be upheld! I'm left wondering if anyone at work had noticed. It's not exactly a see-through blouse - but I wasn't taking any chances.

As for boxer shorts. Remember I bought some bargains for no.1 son last weekend? They were supposedly for an 11-12 year old. He squeezed himself into them, protesting that he looked like Superman. Handed them over to no.2 son - still too tight. No.3 son is not too proud - in fact, it's quite something to be nearly 7 years old, but wearing boxers that are meant to be for an 11-12 year old! For Bargain, read skimpy. Buy cheap, buy dear, as our grannies would have said.

So I went back to the drawing board. Asda had no boxers the right size. However, I found some in town yesterday, so all is well again.

Meanwhile - bloody appliances! I replaced the exploding cooker - 90 minutes from sparks to completion of sale. What next? The burglar alarm developed a malfunction. SuperSpouse called out an engineer, to discover that the firm we had relied upon had actually ceased trading three years ago ... but luckily someone else had taken over, using the same premises and the same phone-number. He arrived within 60 minutes.

You aren't superstitious, are you? Neither am I. Bad luck comes in threes. This evening the dishwasher wouldn't start. I kid you not! We tried all the obvious things - to no avail. I suggested leaving it for an hour in case it just sorted itself out - as sometimes these things do. SuperSpouse concurred. "Leave it", he pronounced, and swept off upstairs.

I couldn't resist trying again. The confounded thing started, without a murmur. Sometimes I don't understand - but I'm grateful.

Credit where it's due - here's the hyperlink for Patti Smith's image http://www.dslextreme.com/users/jennylensgallery/_p-s/PattiSmith/PattiSmith.htm