Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hey, stupid, I'm trying to tell you something ...
There comes a point when "mind over matter" doesn't work any more. My body tried to tell me so, all day. I had a headache as I walked into work. It was the second-busiest day of the year for me, and tomorrow is the busiest. Great day to feel ill at work.

Could I go home? Absolutely no option. There was no-one else to do what I had to do, and I just had to get on with it. Paracetamol did nothing the first time, and nothing the second. Caffeine (which I normally avoid) didn't help either. Finally, I tried a couple of herbal tranquillisers in the middle of the afternoon, and they got me through to five o'clock. I now have my usual post-headache feeling of total emptiness. I made it through this evening's choir-practice - because I had to - and now I'm just drained.

I ought to start writing a research paper. Would anyone blame me if I just had a bath and went to bed?

Heck, I'm an adult in charge of my own destiny. I'm writing the final full-stop of the day. There.

Monday, September 26, 2005

There was black ink everywhere: on SuperSpouse, on Pseudo-Supermum, on the bedroom carpet. Mercifully not on the quilt! SuperSpouse was replacing his Epson ink cartridge with a cheap replacement. Tee-hee! Why was it not printing? Because he hadn't pulled off the strip marked "Pull". One-all. Everyone at his workplace knew about it when I did that. Just wait till I tell them!
Would you believe that the machine actually knew it was being given a cheap replacement? "You are installing a cartridge that is not an Epson and may affect the print quality. Do you wish to continue?"
Anyway, the printer is printing again. We both have rather black hands. Doubtless someone will notice at work tomorrow. I look most unprofessional. Don't know what to do about it, short of trying a bit of neat bleach.
Pseudo-Supermum got up late, and did a cooked breakfast for once. Ironed a mountain of stuff while no.1 son did his homework, then we went to Asda looking for new casual trousers. It's rather reasssuring that he is outgrowing stuff. He can't wait to be taller. The hormones haven't kicked in fully yet, or his growth-rate would surely have increased.
I always hated being small. I was teased, picked on, told (prophetically) that being small and left-handed I was bound to be bad at games. I longed to be noticed by boys, but knew that I still looked like a kid. I was always treated as younger than my years, and for quite a while as an adult still felt I wasn't taken seriously. So I fully appreciate how he hates being small, too. But - sadly - there's nothing you can do about your height. All we can do is keep repeating, "You will grow in time. But we can't predict how much." This is the kids' family tree:-
small maternal grandmother ---small paternal grandmother
medium maternal grandpa -----------TALL paternal grandpa

small mother
medium-sized dad
- so what do you reckon his chances are of being anything other than small-to-medium? Unless the genes flip back to his paternal grandpa! Luckily his brothers haven't yet stopped to consider whether they're large, small or somewhere in between.
Have you read recent findings that being small affects your earning power as an adult? The very latest finding says that your relative height at the age of sixteen is what determines it. Doesn't make much difference to me - I was small at six, sixteen and forty-six, and as far as earning power is concerned, I have failed miserably. Whether or not it is down to my size and subsequent insignificance.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Here is a moral tale for you. Never, ever book a painter & decorator to do half of your home in seven days' flat. It cannot be done. Not allowing for hiccups. Our lounge and dining room are sparkling, spick and span, and - for us, amazingly tidy, too. They simply had to be. We had a dinner-party last night.

On Friday night, the lounge was full of dining room stuff as well as the normal lounge furniture. Everything belonging to the dining-room had to be moved back ... once we had scrubbed the paint spots off the lino. Sigh!

The lounge carpet then had to be cleaned - I did it three times, stopping under protest at ten to one on Saturday morning. It still looks grubby where the settee used to be.

The hall downstairs is also done, as is the porch. (Don't ask me about the porch - there's a little question mark....) Meanwhile, up the stairs and onto the landing, the kitchen and bathroom remain to be done, but the upheaval is small-scale compared to what we’ve endured.

Obviously, the weekend supermarket run wasn't going to take place on Friday night. And at ten to one, I could have gone to our 24-hour Asda, but it didn't appeal. So, I went 20 hours later than usual – I only JUST had time to cook the three courses before the guests arrived for dinner.

The soup was good - the casserole was successful enough, though I couldn't taste the half-pint of Irish Stout that went into it. And the apple pie had a gorgeous crust, but all the brown sugar inside just turned to a runny liquid consistency. It tasted fine, but it wasn't meant to be quite like that. The guests were happy - the cook was not.

No.1 son is safely back from his watersports weekend – I’ve only just dealt with all his dirty washing from school, and now I have some wet dirty washing from the weekend. Does it get any better than that?! The ironing basket has a horrible leer on its face. “You thought you had the place clean and tidy. Well, look at me now!”

I've just got no.3 son to bed, bathed and hair-washed no.2 son (now reading in bed), and shouted for no.1 son. No reply. I found him fast asleep in bed, fully-clothed apart from having removed his socks! Watersports are obviously exhausting.

Tomorrow – “the September weekend” (meaning a public holiday for Glaswegians) – will be spent blitzing the bedrooms. Not because they are being decorated but because there are just too many toys, big and small, half of which aren’t used. I’d rather sell them on eBay or give them to the school Christmas Fayre (the most hellish jumble sale/bazaar that I’ve ever encountered) – at least we’ll have a bit more room to move. The boys are like their Dad – if something is important to them, it doesn’t get put away, but left very close at hand. But that means it’s all close at hand!

Two rooms are tidy, the washing is all up to date, we've had the dinner-party and I've done my annual accounts for the accountant. Things are looking up. Shame about the research that is pleading for my attention. I will get round to it. (Our minister was telling the kids in church about "Round Tuits" this morning. Every one should have one. A Round Tuit, that is. Think about it!)

I'm sure I had more to say, but I'm too tired to think of it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ever wanted to hijack a Pizza van? Go to Kettering.

It's a long story. Last week I went to Oxford and then to a stately home called Boughton House, near Kettering. This was a trip to do research - I called it a study retreat, because I really did have the most peaceful (and busy, and exhausting) five days imaginable.

I flew to Luton, took the train to Oxford, then the coach to Kettering on Thursday night. Where I stood in the pouring rain waiting absolutely AGES for a taxi. I was hungry - you can't buy a meal on an express coach. (Makes you appreciate trains ...) It occurred to me that if I hijacked a pizza van, I'd get a meal AND a lift to my guest--house.

Taxis in Kettering are hard to find. Once I'd secured one, I booked him for the morning to take me to Boughton House. Once in Boughton House, I booked him to take me back to the railway station.

It's lucky I allowed extra time. I booked that taxi for 4.30 pm. At 4.35 I was told it was on its way. At 5 pm, I was told they couldn't trace my booking. (Eh?) At 5.10 ("It's that woman again". You bet it was!) , they sent another taxi. So, 55 minutes after I'd booked it, I got my taxi to the station. Instead of having a nice long time in which to have a cup of coffee and a bun (I'd had no lunch), I had nine minutes to buy my ticket and cross to the right platform.

Train to Luton. Another to Luton Parkway. Bus to the airport, and plane home again. Phew!

The house is in chaos - we have the decorators in. We also had no.1 son's twelfth birthday party yesterday. Today I headed to Holland and Barrett in search of herbal tranquillisers. I struck lucky - I feel much less stressed now, and I'll feel even better after a glass of wine.

Noble Spouse liked my suggestion for completely reversing everything in the lounge, when I suggested it on Sunday. He liked it a lot less this evening. However, I'm happy to report that he was won round by the finished results- the lounge looks great (apart from needing the carpet cleaned and new curtains ...). And there's lager in the fridge for him as a reward!

Believe it or not, I'm doing research right now. Yes, really - printing out pages and pages of notes to see my supervisor tomorrow afternoon. What else can a girl do but work on her blog meanwhile!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

There IS such a thing as a free lunch! Yesterday I took my faulty shoes back to Clarkes, got a refund, bought cheaper shoes elsewhere, bought my lunch, and went back to work 25p. richer than I had been before!

I'm on my knees. I worked flat out yesterday, getting as much done as I could before my week's leave. Did the shoe-shop trail at lunchtime. Tore home to collect the boys, for no.3 son's seventh birthday party at Brewsters at 6 pm. He was wild. I'm considering trying a diet free of E-numbers, in the vain hope that he might become calmer.

And you should see my Psion Revo at present - littered with alarms to remind me to do things.

This morning we went for the swimming lesson, back home, then I took one of the boys with me to the Post Office in town. All the way there (4.5 miles and into the multi-storey car-park) to discover we needed his birth-certificate. Knowing the Post Office closed at 1 pm for the weekend, and there we were standing in the Post Office without the birth certificate at 12.10 pm, concentrated the mind wonderfully.

You CAN get from Hope Street to Linthouse and back in 40 minutes on a Saturday lunchtime if you really try hard!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It wisnae me!, to quote the Glasgow vernacular. My younger son act up in Sunday School? Why, no. There are two very bad boys there, I'm told. The ones who were caught trying to strangle my son in the Gents' toilets, with toilet paper .....

Don't laugh. At least they weren't trying to drown him, and the paper - I'm told - was clean and dry.

What a week this is turning out to be. Two hospital appointments for me yesterday - both quite positive. One for no.2 son today, equally trauma-free. Then back to collect no.3 son from the childminder. Got home to find visitors bearing gifts; it's his birthday tomorrow.

After tea, I took no.2 son to Boys' Brigade, and no.3 accompanied me to a parents' evening. He was surprisingly well-behaved. We got home just before 9.30 pm, far too late for little boys to be tackling homework. Nonetheless, most of it was done, and they're fast asleep now.

SuperSpouse is preparing for a society committee meeting on Friday, and is preoccupied. I asked if he was coming downstairs to share a nice bottle of Riesling, and even that wasn't encouragement enough. Sigh. Do I open it myself, or go and have a shower while I await my Lord and Master? (Huh!)

Tomorrow, I really must finalise my plans for my Oxford study-retreat next week. Tomorrow though, not tonight. My batteries are very, very flat right now.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It never rains but it pours ... I've just opened a letter from the Sunday School saying that some boys in the Followers persist in misbehaving and spoiling it for everyone else. My youngest son is in the Followers. I can bet you he's one of the disruptive ones. He's lucky to be asleep right now, because I shall be discussing the letter with him in the morning. Oh, the humiliation of it.

I read in the paper yesterday that mothers who have a lot of stress in pregnancy are more likely to have hyperactive children. While I was expecting our youngest son, we had the visit of an elderly (now deceased) uncle from Australia. He was a stroke victim, couldn't speak, couldn't walk, could barely write, and his hearing was very poor. (My health visitor said his friends shouldn't have planned the trip for him at all!) Before that, I had a couple of weeks - still at work - running the house and family while SuperSpouse enjoyed Travels with his Aunt to Canada. A fairly stressful early pregnancy. And here we are with an exuberant, if not medically hyperactive, seven-year old. Any link? Don't you just love reading articles which imply that your child's behaviour is actually All Your Own Fault?!

This evening I've been pondering over the question of visiting the Northamptonshire Record Office whilst on study-retreat next week. I'm going to Oxford for four days, then to Northampton (probably, I think, depending on where the manuscripts and books turn out to be!) on Friday. I need somewhere to stay on Thursday night - still to be arranged. And I'll need to make my way back home at the end of Friday. I still need to think about how I am going to get home again! It's enough to make me dizzy thinking about it, but think I must. Flying from Luton sounds the best option.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

You know those stupid news reports stating that "a pedestrian has been in collision with a car"? What it actually means is that the car knocked the pedestrian over. Likewise, I've been in collision with life. Life hasn't just overtaken me of late - it has run me over and flattened me!

We went all the way down to Norwich for my brother's wedding last week. A day's drive to get there, a day there, and a day's driving to get back. SuperSpouse rather alarmingly seemed to go into auto-pilot on the drive back. I yelled at him when he was speeding towards the car in front - which was not going as fast. Indeed, I'm afraid I infuriated the pants off him. I asked what any other wife would do in those circumstances. "Well - wait and see what happened." But ... but I could see what was going to happen, and we can't afford to replace the airbags again.

We agreed to share the driving next time. I don't want to drive that splendid big car, but I can see it would probably be safer for us each to drive for an hour at a time. I am a terrible passenger. (Might I respectfully point out that my loyal spouse is arguably an even more critical passenger than I am. God help us both!)

The wedding was a wonderful day. The sun shone, the bride and groom looked great and were very happy - and their two-year old daughter stole the show! We were able to introduce the boys to three of my relatives that they either hadn't met or couldn't remember - it was so long since we were all gathered in the same place.

Anyway, on Saturday we went back to Glasgow, where we collected Cello Boy from the friends he'd been staying with. That gave me less then 24 hours to do all his laundry, fold and or iron it and deliver him back to his halls of residence on Sunday night.

Is it surprising I have hardly done any research? No, I thought you'd agree.

What I have done is dusted off my CV, started gathering referees - indeed, even toyed with filling in an application form, though it will have to be done within the next 48 hours or it's too late.

I've also been doing final, final revisions of my article before the journal goes to the printers. I have asked New York Public Library to verify one of my references. I've never clicked on an "ask a librarian" link before. It's impressive. Now I just have to wait for the reply!

And this evening, we had a dinner-party. I made one dessert last night, one this morning (in between the swimming lessons and going to play for a wedding) - got home from church and made the starter, stoked up the bread-machine then dashed out to buy wine-glasses before coming home and cooking the boys' tea. Finally, I could start the lasagne!

Tomorrow, I really would like to get some reading done. In between sewing in more nametags, this time into Cello Boy's new sports kit. It's never ending.


I really am very, very tired. More another time!