Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thanks to the American Family Physician for this image.

As you'll realise, it isn't that easy finding a picture of gastro-enteritis suitable for a normal, run-of-the mill blog!

Let's make one thing clear. Today was not going to be a nice day. It's one of the busiest days in my working year. So, when I woke up worrying about Cello-Kid, convinced he would be in hospital by the time the day was out, I also knew a tension headache wasn't far away. I took medication to work with me - but didn't have time to stop and TAKE it.

Right. So the day progressed, until by lunchtime I (a) knew that Cello-Kid had indeed been taken to hospital (NOT the one for Sick Kids, as thirteen is deemed to be too big to be a kid any more), and (b) had a truly splitting headache all to myself.

Since someone was with Cello-Kid and there was nothing I could do, I simply had to stay at work and get on with the job. I barely had time for lunch, but I owed it to my colleagues to eat something - it lessened the chance of me getting irritable later. However, having left the department to get some lunch, I found I had left my painkillers back in the office. Couldn't go back for them, or someone would have stopped me and asked me for something. They always do.

Dashing into Boots, I found a magical new painkiller - Syndol. It has paracetamol, codeine and doxylamine succinate (never heard of it!) to relax muscular tension. It doesn't contain aspirin or ibuprofen, which I cannot take. But - it worked!! Better than anything I've tried before. This is a breakthrough. I smiled my way through the rest of the afternoon, and got home shattered, but sane.

Cello-Kid came home a little later, shattered, but mercifully just a little off-colour. So there is no emergency. We've arranged cover so SuperSpouse can stay off work for a couple of days, and life will stagger on. Only one problem - I'm wide awake, but I really can't face doing any research. I've had too much to think about today.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A visit down to see my family has left Pseudo-Supermum in turmoil.

It was my nephew's christening, and I went down from Scotland to Norfolk, to play the organ at the service. The service was lovely, the baby behaved himself beautifully, and even the weather was on its best behaviour. We all enjoyed the reception afterwards, too.

So far so good. My father is becoming increasingly frail, and I noticed a difference since the last time I was down in June. My mother is preoccupied and anxious about selling the family home, as the new bungalow is almost ready for them to move into - but there aren't enough people interested in buying the old one. It's a wonderful old house - hard to see why it is proving so hard to sell.

They drive each other mad! This is nothing new, but it doesn't make for a harmonious household. Father was very happy to see me, but sad in the realisation that he might not see me many times more. It was heartbreaking.

I stayed for three nights then travelled back home again. Cello-Boy is feeling off-colour, and had been to the emergency doctor. He went to his own GP today, and has to phoned her up tomorrow if he's feeling no better. That's a bit worrying, for a boy of just 13.

I did two loads of washing before bedtime last night, and another before work this morning. SuperSpouse had done some ironing, but I don't think the washing-machine did its all-singing, all-dancing super-sorting, heavenly-hanging, fancy-folding and perfectionist-putting away routine while I was away. It obviously missed its mummy.

Then when I got to the underground this morning, there was some kind of problem. There must have been, because trains are usually very frequent - and we ended up waiting ages then cramming ourselves in like sardines.

See why I'm in turmoil?

While SuperSpouse and his friend try to clear out a virus from his PC, I've got the boys to bed, done an online supermarket order, taken the home-help home, folded laundry and hung more. I haven't done any research and at 11.45 pm, it's too late to start. (That's why I'm blogging - it takes less intellectual effort.)

Granted I needn't have watched Super-Nanny with no.2 son, but a girl's entitled to some relaxation, isn't she?!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


You know, my washing machine is amazing.

This morning I watched as it emptied the pulley, folded everything neatly into piles, then hung up a fresh load of washing. This afternoon, it went upstairs, collected the dirty laundry, sorted it and put the coloured wash through, pausing to give the detergent dispenser a thorough clean before starting the wash. (I once saw a quiz to determine whether you were a slattern or a perfect housewife. I only avoided being a slattern by being able to tick the box for cleaning the detergent dispenser. But I digress.)

This evening, it collected still more dirty laundry after the boys' bathtime, once again sorted it then loaded the machine with a white wash. At some stage it will take down the morning pulley-load, and hang up as much as possible of the afternoon and evenings, before settling down to a final coloured wash before bedtime.

Oh, I'm so glad I have a washing-machine to do all this for me. Washing takes no time at all. Leaving me time to cook lunch, bake and ice a birthday cake, and supervise music practice before organising bath- and bedtime!

Any minute now, Super-Rev will phone (alias, my father). I just have time to down a coffee before that...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sneakily enjoying a little bit of peace while the guys are out, I decided to update my blog. What should I really be doing? Updating my PhD chapter, that's what! (To be honest, there isn't really time to open up the chapter and gather my thoughts, so it's hardly worth starting until later on tonight.)

Ocarina Kid is now eight! And he's just started piano lessons - a "real" instrument now. He sat next to his piano teacher and anxiously said, "I don't think I'm going to be very good at this". Of course, he's doing fine anyway.

Viola Kid went to the string training orchestra for the first time today - and I think he rather enjoyed himself. He has a new friend, too - the boy sitting beside him. That's encouraging.

Meanwhile Cello Kid went back to the orchestra to say hello to his old cello teacher - they were gratifyingly pleased to see each other - and now he's out with SuperSpouse, his brothers and two friends, enjoying a film as his 13th birthday treat. The big day is on Monday - a teenager at last. In a few minutes I shall go and join them at Pizza Hut for the celebration meal. I didn't fancy the film, but I want to be part of the celebrations that follow! And we have a friend (whom he met at the aforementioned string training orchestra) coming back with us for a sleepover tonight. Cinema, pizza, a sleepover - and a new webcam - what boy could want more?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Do you ever wake up and KNOW it's not going to be your day?

Fed up with a soul-destroying project at work (90% finished - and I'm 90% done in) - I really DIDN'T need a colleague from another department to come and pour a bucket-load of negativity over my already bowed head the other day. So yesterday, a bear with a sore head would have been a more amenable character than me. Nonetheless I had a cup of coffee and just got on with things.

What happened, then? A senior colleague from another department came in and rattled my cage some more.

I toyed with the idea of taking a half-day's leave and removing myself from the premises before I went to bits. But - I didn't want to sacrifice half a day, and believe it or not I still want to see that project finished. I won't rest until it is.

Anyway, I had already booked today as a day's leave, so that was a small oasis of calm on the horizon.

Last night, I got back from choir to find Viola Kid still coughing. He coughed himself sick. I cleared up, got him off to bed, and THEN had to bake Ocarina Kid's eighth birthday cake. Done - finished at 11.30 pm.

Today, I had Viola Kid for company - I'd planned a quiet study morning in the university library, but I didn't dare send Viola Kid to school in case the school office tried to phone me and demand that I bring him home again. And I can't have my mobile on in the library. Viola Kid had a great day, painting models. He wasn't, to be truthful, very ill at all.

So I've sorted and washed and hung out washing, been to the pharmacy, written a letter, made a few phone-calls, iced a cake ... played for a wedding, cooked tea, taxied Cello-Boy to Boys' Brigade and back, supervised two lots of practiceand three gettings ready for bed, fetched in the last load of washing off the line and put some more in the machine ...

I'm off to have a bath then collapse into bed. SuperSpouse is out at a meeting (followed by Valuable Drinking Time) - and I'm afraid I'm too done-in to wait up for him this time.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Gum-boil? Abscess? Is there any difference?

Small-Fry had one over the weekend, whatever it was. It seemed to clear up yesterday, but I thought we'd better get it checked out with the dentist today.

Viola-kid woke, still coughing - but I couldn't deal with a trip to the dentist and a trip to the doctor in one supposedly working day. So I went to work, and phoned the dentist. (Maybe we'll fit in a trip to the doctor tomorrow.)

Then phoned Super-Spouse, who I thought was at home this morning, to tell him about the appointment. No Super-Spouse. After phoning seven times, I apologised to my boss and went to pick up the invalid from school myself. Once in the car-park near our dentist, I phoned home one last time. Success! Super-Spouse turned into a knight in shining armour and came to take the invalid back to school again after his appointment. Nothing needed doing about the abscess, but a filling was replaced in the neighbouring tooth. And that was that.

I hurtled back to work, pausing only to make a quick coffee - no time for lunch - then went to the meeting that I was hosting. I must be getting old - all this rushing around isn't good for me.

Tomorrow, I think, is a slightly calmer day. But I do have a meeting with my supervisor at the University, so right now I ought to be working on my Chapter. Excuse me .... I'll just go and make a cup of tea first ...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Poor Viola kid! He's got the cough that Superspouse took round Europe this summer (Glasgow - Hungary - Glasgow - Germany - Holland - Glasgow) then gave me. And now it's Viola kid's turn, so I have to concede that he wasn't a happy bunny this morning.

He had cough medicine. He had Calpol. He had toast (not his usual cereal) for breakfast. And he really didn't want to go to school. I don't think he believed me when I assured him that colds always feel worse first thing in the morning then improve once you've been up for a while.

Before I went to work, I went and bought cough-sweets. Then left for work.

I am informed that almost instantly, the invalid perked up remarkably, and indeed had a good day at school. It is mean and horrible of me to imagine that he might have been exaggerating his ailment for my benefit...

Okay, I'm mean and horrible. Not a supermum, and certainly not a Yummy Mummy (yuck!). Reader, what kind of mum are you?!