It is the usual frenetic half hour between 6.30 and 7.07. Eventually all three older children are planted on the bus outside the door.
Hubby offers me breakfast. For the last few days I have been trying a "not eating in the daytime" regime, inspired by fellow bloggers. Realise however that I am really not going to cope with the rigours of the next hour or so without some reasonable sustenance on board, so accept gracefully and decide to do a "Sally" version of not eating in the day time. I'll have breakfast and dinner and that way avoid the temptation of snacks. No danger of consuming any chocolate anyway, as everyone has eaten the last morsel provided by the Easter Bunny. The entire family it appears are chocoholics.
One of our nephews has a birthday on Monday, and so for speed, convenience and cashflow considerations, it being the middle of the month, decide to order something from Next.
It's only 7.40 a.m. and so I reckon that I have time to order before aged 6 and 8 need to get ready for school.
A voice answers. "Do you have an order or an enquiry." "An order" I say.
Suddenly I hear a scream. All other thoughts go out of my mind, as I realise that the scream will easily be heard by call centre operator too, and she will think that she is dealing with a family who tortures their children.
It's youngest daughter, aged 6. "But I want some lemonade," she screams in her less than usual dulcet tones. "And I want it now". It's a bit like a recreation of a Violet Elizabeth Bott scene from Just William.
I excuse myself to the Next operator. Call hubby for help. He explains to aged 6 that she can't have lemonade at 7.45 in the morning. "But it was bought for me yesterday, because I was poorly, and Mummy said that I could have a bit to get some strength back, and I only had two sips, and now my mouth is completely plain dry."
Indeed I had. This is true. She had been up in the night, ill, hadn't managed to keep anything down all day, and so I thought a little lemonade (being too mean to buy Lucozade) would at least mean that she had a bit of something to regain her energy. Being mean and horrible parents, it's a rare treat in our house to have any sort of pop, and so when it's there it's like the forbidden fruit.
Hubby somehow manages to calm down the situation and give her some breakfast. I go back to my call. Given that I am ordering from Next anyway, I decide to get some bits of uniform that we need as well and some white socks. The last 980 white socks have either been destroyed in the garden or eaten by the washing machine, or both. We are now down to just a few, odd, very mucky looking apologies for pairs of socks. They don't look too good with the summer uniforms.
"I am sorry Mrs. Lomax, but the socks are on a two to four week delay." Have you any other white socks?" I say. "If you let me know the page number of the directory that you know they are on", she says "I'll find out." "No", I say. I'm asking you if you know whether or not you have any other white socks and where I might find them in the directory."
"Hold on a moment" Mrs. Lomax.
Eventually, she returns.
"There are some exactly the same in the Spring Summer Catalogue", she says, "and they have the same ordering code." "So presumably", I say, "if they are identical to the ones in the Summer brochure, they will be on a two to four week delay as well then?"
"Hold on a minute, I'll have a look."
"Yes, I'm afraid they are on a two to four week delay."
I give up on the idea of white socks and decide to buy them from a proper place, like a shop. Meanwhile I ask about the item that I originally rang up for. The one for our nephew.
"I'm afraid that that item is on a two to four week delay" she says.
"OK." I say. "In which case, please could you send it directly to the person's house, as it's present, and if it's going to be delayed, it would be better if it goes directly there. And please can you waive the delivery charge?"
"I'm afraid that I can't waive the delivery charge."
"But it's not my fault" I say "that it is delayed. It could be sent here if you had it in stock and I would have time to wrap it and send it on."
"Well," she says "I can waive the delivery charge on your order, but you will have to pay for the delivery charge on the one to the different address."
That seems fair enough. So I go with that scheme of events.
"Can I have your credit card number for the delivery charge for your friend's parcel." She says. "No that's fine thanks," I say, thinking back to the original reason for using Next, please will you put it on my account. "No she says", for security reasons we can't send something to another address, without you paying for the postage up front."
I put her on hold again and go to locate my handbag. I pay for the delivery.
"And what's the address of the recipient please Mrs. Lomax?"
They have just moved. I can't remember their new address. I excuse my self again to go and find the address book. By now she must be thinking that she is dealing with a family fit for the lunatic asylum.
I give her the address, and then I get to the postcode. In Hubby's writing. Has he written a 5 or a 15?
I leave the phone again, to check the postcode with hubby.
We finally manage to end the call. I just hope that I have managed to order the right thing for the right place and that two red school dresses don't arrive on our Nephew's doorstep. It has taken half an hour for the transaction.
I hear another scream from Miss Dulcet. "I don't know what to wear, she screams. "Uniform would be a good start" I proffer. "Yes, but I don't know if my friends will be wearing a summer dress or not." "Well" I say, "It's summer now, so they'll be wearing summer uniform." "No they won't Mummy. You can choose." I muse that last year she was much more easily placated with my slightly wide interpretation of the school rules when it suited me. "Well wear a dress anyway then I say. "It's much easier for PE and stuff." "But I might be the only one", she says.
I realise that this is going nowhere, so eventually I decide that the only way I am going to solve this is to call a friend's Mum. Number on mobile. Where's mobile? Call mobile from house phone. Find mobile. Call friend. It seems that dresses are on and everyone is happy. I think....
PE kit, book bags, where did I see the missing bag? By Aged 6's bed I say to hubby. Look all over the house. Eventually find it: by my side of our bed. I sort of had the right vision in my mind. Where are aged 8's trainers? Hubby looks in bottom of wardrobe. 85 things are on the floor of the wardrobe, and no trainers apparent.
Eventually we call a halt to operations as it is time to go to school with or without the various bits of paraphernalia needed.
Afterwards, when the house is quiet, and hubby has gone to work, I go back to the wardrobe. Pick up the 85 items from the floor, find and put away a Christmas stocking back to the right place. They do have a right place. They are just rarely back there before December 1st.
Sally's writing is about being a mother of five, now all too grown up, children, (four girls, one boy) a husband, a dog, and a serious ambition to be a mortgage free and famous actress, voice over artist, broadcaster, writer and teacher.
The "Cast" List for the blog includes:
Hubby - Her husband,
ED - Eldest Daughter,
ESOS - Eldest son only son,
Sensible - Second daughter,
Gymnast - Third daughter,
Tinkerbell Mushroom - Youngest daughter and youngest child,
Mad Dog - AKA Lucy - the border collie.
Guest appearances by MIL (mother in law), parents, two brothers, inlaws, nephews, nieces and great nephew.