Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Middle Years.

"I need to have a chat with you." I say to hubby as he gathers up his laptop and heads off out through the door on his way to work.

It's a chat that has been waiting for at least three months. There are a million and one things that we need to sort out. Little things. Some big things. Things that need input from both of us. But between the chauffeuring of the kids, the washing, the work, the committees and various other commitments, talking to each other is, on a scale of one to ten........................minus five thousand.

"Yes", says hubby, "but not now, I'm on my way to work."

"You did say that you would take a day off, just to talk."

"I can't take any days off in September" he says.

"Can I book a day in October then?"

"Yes, that should be fine."

Meanwhile, will someone please tell me why I probably had forty classes teaching me how to give birth, and was even offered classes fifth time round, (as clearly nature had changed in the previous 20 months), why we were given midwives, health visitors and regular support in child rearing for the first five years of the children's lives, five times round, but, just when it starts to get really challenging, interesting, impossible to deal with.................

Everyone has disappeared off the face of the earth?

Health visitors? Where are you now?

Don't you know that I could bring up fifty 'four year olds' standing on my head reading a story backwards with funny voices and strange accents, whilst mopping up the spills and baking a cake all at the same time?

But it's now that it's got 'tricky'. With three teenagers and a nine and seven year old...

So where are you?????

I guess you'll be back when our teenagers are all grown up and dealing with their own teenagers, and we are old.

Fortunately though for all the health professionals, anyone aged from forty to sixty five disappears from the G.P.'s computer screens.

Saves a lot of wasted time for doctors.

Lucky really, for them.

p.s. Meanwhile I have discovered on signing up to an American website that I can lose seven months without even blinking.

In fact, this particular website insisted that I was still 44, despite putting in my DOB.

It doesn't work for all of you.... But my DOB is 12th May. Now in the USA, when I write 12/5 that reads as 5th December....... So I'm still 44 in the USA...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not quite the perfect mother............. and Happy Birthday ESOS!

I had been suffering from a serious case of broken down car syndrome.

'Loser cruiser' as the children so politely call it, breaks down with regular monotony, usually at the most inconvenient times. Late as I am, I actually hate to be late, and so when on Friday last I made Gymnast late for gym yet again, due to permanently disabled automobile, which needs to be fixed just long enough again so that we can sell it, I threw a wobbly, and told lots of people about it.

My lovely friend Headless Chicken came to my rescue, and yesterday she gave me a present. A very funny Sue Townsend book."What's this for I said?" "Because you're my friend, and I wanted to cheer you up."

Well thank you HC, it did.

Meanwhile, it was ESOS's birthday party last weekend, it being his 15th birthday today. Two friends came over and stayed for the weekend, and, being a mother, and therefore of completely the wrong generation, clearly elderly and with absolutely no idea about "who's a nice boy to go out with" nowadays, I made the mistake of possibly thinking that Sensible quite liked the look of one of said boys.

I made the bigger mistake of mentioning it to ESOS when, unbeknown to me, Sensible was nearly in earshot.

So as I said the famous last words "so don't say anything to her anyway will you" as I finished off my little gossip, she came into the room. "Don't say 'what' to me?" She said. "No, not you" I fibbed, badly. It was ED." "Don't say what to ED" she persisted.


"Well...." Think quickly Sally. Never very good at telling fibs I knew that I was by this time blushing and stammering............
"I think ED fancies someone.." I lied

"Who?" She said, expectantly.

"Oh, no-one in particular I said.

"So why do you think that?" She said.

"Oh..... just the way she's been lately."

Change subject quickly Sally...

Later in the car, collecting ED from dancing, I started to tell her the whole tale. Unfortunately, she missed the bit that I had used 'her' as an excuse, and so, when Sensible told ED that "Mum thinks you fancy someone", ED told Sensible that it was Mum, who thought that 'she', Sensible fancied one of the boys at ESOS's party.
By this time it was a bit like one of those children's stories where everything gets a bit out of hand and escalates to the point of.............


Nearly 24 hours later Sensible went off to school, STILL not having forgiven me for my misdemeanours.
Meanwhile, both Gymnast and ED are home from school today with a tummy lurgy......


Much of course to Tinkerbell Mushroom's disgust.

"You never listen to me" she said.

I had been washing up and hadn't heard her latest rant about, "Not fair, off school, why can't I stay at home and have a nice day off...."

Huge house with huge mortgage for huge family, is of course made for servants. And so when, as often, I am in servant mode, washing up in the scullery, you do miss bits of the vital conversation, as, said house was very sensibly designed so that the skivvies like me don't hear all parts of the speech.

Came out of scullery. "You see, you never listen to me." She protested. "Sorry TM, I was in the scullery." "All the other mothers listen when they are in their sculleries." She said.

We went upstairs to get dressed. She wasn't talking to me.

Just then I noticed that there were 500 beads on the floor. I gave her her socks to put on, and started to pick them up.

"I love beads" I said.

The irony is completely lost on her and finally she is distracted.

"Did you have beads when you were little Mummy?"

At last I can see a reason for all those craft sets that are given to us year on year. There is light on the horizon.

Happy Birthday ESOS!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And today's challenge is....

Being a late person, I do like to get there early sometimes.

When I arrived a whole day early for a meeting to do with my stage school though, it was possibly a bit over the top.

I called Hubby and groaned. "You'll never guess what I've done.....It's tomorrow"

Five minutes later, he called me back. "It's ED's and ESOS's orthodontic appointments tomorrow."

My turn to groan. This meeting was really important for me.

"I'll take a day off."

I was very effusive with gratitude of course, and the big advantage to Hubby needing to take a day's leave the next day would mean that I would be able to stay for the whole meeting, instead of having to leave early, in time to collect Tinkerbell Mushroom and the Gymnast. Although I did wonder to myself a little. "I'm sure that the orthodontic appointments were the day after my theatre school meeting." I said. "No", said Hubby. "I have just rung up and checked the times.... As you asked me to...." "O.K." I said.

Of course I was forty miles from home, a whole day early for a meeting, and with several hours in hand before I needed to pick up any children, so I decided to go to Cribb's Causeway*. It being just down the road from where I was.

The thing is, which road it was down was possibly a little debatable.

Being slightly directionally challenged, so to speak, I decided it was on the M5. After a couple of miles I thought that maybe it was in the other direction on the M5. Pulled into the services. Checked a book of local maps in the shop. Found out which exit it was on and then came off the motorway (was fortunately very near an exit), and returned to junction 17 where I needed to be.

I didn't tell the family about my directional challenges. The getting the meeting time wrong by a day was enough of a family hoot for one dinner time.

So, this morning, I set off again for my meeting, and Hubby set off to the orthodontist's with the older two.

When Hubby rang me though, a little later, to tell me that they had got to the orthodontist's a day too early, I did, I confess, smile a little.

*Shopping Centre outside Bristol

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Husky voice sees husky dogs

I had sat very quiet for a while on the broadcasting front.

In a Pavlovian sort of way I had found that the very thought of doing anything for the radio brought back that wave of tiredness that I had felt towards the end of my run on my show. At the time I gave up, my life was incredibly busy and Sally stressful, stress always being a subjective thing, and as such, the thought of picking up a microphone was, well exhausting.

So when Forest of Dean Radio asked me if they would cover the "Dogs at the Lodge" dog show at Beechenhurst I felt positively comatose at the thought.

But I remembered that I actually I would very much like to do more broadcasting, preferably paid, and that as such it would possibly be a good idea to get on the headphones and record some stuff.

Then I did have a bit of a major panic attack though as I thought that I had probably in the six months away completely forgotten how to broadcast. Or at least use the kit. Technology and I not always being the best of friends. But worse... I had visions of myself frozen and tongue tied and unable to interview anyone. Actually, could I still talk?

I thought it would be a nice family day out though. Nice day. Beechenhurst in the Forest. Beautiful countryside. Perfect family location.

ESOS aged 15 next week looked at me strangely.

Sensible aged 13 declined a little more politely.

Tinkerbell Mushroom and Gymnast said that if the others weren't going nor were they.

So we started to set off. "Wait a minute Mum. I'm coming" said Tinkerbell Mushroom." Found shoes, Did hair. Went towards the car. "Oh actually Mum, I will come." Said Gymnast. Found shoes, did hair went towards car.

"Oh actually Mum"

.....no.... not really....

ED was out, so she didn't come, and despite it being a dog show, the dog wasn't invited, partly because she hates the car and partly because it would have been too much to handle in conjunction with trying to make a radio feature, and, well, mostly because she isn't trained too much. Well umm not at all really. She's a very beautiful Border Collie though, and I was struck by a memory of childhood where my mother put in our Old English Sheepdog into a local village dog show, and, much to the disgust of the locals, despite the mud on his fur (he'd just been for a walk) despite the fact that he hadn't been trained to do any of the show doggy stuff, and despite the fact that his coat was on the matted side of matted, he won. Pure natural talent clearly.

So...not wanting to embarrass anyone, we left her at home....

I had checked the kit at least fifteen times to make sure that I remembered how to record on it. Then I listened after each interview I did, to check that I was still able to speak reasonably intelligently. Well, ok. Reasonably.

And then I went up to the important person present. Mr Ken Hames. Of real television fame. Being on important business he was off shortly to catch a flight, but he did talk to me. Thank you Mr. Hames... And now, having given out awards to nice Forest of Dean doggy people, he's gone to do some more of his great work with disabled people in Scotland.

And I found out that I like Husky dogs too. They are big of course. Very big. But so very pretty. And very useful if your car breaks down and you need a lift to the shops. ED, having only just got used to the Border Collie after a year, having grown up with a pathological fear of dogs, took a dim view when I expressed my new found love.

Although, they must eat a lot. So the point of the lift to the supermarket would be slightly eroded, given that all the food on the three wheeled bicycle truck would be theirs. Oh well........ the thought was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nice stuff....All for me...

I was just trying to pack to go on holiday, when I got a call from L'Occitane.

I stopped and thought. Why on earth would they want to call me?

Well, it seems that one clever person in the organisation had spotted that they are one of my marketing sponsors. Astutely though they had also spotted that I had never actually written about their products. Or anyone else's for that matter. But, kind astute gentleman offered to send me some samples to try and then write about.

Well, let's face it bloggophiles. There isn't much money in this blogging business, so when someone actually thought that my writing was good enough to expose his products, by way of sampling first, how could I resist?

I got back from holiday.

No parcel.

And I really was in the mood for some nice cosmeticy things to try too......

They contacted me again. I explained that I hadn't received it. They told me the tracking number and suggested that I checked with the local post office.

Then a miracle happened. I cleared up my paperwork in the room we call "the office". It's supposed to be a dining room as well, but as it hasn't had a clear table for a very long time the eating has only happened on the kitchen table instead.

As such, it took me a good 8 hours to clear. I probably had a year's worth of backlog to decipher, and mostly throw away. It's now spotless. Really spotless. No-one is allowed to even leave as much as a coffee cup by the computer desk. In fact, if they try to leave the room without their belongings, the entire room will become subject to a Harry Potter type spell, and everything that they touch will multiply by a hundred times, blocking their exit until offending item is taken out with them.

So this is how I found the card from the postman.

It had been put onto "the pile" on our return home, not due to be unearthed until October 2008. But by special dispensation it was released from circulation and taken down to the post office, whereupon I discovered the L'Occitane parcel. Or to be correct perhaps that should read: "Whereupon I discovered L'Occitane".

It smells divine. All of it.

They have obviously been spying on me though, because they clearly know that one of my favourite pastimes is to have a luxurious bath.

I can now put rosemary, orange, rose, grape and almond into my bath. Some of the bottles are pretending to be shower gel, but as I am a bath person I will uncover their true identity and use them in the bath. Unless of course a jet style shower company would like to sponsor me too, and is willing to fit one into our house so that I can write about those too? Of course they would have to fit the boiler first too, as the heat may be a little lacking. And in order to be completely genuine in my praise of said boiler, it would probably need to be a range in the kitchen. That would just about do it.

And maybe a French holiday to try out the L'Occitane range in situ, given that it is called L'Occitane en Provence? That would be nice.

Meanwhile, I now have very nice lavender smelling feet and coconut smelling hands. There's some Shea Butter in the foot and hand creams which will probably help me to retain my Portsmouth tan at least. In fact that is probably why they call the range L'Occitane.

I now keep smelling my hands as I sit here. It makes me look slightly demented really. Anyone spotting me would probably look slightly strangely at the woman sitting in her office constantly smelling her skin.

Which is why of course they gave me another pot called Precious Cream. It is named especially after me, because I am very precious and .... special. And young looking forever now.

But, just in case the other members of my family get ideas about using these creams and gels, don't think that I am going to be generous with them.

No. These were sent to me. For me to try out.

All for me..........

p.s.But you can get some too if you really want. They are all here.