Almost daily diary!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Wedding Anniversary

I was driving along in the car with Tall Girl last week, on the way to fetch Small Sprog, when she asked me what the date was. I thought for a minute. I mentally counted the days since my birthday.
'It's the 24th June' I concluded
'Thanks' she replied and then started to burble away. But I wasn't listening after that.

The 24th June. It was already past 4pm and I had not really noticed the date at all, and now I had been reminded. It came to me out of the blue. A date once fondly remembered.

I wondered when exactly it was that he started to forget. When did he forget to send a card for the first time? After the first baby, more likely the second. I can't remember when it was, but I do remember the hurt. And then again, when did I give up remembering? When did I stop marking the event? When did I make a conscious decision to forget?

For me the forgetting was self defence. Yet now I have truly forgotten with no effort at all. Not a second thought last week until the date was mentioned. All that time, all those years, once fondly remembered. How strange to forget.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When I left the family home, over 4 months ago now, I took some of the pot plants with me. They were ones I had bought from my own garden when I was single, all those years ago.

I bought the palm tree in Cornwall as a 'baby'! It grew quite well despite being in a pot, and when I went out in the freezing weather last February, to assess what I could take with me when I moved house, it was still alive. It looked a bit poorly but still alive it was.

On my moving day I directed the removal men into the garden, telling them there was a palm tree to go in the van from the back garden. They returned back into the house looking puzzled. 'Do you mean that stick in the corner?' they enquired. And sure enough, the thing had died overnight. All it's leaves were on the floor and it stood there looking pitifully naked. I sighed. I felt like it had betrayed me! 'Take it anyway' I said to them, 'I can always use the pot later'.

It's been in my new, pocket sized garden ever since. You can see above that it is just a stick (the rosette shapes belong to another plant). I have watered it in the vain hope that it might come back to me, but recently I commented to my mum that I might have to chop its top off, just to see what would happen, but I haven't had the heart to attack it yet.

Anyway, as I was leaving the house Friday night, I gave it a cursory glance and there, near the bottom of the trunk I could see this:

What do you think? I reckon it's still alive!
I shrieked with joy and gave it a little rub. I knew you could do it, I said out loud. It made me very happy. It may well grow up to look a very odd looking palm tree, but palm tree it still is!

Lots of things have made me happy recently. I have had a lovely weekend. And who couldn't fail to be happy in this lovely summer weather (unless you are an England Football Fan that is!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giant vegetables!

Small Sprog has had trouble sleeping of late, light nights, hot room, over excitement, over tiredness, all the words for his school play going round in his head, all of it rolled into one. It makes a hyper charged Small Sprog and it's not getting better.

This week he has had a couple of drops of lavender oil in his bath to see if that helps and at the beginning of the week it seemed to work. He may have smelt like an old ladies hanky but at least he slept well.

So tonight, after a trip to the park to run off his tea, and a good dig around in the sandpit, I ran him a bath and sat down with him in the bathroom to chat. He was still hyper charged until, all of a sudden he said 'Does Daddy know Significant Other?'
'No' I say, taken aback 'Have you mentioned him?'
'Well you know you can' I say 'I have never asked you to keep it a secret, it really doesn't matter if it slips out' I look at is big eyes. 'You don't have to keep it, really you don't'
He looks up at me and in a very grown up voice says 'Has to be done' then changes the subject. That was it. He made it clear. No more. It must have been puzzling him, or bothering him and now he had said it he didn't want to discuss it anymore...
'What sort of giant vegetable would be the scariest?' he asks me in the next second.
'A carrot' I say, not really concentrating
'A carrot?' he says disparagingly ' Not a carrot. Broccoli! Just think how big it's heads would be, and it would have big fists of green for hands, and it would do this' He gesticulates a big punch in the air 'and this' He grins 'It would be like having a giant tree chasing you!'
'Yes' I say absent mindedly 'I guess it would'

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In retrospect

When I was 5 the wallpaper in my bedroom was vibrant. There were bright orange cats and lime green mice, clustered together all over it. I remember that my toy box, which my Mother had made for me, also had the cats and mice stuck to the sides, neatly and lovingly cut from the spare paper. On my bed was a candlewick bed spread.

During that time my Father was having an affair with his dance partner. One night he woke me from my sleep to show me glow worms in a jar that he had collected on the way home from a dance. They glowed so brightly, they were magical. I have not seen one since.

On Sundays we would have afternoon tea with Betty and Gramps, his relatives who lived in an old Victorian terraced house in the poorer part of town. Even then I lived in the suburbs; in a Cul-de-Sac, with herbaceous borders and neatly cut lawns.

The terraced houses seemed to me to be dull and cheep, even then. They had shiny painted anaglypta in the hall, slightly browned with tobacco and the stairs went mysteriously down to the kitchen. Sometimes we ate multicoloured tinned fruit salad from china bowls that were painted with horses and hounds. I used to save the cherries until last but they never really tasted like cherries at all.

The Victorian Terraced houses in that part of town are now well sort after. They have been 'done up', renovated and restored. They have become desirable homes harking back to an era which looks much better in retrospect.

Perhaps life is better that way, in retrospect. Only sometimes it is difficult to gather all the pieces together.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's my Birthday!

I have had a lovely day, relaxing and being waited on.

I have had birthday wishes from friends and am always touched that anyone should think of me.

I am blessed with wonderful children; My daughter has pulled out all the stops, she has looked after me, bought me a thoughtful gift, protected me when Husband dropped off Small Sprog after camp. I couldn't ask for more.

A lovely Mum; who organised a surprise cake for the children to give me.
And friends, who have called both in person and by text and phone.

I am Blessed and grateful and smiling.

Go on, virtual cake, have some, you know you want to.....!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Travelling with my Small Sprog...

'Don't put your feet on my bag' I shout as he clambers into the back of the car.
'There's chocolate biscuits inside'
A squeal of delight emanates from his excited body. This is Small Sprog in overdrive.
He has had a fair day at school, from what I can gather...
'Good day?'
'Yep' That's about all I get. Then he has had his extra maths lesson, which recently always goes down like a lead balloon, and today was no different. But after maths, then, then he has had Granny to play with. Someone to be his audience, to sing his school play songs to, to eat his meal in the grossest way possible in front of, and to practice his guitar with. Oh yes, he has made the most of his Granny this evening in every single way. But bedtime draws near and she has to leave.

She's still not sure of how to find my new house yet so when she arrives I meet her just off the motorway and 'lead' her in. However this also means her following me back out of Bristol again at the end of the trip.

We are running late. It is Small Sprogs bedtime and she has not yet left. He is pixilated, over excited, and he has just discovered the chocolate biscuits. As it turns out, this is a blessing. Munching biscuits whilst taking Mum back to her car means a quite 10 minute outward journey for us all.

However, after dropping her off, back in my car he was refuelled and raring to go. He was full volume with the remote lost under the sofa, sort of loud. He was chocolate high and sugar infused and nothing was going to keep him down!

He started to recite TV adverts. This is one of his specialities, you have to hear it to believe it. And the advert of choice today was... The Meerkats. He can do a convincing Serge and Alexander, he knows the lines, could pass for a soviet spy with his accent and if he can't remember the content exactly, he makes it all up. Once done he can repeat 'Computermabob' over and over again without getting tired of hearing it. If only it was the same for me! If you have managed to avoid these ads and have no idea about 'The Battle of Fearlessness' then I am willing to rent him out for as long as necessary. If I hear him mention fur balls and 'simples' once more tonight I'll...

It was only a 10 minute journey back home, seemed longer, and he hardly stopped for breath.

Summer holiday in North Wales anyone? I mean, someone has to drive him there don't they?!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The interview

There were 11 of us today, drawn from 75 applicants. I arrived at 8.20 for 8.30. I was the 7th to arrive and all the seats in Reception were already taken, standing room only. There is a Large Silence in the room.

By 8.31 we were all crammed into a small interview room and given the agenda for the day. Someone arrived late, we all moved up a seat. Someone else arrived late, again we shuffled. The last latecomer arrived and a very nice man gave her his seat. Surely they won't get the job if they can't arrive on time? I think. Does everyone else think the same I wonder?

We have an introduction and a look around. We do a 'task' and spend an hour in the classroom. This is senior school. The behaviour is challenging. For some, I discover later, this is a shock.

We meet together again at 11.15. There are 11 of us now to interview. Time ticks on.

One by one we are called through. The ones that are left make small talk which gradually, I discover, becomes more specific. Life stories unfold. Life styles become uncovered. Personal values surface. We are united in our quest for work. We all agree jobs are few and far between. I discover that most of us are applying for anything that is out there. United in our quest for work yet with a need to out perform each other in the room beyond. Time ticks on.

We eye each other up. He won't get it, he looks far too miserable I think as I listen to another woman talking about the fact that she has other work on her plate. She doesn't 'need' the work, I think, why is she here?! Don't be greedy I want to shout!! Some of us actually need these hours! Time ticks on.

"I'm going to sound rude now" One candidate says to me after the 4th person is called in, "I mean" she says in a stage whisper "What criteria did they apply when they asked her for interview?"! The situation was bringing out the worst. The wait was making us edgy. It was a Dog Eat Dog situation! I had a fleeting thought for a second, that I had been transported to the Big Brother House!

I'm second last to be interviewed. I have waited in the same dull room for 2 and 1/2 hours. By the time they ask me the questions I had previously felt prepared for, my mind is blank. I forget that I have to sell myself, I can't seem to bring the right words to mind, I can't say what I want to say. Nerves take hold. It is like taking an exam, I feel like I'm trawling through deep mud for the words I need, the ones I know they want to hear. I try my best but I know I am not reaching anywhere near that point.

Before I arrived I wasn't that keen on the job. Once there I fell in love with the place.

Needless to say I didn't get it. I am still berating myself

Monday, June 14, 2010

Excuse me while I moan?

Small Sprog is due to go to 'Cub Camp' with his dad next weekend. He told me he doesn't want to go and could I relay that fact to Husband, which I duly did via email. Why didn't Small Sprog want to mention it? I guess because he knows he will be persuaded to go.

I have had no reply to my email. Camp falls on my birthday. I have a sneaky suspicion that is why Small Sprog doesn't want to go. I have told him that we can celebrate my birthday at another time but it hasn't changed his mind. By the way, it should be my 'turn' to have him next weekend.

This weekend the children have been with Husband. I won't see them until tomorrow.
'Do you know if Small Sprog is going to camp?' I texted Tall Girl this afternoon
'Think so' she replied.
Husband must have persuaded him. I hope Small Sprog hasn't agreed to go just to please. I wish Husband had let me know what was going on. I often send him emails keeping him up to date with events that the children are involved in. He never answers. I don't have any details about camp yet, what time he is picking Small Sprog up, what time he is bringing him home, what things he needs to pack. All done to annoy I guess.

It is my birthday on Sunday. I would like to make plans, but I can't until I know what's happening. I wish I had just put my foot down now. Old habits die hard I guess.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday Morning

'Have you got your bus ticket?' I ask Tall Girl as she left for school this morning.
'Yep' Monosyllabic, she doesn't 'do' mornings!
'Dinner money?'
She nods, eyes rolling.

We head for the front door. I like to stand at the door for a while once she's left and watch her disappear around the bend in the road. If there is no one much about, I hazard a last 'goodbye', half stage whispered so as not to embarrass her. All is peaceful and right with the world...

Less than 10 minutes later I hear the phone ring downstairs. I have just turned on the shower for Small Sprog and so leave him there, with washing instructions, while I run down to answer it. It is Tall Girl, she is at the bus stop and can't find her ticket. Can I bring it to her before the school bus comes?

I panic! I have one lovely child in the shower who needs me to be here, and another equally lovely one who needs me a short car journey away."Quick" I half scream at Small Sprog "We need to get to the bus stop. Can I wrap you in a towel and take you like that?"
"No way" He retorts. Well, I guess he is 10 now, even if he still can't work the shower controls!
"OK, you get out and dry REALLY quickly then"

Meanwhile I am running about the house looking for the said ticket. It is not where she said she'd left it. Bum! I ring her back
"It's ok" She says non-plussed "I'll just pay him tomorrow, anyway I can see the bus coming now!"

I put the phone down and sigh. My 'everything is right with the world' feeling has totally disappeared.
"It's OK Small Sprog" I shout out "Panic over"
He appears, completely dressed and ready for the day. Perhaps I should try that trick more often? He can take ages sometimes.

Before I leave for work I tidy the bedrooms a little. I am fairly pleased that Tall Girl has made an effort to make her bed, though it still looks like someone is asleep in it. I pick up the corner of the duvet to straighten it. Her bus ticket is underneath, gently put to bed for the day with 'Larry' her bedtime lamb (I know she's 13 now!)

Bless her, I can here you mutter. Bless her? You just wait until she gets home!

Never a dull moment in suburbia

Sunday, June 06, 2010

End of the holidays

Today will be a family day with visits to my Father and then, weather permitting, a BBQ with Mum. Going to work tomorrow is going to be so hard after such a lovely few days with children and friends...

I am grateful for all of it.