Monday, 30 March 2009

That’s my Boy!

Well, tomorrow number one son (nearly 15) is off to Belgium on a school trip to the battlefields.
Of course, being a model child, he raced home from school tonight to get his packing done… well, ok, he finally sauntered in the house, casually threw his coat and bag in the general direction of the cupboard, kicked one shoe off under the sofa and the other half way down the hall where it met the dog, and ambled into the kitchen in search of nourishment. Mouth finally stuffed full of cereal bar, banana and what I suspect was one of my secret stash of hobnobs, he mumbled something incomprehensible at me, and stomped off upstairs to The Pit.

The Pit: if you are not the mother of a teenage boy, simply put, The Pit is a living entity similar to a black hole, sucking in and retaining all manner of rotting matter. Cups, glasses, plates, crisp packets, smuggled contraband such as chocolate wrappers are magnetically drawn into this deep chasm, and scattered around in various stages of decomposition. The Pit also extends its effect onto various garments... crunchy socks, inside-out jeans with pants still attached, screwed up T shirts, sweaty sportswear, muddy trainers all mysteriously gravitate together creating a mountain of mouldering decay on the floor of the Pit.
It is dark inside the Pit, for few dare to venture within. The curtains are never drawn, and the rarefied atmosphere would not tolerate the opening of the window. There are sporadic attempts to lighten the claustrophobic, foetid air with the spraying of underarm deodorant, a futile gesture intended to banish the “Smell of Boy” (An apt and accurate description observed with disgust by said Boy’s sister, "Euwwww, this room smells of BOY!").

To resume. Number one is ensconced in The Pit, gazing at flickering images on the Computer Screen (“Em-ess-en”, I believe, or some other teen communication device… I’m not sure how it works, cos the screen is always turned away from me when I walk in…)
“D’you want to think about packing for tomorrow then?” I suggest, casually leaning on the doorframe, peering into the gloom of The Pit, and wondering how long I can continue to speak without breathing in.
“Nah” is the concise reply.
“Let me put it another way, please collect all the stuff you want to take and bring it into my room” I declare, then race to the pure air of the landing, where I can breathe again.

Now, I know I should just give him a bag and tell him to get on with it, I mean he should be old enough…..but I did make that mistake in the past. After a wet and muddy week in the lakes with one pair of trainers, 1 pair of jeans and 2 T shirts, I have learned my lesson. Added to which, we don’t have a decontamination Unit big enough any more, so I’m not risking it again this time.

Half an hour later, I come in with a hold all, ready to throw the stuff in and check it off my mental tick list.
“Errr… where’s the stuff you're taking?” I call to Number One.
“On your bed, ”he calls back, then adds proudly “I put in an extra T shirt just in case” Yes, there they are, 5 T shirts on my bed, he’s going for 4 days, forward planning indeed, maybe he IS growing up, becoming a little more responsible…
Ye…ees, there are the T shirts, now (looking round) … errr, there are the T shirts and that’s it…
“Are you sure you’ve got together everything you want to take?” I ask tentatively
“Yeah, it’s all on your bed…” Look around, lift the corner of the duvet and peek underneath, just in case. Nope....
“Well, where’s your jeans?”
“I’m wearing them”
“Pants? Or are you wearing those too?”
“Errr… I forgot them”
“Wash bag and towel?”

Finally, with much grumbling and groaning he collects the necessary (as far as mothers are concerned) items and throws them in a jumble into the bag.
“Right then, is that it son? Can you think of anything else you want?”
“No, that’s it. Oh except the camera.”
“What camera?”
“The disposable camera”
At the risk of repeating myself I enquire,“What disposable camera?”
“The one I meant to ask Dad to get for me”
I take a deep breath “And did you ask him?”
“Errr, not yet….”
Well, bearing in mind we are less than 12 hours before Lift Off (or more accurately “Coach Off”, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?) I am left wondering just when he WAS going to get round to asking…

Now, I wonder if I should put his gloves on a string through his sleeves and safety pin his Passport into his coat.....

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Letting the Cat out of the Craft Bag....

It ALWAYS seems to happen this way...

I suddenly get the overwhelming urge to be creative, so decide I'm going to get on with a bit of card making or scrapbooking. Yep, I'll make a Mothers Day Card for Mum, it's coming up next week....

Now, I have to admit I'm the sad sort who gets weak kneed at the very smell of fresh paper and craft supplies, so going into Staples or HobbyCraft is a semi orgasmic experience for me. Consequently I have a rather large stash of bits and bobs dotted all around the house. Every drawer or cupboard, in fact. You can imagine the amount of time it takes to round up all these goodies when I feel the urge to create.... but (typically) I digress.....

Eventually, having gathered together all of the necessary scraps, sequins, sellotape and sticky stuff, I am sitting in the middle of the room raring to go, surrounded by aforementioned offcuts of pretty paper, card, ribbons, punches, jewels and flowers, reverently stroking long forgotten treasures that have once again seen the light of day... exquisite embellishments that are just too beautiful to actually use!

This is when my four legged helper comes onto the scene. Sniffing around, stalking the fluttering corners of the hand made paper.
"Gerroff with the muddy paws you monstrous creature.." I growl threateningly.
She growls back even more threateningly, so I feign sudden interest in the contents of a box of stickers whilst she carries on her investigations.

After a brief tussle over the ownership of a bag of delicate organza ribbon that I had fancied using, I decide to let her have it - it doesn't somehow look so fresh and pristine any more.

Right... now let's get something done... I start trimming and cutting, imagination working overtime, fingers in a frenzy. Just need to stick this precisely cut bit of posh, pricey paper onto the card.... Darn, where's the sellotape gone...?
"Hey cat....?" She's sitting by the sofa, leg straight up in the air whilst she vigorously licks it clean, blinking one eye in my direction then ignoring me. I stand up to look all around... still no double sided sticky..... but as I stand up I manage to dislodge a pot of embossing powder from my lap, a new and full pot whose lid was not terribly secure... (For those saner people not into all this craft stuff, embossing powder has the distribution properties of very fine glitter, with the mess potential of talcum powder or cornflour.) And it's a dazzling holographic, shiny and pearly white embossing powder. And my clothing is matte black.

Cat sniggers impolitely at the sight, before getting up and stalking away from the sofa, revealing the roll of sticky tape peering out from underneath. I make a hurried swipe for it, and return to grab the paper to stick down onto the card. Only to discover the feline monster now pretending to be kittenish, attempting a cute performance of batting a scrap of paper around, with chocolate box sweetness and big eyes. Only the "scrap of paper" is in fact that previously painstakingly measured and precision trimmed piece of really expensive double sided handmade-by-the-heir-to-the-throne-of-a-small-independent-kingdom ... you get the idea.

Reclaiming said paper earns me several deep lacerations on the back of my hand, which bleed profusely, dripping over the snowy white card base I was about the stick this soggy, dusty, crumpled and pierced piece of expensive....

Ah forget it, I'll pop into Hallmark!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Home sweet home.... for better or worse!

Oh boy, is dear ole hubby regretting it and thinking it's for the worse.... Can't even get him on the old wedding vows clause, cos our registry office version didn't make those promises!!!

Firstly, the boring medical details...They didn't find the cause of pain, but consultant suggests I just go home, take it easy, and we'll consider the next step when surgery and wound are completely recovered.

So meanwhile, still have district nurse coming in daily to inject me with an anti coagulant.
"Got to do it into a fatty bit..." she declares brightly, brandishing a wicked looking needle. Well, I offered up the acreage of the post baby tummy (well, post as in 13 and 15 years ago, but the effects are still there!) and she swoops in with glee.... Ooooh, and don't you believe her with that "sharp scratch" nonsense... It b****y well hurts, and is bruised the next day too! And the next day after she does it again, and the next, and the next....It's Groundhog day all over again (Imbolc for us lot, but doesn't quite convey the recurrent monotony!!).

Back to poor hubby. As I have to walk with two sticks, and am not allowed to bend, lift, twist etc, pretty much any useful activity apart from navel contemplation is out of the question......
First of all, there's the actual getting out of bed bit..... did anyone see the news some time ago when there was that beached whale they were trying to get back to sea..... well it's a twice daily routine here in Reading! Now, it gets even more interesting if I decide I need a shower.....Hubby trails after me carrying bath robe, sets up the bathroom with my oils and ungents within reach, then installs the bath board. This is a nifty bit of kit that lies across the bath, so that the showeree can slide on, then remain seated whilst being showered. Fabulous idea... in theory!!!!
Once dear hubby has set it up, shower is turned on to get temperature up...Husband becomes drenched, because bath board stops shower door from shutting. Quickly decide we will take shower head out of holder and lay it in the bath whilst water is warming up, I prepare to get into position. Now I had practised this delicate manoeuvre in hospital. You sit at right angles to the bath, slide yourself back until you have your back to the wall, then walk/swing your legs around until you are sitting facing the shower and tap end of the bath. I had been really good at it with the occupational therapist. But it was a bit different in reality. Previously I had slid effortlessly along and to the back of the bath board, helped no doubt by the trousers I was wearing....naked on a dry bath board (it was the only thing in the bathroom that HADN'T got soaked!) it was a totally different matter. Buttocks sticking to the board in a most unglamorous squeaking motion, not gently gliding as I had fondly imagined, the whole operation (wince) was farcical. Unfortunately for poor husband, he happened to snigger at the spectacle just at the moment I got the shower head in my hand...... did I mention he somehow got incredibly wet again..?
After completing my ablutions (Doesn't that word sound like it should be a fat cartoon character?) and getting dressed with the aid of my "helping hand" (Oh the joy of getting knickers on with this implement, has to be seen to be believed. I'm negotiating a film deal as we speak!!)....I am ready to go downstairs.
Once installed in the living what do I do..... bearing in mind I move in a lumbering fashion with a stick in each hand, rendering performing most activities impossible without help. Even the relatively simple...I mean I could make myself a cup of coffee, but then couldn't carry it into the living room to drink..... "Paul....can you just...." or dropping my book or magazine ..."Paul....can you just...." then there's lifting laptop onto lap ..."Paul....can you just...." ooh, let's watch a bit of TV ..."Paul....can you just...."
So, here I am, in front of the laptop, doing the only thing I can manage without a pathetic pleading "err, could I just have a little help to....".... So I do apologise to you all, as now you're bearing the brunt of it!!!
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