Wednesday 27 July 2011

My vacuum cleaner wrote my car off

I have been in a severe state of shock since last Thursday.

Having got back from Betty's 'farewell assembly' at her pre-school (emotions already running high), I decided to clean the car out - a rare event it has to be said.

Betty and Dolly were having their dinner with their grandpa who was visiting, and I was outside with Henry (the vacuum cleaner), rigging him up to the extension lead.

All car doors were open, mats were out and shaken, and Henry was happily whirring.  I vacuumed the driver's seat, without a hitch, then shoved the nozzle down between the passenger seat and the brake handle to try to get to a rogue Shreddie I had spotted.  The next thing I knew the button on the handbrake went 'PING' and my car started rolling away from me.  Bloody Henry, whom I have previously referred to as my 'saviour', let the frickin handbrake off.   Normally this would not have been so much of a problem as being the neurotic person that I am I ALWAYS leave the car in gear on our slopey driveway.  However, just 30 seconds before, I had pushed it into neutral to vacuum out all the crisp/biscuits crumbs inbetween the gear stick.

I dived out of the way, got knocked by the open door, and was pushed into my father-in law's car, then I watched as the car, who also decided to knock into my FIL's car, then went careering off down the driveway and down a steep bank at the bottom and into the ravine (as the recovery man referred to it) at the bottom.  I watched in absolute horror, car doors flying clean off as they hit trees on the way down, and my beloved car disappearing out of sight.

In my hysteria, I scrambled down the bank into the bog where it lay, and through a mangled doorway, I began sweeping off the remaining crumbs from the driver's seat.

Thank goodness no one was hurt.  A complete freak accident, but a shocking experience all the same.  The car is a write-off.  I was hysterical.  I have been beating myself up about all the 'what ifs?' ever since.

Once I had calmed down (only yesterday) Tom, who has been amazing throughout, commented: 'You've got to laugh, it is all rather slapstick'.

Henry got dragged down the hill with the car, but amazingly he survived and still innocently whirrs away as it nothing has happened.  However,  as irrational and callous as it may sound, he needs to go.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Stealing and lying

I tell my kids white lies on a daily basis, and rarely feel guilty. I think they are needed in order to run a functional, less stressful life: 'No we can't go to that fairground, it is for children over ten' or 'No we can't get the paddling pool out, there is no water left in the taps'.

However, recently I got caught out by Betty, told a white lie to save my bacon, and felt awful about it. She is a hoarder, and can make her Easter egg supply, for example, last months. I am a chocoholic, and if there is chocolate in the house I find it very hard not to eat it. I do have morals though and draw the line at stealing from a four year old.

The other night, however, one minute I was watching Eastenders, the next thing I knew I had devoured an entire egg, from Betty's collection.

Despite my prayers that she might not notice the missing egg, she of course noticed the very next day. 'My very very very special big egg has gone' she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.

'It's ok' I said, 'The Easter Bunny must have come back to collect it in the night, because it has been there for so long it became mouldy, and he didn't want you getting sick'.

Betty eyed me suspiciously. I felt wretched. And although fairgrounds will continue to be for over ten year olds, and our taps will conveniently run out of water when it suits, I will never ever steal from my children, and then lie about it, again.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Progress reports

One goes in...

'Dolly has started here without any problems, she has settled in very well and is quite easy going. She needs a little support at circle time and lunch time as she does like to be on the go. She is confident with staff.'

And one comes out...

'Betty is a very confident, capable and independent child.  I feel sure she has enjoyed her time here, just as much as we have enjoyed having her.  She is now ready to move on to 'big school'.  I am sure she will do very well.  We will all miss her'. 

And while I held the two progress reports in my hand and sobbed pathetically, Tom was strutting around punching the air, with his chest puffed out, thrilled at these particular lines:

'Dolly has helped in the garden, weeding and composting'.

'Betty loves being out in the garden and making sure we do the composting'.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Dressed to impress

We went to a fabulous wedding in Somerset on Friday, and got back yesterday evening.  The return journey should have taken two and half hours, but instead it took five.  Tom ignored our new lady friend and me, thought he knew better, and took a wrong turn.  He now feels he needs to make amends, and last night he put the kids to bed, and cooked supper, and this morning I am getting breakfast in bed.

Anyway, the wedding was great - apart from the embarrassment of Betty sitting on a hay bale and sobbing inconsolably, and saying 'But this isn't the same as the other wedding we went to - where's the carpet? I want to take my shoes off and dance on a soft carpet - I want to be at the other wedding we went to'.  This went on for some time, and when the groom overheard and looked hurt I considered throwing in the towel and leaving. Instead I bundled her up and took her for a walk around the grounds to explain that not all weddings were held at the same place.

Miraculously our little chat did the trick, and Betty became accepting of the carpetless circumstances.  She got her second wind, asked for her Snow White dress to be put on, and took ownership of the dance floor til the party finished (one woman was so taken with Betty's dancing that she went up and kissed the startled little performer). Meanwhile Dolly wandered around asking everyone if she could have a swig of their champagne, and if she could borrow their phone, because she wanted to play a game.

Before the Snow White dress came out, Betty and Dolly were wearing matching Stella McCartney dresses (we have a friend who occasionally sends us these wholly inappropriate garments for our kids).  Dolly took exception to her frock and spent the day angrily trying to rip it off.  And Betty didn't want to wear her leggings underneath because she said she preferred the 'pretty colour of skin'.  And before we'd even got into the actual wedding they both had massive grass stains on their knees and pig slobber on their hands which was wiped down the fronts of their dresses. 

As we walked up the grand pathway towards the wedding venue, Betty said: 'But Mummy, when are you going to get changed?'  So with me sporting Primark's finest, coupled with Birkenstocks, and my children in their designer wear, they looked like they didn't belong to me.  The only thing that gave it away was the fact that Dolly was in a pair of Clark's Doodles beach shoes.

During the day, I caught up with some old school friends, a few of whom I hadn't seen for years, and we had a merry old time.  I saw a bloke I was at school with and we happily chatted away for quite some time, until he said: 'I have absolutely no idea who you are'.  When I told him, he said: 'No way! I totally didn't recognise you - mind you, women do tend to lose their looks as they get older'. 

By the end of the night I was telling anyone who would listen: 'I write a blog you know - you must read it - it is absolutely amaaaazing hic', while spilling red wine all over the white jacket I was wearing (on loan from a friend). 

Wednesday 13 July 2011

New lady friend

We Buttons had to drive into central London last week, for a function which was being held near Tottenham Court Road.  To help us negotiate the busy roads (Tom had forgotten the A-Z), we had an additional passenger in the car with us - a calm lady with a deep soothing voice, a lady completely unfazed by my children's backseat antics, and Tom's blatant rudeness and hostility towards her.

After a long journey on the M40, with the help of the lady, we effortlessly cruised down Marylebone Road, and Tom began warming slightly towards her, and commented that perhaps she was quite useful after all.  It was at this point that Betty declared that she did not like the lady's silly voice.  I defensively told Betty that this lady was about to single-handedly revolutionalise our experience of driving through a city.  In protest, Betty talked over the lady whenever she tried to direct us. 

When Tom misheard direction from the lady, mainly thanks to Betty, I could almost sense the lady inwardly tutting, as she announced for the third time in three minutes: 'Please do a U-turn at the next junction'.  'I am not doing a bloody U-turn on Marylebone Road, it is dangerous, and it is illegal,' Tom told the lady.  But it was when she coolly told us yet again to go the wrong way down a oneway street that Tom began shouting, and demanded that she get out of the car.  'Why are you shouting Daddy?' Dolly asked him.  'I don't like this ridiculous lady,' he replied.  'She is a funny lady,' Dolly said.

I think the lady could sense the tension in the car, and began to sound a bit exasperated herself, as she announced for about the 56th time that she was 're-routing' us.

Just as we were literally a minute from our destination, Tom and the lady had yet another argument, so begrudgingly, and at Tom's insistance, I muted her.  We then drove round and round without her, and eventually parked up, and walked for about half an hour to our destination.