Monthly Archives: June 2003

Mind you, some clouds have silver linings too

Wet break. Yippee, wet break! 😀 Instead of all staff out on the playground supervising a schoolful of hooligans, teaching staff who have a form group are in their classrooms supervising smaller numbers of hooligans. I do not have a form group 😉

To add to the delight, it’s J’s birthday and she’s brought in cheesecake, gateaux, and chocolate profiteroles! And there’s no-one else to help her eat them 😀

Do you know, I don’t think I’ve experienced one obnoxious child today. Not that there weren’t any, just that I didn’t bump into any. My cover lesson went fine – just had to isolate one little twerp (oops, sorry, not allowed to call them twerps) and the rest buckled down and worked well. My friend for whom I had covered the horrendous History lesson last week thanked me …… in the form of a huge punnet of strawberries and a carton of cream. Oh dear, I forgot to get them out of the fridge before the boys went to bed. Oh dear!

After lunch there was a panic to find a helper who was willing to take two girls to visit the High School for an induction session. I pointed out that I was non-contact and was happy to take them. So instead of having to sit in the “internal exclusion” room and supervise any reprobates, I got to go and have a tour of the High School (where my eldest may go in three years’ time) and eat chocolate biscuits. At the end of the session we realised that if I took the girls back to school they’d miss their bus home, so I said I would take them straight home. Where should they live, but round the corner from me. So I was home just at three o’clock…. half an hour earlier than I would have been normally.

Spent my evening with two typical boys. Smudgelet is in trouble for having two pieces of homework not done. Tiddles is in deep deep trouble as I discover that he has five pieces of homework outstanding and is due for the high jump tomorrow if they’re not done….. and I don’t mean Sports Day, either. He was pretty determined not to do any of it, either. Still, I had to turn a bit sympathetic in the end as he started to throw up rather violently. A touch of the sun, methinks, or a tummy bug as both Smudgelet and I have been a bit unwell Saturday night (me) and Sunday evening (him).

Sports Day tomorrow, if you can call it that. The kids are so awful that we daren’t run it with the whole school. Year Five have their sports before break, Year six after, Year seven early on Thursday and Year Eight last of all. Luckily I don’t have to supervise any of it.

Hope Tiddles is better soon, he looks rather pale.

Dilemma – (this is a rant just for me, please don’t read)

How can the clock go so slowly, watching each minute pass and longing to sleep, and yet so quickly when the 6am alarm and the children’s swimming lesson looms so very soon? And why am I so deep-down cold when the night is so humid? And why isn’t there a little switch that we can turn on and off in our emotions so we can feel one at a time instead of a turmoil of them – anger, hurt, affection and deep deep sorrow all vying for position? And why am I so bloody hopeless at keeping my friends?

Every silver lining has a cloud

Had a wonderful day today (if we disregard the tandem tantrumming from two Smudgelets this morning which lasted just twenty minutes)

We had a relaxing morning with almost a decent (or indecent) lie in.

I was able to spend a pleasant hour with Dad over fish and chips as the children decided to have theirs on the picnic table. It is difficult for Dad and I to find anything to talk about these days – I so miss his easy friendship – but at least it was nice to be together and relaxed.

Then I took the children to the zoo. Again, with the incessant tantrumming and battling and everything, I was starting to feel that our relationship was in serious danger. So the jobs and the trip to the bank (much needed!) was put on one side while we took advantage of the good weather and went on a mystery tour, ending at the zoo. We had a fantastic afternoon. Smudgelet was delighted to learn that ring tailed lemur males “fight” by rubbing their smelly musk onto their tails and then waving them in each other’s faces. The one with the smelliest tail wins 😀

So all in all, a lovely day, apart from a shitty end to it in which I lost a very special friend.


Hat off to social services, they’ve really come up trumps.

How can I begin to show my appreciation of the support they provide?

I have never envied divorced people the trauma they have endured, and often continue to endure. I have never envied them the negative impact on the children or other relationships, the juggling of family, the depth of feeling of hurt or rejection. Just occasionally, however, I have envied my single-mother-through-divorce friends that bit of time to themselves which comes when the child goes to spend part of the weekend with their father. Now I am to have that.

For six months (then reviewed) I am to have one day (or the equivalent) with each boy on their own every month so I we can have some real quality time together and nurture those relationships which currently get squeezed out with running round after one or the other of them.

And for one day a month, I am to have a day or the equivalent just for me.. a self pampering day, a day when I can wander the shops without moaning children, a day when I can meet with friends without them having to entertain the Smudgelets too, a day when I can lie on the beach and read my book without having to solve disputes over which bucket and spade belongs to which.

Tiny twinge of guilt, but mostly YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !

Now only one small problem….. I still haven’t got a babysitter for tonight – my first night out in months. Anyone free this evening for a few hours?

Blessing in disguise

When Dad was cutting the hedge on Friday, he fell. Got his foot caught in the handle of the bag and went flying. Not badly hurt, but bruised and battered and a bit shaken. Mind you, he was too stubborn to let it stop him finishing the hedge!

Why was it a mixed blessing? Well, last night he was afraid to get in the bath in case he couldn’t get out, so he asked me to wait for a phone call. It broke a barrier that I had seen no way round. I went and helped him get dry, massaged his stiff shoulders and neck, and helped him dress. I also managed to persuade him that it’s time he gives up trying to cook Sunday lunch for us all. The down side of this is, of course, that I have to do it at teatime. Drat – hmmm…… how I love cooking! And the potatoes all need de-sprouting, too, before I begin.

Church was wonderful today. And the theme of the service was so appropriate to the last week that it could have been written specifically for me. Simultaneously scary and reassuring. The last hymn was my undoing, though, as it was mum’s favourite and I love it. How can I help but let the tears flow when I sing “I trace the rainbow through the rain, and know the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be”?

Now, I wonder what to do about these lovely pink shirts!


And as if that weren’t all complicated enough,…. !

Margaret was coming to pick me up at 3.45 to whisk me up to collect my car and be home – as if from work – before the Smudgelets. The timing had been meticulously worked out and watches synchronised so that she would arrive just after Dad had set out to fetch Smudgelet from school, so that I could slip into the car unseen.

What happens? Dad decides, yet again, without consultation, to leave the Smudgelet at after school club for longer. AAAAGGGGGHHH… And to make matters worse, he decides to work out on the front garden again. I am spying through a gap in the curtains, willing him to set off to collect the child, when Margaret’s car turns into the drive and I hear her engage him in conversation. What to do? What on earth to do?? If Tiddles arrives home from school in the meantime, I am undone!

Margaret zooms home and phones from there. We throw a few frantic ideas back and forth, then she decides to meet Tiddles from the bus and take him for an icecream. Meanwhile I am to watch out for Dad setting off for the school, and quickly nip out and walk up (the long way round so’s not to be seen) to collect the car and be at her house in time to collect Tiddles from her too.

I race up the hill to Margaret’s, only to discover I’ve taken the wrong car keys!!!!!! Still, I got an icecream for my troubles 😀 She drove me back to collect my keys – we need not have panicked as it was almost half past five by the time Smudgelet turned up at the door, Grandad having decided to take him for an icecream on the way home. I was livid because we had to be out for six fifteen – but relieved because I managed to look adequately harrassed by the time Dad saw me!!!

Bumped into another long lost friend today and we made a pact to get together the first day of the holidays. Hooray!!!

Thus endeth my third day in hiding. Tomorrow life returns with a vengeance….. though I think it may prove less stressful than today! 😉


Oh what a tangled web we weave… isn’t that how the rhyme begins?

I was tempted to stay at Margaret’s this morning, but decided to come home and hide instead as I wanted to sort some things out in my room.

I got trapped in there as the window cleaner arrived in the street and I couldn’t take the risk of him spotting me.

Then my Dad decides to prune my hedge, right by the bedroom window. The curtains are closed so he can’t see me, but the window is open – he will hear if I try to do anything. I’m trapped.

The hedge is really big and my Dad is really stubborn. I keep begging him not to cut it and to let me do it, but he always gets in first. It’s a hot day, so what does he do? He works solidly for two and a half hours without a break… not even to get a drink. This man has diabetes, prostate cancer, skin cancer, a slight heart problem, dodgy hips…… and the stubbornness of a mule. Even the man over the road shouted across and told him to go and have a rest, that the hedge would still be there this afternoon. But no, Dad has to carry on until either the hedge is defeated or he is no more.

And I sit there listening to it, and can’t even take him a cup of tea.


In hiding

This is day three in hiding… and rather nice it is too.

I decided, on my social worker’s insistance, to ring in sick for the rest of the week and actually just take some time out for myself. And I needed it. The only trouble was the fact that my father is next door, so we concocted a plan of deceit. I should give up the day job, you know, and become a secret agent!!! The plan was that I should get up and ready for school as normal, drive up to my friend’s house and stay there until 8.40 when Dad takes Smudgelet to school and the coast is clear. She should then drive me home and I should nip inside quickly so’s not to be seen and spend the day hiding. Then she would collect me when he goes to collect Smudgelet from school and I would fetch my car and come home as normal. A wonderful plan. Where’s the false glasses, nose and moustache?

It’s been great – I could feel it doing me good. What have I done? Well, I have managed to do a few jobs around the house that I have been putting off, which gives me a nice sense of achievement, but I haven’t bothered with that too much. This is “me” time.

I have read my book and written letters. I have played on the computer and watched Pride and Prejudice. I have snoozed in the chair and eaten chocolate. For one lovely hour I stayed at my friend’s house and played her piano. I realised that I haven’t actually played the piano properly like that since my mum died – six years ago! At first it was depressing because I just couldn’t hit the right notes, but then I got to some music that I’d practised and practised in the past so’s to be able to play it for my mum. I tried to follow the music, but then closed my eyes and just played… and it was wonderful. It didn’t sound wonderful, of course, but it felt wonderful. I must get a piano.

I managed also to sneak out to the hairdresser’s. They do a massage during the wash so that was extra relaxing (apart from the nagging suspicion that the girl doing the washing was a past pupil!) and I always feel better when I have had my hair done anyway. Because I hadn’t booked in advance, I had to have a stylist I hadn’t had before. I shall choose her in future, though. She managed to force my uncooperative hair into a style which looked really nice – and somehow she got me talking about the boys and my dad and provided another excellent sounding board.

Tiddles benefited from my relaxed state in that I didn’t throttle him on Thursday morning when he suddenly announced, three minutes before leaving, that he’d lost his bus pass the previous day and the driver had said he wouldn’t let anyone on without one. I couldn’t send him with the bus fare because he can’t be trusted with money. AAAAGGGGGHHH! I pretended to ring work and say I’d be late, then took him to the bus.

Smudgelet really has limited sense when it comes to keeping his head down. He is still playing up a lot. I have had to use the ultimate deterrant – I have already told him he is not having the new bike he was waiting for, and now he has begun to realise that if he messes me about at bedtime one more time, his old bike will be given away too. I don’t like making huge threats, but it’s the only thing that makes any difference. Of course, Grandad still keeps telling him that he can do no wrong, which doesn’t help matters at all.

Dad is speaking to me. Barely, but just about. I really don’t know where we are going with that one. Yesterday I arrived home to be informed that Smudgelet had asked him if he would pick him up later from after-school-club, give him another hour to play – and Dad had agreed. No mention of who was going to pay for it, of course. I bit my tongue. It was Smudgelet’s swimming night and I really needed him to be home so he could be fed and get his swimming things ready in advance. It was also the night when Tiddles has his counselling and I was hoping for some “special” time with Smudgelet. But of course, I am only the boy’s mother… why should I have any say? 😉

Spot a slight note of cynicism?

I don’t care, anyway. I am going to make the most of this, my final day in hiding. The nurse at the health centre informed me I am, alas, too short for my weight. This is distressing – anyone know of any good ways to gain height? Maybe eating more would help me grow ! Anyway, my social worker has forbidden me from dieting yet and says I need plenty of cake and chocolate, and who am I not to do as I’m told??? 😀 Oh, and the friend who is doing the respite rang last night and said she’s really keen to start, the money is in place, and how soon can she have the boys??? Yippee!!!! (Wonder if she’d like my Dad as well!)