Friday, 27 February 2009

"Snuggies, Sham-Wows and Hair-Bumps...Oh My!"

We leave Florida tomorrow and I'm going to desperately miss this place. I'm not even referring to the gut-wrenching trauma which is the airport 'good-bye' or the fact that these bi-yearly visits with my family seem to just race by and before you know it you're back in your kitchen, the post is piling up, the dishes even more so and your holiday seems like it was a lifetime ago.

No, i'm referring to the modern pop and consumer culture which I've been delightfully exposed to for the past two weeks. But where do i start? I guess infomercials is as good a place as any.

You can't really flip through a tv in the States without landing on some serious hardcore infomercials. You don't mean to stop - in fact you purposely try not to - but what happens is that land upon some freakishly hilarious or odd image which compels you to stop and take a closer, voyeuristic look. That's how I happened upon 'Snuggies'. You wouldn't be silly for assuming this product was some sort of nappie (diaper) or slipper. But how wrong you would be.

No, the good folks at this television network came up with a product that is half blanket and half diabolic bathrobe. Only it has a cowl neck (one should make an effort when draping oneself in a blanket/robe out in public after all - there's no need to appear slovenly, however much you desire comfort at the expense of dignity). It also delightfully happens to comes in bright, bright blue...the colour of a smartie. I'm sure there's an artificial additive it was modeled on but I'll have to get back to you with the exact E4 number...

At any rate, this monstrosity is fitted on overtop your clothes (at least I hope it's overtop the clothes) and can be worn at home while watching tv, brought along in handbag for when visiting friends and family who are frugal with their heating and you don't want to offend (though how you would not offend on some level whilst wearing this full stop is rather doubtful), or best of all, when flying on an airplane.

It was this last image which threw me. I am all for being as eccentrically garbed as you wish....within the privacy of your own home. But I fail to see how a sane person could board a 747, stow their luggage in the overhead compartment, then pop on the day-glo coloured 'Snuggie', sit back fitfully in their seat, buckle the seat belt and not put the fear of God into every other passenger (well that or cause a flight delay as cabin staff take it in turns to walk past row 37 and check out the freak in the crazy cloak). I just don't get it....

The other product I took a fancy to is a 'Sham-Wow'. I particularly feel drawn to the 'Wow' aspect of it. For although it resembles a piece of cheap orange cloth, the REASON it costs £19.99, and will CHANGE your life, is because it mops up absolutely everything! (Apparently if I had had this on hand the last time our bathtub overflowed and extensive damage was done to the dining room ceiling, we needn't have worried! It would have mopped up an entire small pond in one easy dab!)

So you see, I need a 'Sham-Wow'. Even the customer testimonials attest to their necessity in every home and the delight they bring families across the nation. No spill is too great. No pet's wee is too acrid. No car is too dirty for a "Sham-Wow". I actually regret not ordering one on-screen at the time because they were throwing in 2 more sets of 'Sham-Wow's for - you guessed it - the price of only ONE 'Sham-Wow'! Wow.

The last infomercial which caught my eye whilst here was slightly sinister. I say this because ever since I saw it, whenever I see a woman with a bit of lift at the roots, I find myself obsessively sneaking peeks and wondering (sometimes aloud) if she's wearing a 'Hair Bump'. I'm actually convinced that three quarters of the female attendees at the Oscar's recently were wearing one.

For those of you not in the know (get with it!) a 'Hair Bump' as far as I can gather is a black piece of fabric and plastic in the shape of false teeth which sit atop your head, underneath a section of hair, poised in hiding amongst dandruff, greasy roots and a bad dye job. It's apparently the fastest and quickest route to a beehive or a 60's do at best, but for others I can see it becoming a regular habit. Forget hair potions, professional blow drys and strategic haircuts...with a 'Hair Bump' you can have the hair from hell and still look like a Bridget Bardot sex kitten from the 60's.

I was expressly forbidden to buy one of these. I bet Amy Winehouse has one...has several in fact. Who knows where my music career could go if only I was allowed to 'Hair Bump' myself up to the stratosphere. It's just not fair.

At any rate, I shall stop wittering on. I just wanted to share with you one of the reasons I shall be sad to go. Exposure to informercials has made me realise two things:

1) I am not as mentally unbalanced as I might have thought. There are others, who suffer so much more greatly.

2) My whole life might take a more positive turn, if only I could incorporate more innovation into my regular, mundane lifestyle. If for instance I could take to wearing my "Snuggie" in public, (say down the street for my grocery shop, gaining much-needed notoriety and eliciting envy), whilst mopping my home from top to bottom with a "Sham-Wow" (thus ensuring Domestic Goddess status and a sparkling clean environment within which I could go on to create musical masterpieces), all while sporting gloriously high mileage on my crown, slaying all and sundry with my sex-kittenish looks, safe and secure that my "Hair Bump" aint' going nowhere and will ensure I retain some element of glamour in my everyday life.

Who knows what could happen (sigh)....

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

"An Ode to Walmart"

I've just come back from a trip to Walmart here in the U. S. of Bloomin' A.....and man oh man did I enjoy it! That place is insane. Where else can you find millions and squillions of things you have absolutely NO need for but desperately want to buy...just because you can!

Parking under the giant red letters, I plopped Dumpie into the back of a giant cart, where he wiggled himself comfortably into position, little legs stretched out and a look of gleeful anticipation (to match his mother's) etched on his little round face. (He refuses to sit up front where other, normal children sit, and insists I plop him in the back where all the groceries go.) We started off in the shoe department, where it's a tradition of mine to buy comedy footwear for the monsters each year. For whatever reason Britain just doesn't do comedy footwear and it's such a shame, for in my opinion one of the benefits of procreation (besides spawning future old age care providers) is having real live dolls to dress up according to your whim.

Last time we were here I bought Dumpie 'plether' sandals (that wonderfully bizarre plastic/leather combination guaranteed not to stretch but also not to allow perspiration in or out). He's used them millions of times to go outside on our terrace and also traipse through the streets and beaches of Goa, his little chubby toes poked rather comically out the front of the awkward looking miniature sandal, while his little heel is kept in place by a piece of - you guessed it - 'plether' elastic at the back. They make me smile whenever he wears them, so of course I went to get another pair as he has almost grown out of them.

No luck - they didn't have his size. But they DID have a pair of hilarious multi-coloured 'water shoes' which slip-on and make him look like he just stepped out of a 'Postman Pat' video. At $6.97 it was a no-brainer and they were tossed unceremoniously into the back of the cart, where Dumpie proceeded to rid himself of his current footwear, put the new ones on, and get really pissed off when he realised that his two legs were attached by a plastic cord.

One of my favorite treats when I'm here in Florida, is to start the day with some mini powdered donuts and a strong cup of coffee (my Dad's signature blend is to die for and even he doesn't ever recall exactly what he put in it but trust me when I say it's divine). Given that it's a once a year kind of thing I don't feel the least bit guilty keeping a steady supply of the moist and addictive sugared donuts on hand for whenever the urge strikes. The problem is that the monsters ADORE them. And I do mean adore. I have actually witnessed Dumps leaping onto Eggie's back and clawing at his arm to wrangle the last one from him - powdered crumbs spraying through the air like confetti.

Up and down the aisles we whizzed, Dumps and I...his little blond wisps of hair fluttering as he barked instructions as to where we should go. (Of course Dumpie doesn't stay seated for long - not when he can stand perched precariously barking orders and gesturing wildly like a captain.)

"There Mama there!" We'd careen down one aisle at top speed only to stop suddenly when Dumps spotted the powdered donuts and demanded I buy two packages. Who was I to disagree? "Nay Mama Nay!" he screamed excitedly minutes later (for those of you new to this blog, "Nay-Nay" in his made up language means candies). Dumps insisted we go down the seemingly endless aisle of chocolates and sweeties... stopping briefly only to deposit a packet of mini Reeces peanut butter cups into the increasingly crowded cart.

Some while later, whilst deliberating over some rather cute Wranglers 'loose fit' carpenter jeans (I should stress that was for Dumpie not myself), I looked down in horror to see that he had gone silent because his mouth was crammed full of powdered donuts which he had clearly decided to help himself to. Not only was his face covered in white powdered sugar, but so were his navy shorts, his grubby hands and even his hair. He giggled as we played tug of war with the remaining donuts, me frantically trying to tip them back into the plastic casing and he trying to stuff them into his mouth. It was a huge mess and there was little I could do but look around in horror to see if we were being observed as I tried to find a quiet spot to pull over and deal with the disaster (sigh).

Anyway we finally made it to the checkout and I was a little less traumatised by that point - mainly because I was staring transfixed in wonder at the pint of Starbucks 'Caramel Macchiato' ice-cream I stood holding...too curious not to 'buy it and try it' as the drink is a favourite of mine and it certainly fell into the 'totally unnecessary but must have it' category.

So $87.53 later I found myself wheeling out a cart of goodies, a mini powdered person and some melting ice-cream. It could have been much worse though as luckily, when I was dealing with the donut fiasco, the reality of my luggage restrictions led me to put more than half of my goods back on the shelf...for some other unsuspecting tourist to gaze at in wonder and delight and pluck up with gusto...

Monday, 23 February 2009


The boys are sitting quietly on the floor, newly purchased wallets already ripped and prised open by greedy little fingers as they count their money and murmur quietly back and forth. They are obsessed with money these days (yes STILL) and have quickly deduced that the best way of getting their little greedy paws on some is to hit up Grandpa. Which they do. Several times a day.

Both boys have been caught red-handed up on tippie-toe, reaching up behind Grandpa's bed for his money box where he keeps bucket loads of change and small bills. We are trying to teach them that no matter how much the lust for cold hard cash is, they have to ASK Grandpa and not steal from him. This doesn't seem to be working though and I suspect we might have a few burglars in the making.

The other day we got into the lift from the beach and an old man with a very raspy voice said, 'Hi how are you?" and Egg without missing a beat, rasped back in identical mimicry, "I'm fine how are you?" It was all I could do to not burst out laughing but the old geezer didn't catch on so it was okay.

Speaking of utterances, yesterday we stopped off for a mid-morning gourmet coffee break and the boys discovered a gleaming eye-level see through jar of 'Bee-Bops' (Dumpie's made up word for lollipops which Egg has now taken on board as well). Dumpie deftly lifted off the lid, helped himself to a cherry one whilst procuring one for his big brother as well, and luckily the lady running the place thought they were adorable as opposed to thieving little rats and said they could have them 'on the house'. She asked how old they were and Egg answered correctly before asking in a fairly loud voice (several times so as to better insure a response), "And how OLD are you? I said how OLD are you?" Again, we laughed. Being a woman of indeterminate age, she might not have found that as amusing as we did.

Getting back into the hot car yesterday, I had the good fortune NOT to hear Egg's first utterance which was, "It's f______ hot in here!" Auntie did though, and shocked, she burst out laughing, alerting me to my eldests proficiency for pottie-mouth. Egg just looked over, nonplussed, and said, 'Well Dada says that'. Oops. Hear that Dada? You had better temper that tongue of yours, for all our sakes, or I'll be hauled into the Head's Office at Egg's school faster than you can say 'unauthorised absences'.

Dumpie's speaking is coming along in leaps and bounds. We understand perfectly what he says, though he likes to put in made up words now and then just to keep us on our toes. Here is a current sampling of his vocab at present:

"Bee-Bop" (lollipop)
"Meep-Meen" (sleeping)
"O-tay" (okay)
"Peeese" (please)
"Yells" (shells)

And of course their is the illustrious "Da" sound which, much like Mandarin Chinese, depending on how you say it, can mean several very different things:

"Daaa" (apple juice)
"Da" (grandpa)
"Dah" (yes)

Every morning Dumps wakes me up (we share a bed) by tenderly stroking my cheek, flashing me a huge grin and gently purring, "Mamaaa". If I pretend to still be asleep he will climb over me, hanging his head upside down, his face mere millimeters from mine, poke my nose and enquire again, lovingly, cajolingly, "Mamaaaa?". At this point there is nothing to do but smile as graciously as a 5am wake up will allow, and haul yourself out of bed and into service for the little one. He'll then hop down off the high bed as deftly as a chubby gymnast, grab his wallet (they sleep with them) and tear off into the front room in search of "Bee-Bops", powdered donuts or any other loot they can get their grubby little hands on. In other words, same an normal.

Well I must go. I don't hear them. Which must mean that they are wreaking havoc in Grandpa's room. Plus I need a coffee. A strong coffee. Mind you Dumpie just now ran into the room, his entire mouth, lips and chin stained artificial blue. That is not a good sign.

The boy has been 'Bee-Bopped'.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Will The Passenger in Row 22 Please Drop Her Weapon...

Ok I'm going to come right out and say it....YESTERDAY....WAS....HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!

There. I feel a little better. No I don't actually. Now that I'm recalling the 12 hours trapped in economy on Virgin Atlantic from London to Orlando with a 2 year old, a 4 year old and the most miserable family of 'Chavs' (British version of obnoxious hicks) sat in front of us, I'm getting angry all over again.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating, let me come clean about the fact that I had to pop half of my 'emergency valium' (does every parent have one or is it just me?...nevermind don't answer that) only an hour after we'd boarded. Of course my decision was based on the following series of events which happened in rapid succession and caused my blood pressure to soar. Being a doctor's daughter (and supremely aware of my personal threshhold for imbecilic morons at close range) I made a medical decision which, believe me, was in the best interest of both my children and the other passengers on board -namely the hideous passengers sat in the row directly in front of us:

1) The captain came on speaker, thanked us for patiently for waiting through the hour delay and informed us that although the baggage issues had finally been sorted, it appeared that there was a problem with the fuel gage in one of the engines and thus there would be a further delay while Engineers were brought on to assess the situation.

2) The tv sets were all turned on and a loud cartoon soundtrack was piped throughout the cabins whilst peeved off cabin staff shimmied up and down the aisles dispersing prison quality sandwiches and watery juice to the masses

3) The family sitting in front of us (in BULKHEAD I might add) decided that they needed that little bit more legroom, so all forced back their seats to as far as they could go down, thereby crushing my knees and leaving Dumpie, Egg and I with approximately 40% less legroom.

4) The Captain came on speaker again and announced that although the procedure to fix the broken fuel gage was straightforward and would not require us to change planes, it would take between 2-3 hours to resolve, so apologized and thanked us for our patience in advance. Amazingly he felt that it would be a waste of everyones time to disembark. However he did promise that if repairs went over 3 hours he would reconsider letting us off the plane. Charming.

5) I looked around and noticed that everyone else had their seats in upright position for the comfort of the passengers seated behind...everyone except the ill-mannered idiots in front of us who were traveling with an only child about Egg's age who had the nerve to stand up on his seat and scream out at Egg and Dumps periodically, for no reason, for the next 12 hours.

(I asked cabin staff if they would mind asking them to lift their seats up until we took off. I was flashed a sympathetic smile but told that they weren't really allowed to request that except during take-off and landing. I then made a quiet-ish phonecall to my sister and husband, venting and explaining in a voice mildly louder than a whisper, the bad news and my current discomfort....
To add insult to injury we had been promised the bulkhead seats as I was traveling on my own with two small children. When we didn't get them I was told it was because there were so many infants on board that it was an impossibility. Funny then that the child in front was Egg's age, and the other two bulkheads were taken by four teenage boys and a family with a teenage daughter. Just wait till Virgin Atlantic Customer Services Complaint department opens today. Boy are they going to get an earful.)

6) The family in front plant their feet firmly against the bulkhead wall and push back with all their might - gaining an unbelievable extra two inches and showing me exactly what a FULL seat recline actually looks like.

7) Dumpie gets diarrhea. Egg announces he needs a 'magic pill' so he doesn't throw up all the mini oreos he's just scoffed. The first round of foul-smelling gas from the 'Chavs' in front hit. It seems that added to their immense grace and charm they also are a windy bunch and have their unwieldy bottoms trained in our direction so as to best inflict their foul-smelling emissions.....

Now I can just hear my husband mentally sighing as he's reading this, thinking that I'm giving away a little too much information and stating loud and clear to the world at large that perhaps I am a bit of a psycho, or at the very least in the same league as Naomi Campbell (and not in the leggy supermodel way I must sadly confess, but rather in the 'Anger Management' arena). Fair enough. So I'll bring this particular rant to a close (which by the way is making me feel slightly better so it's not all in vain) by saying that after nightmare number 3 (see above) I self-medicated so as not to cause a scene, embarrass myself, get my children taken away from me, and possibly end up in jail for manslaughter. I really had no choice.

In the end it was the right thing to do. Throughout the next twelve hours (you'll be pleased to know the plane repair only took 2 hours as opposed to 3. yippee. ) I seethed inwardly, had my knees bent out of shape, and took it all in good least outwardly. People must have looked over casting sympathetic eyes and thinking, 'How calm that mother of two is..good on her' without realising that most of the flight i was inwardly concocting ever more brutal torture scenes for the Chavs in front as they continued to make my flight hell. At one point they were cuddling the child on their knees and they STILL left the empty seat jammed down at full recline - despite the fact the I could barely move and had Dumpie and Egg squashed and trapped underneath the seats looking for crayons and odd bits of chocolate.

Anyway I survived it. Egg was good as gold - a real angel. Dumpie was....well Dumpie. Unlike Egg he didn't feel that he quite fancied a nap during the flight, and it was only during the last hour that he collapsed, spent, in my lap, winding the hair elastic on my arm through his arm, and finally(!) closing his eyes. Of course minutes later we began our descent, the cabin lights came on and a stewardess came by and warned me that I'd have to buckle him in his own seat. I tried to warn her but she shook her head firmly muttering about regulations.

So.....Dumpie of course woke up, had horrendous popping ears and screamed like a torture victim for the next 45 minutes. I think if I hadn't had the remnants of that 1/2 valium trickling through my nervous system that I might have just stood up at that point and impaled myself upon the drinks trolley. Literally, there was dead silence as we circled Orlando, save for Dumpie screaming with rage, out of his mind with exhaustion, alternately clawing at his restrictive seatbelt and slapping me about the head, his eyes glazed over and furious. The moment the plane touched down I frantically undid Dumpie, wrangled the seething mass of limbs and spittle and wispy hair onto my lap and tried to calm him down. I noticed that not one steward came to complain that I had unbuckled him prematurely.

Regardless, the end result (being the look of total and utter joy on my dad's face as we emerged -filthy, shell-shocked and utterly exhausted through the arrival gates) made the whole trip worthwhile. Even the horrid 18 year old, blond, buck-toothed wench at customs who made me queue all over again because I hadn't filled out the customs forms to her exacting standards (necessitating a further half-hour delay) wasn't enough to dampen the joy and love that came flooding out as I relinquished the monsters who went tearing into Grandpa's arms with glee.

As I told Dad as we walked to the car, I know how much this trip means to him and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for my dearest Dad...any distance I wouldn't travel to see him. I said that I would even go through the gates of hell for him.

Case in point.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Head-Banging Disco Bunny

The monsters started the day off with two bowls of Cheerios, a glass of pure grape juice and then dove immediately into their marshmallow chocolate hearts from Grandma. (Thanks to all the 'Grandparents' for the lovely cards and treats!) Of course if I had gotten out of bed any later than 8:35am this morning, Dumpie would have definitely done more damage to the jar of tiny sugar baking stars I found him nibbling on when I came down. There's still a tell-tale pink star trapped in his blonde wisps...

I spent the morning frantically wrapping presents for a classmates 5th birthday party and trying to convince Egg that much as I'd like to spend the next two hours this morning playing 'pass the parcel' with him, perhaps it was more of a solo job. To make matters worse it's another 'fancy dress' party and Egg HATES dressing up. The best I could do was force him into a Captains hat while Jay in a last-minute gesture put him in one of my black cropped military jackets. He won't win any prizes to be sure, but at least it's better than sending him in civilian clothes and making the other mothers think that I didn't even bother to read the invite properly.

Two noteworthy things happened this week. One was Egg's very first school 'Disco'. On Thursday after school, there were three organized disco's catering to each age group. I had bought a ticket for him the week before (a whopping £1) and had tried to get him excited about it. He wasn't. In fact, he outrightly refused to go. When I went to pick him up after school and drop him off, he point blank told me that his teacher had told the class that the disco had been cancelled and that anyway he wanted to go home to bed. I totally fell for it but then clocked the crowded playground full of parents milling around with kids in fancy dress and realised I'd been had.

Egg didn't take too kindly to being called on his little white lie, and ran out of the school grounds screaming that he was sorry but that there was no way he was going to go to the 'stupid disco"! He said he was tired and didn't feel well. I of course wasn't having any of it, so took him home, got him changed out of his uniform and then distracted/bribed him with a peanut butter cup before marching him straight back to the dance. Once there, I had to concede that the dark room, flashing lights and loud music might be a tad off putting to a 4 year old, but using the best of my parental manipulatory techniques I managed to get him involved in a conga line early on. He later perked up when given spending money to buy refreshments and glow sticks (two of which he later gave to an elated Dumpie). I stood out of the way watching little Egg munch on salt and vinegar crisps and occasionally dance when prompted by yours truly doing rather frantic hand gestures. Despite his rather crazy running-on-the-spot dancing, he seemed to have no shortage of female reminded me of his fathers prowess on the dancefloor.

On the way home Egg declared that he now LOVES disco's and wouldn't be averse to attending another one - really soon! The next morning as we set off for school I glanced in Eggie's book bag and saw a note stating that the previous day Egg had banged his head on the wall quite hard, had first aid administered and should be kept 'on watch' for 48 hours. Whoops! Good mother I am. And here I thought he was faking it by saying he didn't feel well and wanted to go to bed instead of boogie. And what do I do? Send the poor boy to a flashing lights disco party with a possible head concussion. Urghhhh...

Anyway, the second notable thing that happened this week was finding out (again, from a letter in his book bag) that Eggie's extra week absence for his Florida trip to visit his NOT authorised by the school. Apparently they believe us to be flaunting school attendance rules by taking him out for two weeks in January to go to India and now, a mere month later, an extra week to go to Florida. I felt about ten years old again as I went into the school office to explain and was then informed that actually, it was the fact that our son was bringing down the schools exemplary attendance record that was at the heart of the matter.

C'est la vie. I think family is just as, if not more important than education, and I would do it again - and probably shall. The fact that the unauthorised absence is now on his record does not affect Egg at all, but might mean that sometime in future, if Egg ever does decide to skip classes, I might just end up in jail for a fortnight. Oh well. I have bigger things to worry being the 9.5 hour plane journey I shall be taking the monsters on ALONE tomorrow to Orlando aboard Virgin Atlantic.

However I've upped the ante this time and am taking a box of anti-nausea pills sent from a concerned, well-meaning friend. Apparently half a tablet administered to each wriggly child shall render them slightly drowsy and 82% less likely to projectile vomit over other passengers tomorrow. I've got two bulging bags full of treats, games, puzzles, stamps, stickers, crayons, coloring books, stacking blocks and 'Go-Go's' (expensive Japanese little figurines purchased from Auntie Ba). I am like a traveling kindergarten-on-wheels and if I can keep calm, and Dumpie can hopefully for once NOT suffer constant diahrea throughout the entire flight...I reckon we can do it.

Of course, saying that, he currently DOES have diahrea ('Murphy's Law' and too much information, I know), on top of which he is refusing to wear any socks or shoes these days and will only wear his big blue duck-down slippers from Grandma, and refuses to let me trim his long wispy hair which is now slightly obscuring his vision in front. He has a scream that would scare the devil, a will of iron, and a capacity for naughtiness and sheer perseverance that I have not hitherto witnessed in another human being. The fact that it's packaged up in an adorable impish package of chubb (he most resembles a little 'Who' from 'Who-ville' these days) is besides the point.

Eggie on the other hand is an absolute angel. Except when he isn't. Vomiting aside I expect he will be a great help to me on the flight, and at the very least can be counted on to run up and down the aisles and catch his little brother if perchance Mama caves in at any point and self-medicates with a half a valium to calm her nerves. If we can only nab the bulkhead then we have a fighting chance. Not only can I work at constructing a fail-safe barricade at the aisle, but I will also not have the added pressure of the dreaded seat back foot banging issue to contend with as well. If fact, when I go to check-in tomorrow, I think that that will be my opening gambit. It will go something like this:

"Good morning. Do you see these darling children? Well I wonder if you could help us out today and put us in bulkhead seats near the front."

"Oh you can't? Well, that's a shame because on our last transcontinental flight to India they spent the entire ten and a half hours kicking the seats in front and disturbing their fellow passengers to the point that infanticide was pondered."

"Oh you can help us out after all? How lovely..."

So you see, I approach tomorrow with medium high hopes, a plan in hand, and a slight hangover. (Jay and I went out for a scrumptious Italian dinner late last night and imbibed a little too much red wine. Last I recall I fell asleep upstairs in bed while watching the end of 80's flick "Weird Science".)

The Aunties were around this morning and this being St. Valentine's illustrious holiday to love and other such mushiness, Jay being the delightful charmer that he is (certainly when he wants to be) went out and surprised the three of us with a gorgeously red long-stemmed rose and gourmet uber-posh chocolate truffle topped cupcake each. Awwww....he's a good'un.

For now, I'd best get packing and tidying up. I wonder how little I can bring in the way of clothing for the boys so as to best maximize the luggage space on the return journey for all the things I am bound to want to bring back.

At the moment the boys have enough changes of clothing for a couple of days (given three meals a day and frequent changes daily). I on the other hand have packed enough lip gloss and hair products for a drag queen. Perhaps I'd better rethink things...

Friday, 6 February 2009

Pop Two Aspirin and Have An Early Night...Not

So last night turned out to be tamer than expected. Thirteen mothers consumed 7 large beers and 7 bottles of wine (you'll be pleased to know that my beer habit has waned since India...have now reverted back to my senses and hate the stuff again). I was home by 11 and passed out by 11:15. Only vanity forced me to wash my face and brush my teeth before bed, otherwise I was sorely tempted to do a nosedive into the middle of the bed and push the burden of ablutions to the side for one night.

You'll be pleased to know that at no point did I make any inappropriate comments or act in a manner unbefitting of someone's mother. I think this was due to the fact that I almost made myself sick on the rich thai starters of spring rolls and vegetable tempura, and what with my digestive track working overtime I had precious little energy to spare in order to make an arse of that's good.

My husband of course made me look like a goody-two-shoes by lumbering home sometime in the early hours of the morning. I'm a light sleeper so I was awoken when he arrived, even though I had begged him not to turn the lights on, bang my shins while getting into bed, or stripping me of my warm duvet cover. We both looked rather drawn this morning and it was with some trepidation that we realised that we are due to go to a party in the West End tonight. More drinking and carrying on. Help.

Auntie Mo is the reason we are able to act like carefree singles this week and paint the town red. I think she is quickly regretting her decision to help out and babysit as the monsters are in love with her and follow her around the place incessantly barking out orders and demanding treats. Dumpie even insists that Mo change his nappies and won't let me do it. Haha...

Having Mo here has been useful in another respect. Dumpie has learned two new words this week and uses them liberally...'Yay!' and 'Yuk'. When you think about it, those two words can be used to pretty much describe everything that happens in a day. (eg. A bill arrives - 'Yuk'....a donut for coffee break - 'Yay!'...You've lost five pounds - 'Yay!'...You've spotted your unwaxed legs - 'Yuk'...etc.)

Anyway, speaking of unwaxed legs, I better go and see to them. Even though I'd be a fool to bare my (albeit tanned) legs ce soir, the thought of walking around knowing what state they're in is not conducive to a good night out. Jay is on his way home now, and although we'd rather stay in and mooch around in jammies with Mr. Ben and Sir Jerry, I suspect we'll have a decent enough time when we're out and in any case we'd be fools to pass up the 'Get out of Domestic Jail Free Card' and should probably take advantage of it.

Saying that, it's cold and rainy here in London town, and there is the small matter of waxing to get down to (sigh)...

Happy Weekend Everybody...

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Snow Glorious Snow...

So London got snowed on this a BIG way. On Sunday night as a friend of ours lay languishing on our sofa, hinting that a home-cooked dinner wouldn't go amiss (my husband seconding that motion), I gazed lethargically out our big french windows, mesmorized by the gorgeous snowflakes falling heavily and blanketing the road.

I was completely indifferent to the idea of dinner (the monsters had already eaten and were being tucked into bed by Auntie Mo), due not so much to a lack of domestic prowess but rather the extra large helping of Ben & Jerry's I'd had for lunch earlier. So our friend, sensing a dead end to the culinary questioning, made a rather hasty exit and left me in peace to spend the next few hours staring in amazement at the beautiful snow falling outside the window. It was better than telly.

The next morning London closed down. Buses ground to a halt, schools were closed and millions of workers didn't show up for work. Of course Jay did, but he's the sort of guy who seems genuinely dismayed when he is in bed with a fever and forced to take his one sick day of the year. He is also the same guy that refused the offer to be signed off work after his knee surgery and insisted on hobbling in on crutches the next day. My how different we are.

So i didn't even bother trying to make him see sense, and instead bid him adieu as he went slipping and sliding up the street to maybe catch a train (if it was running) and then walk the rest of the way to work. (The next day everything was STILL closed and i threatened him with divorce if he rode his bicycle to work on the deadly black ice. He obviously found that an appealing notion as he chose to do just that and left me worried sick. Bad husband.

What's so amusing about all this chaos in London is that even though there were only several inches of snow, this city is ill equipped to handle anything out of the ordinary weather-wise, and it was the most snow that London had seen in 20 years. So you can't really blame the city for acting like a drama queen and shutting down so to speak. It was a fun reminder of our school 'snow' days growing up, when a particularly bad blizzard meant that homework could remain undone, bullies would have to wait for another day to torture you and that disgusting home made lunches could be exchanged for all manner of delicious treats - home made cookies being the least of them.

So in time honored tradition, the boys and I made (well i made, they ate most of the batter) peanut butter cookies, played with snowballs outside and generally had a cozy few days together. Dumpies amazement at the snow was classic when he woke up and pointed to the white wonderland outside and said reverently 'Wow!' Bless....

Anyway, Mr. Dumps is up from his nap, so that means it's time for me to put my maids uniform on and prepare to subjugate myself for the remainder of the day to his wishes. He's bossy but cute, and when I do his bidding is more than complimentary. What kind of job these days gives you such regular and heartfelt feedback as sloppy kisses and tight hugs?

Tonight Jay and I are both going out for the sole purpose of inebriation. Okay he has a reunion pub/club night with an old friend and I have a mothers' piss up at a local thai restaurant, but it all amounts to the same thing. Jay and I shall return later tonight the worse for wear, and with the faintest hint of having had that little bit too much to drink and of having probably said at least one inappropriate thing.

This being Britian however, such behavior is par for the course and shall be largely overlooked. If I can refrain from extolling the virtues of Zanax (or any other hard-to-obtain pharmaceuticals) to the other mothers in Egg's class, it shall make for a better show than the last dinner at any rate.

It's good to aim high.