Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Dental Saga Continues...

Here's one for you:  What do a Spanish lesbian hairdresser and a student dentist have in common?  Well for one, they may both be responsible for ruining my looks (whatever 'looks' I find myself still clinging vainly onto these days - what with my blatant disregard for age-appropriate apparel, my recent penchant for bright pink lipstick, and my growing collection of expensive but stained designer wear sullied from grape juice, exploded pomegranates and indelible marker).

But I digress.  Tomorrow I shall get up at the crack of dawn and begin the laborious process of journeying through the bowels of South London in order to queue up with masses of the 'great unwashed' who are also experiencing 'dental pain'.  Upon arrival I shall scout out the furthest, most uncomfortable plastic chair, slump down in it really low like an insolent teen, and gear myself up to wait out the several hours I am told it shall probably be until I am seen.  

At any rate, I'll eventually be ushered toward a scary looking chair by a scared looking student dentist who will ask MY advice on what he should do for me, before making a rash decision to get operated on right then and there in the most archaic of ways - or shuffle resignedly off and queue up again for another appointment sometime in 2010 (well it is the NHS after all).

What does all this have to do with a Spanish lesbian hairdresser you might ask?  Well I went and saw one at the weekend and after a particularly 'Edward-Scissorhands' type affair of clashing steel scissors, she stepped back to admire her handiwork and then impulsively went for my fringe one last time - ruining the sexy long Helena Christiansen look I had happening and leaving me with more of a "frenzied mother of four" fringe.

I wasn't happy.  She wasn't happy.  I still left her a big tip.  I bet I'll also thank the idiot who ruins my mouth tomorrow as well (sigh)...

Monday, 27 April 2009

This Lady Needs A Dentist!

So you may have noticed that I've been absent from the blogosphere this past week.  I've had one of those weeks when it is all you can do to stay afloat.  The raging and ongoing infection deep in my jawbone has not only been turning me into a grumpy bear, but a slightly disturbed one.  I have spent countless hours (and probably countless £'s in phone charges) 'telephone- stalking' my local hospital in an attempt to arrange the surgery I so desperately need.  

(I am quite sure that my hospital records now have the initials 'C.L.' ("Crazy Lady") scribbled beside my name, with an added note warning that under NO circumstances am I to be called.  That is the only reason I can come up with, why despite an average of four hours calling per day, I haven't been able to reach a single person who is able to help me sort out this desperate situation.)

I even got so desperate last week that I googled emergency dentists and came up with practice somewhere south of London which took me three hours round trip to journey to.  Upon arrival my heart sank as I saw it was part of a lack-lustre 'strip mall' deep in the suburbs, and reception was being manned by what appeared to be a former Eastern European prostitute. 

Things didn't get any better when I was ushered inside an office by a grinning Asian dentist who although possessing a hilarious sense of humor (or so he himself thought), seemed intent on carrying out the surgery right there and then, even beginning a process of bargaining on the price! 

I stood there confused and flustered as he told his hijab-covered assistant to close the door and tried to cajole me back into the chair.  Just in time I remembered my sister's urgent warning not to do ANYTHING that day without going home and thinking about it first.  

I managed to escape his eager clutches, but was then escorted dismissively back to the mini-skirted and black stocking clad receptionist, and only there did I sneak a peek at the screen and see that the dentist had typed in 'needs lots of treatment!' gleefully beside my name.  I also discovered that the surgeon I needed to see wasn't even working that day and that the man I had seen was merely a visiting associate  (a cash-strapped relative perhaps?) who had sneakily made the appointment with himself when I had rung in anxious and desperate that morning (sigh)....Why do these things always happen to me?

Also, helpfully, on the weekend I read a big article on the dangers of abcesses and mouth infections left untreated.  Apparently the infection can spread to various organs in the body and particularly the heart.  Great.  So on top of the agonising dread of the approaching surgery, there is now every likelihood that I have permanently put myself at serious health risk - and yet I am still no closer to resolving the situation.

My latest two options involve a local dentist who is willing to 'give it a go' this week  although she is admittedly no oral surgeon but says she likes a challenge....or I can travel across London to a large dental hospital and if they deem me to be in enough pain they shall perhaps carry out the surgery there and then (but possibly by a student dentist)...urgghhhhhh!!!!

Alternatively I was told this morning that if I don't mind my health deteriorating further, and am willing to put up with the constant pain until say mid to late June, then I might just get that hospital appointment after all.  

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Dumpie and I are currently embroiled in a row.  It's my fault really - and due to a simple misunderstanding.  It began in the kitchen when Dumpie gestured upwards toward a bulging jar of chocolate Easter eggs perched high up on a cupboard and demanded, "Nannie!"  I outrightly refused,and we went back and forth for some time saying, "Nannie", "No", "Nannie", "No", etc. until I finally muttered "Like it or lump it..." which Dumpie misheard as 'blahblahblah...or crumpet'.  Dumpie LOVES crumpets (especially when toasted with butter and melted cheese).

(And sorry - can I just interject here and say that I've never in my life used such an expression...I truly have no idea where that came from...???)

So anyway, for the next twenty minutes it has been "Crumpet!.....Crumpet!.....Crumpet!" and no matter what I say he remains convinced that I am not only cruelly withholding crumpets, but have reneged on such a tantalising prospect .  He's currently glaring at me across the room, clad adorably in a navy blazer and giving me a lot of attitude.

The boys have spent the morning at a local greasy spoon, stuffing their faces on a Saturday morning fry up with eggs, beans, sausages and bacon, while I have been here at home nursing a sore mouth and battling  a killer migraine.  They have also charmingly come home with armloads of sticks and branches from the park, adding to their collection downstairs by the front door and endangering not only the hygiene of this home but my own personal safety. ( I can't tell you the number of times I've been caught in the crossfire of their latest dueling match or fencing competition this past week.  I've suffered a fair few whacks to the head since this particular obsession for rudimentary weaponry recently took hold.)

This weekend we've been amusing ourselves by making recordings of Dumpie's latest vocabulary outpourings.  Here's a few to add to the list:

"Toad" (cold)
"Moon" (spoon)
"Pappa-Dee" (cup of tea)
"Oopsy-Doo-Dah" (literal translation...must have gotten that from me...oopsy!)

Also, though two and a half, Dumpie still shows no signs of being ready for toilet training.  In fact it's quite the opposite.  This morning he showed up at my bedside at some ungodly hour, did his usual grabbing me round the ears, shouting happily, "Wake Up Mama Waaaaake Uuuuuuup!!"

He then tossed a clean nappy, a packet of nappy bags and a package of wet wipes onto the bed, indicating that he would like to be changed.  I kid you not.

Friday, 17 April 2009

"Thing 1 and Thing 2"

Last night bedtime didn't exactly go to plan. For some strange reason (maybe the 'be-bops' during bathtime?) last night was the night that the monsters decided to 'dismantle' their bedroom. Having thought about it afterward, I realised that it may not have been such a great idea to let them watch "The Cat In The Hat" movie the other day, especially when they expressed such absolute delight for 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' - the naughty troublemakers who trash the family home.

They must have hopped out of bed moments after I left the room, and began by unplugging every single electrical device they could find - glow balls, night lights, lamps, etc.  They then ingeniously hung these devices over the bannister, meaning that when I next ventured upstairs I had to manoever past various dangling objects.  

A stern word, followed by tucking them both back in bed, then I retreated for what I thought would be the last time.  Wrongo...they had several more tricks up their sleeve.  Unfortunately I was otherwise engaged for the next hour or so, and it wasn't until Auntie Mo came downstairs looking rather pale and anxious that I registered the problem.

"Uh, I think you better go upstairs" my sister said looking worried.  I could hear loud stomping and various crashes coming from above.

"Can you just tell them to get back in bed?" I asked absentmindedly.

" I think you better have a look.  Seriously."  She stood there immovable, staring pointedly at me (or maybe glaring) and so I sighed, got up and trundled upstairs to see what was going on.

Giggles and whoops of glee could be heard from the first floor landing.  I purposely stomped upstairs to scare them back into bed, but they were having so much fun that they didn't even register my presence.  I pushed open the bedroom door, and for a moment my brain couldn't decide what to focus on.  I was momentarily transported to that scene in the Dr. Suess movie where the babysitter walks in and faints in horror.  

Mattresses were off beds, pillows and bedding scattered everywhere.   Wet wipes had been flung around the room, covering the floor like giant confetti.  Chairs had been stacked high atop each other, and I think i walked in just as they were getting ready to launch Dumpie off the top of the structure.  Their bookshelf appeared to have been dismantled and all of their lovely storybooks were lying about as if a bomb had gone off in a library...

It was so distressing that I had to take a picture.  They posed proudly by the chair tower even as I was telling them off, and swerved out of reach as I tried to chase them to put them back in bed.

I spent the next several minutes cleaning up the worst of it while they jumped on their beds cheering me on.  I then put on a soothing lullaby cd, backing out of their room, shattered, while making whispered threats as to what would happen if they dared get out of bed again.

They did.  I lost it.  Went to bed a broken woman.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

"The Easter Choc-Apocalypse"

Easter 2009:

A total and utter 'Choc-apocalypse'. Enough said.

Stratford proved to be a most enjoyable outing. Thanks to special motion sickness pills, the boys managed to keep the contents of their stomachs on the inside and not splashed throughout the VW rental car, which was worryingly pristine when we took possession of it. Aside from a missed exit and an extra 40 minutes correction time the trip went smoothly (mental note: do NOT distract husband with mortgage concerns when exiting a service stop).

Upon arrival we checked into our rather punky smelling 'family' hotel room, headed out for a tour of the town and got utterly drenched in the relentless rain. We drank hot chocolate and trashed a sweet little cafe after a giant muffin and baby cappuccinos proved too much for the monsters to resist. We then went on to wreck havoc in Stratford's oldest pub, "The Garrick Inn', with the help of sticky orange juice and an old newspaper - which the monsters discovered could be adhered to the ancient wooden table top rather easily...but not removed. We shortly thereafter made a quick getaway back out into the rain.

Eventually we hooked up with our three merry pranksters, who amicably joined us, thereby helping create a convivial yet somewhat shambolic crew. Pubs were sampled, fish and chips greedily gobbled, and we happily enough ambled around the town (Guinness will do that to you) until such time as it was deemed inappropriate to continue avec two children under 5. Fair enough. So back to the hotel we went.

What followed was a night of unmitigated hell on earth as we found ourselves prisoners in a non-soundproof hotel, and the captive audience of a child with lungs of steel and a terrifying fit of the night terrors. Much like our horrific experience at last year's 'Big Chill' festival ( ), Dumpie screamed like a torture victim for the better part of two hours and I suspect the hotel staff were only minutes away from calling the police to investigate. It was that bad. Eventually he was bundled up and trundled out of the hotel as a last resort.

So 2am found the husband and the two year old trampling around town, eventually ending up at our friend's rental cottage where Dumpie proceeded to rather enjoy himself I am told. Beers were had (hopefully not by Dumps) and much frolicking ensued.

If I wasn't sure before, I am now definitely of the mind that I am worryingly headed for slippers and robe territory. When your two year old (by whatever means) ends up partying later than you...well...what is there to say?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

"Hi-Ho Hi-Ho...It's Off To Stratford We Go..."

Ok so the Fair yesterday was a hit. An expensive affair to be sure. (How can they rob you like that for few minutes worth of amusement? Every time the boys went round on a ride I was thinking, "There goes a new Mac lipgloss....there goes a super grande caramel macchiato...there goes a glossy magazine..."etc.) Ah well, they had a great time and Dumpie came back with a giant plastic football which is almost as large as himself and which I'm currently trying to dodge as I write this (another broken vase anyone?)

I don't know if it was tiredness or not, but last night as I was getting them dressed after their bath, Dumps marched up to me and demanded, "Put 'Wink' away!" I beg your pardon??

"Put 'Wink' AWAY!!" he yelled at me, thrusting a nappie in my face and giving his little manhood a cursory wiggle for emphasis (in case I was too thick to catch on). Apparently he was done having a wee fiddle-dee-dee and wanted his miniature appendage removed from sight until further notice.

It seems everywhere I look there are boys, toys and 'Wink's'. The testosterone level is seriously out of whack in this home. Three strong-willed males, a plethora of dirty socks and pants, all sorts of useless, expensive tools and gadgets (mainly belonging to the biggest boy in this case) and very little regard for manners, decorum or the virtues of eating in a gentlemanly fashion. For some reason they all think it's okay to tip their cereal bowls up to their mouths and slurp out the remains of the sweet milky liquid, however much I try and nip that one in the bud. I've also caught Dumpie drinking grape juice straight from the carton on several occasions, though I think this is an act mainly grounded in rebellion because I insist on diluting their juice and he strongly objects.

Tomorrow we're renting a car and driving to Stratford-on-Avon to spend the night. Three of our very good friends (all bachelors and all very fond of naughty behavior) are spending the weekend there and sort of half-seriously invited us to join them. Well we are. Never one to swerve a social opportunity, the husband is under the illusion that we shall be able to combine a child-friendly short break with their heavily pub-based agenda one. I have a sneaking suspicion that we're just along for the ride and will be summararily tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour before he sneaks off for a night of debauchery with his mates like the alley-cat he is.

I'm bringing a book. And lots of chocolate.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Fairground Attraction

The husband has just tossed a twenty pound note onto the kitchen table, strongly suggesting by doing so, that a trip to the local fun fair on the common today might be a good idea. I have already caught Dumpie floating it in his breakfast cereal, so now the sopping note is drying in the fruit basket and I'm trying to get through my triple shot cappuccino.

Hmmm....a fun fair. Well if this were North America it would be a fairly organised affair, reasonable rides overseen by bored but harmless enough teenagers. This being inner London, however lovely a neighbourhood, you know it's only going to be shambolic. There will be not-so-covert 'dealers' pacing the grounds, looking for impressionable youth to rip off and sell some ground basil to...twelve year olds dressed as twenty-year olds, flaunting pre-pubescent wares to other eager youths or worse -forty-something 'Daddies'...rides that jerk, stop, spin and come to an end just as they're gaining momentum, and causing restless, disappointed children to scream for another round at five quid a know, 'Fun, fun, fun..."

Nonetheless the boys have been 'good' so they deserve a treat I suppose. Although by 'good' I don't really mean 'good' I mean just not horrifically 'bad'. There have been no floods, drawing on walls with indelible marker or shoving each other down the stairs headfirst in quite some time. However there has been a fair bit of pilfering on the sweetie front, a broken vase full of daffodils yesterday, and a still missing dvd remote control that seems to have gone the way of some other past valuables...(ie. is languishing pointlessly in a landfill site somewhere, waiting to be bought up by the Chinese..)

Ah well, it's a new day and newly wired on caffeine, a huge burst of sunshine to entice me outdoors, a milky twenty pounds winking promisingly at me, and the promise of a road trip this weekend, life doesn't seem all that bad.

On the other hand, our tenants have just informed us of a mouse infestation, a dishwasher that needs replacing and a kitchen and bathroom which need to be replaced. Add to that my ever-painful mouth (which sadly doesn't prohibit me from ravishing mini easter creme eggs), falling house prices (our lovely home is now worth 20% less than when we purchased it at the height of property mania in 2007), and airline tickets back to Canada this summer currently costing more than the average used car.

Nevermind, my new resolve is to try and live each day as it comes. Therefore I shall not worry about: bikini season, mortgages, home renovations, upcoming surgeries, creditcard bills, encroaching middle age, or the fact that Dumpie has now taken to hiding bits of unwanted food morsels in various 'secret locations' around the house.

(Note the toast and raspberry jam found in utility cupboard above)...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

This is my 190th post. It's amazing to me that i've had this many things to say. I wonder if you divided them into categories: the trivial...the really trivial...hardcore moaning...petty....pointless drivel....mildly amusing - where the bulk of my words would slot in? Ah you see, it's all perspective isn't it...

To me, Dumpie climbing fully-clothed into a bidet and trying to give himself a bath is 'mildly amusing' but to a businessman in say Buffalo who accidentally comes across my site while searching for some low-grade porn (let's not go there again), this stuff is 'really trivial' or perhaps 'pointless drivel'. (If my husband was allowed to have an opinion he'd slot the whole lot - plus most of my daily discourse - into 'hardcore moaning'...but then as stated before, by virtue of being wed to yours truly he ain't allowed to express any negativity about his wife outside a 5 mile circumference of our home...nixing cyberspace then.)

Dumpie is clearly immune from any sort of child/parental protocol. Today I accidentally swiped his knee whilst closing a cupboard door and he muttered (rather pissed off I might add), "Ouch that hurt!" and was actually sneering at me when he said it...sneering!

On another note, my mouth surgery has been reinstated. I was lost (in the NHS system) but apparently now I've been found. Hurrah. (I think.) They have offered to sedate me with a needle, but given my needle phobia I can't see that happening anytime soon (this from the girl whose phobia is so pronounced that when pregnant with Egg, the thought of an epidural sent me screaming towards towards the 'natural labour' ward - ha - little did i know).

Well, I'm off now. Have to get ready for our nightly fix of 'The Wire' - a realistic cops n' robbers show which we've recently gotten into the habit of watching from semi-prone positions on 'the world's most comfortable bed'. The whole series is on BBC2 nightly at 11:20pm and it's brilliant because a hefty dose of escapism centred around drugs, death and corruption is just what we need before resting our weary heads for the night to begin the whole rigamorole of child rearing and corporate prostitution for another day. Really.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

"Deep in the Doldrums"

I haven't written for a few days as I've been in a rather strange mood. On paper (or rather over the internet) strange moods can often translate into something far more sinister than is intended. However lovely the thought of 'being sectioned' might seem sometimes (lie-ins, making paper doilies in a common room, medicated strolls through gardens followed by long periods of inactivity in a quiet, white room...with more medication...) it's not a very convenient time to lose the plot as it were. So i'm going to have to continue to 'hold it together' until such time as I can deal with all the overflow taking up valuable brain space.

As you may have gathered from my less-than-cheery tone, the hospital appointment for my mouth went as expected (ie. I was not miraculously cured of condition, i still need surgery, and furthermore was told, "No Natasha, sedation is not an option as we only give it to children". Lovely. To add insult to injury (who was it who said that to be reliant on cliches in writing is to be sadly devoid of creative thought?...or did I just make that up?...brilliant if I did, demonstrative of former point if I didn't) it appears as though I have in the past few days gotten 'lost in the system' and have been accidentally discharged from the NHS before even undertaking the procedure. (At least this is what a bored sounding 'Kiandra' on hospital reception informed me when I rang up - interrupting my distraught protestations to bid good-bye to a colleague before confirming that yes, I had indeed been accidentally discharged.)_

I suppose I shouldn't worry though as Kiandra has promised to try and remember to call the relevant department first thing on Monday morning and get me reinstated in the emergency operations queue...assuming she has a shift on Monday that is. So you see there is no need to worry about the raging infection deep in my gums, which could at any moment potentially become a threat by poisoning my bloodstream, thereby ending my life a wee bit sooner than was originally intended. Nope. Kiandra's on it so everything's fine.

This week has been terribly busy. As per usual, most of it has NOT been spent creatively fashioning works of genius (be that brilliant writing, new music, or 'throwing together' incredible looks from the expensive avalanche that is my clothes cupboard). No...instead I have had mop and broom semi-permanently molded to my un-manicured hands, chasing after three messy males who appear to have absolutely no regard for the fact that I am developing both 'dish pan' hands and a bad temper.

We had an estate agent scheduled to visit our home the other day to give us an estimate on rental income should we decide to 'tune in and drop out' of society later this year (ie. drag our lazy, self-indulgent selves to Goa for a creative sabbatical which will hopefully precipitate the production of great works of art from the husband and I and NOT turn us into permanent beach bums, causing a permanent aversion to steady employment and proving a fatal financial handicap).

I had been cleaning like a whirling dervish for three hours, and literally three minutes before the doorbell rang, Dumpie took his full bowl of disintegrated Shreddies and milk and naughtily called out, "Mamaaaa" to make sure I was watching as he tipped the entire sodding mess onto the newly mopped floor. C'est la vie.

This week also saw my firstborn experience social embarrassment on such a scale as to engender several big fat crocodile tears. We rolled up to school yesterday and saw a playground littered with rejects from a 'Benetton' ad. Yep, it was a 'non-uniform' day that we apparently not privy to. Unlike other non-uniform days, whereby there are always a smattering of children whose parents are too vague/self-obsessed/retarded to remember and thereby cause their children to weather out the day in the customary blue, grey and white - this time there was not A ONE who was not dressed in civilian clothes aside from little Egg. Not a one.

Anxiously I started quizzing nearby parents and was told that it had been a last-minute decision passed on from school to parents via the children. Ummm, is it just me or is it a wee bit irresponsible to entrust a four year old to pass on information like that when in all probability, the thought of an ice lolly or a hastily-arranged playdate in the park might take precedence in his already preoccupied young mind?

Of course I had to race back home, grab some clothes for him, then race back to the school, sweating profusely and mumbling apologies to both the class assistant and my despondent son, then go and meet some of the class mother's for a pre-arranged coffee morning at a local cafe wherein I had to spend the first ten minutes or so explaining to the table that I was not a negligent, lame mother - merely an uninformed one (sigh).

All's well that ends well I suppose (what harm another cliche eh?) and Egg is off school for two whole weeks now. Sadly, little Egg has also been rendered immobile by a flu bug and was up most of last night vomiting, moaning and feverish. He is claiming his brain 'hurts' and I feel like saying, "I totally get that Egg. Mine hurts a lot of the time too".

Like a typical male, the advent of a minor virus has brought about enough outward misery and sympathy inducing groans, that you might mistakenly assume he is on his deathbed. Moreover, he is under the impression that he has to let me know via thrice-hourly updates just how poorly he is feeling on a scale of one to ten and what the current likelihood is that he shall again 'throw-up' in the next few minutes.

Between Dumpie who has already this morning shouted gleefully, "Look Mama...Wee-weeeeee" as he stood legs apart, nappie-less but pajama-bottomed in front of the dishwasher and emptied his full bladder of the contents of about a litre and a half of apple juice, and Eggie who has initiated the newly scrubbed toilets by decorating them in 'throw-up' - this isn't looking like one of the best weeks on record.

If I know what's good for me I'll take advantage of the fact that all three boys are currently lying prone in various rooms around the house, and hightail it out of here with my current read ("The Believers' by Zoe Heller) and find a cafe...any rest my weary bones and even wearier mind.

If I don't, there is a broom and mop with my name on it staring insolently at me from across the other side of the kitchen, and I just know that if I look down I shall see legs in desperate need a waxing so....I'm outta here.