Ted is crying upstairs in his cot. Someone should tell him it is 7.30pm and I have clocked off and do not intend to punch back in again for a good 11 hours or so. So, so far I am not totally impressed with 2012. I do like it being an even year - I trust even years far more than the odd ones for some reason - I got married in 2003 and Ted arrived in 2009 so I have good reason to be wary. But apart from that it seems to be an angry year, all gales and rain with no snow. Last year, when the snow seemed to be an almost permanent fixture, I invested in one large and two small sledges. Needless to say that the minute we arrived home with the purchases the snow all but disappeared immediately and they have sat in the cupboard under the stairs ever since without a purpose. So, there is still no snow, a lot of wind and rain and the flat roof on our utility room has given up entirely and is now letting in water which is causing issues. It's not entirely 2012's fault - it is also January's fault. Unless you are getting married (Godmother and magician due to tie the knot in a few weeks - excitemento), having a birthday or a baby or something fun, then January is full of promise but delivers nothing. I was all excited about it last week. I even spent a long time investigating holidays, so full was I, of the promise of January 2012, but now we are 10 days in and I am back to thinking it is a pants month.
My lovely 91 year old neighbour sadly died last week which has solidified my dislike of 2012. It seemed an unnecessarily harsh way to start things off. Oddly, I was far more upset about him dying than I was about my Grandma at the beginning of December. I didn't tell you about it as there isn't a particularly fun way to tell you that my last grandparent had gone the way of the other three. (Actually, I'm not doing well on the parental front - no grandparents and only a mother left. She is all encompassing so I'll survive but still, it seems a little unlucky.) It is difficult to explain in anything shorter than a few chapters of a book, why my grandmother and I weren't exceptionally close - she was always good at remembering mine and the children's birthdays and she was my mother's mother so it was sad she died but I didn't feel a massive sense of loss - she had made it to 83 after a huge number of years as a heavy smoker so she'd done quite well. My elder sisters were slightly closer and were good enough to travel to the funeral - it was far too complicated for me to organise so I did not. But back to the lovely Jim. He was exceptionally generous to the children and although a little worrying, in that I could often look out of the window to find him up a ladder with no one holding the bottom as he reached out to fix something or hang a Christmas light or such, he was a longstanding fixture on the street and I am deeply upset about his loss.
So, in a few weeks I shall have a funeral and a wedding to attend in the space of 48 hours. I shall refrain from ever using the utterly heinous phrase 'It's all part of the great circle of life' - which was pratted out to me umpteen times after Dad died and I awaited the birth of my first child. I don't give a shit what Elton John sang to Simba after his dad died - they were fictional cartoon characters - I just wanted to have my baby with my dad alive - millions of people manage to have one without having to bury the other so people can stick the circle up theirs. Anyway, as Bea points out, it was lucky Jim had such a long life (she is amazing at looking on the positive side of life and I do have to agree, 91 is a good age.) And, every cloud etc - weirdly enough my little sister is considering purchasing his house when it comes up for sale. I cannot imagine anything stranger than my North London pampered princess of a sister and her equally pampered betrothed 'slumming' it here in SE23. The Range Rover will look very out of place on our potholed street and I'm not sure the beautician's at the end of the road will manage her gel nails appropriately (not to mention that we are a good 40 minutes from Selfridges where they spend most of their free time). Naturally I am already thinking of my finders fee and potential babysitting opportunities. I think I should draw up a contract which forces them to babysit at least twice a month and demand a 1% finders fee.
I will need the finders fee as I accidentally booked a holiday two days ago. During all my investigation of UK holidays I got quite carried away with the idea of it all and our potential holidays went from a holiday camp in the Isle of Wight to an apartment on a beach in Cornwall before finally accidentally booking a stay on a farm in a sort of luxury-ish camping/wooden cabin type affair in Devon. The problem was I couldn't be bothered to look elsewhere on the site to see how much of a deposit you had to leave in order to secure the booking and so I went through the 'Make a Reservation' section instead. I filled in all my details, picked the place and dates I wanted etc etc and I kept clicking 'next step' thinking that at some point I would be prompted to give card details for a deposit. Unfortunately as I clicked through from stage 5 all the stages ceased and I was thanked for my reservation and told an email confirming it all would be sent through shortly. At that point I did panic as I clicked the 'terms and conditions' box without reading the terms and conditions (who does) and I was slightly concerned they could sue us for breach of contract if we didn't pay in full straight away. Luckily, they only want a relatively small deposit, however it would still be enough to take food from the children's mouths this January so we can't pay it yet. I am wondering whether to a) ignore it and see how long they will wait for payment until they tell me it's cancelled or send a threatening letter or b) ring up and plead for leniency as they await our payment. Now that it is 'booked' I am desperately keen to go, as is Bea, and it would cause me some considerable distress if they gave our luxury-ish camping/wooden cabin type affair to anyone else - in particular the arses who gave testimonials to the site along the lines of 'what ho, jolly good fun, our best holiday of the year!' Smug bastards. It will be our only holiday in two years. Still, it has given me something to moan about now that I have an iPad. I was a little lost there for a few weeks having nothing to 'want'.
This is a miserable post isn't it? I should have warned you - K gleefully informed me last week that he and the children have come up with my Native American nickname (he said Indian but that is confusing in this new age and not PC) anyway it is Grey Cloud. I think maybe it is a lack of sun or something but I am not my usual cheerful, sunny self. I am morose and moany. I have very little to moan about in reality and I should stop wallowing. A rather wonderful group of men are, as we speak, somewhere on the Atlantic in between Spain and Barbados in a small rowing boat in an attempt to raise £1 million for injured soldiers. Four of the six men on board are injured soldiers themselves which makes them even more remarkable and they have been without means to make clean water for a week so they have all been surviving the heat and burning 6000 calories in energy a day, on 2 litres of water each. They are not wallowing or being morose, and they update their blog far more often than I do so I am keeping up with their progress in an effort to turn around my 'grey cloud'. Check them out - www.row2recovery.com. One of their handsome number is a good friend's brother in law so that is also why I have become slightly obsessed with their progress.
On a positive note my WW meeting on Monday was my busiest yet. Yay. Although my grey cloud will not let me say that without also informing you that after childcare I made £22. From my most successful meeting yet. I'm not sure that that's going to make a huge difference to our lives and it also came at the cost of my personal time - around seven hours. So, unless I somehow double my income I can't see this being a long term prospect. Although I can't give up for a while - don't tell anyone but I have been using my supply of WW food as a bit of a snack cupboard and it would be impossible to work out exactly how many products I have 'borrowed' so I am too frightened for the 'powers that be' to calculate how much I owe them. All in all this whole 'job' thing will end up costing me money. Which will be all the more frustrating as that is exactly what Grey Cloud Senior (mother) said at the start of it all as she handed me the money to buy diesel so that I could get to the training weekend in Bristol.
Right, well I better go. Ted has finally finished fighting and fallen asleep and I need to finish off my lovely pasta dish with a 'snack'. SHHHHHHHH. I shall join you again when I am feeling full of fun and joy. Or I'm at least on the way to that point. Seeya. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx