So, shortly after I left you K arrived home one evening with a surprise. A little black kitten which would go on to be named Charlie The Spider (Ted can think of little else than spiders and was pretty insistent that Spider should be his only name but the other children objected heartily to calling something so cute such an un-cute name so a compromise was met). His cuteness is in no question but he does actually need quite a lot of looking after which I am less than thrilled about. Particularly as his arrival now brings my poo quota up to a new high with the frequent emptying of his litter tray. Even with only one child in nappies, you would be surprised how much of the stuff I have to deal with on a daily basis and from the most surprising of sources. Aside from the rancid nappies from the baby who eats everything and anything and the kitten who does the same (I must investigate what they can actually eat - he is quite obsessed with melon and the milk from their cereal but is happy to try soy sauce, curry and spag bol - I am unsure if this is dangerous/normal?) I am also chief bottom wiper to Ted who refuses to wipe his own bottom which means that wherever I am in the house (even in bed trying to sleep) if I hear the plaintive and repetitive 'muuuuuuuuum' I have to hurry to find him in either of the loos where he will be naked from the waist down and facing the wall in what I have named the 'prison search pose'. He is so against having anything to do with the business end of proceedings he closes his eyes and rests them on his hands against the wall and will only open them once he has ascertained that I have 'finished'. No one is allowed to see what goes on preceding my role in matters - there is a strict privacy role to Ted's lavatorial habits. He refuses to allow anything to happen until the door is closed and he's definitely alone. He told Cybil's lovely Godmother on a recent sleepover that she best close the door and 'give him 5 minutes' which is far more polite than I ever get - should I ever be attempting to use the bathroom/utility room at the time he needs it, I am yelled at to get out. 'Now'. Other than this, I also get the daily 'oops I forgot to flush' moment when I walk in and discover an horrific gift from the previous tenant. Now, I am sympathetic when it comes to the 7 and 8 times tables, spelling 'accommodation' and all the 'there' options, I am exceedingly understanding when it comes to not realising where countries are in the world (I could hardly comment after placing Vietnam in the wrong continent for two decades) however, flushing the loo is so simple some cats and dogs have mastered the art. Ted is so keen on flushing that the ritual has to be performed before I am permitted to enter and he has only recently turned 4 - which begs the question - WHY WHY WHY do the older ones not have it sorted yet? I don't mind (I do actually) having to clean the loo every day because other people are too little/don't feel it's their job (it is) but not even making it to the flushing process is beyond lazy. I shout very loudly every time I make a new grizzly discovery but to no avail. Just as Cybs will no doubt be breast feeding until she hits puberty I am quite sure that G's girlfriend will be calling me up in 20 years and asking why I never thought to fully toilet train him. (Bea is less forgetful but it does happen, although girls get to an age where everything is so mortifyingly embarrassing that I am hoping there is no chance of her getting past 13 and still not mastering the art). Extra poo quota aside, Charlie The Spider (hereonin known as CTS) makes an excellent addition to our family. After initial shyness he decided to become part of the pack after 24 hours, when the children devoted their after school time to 'training' him and coaxing him out from under the playroom sofa. Cybs is now very adept at picking him up and throwing him before pointing her finger and yelling (my new daily routine requires me to remove him from the work tops/table tops/beds/pillows/children's faces about a million times before shouting at him in what I hope is a scary arsed manner - so far he seems terrifically unafraid); George has decided to channel all the animal husbandry expertise he has gleaned over the last few years, in to caring for the cat and is constantly picking him up for a cuddle or more 'training'; Bea is acting like he is her new baby and as well as lavishing attention on to him has devoted much memory space on her ipad to cute pictures and films of him; Ted is happy to have found something more energetic and naughty than he is and is most pleased that he even loves Spiderman. A friend bought Ted a knitted spiderman finger puppet which was very lovely for Ted, but he only had it for a day before CTS decided it was a mouse substitute and runs from one end of the house to the other chasing it and jumping around catching it and biting it. I am most hopeful that he will be an excellent rodent deterrent (the main factor behind his purchase) - whilst he may not be much cop in a ring with a rat quite yet, they will hopefully not know he is only a baby from his smell and will therefore stay away on the off chance. Mice, which I now view as an almost welcome alternative to rats, should be very afraid as I am pretty sure he would decapitate them on sight even at his tender age.
Anyhoo, on to brighter things. Let me explain the car park. I must add that although I am quite large as normal-sized people go, I am not quite American-fat sized so I am unlikely to physically get trapped in a multi-storey carpark in any capacity - it was in fact my car. Ever since Cybs was born and we went away on holiday we have been borrowing a roof box from K's brother and as it is quite useful every time I go to mum's, we have left it on. The car is already quite tall as it is one of those seven seater people carriers and with the roof racks and roof box added on to that it makes us the height of a van. I give the height of my car such little thought on a yearly basis that none of this has ever bothered me. It was exceedingly tight in the Bromley car park when I visited in October so i gave it a bit of thought then, but it did fit and I managed to exit sans incident. Lewisham is a different story. Whilst G was at a party last weekend, I had promised Kent Sister that I would journey in to Lewisham (a task not performed for many years) and procure the last Flutterbye Flying Fairy doll on sale in what appeared to be the whole of the UK. With no children on board and a whole hour to achieve my task, I was quite looking forward to the fun and larks I may get up to in a town centre full of shops. My excitement ended as I exited the one way street and went up the one way ramp and discovered at the top of the ramp, was a low hanging sign warning me of a low ceiling height in the car park. It was then that I casually pondered what height my mini-bus-sized car with roof box might be. It was mere seconds as it turned out, as I then hit the said sign and ascertained that the car was too tall. At this point there was nothing I could do as there were cars behind me and so, hoping for the best, I ventured further in and collected my ticket from the machine. My trepidation grew as I looked forward and saw that this car park did indeed have the lowest ceiling height I had ever seen, ever and I panicked. I drove slowly forward and realised that as I did so I was making a loud scraping sound. Once through the barrier I truly panicked and decided to attempt a U turn. I have no idea why - there was nowhere I could go. The cars trying to come through the barriers were now beeping at me and getting pretty irate. I decided to abandon the U turn and continue further in to the too small car park. This was an error. I scraped loudly up the first ramp and turned on to the first level. This was slightly better and I had about an inch clearance overhead. I pulled over where I could and panic dialled K. "Helpful" people pulled up beside me and "helpfully" pointed to my roof box. I wound down the window. They did too. They said, "It's your roof box". It's at times like these I wish I wasn't British and I could respond "no shit Sherlock - did you think I was such an idiotic woman that I might think my inability to advance forward freely might be something to do with the gear box?????". Alas I am British so I said - "yes I know!" (apologetically obviously for causing them this momentary delay) - "I don't know how to get it off - any ideas?" They replied no, wished me good luck and drove off - being unencumbered as they were, by a giant vehicle. K failed to answer the phone for quite some time as he was, as it turned out later, dealing with Cybs. The time I spent sitting and waiting for him to answer allowed me to survey the lay of the land and I realised that I could just about scrape through the car park as long as I avoided the strip lighting which was affixed to the beams and reduced clearance by a good three inches. I slowly advanced forward skillfully avoiding the lights and as a car exited their space I attempted to get in to it, going in at a peculiar angle to avoid yet another flipping light. K called. I spoke to him. He had no idea how I could remove the box without tools. He said to rip the lid off. I thought that was genius. Until I realised that I couldn't even open the box as you need space above it in order to allow the hinge to serve a purpose. Defeated, I abandoned the car parked at a peculiar angle in its space and went in search of the fricking fluttering fairy. I felt sick the entire time but managed to achieve my task and return back to the scene of devastation. As I tried to drive away more "helpful" people pointed to my box. Again, I asked if they could help. Again they could not. There was only one thing to do. G needed collecting and I was becoming panicky at the idea of spending the night in Lewisham multi storey car park. I was going to just keep going regardless of damage to box or car park. So I did. Although I had to first negotiate the ramp on to the next level to get to the freedom of the car park exit. The ramp I had to drive up had a bloody light hanging down and there was no room for manoeuvre either side. That was unless I put one set of tyres in the pedestrian path which was separated from the car ramp by a 5 inch concrete wall. I attempted to turn on to the ramp keeping the wheels in their allotted spaces. Failure. I scraped the side of the car on a sign which was rather unhelpfully stuck to the wall. I reversed and swung out further before turning up the ramp and this time I managed it - just about avoiding the strip light and not scraping the car too badly on the other side. Then I just had to mount the 5 inch concrete divider whilst not bursting my tyres and I was a few inches nearer freedom. Mercifully the tyres stayed in one piece and the next level up had a few more inches on it so the scraping was only bad when there was something hanging low and we collided. The next ramp was downwards and had another low flying light but there was no room for shenanigans with this one and as I was so close to freedom, I just drove straight at it. The noise as the box and light scraped together was not easy to hear but by then I could see the sky and I was determined to get out in to the open. However one more hurdle stood in my way. As I handed the machine my ticket I noticed that the barrier allowing my exit didn't fully open up - it was hinged in the middle and gave a very low clearance height, yet again. There was nothing for it. I just drove at the barrier and hoped it wasn't going to fly off as my box collided. I also noticed that there was a rather large camera aimed right at the barriers and exit pay machines. At this point I really had no choice so I just drove forward and didn't look back. I didn't see the barrier fall in front of the car but I also didn't look in my mirror to see if it had fallen behind. I was so happy to have open space above the car and the chance to get to G in time I just kept going regardless of cameras. I am dreading a letter through the door asking me to compensate the council for damage to their lights and barrier but luckily nothing yet. The car needs a bit of TLC and the box isn't quite what it once was but at least I am not living in a car park and my niece will have the toy she wants for Christmas. (Even though all the reviews say it doesn't actually work that well, at least she can discover this for herself on the big day. The car and an hour of my life were totally worth it).
What else. Ooh yes. I turned a year older. This is largely uneventful. I went to bed 34 and I awoke 35. The day itself was lovely and full of being made to feel special which is what a birthday was designed for. I do not quibble over the age gain. I used to dread the whole getting older thing but then I realised how lucky I am to have birthday after birthday so I have decided to enjoy each and every one. I started with this one. After a mini lie in and a bath I went downstairs to discover that K had decorated the room with banners and balloons and had even got me a cake, complete with burning candles. The children sang happy birthday and I opened my gifts. I had been expecting a pair of boots as my gift. I had sent the link, a follow up email confirming size and colour and a follow up follow up email with a discount voucher to K in the hope that this subtle help might aid his present buying. It did not. He went, as expected, to Sainsbury's, and purchased a number of more random gifts I wasn't expecting at all. An extra pair of slippers - lest my other two be out of reach; a collection of 3 Christmas CDS - lest my other collection of 3 CDs be lost forever; Jennifer Saunder's biography - I have finished my last book and although biographies aren't totally my bag, I did enjoy Micheal McIntyre's, which is where he got the idea; and finally an alarm clock - lest I want to awake long before dawn and the awakening children..... Actually that is not fair - the alarm clock was not what he thought it was. Since the change of my iphone I have been requiring a new docking station to charge it and listen to my music through and I had also said I wanted a digital radio so, he had failed to notice the 'alarm clock' signage on the box, but had seen the 'docking station' and 'digital radio' information and decided it would do be the perfect gift and do the job required. Sadly it didn't even do that as it wasn't compatible with iphone 5s (he took it back for a refund and will retry at Christmas). Odd present choices aside, I appreciated each and every gift and was very grateful to have something to open. He had even wrapped up my sisters' gifts which had arrived via the post direct from their suppliers. All in all it felt very birthdayish and lovely. Quick school run over and I raced (literally - thanks to a traffic jam slowing things up I managed to beat a truck - a triumph for a fat mid-30yr old pushing a buggy) up the Honor Oak hill and to the home of Events Organiser who had organised a birthday coffee morning and lunch in my honour. It was delightful and full of yummy treats, yummy people and the most delicious cake ever. I drank a little too much Cava which I probably shouldn't have done but it made the tricky afternoon with small children far more bearable so who cares. That evening I went to the beautician's at the end of my road and utiltised my birthday vouchers from last year for a luxury facial. It was bliss. If I had the money I would go for one on a weekly basis. Although, as I was lying there I couldn't help but think of all the things the money for one 45 minute session could have bought instead. Most pertinently I imagined how exceptionally clean my house would be if I paid my lovely cleaner to clean for six whole hours a week. It would also pay for school dinners for half a term for one child. That is a lot of hot meals and cleaning in place of 45 minutes. Mercifully I wasn't paying hard cash for the treatment so I did enjoy it immensely but I can't imagine a time when we are so rich that I would ever be able to lie there and not think about what the money could have bought in place of such luxury. Also I am not convinced that they do your skin any good whatsoever. It is a nice luxury having a woman smear gloop on to your face and then clean it off again, before applying more gloop and repeating over and over again, but I don't think my skin is any more rehydrated or rejuvenated which was kind of what I was expecting for £60. The birthday celebrations continued with a manicure the following evening (K's gift from last year), hair do (K's main gift to me for this year but as it couldn't be wrapped he felt I needed smaller gifts in compensation to open on the day) and a fantabulous night out with girl pals at the local tapas place that coincidentally also had a live band playing which made the night feel a lot more celebratory. All in all I definitely marked the occasion and am happily and officially now mid-30s. What a relief.
And finally the boots. Sadly missing from my birthday table my lovely lady friends took pity on me and gave me a card stuffed with vouchers at my meal celebration. I was so happy - it was the perfect end to a great deal of celebration and my new exciting boots arrived yesterday to great fanfare from me. I love them.
And that is about that. You are by and large up to date. I must go to bed now as today has been an incredibly long one as Cybs and Ted are both ill. Not that I don't feel sorry for the ill baby who is just lying around being ill and whiny and looked after and stuffed with medicine but I feel far more sorry for the poor adult who has to look after it and attempt to carry out menial tasks with a clinging chimp hanging on to them constantly looking for boob to latch on to for comfort. It really makes the day a ridiculously long one. yawn. Buenos Noches.
Sent from my iPhone
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