Tag Archives: Chick lit

glass cracked – water splashed


You cannot possibly know just how far one and a half litres of boiling water can actually stray.

I do.

I acquired this knowledge just this morning.

I am in the process of listening to my body and it told me, that after an eternity of feeling sluggish, what I could probably do with, is some kind of detox.

Now, my mind told me that it could not possibly face the starvation kind.

So I ransacked Pinterest and found a delicious looking recipe for a fat-flushing, kidney-resuscitating kind of drink.

I went to the local supermarket and purchased something for dinner and fat-flushing water additives.

Unfortunately, I’d raided Pinterest somewhat excessively, and I hadn’t actually bothered to write the necessary ingredients for my fat-flushing beverage down. So I got confused and bought a mixture of completely wrong, as in not-fitting-together, fat-flushers. Like ginger instead of mint and mandarins instead of grapefruit – that sort of thing. And I really, really wanted to do it by-the-Pin, because I’m new to the game.

So I found myself scrutinising Pinterest again, with the ingredients that I actually had to hand – I’m not setting foot outside the house again today, unless someone’s life depends on it: the ground is a mixture of ice and snow. I discovered an interesting recipe entitled ‘Ginger Orange Detox Water’. I also found an old orange in the fruit bowl.  Perfect!

I set to work in the kitchen, peeling knobbly ginger. Did I need to peel it? I just assumed so – it didn’t say in the recipe.  And I scrubbed the not-yet-mouldy orange. All good. Then I approached the jug issue.

I took two large glass jugs from the cupboard and tried to remember which one was the 1.5 litre jug and which one was the 1 litre jug. They both have completely different shapes, but I suspected that the one with the handle could hold more liquid than the other one.

I cleverly tested out my theory by filling the handled jug with cold water and pouring it into the other jug. Smugly, I proved myself right.

I then realised that I had a surplus of cold water in the bottom of the handled jug, and the recipe clearly stated to pour boiling water over my ginger. I don’t like to waste water, so I decided to tip the excess into a pot plant in the living room. In my haste, I more splashed than poured, which splattered a good splattering of soil up the living room wall. The dog was useless. She didn’t come anywhere near in an attempt to lick up the mess for me, like she regularly does with spilt coffee or squirted apple juice. No, she just lay in her cosy bed and looked on. And I had to wipe the wall down all by myself.

I raced back to the kitchen, to my peeled ginger and ready-to-be-sliced not-yet-mouldy orange and popped the kettle on.

I did notice that the jug really was quite cold. But I felt, you know, somewhat confident.

I did think, for a brief moment, cold glass jug, mega-hot water, good idea? And I think, that might be why, in hindsight, when I poured the water into the jug, directly after it boiled, I stepped back, hesitantly, from the worktop.

The glass cracked and the water overwhelmed the work surface.

The dog sprinted to my side.

Water cascaded from the counter to the floor. An immense puddle formed and I swathed the whole room in kitchen towel.

You may think that 1.5 litres isn’t much volume, when it’s sitting there all calm and collected, minding its own business, in a glass jug. But when you set it free, be warned, it will take over your kitchen.

It will drip down rapidly filling your drawers. And you will wish, that you had never invested in all that Tupperware. All those pesky lids and lunch boxes, all those freezer tubs that are never stacked, just thrown into the drawer, causing all kinds of calamities: space loss, drawer jams and never being able to find the right lid for the right base at any given time. It will drench your cutlery and you will be forced to completely empty the drawer that you’ve been meaning to ‘clean out’ for yonks. You’ll discover that you have an odd number of chopsticks and 10 medicine spoons when you really only need one. The McDonald’s straw that you kept, pristinely wrapped in it’s paper packet will be soggy and you won’t know what to do with the wrapper because the paper recycling people clearly stated ‘No wet paper’.

You may well make the mistake of wiping the floor first. Unwinding realms of shop’s own kitchen roll that you’d stockpiled during a special offer period, and hurling it at the floor. It may seem like the right thing to do, because the dog is there, looking for a random lick. And you’re not sure there aren’t any tiny pieces of glass lurking in the liquid. And you don’t want to splash through a puddle just to get to the work surface and then traipse moist footprints across the room each time you walk to the bin and back.

Intermittently you might take a desperate shot at the drawers. Ramming in wads of save-the-kitchen roll.

But it will all be pointless. As you’ll realise when you come face to face with the onslaught on the tabletop.

A thin layer of water covers everything.  You’ll end up yelling at your cheap-buy kitchen roll because it has no soaking power whatsoever. The lake on the tabletop will remain steady and sure.

The water will have swamped everything. Except for, that is, the plant in need of water on the windowsill. You will have to dry the kettle base out for the upcoming year to make absolutely sure there are absolutely no dangers of electric shocks in the near future.

You will swish and swash the water towards the bread and away from the bread in a desperate attempt to mop the surface. It won’t make any difference. And when you finally pick up the bread, you’ll discover yet another puddle underneath.

Then you’ll be horrified to spot medication. Floating in the pond. You’ll let out a shriek and start to pray that your daughter’s brand new inhaler is still fully functioning and not now a muggy, chemical clog.

Next to it you’ll spot a packet of fallen-from-the-shelf travel sickness tablets and you’ll pop them, merrily, on the hot radiator. In full-on rescue mode. You will regret this later. When you double check the instructions which read: “Do not store over 25°C.” And you will have to throw them away.

The Italian biscuits you’ve been savouring since Christmas, as a treat for your coffee, will bathe themselves in water and you’ll wish you’d pursued the match-the-Tupperware-parts test instead of clipping the packet haphazardly closed.

You may choose to rescue your freshly peeled ginger, and without too much consideration, pop it into a random glass in the glass cupboard. This moment will come back to haunt you. While you’re still deliberating if the ginger is a safe-to-consume, glass-splinter-free zone, and thus forgetting leaving the ginger in the said glass, in the said cupboard, you will face a barrage of questions in the  ‘Why is there ginger in a glass in the cupboard, mum?’ test later on. Questions such as:

  • Does it keep flies away?
  • Are you trying to make the glass taste of ginger?
  • Does the flavour intensify when it’s sitting out?

The Fairy liquid bottle, will, by this time, be spawning its own bubbles and as you see them grow; you may have a flashback to that time you first tried to utilise a twin tub.

You left the twin tub on, all alone and on returning found the room completely filled with bubbles. You had to call your flatmate’s mother to come and assist you to de-bubble the room.

You’ll wipe the tabletop and mop your brow and then notice your already cleaned floor is totally wet again.

You’ll realise at this point that you are very much in need of reinforcements. Coffee and a biscuit. So you’ll open the cutlery drawer, automatically, and discover, that the bloody thing is full of saturated kitchen roll and even more water. You’ll end up dismantling the built in cutlery tray and finding an overflow of water underneath. Which is snaking its way into the plastic crap drawer below. You will be forced, by water, to empty out each bit of not-so-fantastic plastic, and wish, that’s what you’d just have done earlier. You’ll have to wash and dry: all of the lids, all of the lunch boxes, the snack cups, the water bottles, the tumblers, the not-stacked stackable freezer boxes and the picnic plates.

Then you’ll have to re-mop the floor.

There is only one happy moment in this sad story: the moment you’ll realise that 1.5l of water could not stray as far as the carousel cupboard. With all it’s flour and sugar and teabags. 

You’ll sigh a relieved sigh, salvage your Italian biscuits and listen to your body – which says: gorge.

 

*What goes down, must come up*


I’m thinking of renaming the house Just Vomit.

Lori has had a sickness bug for the third time in six weeks.

Being a generous child, she thoughtfully shared her germs with Akasha, and the two of them went into competition mode yesterday evening to see who could fill a bowl most often with bodily fluids, between the hours of 11pm and 6.30am.

As an impartial judge, I really couldn’t call it.

I could smell it. I almost wore it. But when push came to shove, I had to admit to it being a tie.

Discontented at their lack of trophy, they spent the day threatening me with runny bottoms and lolling around on the sofa. The little one finally broke. I caught her attempting ballet moves and impersonating opera. I think it was the retention of the scrambled egg that did it. The older one did an impressive ‘swirling of the scrambled egg around the plate’ then asked to be excused.

I ambushed them with rehydration salts disguised as strawberry juice and just plain water. I defeated the headache, and the runny bottom only once got the better of me.

I’m not surprised by my success. After all, I’ve dealt with this very same issue three times in the last six weeks.

And that’s not including all the experience on my résumé.

Indeed, were I more of a novice, I could, perhaps, by now, be starting to panic about the likeliness of our household harbouring the norovirus.

But we’ve been there. Disinfected the t-shirt. Pushed back the nails with one of those wooden manicure sticks and let soap do its worst. We’ve boil washed the teddies and burned the mattresses – no, sorry, that was scabies. We’ve told the children not to kiss. Not to drink from the same bottle/cup/glass/decanter. Not to eat from the same fork. We’ve shaved heads – no, damn it, that was head lice. We’ve told them not to drink out of the toilet ever again – no, I’m confused, that was a dare (whose consequences could only be remedied with antibiotics).
We informed them: after attending the W.C. they should flush, spray the loo with disinfectant, scrub their hands enthusiastically with soap and a scouring pad, brush their teeth, dry their hands and face, throw away the towel, spray the flusher, spray the sink, spray the whole bathroom, open the window so they can once again breath, and just to be on the safe side, give themselves a full body rub down with that lovely I-kill-99.99999999%-of-germs blue liquid.

The symptoms settled and I thought finally, the neighbours will no longer threaten to report me for my new daily ritualistic bonfire. I can go back to using the barbecue to cook meat. And my pharmacist will stop asking me if I have an issue with disinfectant.

Then those geniuses decided to share a sandwich…

My ears rang to the tune, “But you never said, don’t share a sandwich…”

And my answer to that ladies and gents?

Vodka.

Pre-op


The surgeon told me it’s a tiny little ten minute operation and really I have no need to worry. The risks are minute and the benefits could be dramatic.

Additionally, the procedure itself offers an opportunity for sleep.

So I agreed. Mind, body and soul.

And I signed on the dotted line.

He told me to make an appointment with the anaesthetist.

I visited her on Tuesday and after waiting for a good hour and a half, she trawled through my medical history with me.

“You have quite a lot behind you, haven’t you?”

“You can’t tell by looking at you.”

“Erm… Yes. Thanks.” I’m not sure whether to feel flattered or concerned.

“I need to tell you, you’re high risk. You have asthma. It could lead to complications. You could take an asthma attack during the operation. We will of course treat you for it, if you do. Please sign here to show I’ve warned you of the risks.”

I signed.

The operation is tomorrow.

I am now starting to think I am completely bonkers. I have lived this long with heavy periods. What’s another few years? After all, the menopause can only be just around the corner… And anyway, is bleeding fifteen days a month really so bad?… I guess I’m pretty used to it by now…

I think about the surgeon and his experience and I start to relax again. I think about going for a hot bath and try to remember that I *must shave*.

I prepare the dinner – Cauliflower Surprise – the surprise being that it contains hardly any cauliflower.

I’m on a stuff-as-much-food-in-as-humanly-possible-marathon because as of 24.00 I am no longer allowed to eat.

In celebration (of the marathon, not the operation) I have even bought a chocolate cake.

Between stuffing and cooking, shopping and soothing conversations with friends, the day whizzes by and it’s time to say goodnight to the children.

Aden’s concerned but Akasha sings, “Have fun at the doctors. Have fun everywhere.”

You gotta love ’em.

The prep


That time has come again.

I’m off to have my front bottom (and other womanly parts) inspected and assessed by a ‘lady doctor’.

I say a ‘lady doctor’ but actually, he’s a man.

I have been busy preparing myself. Not mentally for strange tools (and hands) invading my exclusive area. No. I’m past all of that. Having had four children.

No. I’ve been having to make myself respectable. I’ve had a bath. Soaked all of my wobbly and flappy bits. Washed my hair. Both on my head and on my…

And then I noticed that my cropped bush had re-identified itself as a forest.

I pranced nakedly through the house, frightening children, on the search for my husbands trimmer.

As you do.

If I listed my talents to you, evidently, ‘Using a trimmer’ could not be itemized at all.

It is that bad.

There are long bits and short bits. Baldy areas and some (areas) that still look rather full.

The clock had tick-tocked and the buzz of the trimmer had slowed to almost nothing.

I examined my own handiwork from an upside down position and I can tell you, were I a real inspector of such works, I would have stamped a ‘Fail’ on the (un)finished product.

Nerves aplenty at the mere thought of revealing my artwork, I set off with the words of my wise teenage daughter swirling around in my head, “Just pretend it’s supposed to look like that. No nervous babbling!”

“No. There’s no need to mention it’s a DIY job, at all!”

The party – not


It all started with the bloody salad.

I asked Joni what she wanted to do for her 16th birthday and she informed me that she’d like a big party. Not just with her friends, but also with mine. My friends are pretty cool, I learned. I had suspected exactly that fact myself, to be honest.

When we totted up the numbers and guestimated how many people would actually attend, we figured between 45 and 50.

Gulp.

I’ve learned since living in Germany, that it’s always best to plan for the higher number of guests. Besides, I freak out about there not being enough to eat at every single event we host. My approach nowadays is to go with the motto ‘more is good’.

Now, cooking for 50 is not the simplest task, so we opted for a barbecue and salad. That also fitted well with Joni’s interpretation of a ‘chilled’ party.

So the perfect plan evolved:

  • Guests to arrive at a time suited to them, but after 3pm
  • Pavilions in the garden to protect from sun/rain
  • Coffee/hot chocolate/cake in the afternoon
  • Salad/BBQ in the early evening
  • Karaoke in the later evening, with dried snacks and leftover cake

What could go wrong?

It started with the bloody salad.

A few days before the party, as I listed down recipes of cous cous salad and mozzarella salad, as I entertained images of luscious salad leaves and dipping cucumber in hummus, the news transmitted: E.coli had broken out in Northern Germany and we shouldn’t trust leaves or tomatoes or cucumbers.

Leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers were in every single recipe I’d listed. All those lovely recipes which could be made on the morning of the party and then just sit in the fridge, awaiting consumption.

I tore up my list and stared at a blank page. I sent out alarm calls on Facebook.

Then the news said, “Stop! Wait!”

“Perhaps it isn’t the fault of the rosy red tomato, the crunchy, crisp cucumber or the satisfying, luscious salad leaves. No. Perhaps the fault is actually that of another raw vegetable. But sorry, we’re at a loss as to which one. Perhaps you should still avoid the lettuce and the cucumber and the tomato. Because we don’t really know and people are dying.”

The panic rose in me slightly.

Should I give my guests a bunch of frozen vegetables?

Should I just pop a multi-vitamin tablet in a little schnapps glass and be done with the whole sorry situation?

For a while, I focused on potato salad. After all, the potatoes would be cooked, wouldn’t they? But to be honest, I felt very nervous. Potato salad is a traditional dish here. And I’ve only ever made it a few times. And never perfectly. Everyone, in these here parts, has an opinion on how the perfect potato salad should taste and what consistency it should have. And my husbands opinion is one of the loudest. I felt very anxious about doing it wrong. Friends encouraged me. But my husband looked a little scared at the prospect and told me, in the nicest possible way,  how it’s “a lot of work” and “so difficult to get right” and that I “don’t have the correct potatoes” (I did fight back – we didn’t have any potatoes, I would have to buy the correct potatoes, naturally). But I ‘got’ his mistrust of my cooking gentle concern. So, I opted out of the potato salad choice.

My anxiety rose as the days went by and then, two days before the party, we attended someone else’s birthday celebration.

My friend had also found herself faced with exactly the same problem and had solved it by offering watermelon and freshly picked strawberries from a local strawberry field.

Aha! I thought. Aha!

A new list started. I decided we could also barbecue vegetables like peppers, courgettes, aubergines and corn.

Now, you may have thought that, considering that I had spent my previous days philosophising about the safety of vegetables, attending parties (we also attended another party earlier that week), doing challenges from my 101 list, as well as the normal stuff like yelling around about homework and taking children to the doctors, that I would have, at this point, felt some blind panic about the state of the house (apparently I have forgotten how to do housework) and the work that I had to do to get my house in order.

But no. Instead of obsessing about the disarray my house was in, what I actually did was focus on the weather. Yes. The weather. Because at the beginning of the week we had heat and glorious sunshine, but the forecast for the end of the week looked decidedly uncertain. The idea of rain was entertained, then a few days later the proposition of a storm was offered.

Pavilions do protect against slight rain, as in, drizzle. But I can tell you, they will be blown away in a storm, offering no protection whatsoever to the windswept guest, sitting at the collapsible table underneath.

And although my living room is a nice size, with furniture and 50 guests the saying ‘sardines in a tin’ came fretfully to mind. Certainly, there would be no space for dancing to accompany the wailing harmonies on the karaoke mike. No. And I have to tell you, my feet can’t stay still when I hear a musical beat (except that lift music – then I just hold my hands over my ears and scream “Please, oh please switch it off!”). Which would therefore mean that Joni’s guests would not only have been squashed, but they would have been bruised and battered, too.

As I previously said, you may have thought I would have been cleaning the house for days on end before the ascendation of so many guests. But actually, I wasn’t. And when I wasn’t staring at blank recipe lists, swearing at Facebook or studying meteorology, I could be found planting things in the garden. I have to tell you that through the 101 challenges, I am starting to really ‘dig’ my garden. Pardon the pun.

My husband, lovely as he is, excused my behaviour. He told me, “There’s no point in cleaning anyway, they’ll,” a finger pointed towards those pesky precious kids, “just mess it up again!”

Anyway, I thought to myself, “We’ll have all of Friday to clean and some of Saturday, too…

… Although we’ll have to put up the pavilions as well, decorate, bake cakes and go to the florist. Joni, herself, has drama rehearsals so can’t really help, and Lori’s off on a school project… But there will still be time to go strawberry picking, shopping for all of the party food and drink, make up the guest room and prepare the veg. My husband has the Friday off . All will be well…”

Looking back I wonder if I was in some dazed, exhausted state, too tired to actually be fazed by the whole thing.

Friday morning arrived and Aden, my adorable son, thoughtfully reminded me that today is the day the classes are presenting their projects. Song, dance and artwork were to be celebrated and he expected us both to be there. Proud parents. He’d given himself the role of security guard in his classroom, so that none of his playmobil figures “would be nicked!”

Of course, I had forgotten, just like I’d forgotten to collect and take the arty objects for the project to school the week before.

Damn my memory!

“Yes, we’ll come. Of course, we’ll be there.”

And we were. And the whole morning was gone. Sunk. Lost. As far as party preparations were concerned.

We ate lunch together. The four of us. The two little ones, my husband and I. And I must admit that I felt somewhat twitchy. The two older girls wouldn’t be home for hours yet and on arrival, the party girl herself would have to go into study mode as she had an exam on the Monday, plus homework to do, no doubt. My two most valuable workers were currently unavailable, but my two demolishers little ones were 100% present and correct.

I perused my list and decided that the first job should be picking strawberries. The small ones could help and after that we could then head on to the florist with the little vases I’d bought in the One-Euro shop. I wanted the florist to prepare a simple centrepiece for each of the three collapsible tables.

I borrowed money from the children, having realised I had none left of my own and we set off with a large white bowl, but without the three small white vases.

The strawberry field looked empty, but ever the optimist, I insisted that we all leave the car and then my son spotted the notice ‘Closed until Saturday’. Apparently the strawberries needed to ripen somewhat.

My heart pounded. Another job for Saturday. OK.

Florist. Not OK. No vases.

So we drove home to my husbands unnecessarily cheery, “You were quick!” and picked up the vases.

It seems to me, that there happens to be a direct correlation between having to be somewhere with a matter of some urgency and something happening, like, for example, getting stuck behind a tractor or in this case me being unable to park my car.

I drove in and out of the space, probably thirty times, stopping for passing traffic and hanging around until ‘waiters’ finally realised I wasn’t relinquishing my space, just practising driving backwards and forwards into it.

Probably, I’m now on one of those ‘women parking’ videos on youtube.

The flowers looked lovely, but I’ll be honest and tell you they’d all withered somewhat by the next day, as, true to form, I’d forgotten to put water in the base of the vases.

My husband had started making a banoffee pie, but I still had to start my baking as I needed a small amount of one specific flour type from the supermarket. Had I been more organised, I could have actually baked the dough a few days in advance, as advised in the recipe.

My husband took a cooking break and we headed off to the supermarket, with a comprehensive list and two tearaways. Then the battle really commenced as we propelled our way around the aisles with not one but two trolleys.

Every two minutes the battle cry could be heard, “No, you’re not having that, we’re buying for the party!!!”

We strove towards enemy lines (in the form of the checkout) and at around that point my mobile rang.

My sweet sixteen year old, was not her usual calm, chilled self, rather she would be better described as near hysterical.

Her younger sister Lori, had called home and decided that she did not want to take two buses to go home, and thought it a great idea to walk. Alone. Through the forest. At 6.30pm.

I told Joni to call her straight back. It turned out she’d forgotten her mobile and used a teacher’s. The teacher, on hearing the news, of course, panicked too, and asked Joni to contact her as soon as Lori had been located.

Meanwhile, I abandoned my husband and the shopping and raced out of the supermarket, which is in fact about 200m from the school.

The little one, who is apparently suffering from some sort of abandonment disorder presently, decreed that her presence would also be required in looking for her elder sister. I raced hobbled to the school, with a four-year-old draped around my leg and of course, missed the unafraid one.

The following few minutes went something like this:

I said “bugger” and “shit” quite a few times and dragged a four-year-old through the various streets around the school. I approached more inhibited children and asked them if they knew/had seen/had any knowledge of the whereabouts of my child. I lost a kilo with the attempted running, weightlifting and the cardio workout the panic initiated. People looked at me like I was rather odd.

Realising I had no chance of catching her up, what with a now crabbit small person glued to me, and my minor detour around the school grounds, I stumbled towards the car, where the family united in throwing all newly purchased goods into the boot at high speed.

We also united in forgetting that we had intended to visit the other neighbouring supermarket, as not all of the items on my comprehensive list had been available.

We finally found the brave one obliviously wandering along the path leading home, having walked through the forest completely alone.

She was unfazed. I ranted somewhat. She suddenly decided she would not do it again.

We pulled up at the house and I remembered: the rest of the shopping…

I decided, what with all the drama, I’d leave it to Saturday.

The man of the house finished his pie, then promptly nodded off, so I sent him off to bed and finally started on my intricate little cakes. It was 8pm.

I read the recipe. And reread it again,  but I could not find the instructions on how to make the dough. I found this a little strange because the measurements were so exact: 227g of flour, for instance. Why would there be no instructions on how to make the dough on such a precise recipe? After the sixth read-through, I abandoned all hope and just threw all of the ingredients into a bowl and attempted to mix. When this approach didn’t work out so well, I got dirty and used my hands.

The consistency however, was still not right so I thought, “What the hell!” and piled in the odd tablespoon of flour. Or two.

Still too difficult to work with, I decided to chill it in the fridge. Finally cold and a bit more stable, I popped little balls of dough into a form, then pressed them out to make the correct shape.

The recipe dictated, I should leave them in the freezer for around ten minutes, to help them keep their shape and stop them rising so much. Joni needed to make space, so she took several food items out of the freezer and we replaced them with the baking trays. “Not to worry!” I informed her, “We’ll pop them right back in shortly.”

I shouldn’t say, “Don’t worry!” It’s like I’m setting myself up for a fall. Because, hours later, I noticed that the silly helpful girl had not replaced a tub of ice cream (I couldn’t even polish off the slushy remains because I’d found myself in the impossible situation of having to test mountains of dough).

The more I tasted, the more I thought, that the pastries just didn’t taste right, so I picked up the recipe and glanced through it again.

And there, plain as the nose on my face, were full and clear instructions on how to make the dough.

So I rammed the little crumbly things into a Tupperware, cleaned the baking trays and started the whole process. All. Over. A-gain.

I:

  • Weighed out each ingredient precisely
  • Drank an espresso
  • Mixed the dough as per the recipe
  • Opened a bottle of coke
  • Glugged down some of the coke
  • Made little balls and pushed them into shape in the form
  • Thought about vodka
  • Took several expensive products out of the freezer
  • Popped the trays into the freezer
  • Staggered around in the vicinity of the espresso machine
  • Popped the trays into the oven
  • Listened for the beep with intermittent slurps and burps
  • Pricked the little doughs and cooked them for a final time
  • Answered the telephone to an uncontacted, frantic teacher
  • Calmed the teacher and apologised
  • Thought of vodka again
  • Took the trays out of the oven and left them to cool, so the pastries would stay intact
  • Sat on the sofa for a little rest
  • Slept for two hours on the sofa
  • Carefully took the little pastries out of the forms
  • Tested the little pastries
  • ‘Accidentally’ broke some of the little pastries, so was forced to eat them to hide the evidence
  • Started cleaning the kitchen where I discovered defrosted, inedible, expensive products
  • Swore
  • A lot
  • Disposed of defrosted, inedible, expensive products

I headed to bed and instructed the alarm clock, then showing 3.10am to wake me at 8am.

I lay there thinking of strawberry fields and shopping and pavilions and how to get away with minimal cleaning.

A voice penetrated my dreams, “Mum, mum, it’s Joni! She feels sick.”

I couldn’t find my legs, let alone move them so I slapped at my husband and said, “Joni feels sick.”

He staggered, a person drunk on sleep, to her room and checked her over and handed her a bowl. Then thudded back into bed. It was 4.15am.

At 4.30 the voice intruded again. “She’s being sick.”

Still, my legs evaded me and I sent the man again.

Slowly, a guilty feeling flowed over me, forcing me awake and I rose and lumbered into the bedroom.

The poor child wretched and filled the bowl. My husband sent me back to bed.

But I couldn’t sleep. I thought of party guests and cake and strawberry fields. Putting up pavilions, and shopping or not?

And I thought of E.coli and sickness and bloody diarrhoea.

And I tossed and I turned and then the clock beeped 8am.

By midday, most of the guests had been contacted and informed about the cancellation. We had problems getting in touch with one as she’d moved house, but we got her eventually. An hour before the party should have started.

Joni did not have E.coli. In fact, the very next morning, after a plate of scrambled egg and a piece of toast, she made a complete and full recovery.

I, eventually, celebrated the fact that I hadn’t picked enough strawberries for 50 people, had made space in the freezer for the barbecue meat, could freeze the little cakes in preparation for the next party and had avoided the housework, once again.

Mothering Sunday approach


Thank crunchie it’s Friday. Oh sorry Cadbury’s, I mean, the weekend is upon us and I’m truly joyful. Tomorrow I plan to sleep past 7am and the fact that it’s Mothering Sunday on well, Sunday, here in Germany, does not mean, dear slightly smaller ones, that you should wake me at an un-eye-openable-time, bouncing on my bed with home-made/school-made/Kindergarten-made cards either.

Akasha, remember you hid one of your several home-made pictures under the footstool in the kitchen, you know, the one with the stickers on it? I didn’t look. I promise. I averted my eyes from the surprise that you told me all about. I carefully hoovered around the object, eyes half closed, despite your sister Lori having just shattered a good glass, and splinters reaching far and wide. Perhaps you could be careful when you retrieve your picture? Just in case.

I’d also like to point out that I would like breakfast in bed. Yes. But before you start please reread the first paragraph. Eggs are good. But whites should be white. The clue is in the name. Coffee is good. Especially when still warm. Cake in the afternoon is even better.

Massages are welcome. As are fetching and carrying all the items that I request. Taking the position of a footstool, by getting down on all fours, so I have somewhere to rest my weary legs, would be highly appreciated. The remote control is mine. Bubble baths are heavenly. Me cooking dinner is strictly forbidden.

Remember:
       me
    no other
       toast
      wholey
cooked egg
       relaxation
presents 😀
       delicious
      cake
 thank you!!

That’s a day in the life of a typical teenage girl


They stay in their beds
don’t raise their sleepy heads

There’s noise all around
but they do not hear a sound

Then they can’t sleep at night,
have trouble switching off the light

The bathroom’s full of potions
all kinds of creamy lotions

The wardrobe’s full of clothes
but they’ve nothing to enrobe

When they see a boy
their gestures are all coy

They start to giggle
at every dash and every squiggle

Then they are enraged
by such small things, I’m amazed

They don’t hear me speak
as their ear phones pulsate musique

They’re never alone
someone’s always on the phone

They go to the shops
know just how to spend the dosh

Yet when I am sad
they take a moment
make me glad
with a cuddle and a kiss
and a heartfelt wish
and a look in their eye
that shows
they understand why.

I am the strange one on the bus


WordPress prompt:

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a bus?

Can I only tell one story?

Story one:

Aged 18, I found myself studying at Heriot-Watt University in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Or rather, on the outskirts of the city.

My favourite part of the day was the walk back and forth to the bus stop. Especially in autumn. Swishing through the ample leaves.

The walk itself, was long and lonely. Peaceful and calm. Just my friend and I.

My friend being a Sony Walkman.

Yes, I am that old.

Our relationship was something of a love affair that went inevitably like this: I had one tape. Just one. Alannah Myles. And I knew all of the words. Sony would sing tunefully to me at his loudest possible setting. I would sing along, with maximum output, but comparatively out of key.

During the long, lonely walk to the bus stop, Sony and I sang together and sometimes found ourselves breaking into a full-blown dance.

Should another lone walker, on some rare occasion, loom in the distance, we would quickly hide our passion, and proceed towards the bus stop in a composed manner.

One day however, something went wrong.

Sitting on the packed homeward-bound bus (by packed I mean there were even people standing upstairs), I had closed my eyes and sank into the heroic tones of “Black velvet” when I found myself disturbed by a noise. A terrible noise. An extremely loud noise.

Then

I

Had

The

Sudden

Realisation

That it was me singing…

And whacking my leg.

My face burned and didn’t cool down any when the woman who’d been sitting next to me, took the first available opportunity to go and sit next to someone else.

How to embarrass yourself at the internist


OK so tomorrow I’m off to the clinic to be filmed internally. Because I’m being thoroughly explored from different angles, the good doctor has decided to give me the opportunity to catch up on lost sleep.

Would be nice, but to be honest it’s the waking up that disturbs me.

You see, I have a problem with medication. I have a tendency to overreact to it.

Last time I was ‘put artificially to sleep’ I suddenly awoke and acted like a completely-out-of-control drunk.

The staggering doesn’t bother me at all. It’s the talking that worries me.

Here are a few examples of what happened last time:

  • The nurse told me not to stress myself and I retorted she didn’t know the meaning of stress and then proceeded to elaborate on having an ADHD child and three other children.
  • In the waiting room another patient commented on the cuteness of Akasha. I enthusiastically informed her that she is the best two-year-old in the world and I believed her to have a particularly high IQ and any possible reason why.
  • On being seen by the doctor, I was completely uninterested in any diagnosis. Instead I found it necessary to comment on the beauty of his white office.
  • My husband slumped me in a chair at the chemist while he picked up my prescription. I insisted on having bath salts for people with eczema. Even though I didn’t have eczema. Even though it was a silly price. Bless him, he bought them for me. I felt compelled to inform the pharmacist that I liked the orderliness of her perfectly arranged shop. But that the shelves were rather dusty.

So, I’m nervous about tomorrow, and I guess now you can see why.

Sarah on anaesthetic = no decorum.

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 How to embarrass yourself at the gynaecologist

Adventures of a drying housewife


I am having a truly mental day. It could be described as one of the mentaller days in my life. Why?

Because at the weekend the tumble dryer dissolved and a family of four, with no dryer, rain, a mountainous range of washing which is, truth be told, doing a very passable impression of the Alps, and a child waking me at just after 6 in the morning to inform me they have, “No trousers left!” is not the best start.

The continuation, however, surpassed all of that.

Yesterday, a lady called to say our new dryer would be delivered between 9.00 and 13.00.

My husband decided to go to work late so he could help carry the new machine up the steps and down the stairs.

Fine I thought, I can’t go to the gym now, but I’ll try and slot it in some other time.

Before 9am I managed to: fit in a meeting with the teacher, deliver a child to school, do a wash, go to the chemist, pick up something for lunch and motivate an ADHD child to: have a shower, wear clothes, take medicine, eat breakfast, brush his teeth and not take any unnecessary tat in his schoolbag.

By 9.15 I could have drunk a vodka and orange but I settled for a coffee instead.

Between 9:17 and 13.00: I had a second breakfast, reorganised the washroom and cleaned it (a bloody miracle), rescheduled appointments, loaded the dishwasher, filled out a medical questionnaire, shouted a lot about the mess in the washroom, swore somewhat, drank a calming coffee, checked email, shouted about the non-appearance of the delivery man, picked up a small person from Kindergarten dodging a war zone of road works , worried the delivery driver may have had an accident, visited the loo and stared gormlessly out of the window willing my dryer to arrive.

At 12.58 one now rather impatient husband, called the delivery company and explained, somewhat icily, our predicament.

There may have been some background noise, like, “Where’s my bloody dryer…?” But I can’t be sure.

The delivery company, after a transfer or two, admitted their mistake and promised delivery within an hour.

One husband decided to remain home for lunch. But fretted the whole time about the work he wasn’t doing in the office.

13.45 I shouted rather loudly. At walls. At doors. At random children. At the husband. The main theme being all the different places I needed to be in the afternoon picking items/people up.

13:46 One husband shouted in a frustrated fashion that, “The bloody delivery better come soon!”

13:48 One stroppy wife er… I, jumped into the car and zoomed around picking up essentials from two completely different villages, located in opposite directions. Then filled the starving car with petrol.

14:15 I raced into the house to see a somewhat demented husband, on the phone to an exasperated colleague. No dryer.

By 15:00: One hysterical couple had redecorated the house, bought fifteen books from Amazon, played a full length game of monopoly, grown a beard, eaten four boxes of home-made chocolates, drowned their sorrows in two bottles of whiskey and a crate of beer and baked a cake in the hope that the aroma would entice one delivery driver possessing one tumble dryer, to appear.

15.30 – 15.40 I took over the withhold-delivery negotiations with said delivery company. Comprising of a transfer or five through various negotiators. Some swearing. A lot of “OK’s”. Some stamping of feet. Much hair twirling. And a driver turning up whilst I was still on the phone.

By 16.07 tumble dryer heaved downstairs, unpacked, plugged in, inducted and put to work.

16.30 Husband finally kissed goodbye at place of work.

Between 16.31 and 19.27 I: had a mad 23km drive in pouring rain from one town to another. Picked up one child. Returned desperately to previous town behind Sunday drivers (why are Sunday drivers out on a Wednesday?) accompanied with some cursing. Suffered a near-heart-attack as 15-year-old asked permission to go to a 3-day-concert, 300km away. Then followed a stern talk with said teenager. Smooth town parking (i.e. no scraping of our terrible-to-park car). Mad dash to music shop. Test drive of several instruments (Aden has to pick which instrument to be taught at High School in September, and the school need to know by next week, so they have the instrument reserved for him). Promised kids something to eat but then made some of them cry as I realised right outside the cafe that I had no cash left. Hit department store and bought birthday presents and sweets with debit card. Forgot to purchase drinks. More tears. Drove home.

19.28 Started preparing dinner. Fish out of freezer for hubby and I later.

19.30 Heated debate with mother-in-law on telephone.

19.48 Children’s dinner served.

20.15 Consoling discussion with father-in-law, also on phone.

20.57 Children to bed. Work began: washing, drying, dishes, coffee, folding clothes, pairing socks, tidying, checking email, checking blog.

23.14 Husband finally arrived home from work. Fish in warm kitchen had gone off.

*Sigh*

Still to be done: Another wash. Think up another possible dinner. Cook dinner. Inform husband of heated debate. Sleep on husband’s shoulder.