Thursday, June 28, 2007
I always knew it was only a matter of time before the kids started having fun with it...
What? Language of course! I left the kids in Tesco with the trolley at a checkout while I ran to get some forgotten item on my shopping list. I returned 2 minutes later to two evil grins - Tell mum your new words Pudge, they urged. Pudge turned, grinned and said Vendetta! Revenge!, and we know it can only get worse, no?
Monday, June 25, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Actually, come to think of it, are these new rules meant to make us feel safer? We are now allowed 1 litre of liquids each, decanted into little bottles, but 1 litre all the same. I think this is to stop someone bringing on board enough chemicals to blow up the plane, no? Well, think back to 9/11 - weren't there something like 19 terrorists per plane, surely 19 litres of something lethal is enough to cause chaos? So all the queuing and checking and mountains of waste created by these new rules don't make us any safer at all, do they? Time for a rethink...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
An hour later as I was about to drift off again, the phone went. A voice, English this time, asked if I was Mrs Widmann - god here we go again, 'No I'm the person who...' They informed me that if I could quote the correct bonus product code (whatever that is) I would win a makeover for my bathroom...give me strength! I gave up trying to get better by sleeping and got up for a coffee.
(Oh, and Thomas, go ex-directory, please for the sake of my health!)
When asked individually the highlight, both Marcel and Charlotte said they liked the guy dressed as the Donald Dewar statue best. Funny, neither think of Donald as a person or politician, I doubt they know he was Scotland's first first minister - they simply know him as the statue with the broken glasses!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
We're just back from a weekend camping trip to Oban, which I will blog all about once I have uploaded the photos. In the meantime I have to ask? Are midges the ultimate proof us atheists need? Having walked around outside after sunset and been devoured by these evil little bastards, I have to conclude there can be no ultimate, all-loving creator - firstly because a God evil enough to have created midges is not worth worshipping, secondly if a God had created them in a moment of weakness, I'm pretty sure he'd have caused the extinction of the species within hours once he'd discovered quite how intolerable they are. I even prefer mosquitoes - at least you hear them coming and they don't hunt in packs. These little buggers are half the size, silent and attack in their hundreds. I am sitting here scratching my the back of my neck, my left elbow, my right shin and foot and wondering how they got under my clothes when I was only outside the tent long enough to go pee :-(
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
It started Monday lunchtime with 'phone' when the buzzer went in the nursery, then later he said 'spoon' when he had one of the dozens of snack yogurts he's been eating to build himself up since his illness.
Today he was running around the house pointing at doors saying 'door', picking up shape-sorter shapes and saying 'star', 'moon' etc. And next he picked up an apple and said 'pomme' (granted he also called a mango and a peach a 'pomme' too, but they are round fruits.)
This evening he started trying sentences and asking questions. He asked Charlotte why she was crying when she was fighting Marcel over a bowl of ice cream. 'Lalo what oh-oh?' even with a raised intonation at the end of the sentence. He also told Charlotte to 'No, no, no Lalo go away, no!'
So far, Marcel and Charlotte are so thrilled, they are going with the flow and trying to get him to repeat everything, but it can only be a matter of days before they realize exactly how much fun they can potentially have manipulating their new pet parrot. (We've all seen 'Meet the Fockers'.)
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
When I bought the original tickets for Rome, I of course went on the webpage, deliberately, within half an hour of the sale starting so I could buy the cheapest ones. I would have loved the dearest ones of course, but my bank manager wouldn't agree to that ;-) so I settled for the cheapest. When Rome was cancelled I received a nice message from someone named Ilaria explaining I shouldn't worry as I would be given a chance to buy tickets for an alternative European venue. I was dubious, of course but waited the 8 days it took for Ilaria's colleague Erica to get back to me. Then at 5-45pm, it turned up: an email listing all the tickets still available for all the European venues - of course no cheap ones left in the UK - they now want me to pay £265 per ticket. So I'm to pay tickets at 2.5 times the original price, lose the airfares to Rome and re-pay for new airline tickets to London.
I have sent a nice compact email entitled 'your unacceptable offer' to Erica asking the email address I should write my official complaint to.
Watch this space...
Obviously, when I returned home from work last night and noticed one was missing, I was livid. I dragged Thomas and the kids on a trip round everywhere I had been during the day twice and with relief we found it (I think it was the third one we tried and there it was on a verge near Lenzie, phew. I decided to buy cable clips on my way back from nursery today (however ugly they are, these things cost £30 each so I wasn't going to lose it again).
When I got to B&Q car park at 1-10pm, it was bloody missing again! Pudge and I went on another expedition all the way back to nursery where it was lying slightly mangled, but hopefully not beyond cable-clipping on on another grass verge. It is however staying in the boot until I've been to B&Q this time.
*At the age of 3, I once referred to a JCB digger as a jalt, not knowing the word for it, I simply made one up - I had lexicographical tendencies even then - and since then my entire family have always called diggers 'jalts'. It is hard to remember that isn't the real word for them!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
I had first looked Ryanair but they don't fly there and then I remembered I had often taken that very beautiful train ride in my students days, so on to Trenitalia.com I went. This has to be one of the worst websites I have ever tried to use in my life. It asks if you want it in English or Italian so being lazy I opted for English. It asked where I wanted to go from and to - I typed Rome-Zürich - it gave me some wee village miles from Rome called St-Rome-de-something-or-other, I realized that though the website was in English, you were meant to know the Italian place names. Fine, Roma is easy enough but if you are average Mr Thick-Englishman, with the linguistic aptitude of a jellyfish, then will you guess Firenze or Venezia? Anyway I am also not convinced Mr Thick-Englishman wouldn't have clicked on 'buy' for St-Rome-de-wherever-it-was...well, that is of course if he could find 'buy' to click on. I spent a whole half hour trying to find how to ask the simple question - how much? I seemed to have to register (God save me - this means I will be bombarded with crap from them for all eternity), then 1 minute after registering it told me my password, issued by them, had expired and I needed a new one - huh? I tried in vain clicking 'cart' - it told me my cart was empty. Having told me 3 times there was a train at 23h every Sunday, that timetable suddenly disappeared and I was being told the train was at 20h40, then it told me when I arrived at Zürich Flughafen - give me strength - who mentioned the bloody airport? I want to go to the town. I know Zürich well, I lived in Konstanz for 6 months. I just wanted to go to the bloody city. Every time I typed Zürich, it told me that for the airport I had to change in Zürich - aaaaaaaaaarg - and still I couldn't get a price. I'd tried the purchase button, the pricing button - every obvious place. It even had a column marked price but it wasn't clickable! Oh and then it became more fun - I had a 5 column chart at one point, four of the column headings in English, the fifth in Italian. It was definitely one of those English interfaces you couldn't use unless you spoke Italian (20 year old rusty uni Italian was beginning to fall back into place after half an hour on this 'English' website).
Eventually I pressed something, I have no idea what and a price appeared as if by magic. It was too expensive, which is probably just as well as I would never, ever have been able to find it again even if my life depended on it!
It really can't be this hard - I've used the SNCF webpage from time to time and it is so intuitive, you could do it in your sleep, even if you don't speak French. What is the Italians' problem? At this rate, the entire train network will need to be shut down in Italy because no one will be able to use it. Maybe Ryanair should jump in to even more Italian towns and help the poor buggers be able to travel intercity!
Friday, June 01, 2007
I hope this movie becomes compulsory viewing in High Schools.
You may be wondering why Pudge is holding an inhaler and I look 10 years older and more exhausted than I did a week ago?
What a week this has been. From Tuesday's Poxy rant, you'll have gathered that Léon fell ill again and was back on antibiotics.
On Wednesday he was no longer hot or pointing at his ears as he had been on Tuesday, but was wheezing and coughing a bit. I did mentally note it was weird he seemed to be developing a chest infection while on penicillin, but he's so ill so often I went with the flow.
He coughed himself awake just after 2am Tuesday into Wednesday and I was alarmed to notice he was breathing twice as quickly as normal and his whole ribcage was really struggling to breathe. Enough - I got up and drove him to Yorkhill just before 3am. They tested his oxygen blood saturation level on arrival and it was at 89%. His heart rate seemed a little fast too. Normal oxygen levels are 98% or above I am told, below 84% the monitor reading goes from blue to red and it starts beeping - I didn't need to ask what that meant. He was taken into the casualty ward at first where I got a chair and he wandered up and down gasping and puzzled. It was the middle of the night but lights were on and toys were everywhere. He didn't really know what to do with himself. They first gave him calpol and steroids, then 10 blasts of an inhaler. His chest went from wheezy to clear and he perked up, though his breathing was still too fast and his oxygen still only 91%. They said if it stayed ok for 2 hours I would be allowed to take him home. I was shattered, still a bit sleep deprived from Tuesday's 5am start and late evening at the out of hours surgery. After 2 hours the wheezing was back so I was told the same - he'd be given 10 blasts of inhaler and we'd get home at 7am if he was clear. At 7am he was asleep but from the chair I'd been given I could hear the wheezing was back. They then decided he could stay in casualty no longer so admitted him to ward 7B. (As an aside what a view - floor 7 of the hospital has a spectacular panorama of Glasgow's West end - mental note: if he ever has another asthma attack pack the camera).
Ward 7 is great - each child's bed comes with a fold away bed so a parent can stay the night with their child - the only rule - the adult beds are to be folded away from 8am as a space saver - it was 7-45 and I'd had 2 hours sleep - they said I could unfold my bed at 8pm if we were still in :-(. The second problem was food. They feed the patients of course, and, I'm told have a lovely subsidised canteen on floor 1 for the parents. So if your kid is floppy, lying-in-bed, hooked-up-to-machines sick you can go get breakfast, if however your kid is wandering-about, wheezing-at-your-ankles sick you can't go eat because you can't take them with you and if you leave them, though it is safe to, they scream for the 15 minutes you are away. Who needs breakfast anyway? Especially when you are 11 weeks pregnant and feeling sick and dizzy. Léon was given 1 weetabix and half a slice of toast, I pilfered the half slice of toast.
Problem number one was arising at home. The kids were in the flat and André was expecting them for breakfast around 7-15am. Of course their driver was in hospital so Marcel had to get André to come into town to pick them up.
The day passed slowly with the same inhaler and oxygen tests at regular intervals. I had only 2 20p as I had not been expecting Léon to be admitted. I wasn't dressed either so was wandering around in my sleepwear and a pair of jogging bottoms all day! I tried late morning to ring André to tell him I couldn't pick Marcel and Charlotte up at 3pm and I couldn't get a substitute either. He wasn't available. I rang Thomas in a panic to tell him the dilemma - he wasn't available. No more 20ps. At 2ish, thank god, Thomas walked through the door having sussed all by himself that I had no one to pick up the kids and offering to sit with Léon while I went. I was practically in a coma by that point food and sleep-deprivationwise but at least it offered a solution. He offered to take my mobile outside and text André for me and at the last minute André was tracked down and put of schoolrun duty. Thomas went out to get me some food. I couldn't see for my migraine by then so sat tight and waited.
Sometime between 3 and 4 my breakfast arrived - sandwiches, lucozade and paracetamol. Fortunately it was another few hours before Léon was discharged because I couldn't have driven even if I had needed to by then, I was so shaky, was seeing double and couldn't stand.
We came home with our asthma kit and instructions and collapsed. I was no longer at all worried about taking time off work sick, as I genuinely was very sick by then myself. I collapsed on the bed while Thomas dealt with Léon and food and we got dinner around 10pm.
I took a long time to calm down enough to sleep at bed time. The stress must finally have been hitting me. I am off today too. Every bone in my body aches, my head is throbbing - stress? sleep deprivation? parenting? I don't know. I just hope I am well enough to do some proper work over the weekend to catch up.
And Pudge? he's been asleep now for 12 hours solid, and I can't hear any wheezing as yet.
On a more positive note, Pudge's 18 hr stay in hospital has had a mushroom effect on his language development. From mainly single words on Tuesday, he's now learnt, 'no way, no want, don't want, don't like' and after the nurse's umpteenth blast of inhaler, he even learnt to count, that is to say, if you say 'one', he replies 'oo, ee, oh'! Awwh! I wonder if he'd be reciting Shakespeare by now if they'd had to keep him in a week!?