Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Blog Trilogy: The Last Weekend

I'm back...

Temporarily at least...

Or until I have to feed, burp, change, jiggle or rock the baby. Or, maybe I will have to stop blogging so I can just sit statuesque, holding my new addition perfectly still, monitoring my own breathing to ensure it doesn't interfere with the perfect peaceful aura needed to surround him..

But I do have some stories to tell, (or blogs to write) and I would like to get them published before lack of sleep and malnutrition (who will feed me?) erodes my remaining short term memory.

Therefore I have three blogs to write, or  one blog split into three parts; a trilogy of sorts:

The Last Weekend

The Baby

His First Christmas

Here I go with part one...

The Last Weekend.

So time rewinds to the weekend before my section date. the last weekend of life as we knew it, the weekend before someone else joined our family and everything tipped on its head again and the dynamics of three children would be juggled and dropped, picked back up and juggled again.. We were excited, slightly nervous, but most of all glad that the pregnancy was finally over. We planned to celebrate our last weekend of pregnancy; we were going to eat nothing but takeaways, wear nothing but pyjamas and ensure we had a huge stockpile of treats and DVD's. Well this was the last time I could use pregnancy as an excuse for such debauchery, so as a pregnant woman, I was going to go out with a bang!

Thursday arrived. I think it would be fair to say, as it was my last week of pregnancy, I was emotional. Emotional to the point that losing an eyelash would have bought on a blubbering, incoherent soliloquy. In addition, I was so forgetful that I had misplaced my glasses 3 times in a ten minute window.On this fine evening The Future Husband arrived home only to be sent straight down to the supermarket. Even though I was very pleased with myself for having done the weekly shop that afternoon, I appeared to have forgotten to pick up a couple of things needed for dinner. On the menu was sausage mash and onion gravy, so The FH was sent out to buy some sausages, potatoes and onions. He set off with eldest child in tow, and returned 15 minutes later empty handed and looking slightly pissed off.
"Where's my cash card Fran? It's not in my wallet!" (he had discovered this at the checkout).
"Shit! I must have put it back in my purse" I said fumbling in my handbag, then my coat pocket, then the pushchair, then the sides of the sofa... only to return empty handed. "I can't find my purse!"

I checked my parent's car. which I had temporarily kidnapped to get me and bump from A to B, the interior light was as much use as a flagging firefly but after some swearing and kicking of car upholstery I decided I'd lost my purse. I re-entered the house tearful, frantic and irrational. How could I have lost my purse, with his cash card in, the weekend before I was to have a baby? How would we get money? How would we cope? How would we LIVE?

Inside the house, things had got worse. I found The FH holding an ashen Fearless and both of them, and the Leather Arm Chair (the one worthy of a second trip to Ikea), were all covered in Fearless's vomit.

In clearing up the sick we found my purse under the chair, but like the rest of the living room, it had not escaped  the amazing range of the projectile vomit, but alas, the cash card still worked and The FH set off to retrieve the shopping from the kind supermarket cashier, who had stashed it behind her desk, hoping the dramas had not taken us into a shift change.

27 hours later...

Fearless slept soundly in my bed, after 12 hours of vomiting and diarrhoea, he was exhausted. Little O had been asleep an hour and for us adults there had not been a whisper of a takeaway, a snippet of a DVD or a sweet wrapper in sight... We had been far too busy cleaning up shit and spew to bother.

28 hours later Little O covered his bed with vomit, thus ensuring his bedroom and its contents were infused with the most pungent spewy aroma imaginable. Little O and a red bucket joined me in my bedroom and The FH had declared the boys' bedroom a no go area and pulled the spare mattress onto the landing and was going to sleep there as the smell alone could reduce a grown man to tears.

29 hours later and the red bucket was being well and truly made of use of as me and little O practised the technique of synchronised spewing.

30 hours later and I stepped over The FH's head for the 15th time as I made my way to the bathroom, trying to decide en route which end to stick down the loo first.

31 hours later and all 3 of us were elbowing each other out the way to reach the bog first and I actually lost the plot and became hysterical. As I sat on the loo, The FH groaning and griping on the landing floor and Little O booting the red bucket every time he wretched, I lost myself control somewhere between laughter and crying. The FH said he would have got up and given me a slap but he was too busy on concentrating on staying alive.

48 hours later and I found myself in the A and E.waiting room.

Now I wasn't there because of the bout of gastroenteritis.  Even though it had been bloody awful and there had been points I thought I was on the brink of death. It had been the fact I was unable to get out of bed the all day and when I did I couldn't bear weight on my right leg, where I noticed a protruding vein , an unusual bruise and some swelling. A quick call to the midwife and I was told to go to A&E because I could have DVT.

That morning I had already called in my parents to look after Fearless, who by the way now was as bright as a button, my dad had come to collect him and retrieve his car, which by the way wouldn't start as it had a dead battery because someone had left the interior light on all night. (In my defence it's hard to tell whether it's on or off because as far as giving off light goes it's fucking useless). So we dropped older, almost recovered, child off there and headed to sample the delights of A & E on a Saturday evening.

I sat in A&E holding a cardboard tub and praying I wouldn't have to do the whole throwing-up-in-public whilst heavily pregnant and surrounded by half battered, pissed teenage no-marks and a range of very sick elderly patients. One of whom was an Alzheimer's sufferer and every minute repeated the same three sentences: 1)We haven't been here before 2) What are we waiting for? AND 3) I want to home. It took my last ounce of energy to kick the FH whenever he started to hum Michael BublĂ©'s 'Home' into my ear.

When being "seen" by a doctor I started to have contractions, so I was quickly shipped off to Maternity, where the contractions stopped, and they decided I probably didn't have DVT but they discovered due to the stomach bug, my pulse, temperature and blood pressure were all sky high so I needed to be kept in overnight.

On the upside, being disgustingly ill and contagious I got my own room - en suite! And a TV ll to myself, no Beebies in sight, with some on-demand films too. So I finally got to lie down, wearing pyjamas (we'd taken the hospital bag so we were prepared), whilst watching Mamma Mia (well it was quite a poor choice of films), unfortunately there wasn't any calorific delights, but I had an IV drip to top up my fluids, so I guess my needs were being met!

And the moral of the story is... be careful what you wish for, because some twisted bastard might actually be listening!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Organised? Me? In December?

The background. (Christmases from The Past ... in bullets)
  • Trees are very important - in our house they were always real and always a Spruce, we always had two (a big one and a small one) and we would spend hours scouring Garden centres to get the perfect tree. Height, shape and bushiness all had to be considered.
  • Our trees notoriously spend longer outside the house than they do inside the house and have been known to go up on Christmas Eve.
  • We don't make deadlines - we hit them! Hit them right at the very last second. As the post office, on the very last day for parcel postage, starts to dim the lights and loosen the shutters our parcels for relatives are being boxed, sealed and labelled.
  • I didn't know this country had a second class post till I left home.
  • Last year my Sister posted my Mum's Cards, in the snow, at 8pm on Christmas Eve. She was still writing them at 7.45pm
  • We have had French dinner guests for Christmas Dinner, that none of us have met before.
  • One Year my Mum put her Christmas Cards up on boxing day.
  • One Christmas Day My Mum rang her friend Margaret and asked if she had a spare orange she could borrow for the stuffing as she had forgotten to buy any. The phone call was brief and she looked puzzled, "I don't who that was" she said as she hung up "but I'm pretty sure I didn't ring Margaret". We made do with a lemon.
  • Every single year I receive a present on boxing day, not as tradition, just someone usually finds one they forgot to wrap/give
  • The table decoration is very important, and changes each year. One year it was a huge bowl of floating candles and poinsettia flower heads, which cracked mid meal, flooding the table and washing away the spouts and parsnips.
  • The Christmas pudding wouldn't light one year because the brandy had been watered down so drastically by teenagers raiding the drinks cabinet
  • One year my Mum invited her brother and his family to have Christmas with us. She, unfortunately, developed Flu on Christmas Eve and him and his wife cooked the Christmas dinner for the rest of us. They never came for Christmas again.
  •  One year, we sent parcels to my Mum's family with dodgy labels she'd bought at the market - they all fell off. They had to open them and guess who they were for.
This Year...

Obviously, if you're having a c-section on the 14th of December your Christmas Eve (the cut off point) is moved to the 13th of December. So that means, without  question, no matter what, I will be organised this year.

But there are drawbacks to organising those who live in chaos, like trying to tame unruly hair, the chaos has its own ideas.

Example 1 - Cards

They were bought in October, Written the last week of November and posted a couple of days ago (didn't want to be the Christmas geek whose Card arrives first). "Well done Me" I thought, but then when lay in bed last night, letting my mind wander, had a flashback that I had wrote in most of them "Hope we can catch up in 2011" and "Hope 2011 rocks" and other new year good will gestures for the passing year! Duh!

Example 2 - Tree

Last weekend we bought it early, just so we were both involved in the decision making, as The FH didn't want to have to the burden of my disapproving glare haunting him over the holidays if he were forced to buy it on its own. "We'll just keep it out side for a week" I said, as there was no way a tree would be put up in my house any earlier than the 11th of December, especially not a Spruce.

"Have you put it in water?" My Mum asked the following Monday. Then I was quickly sent home, carrying a manky blue bucket, retrieved from the depths of her yard, to fill and put tree in. The next morning, after a blowy night, I opened the patio curtains to discover the back gate open and the tree missing "Fucking Hell someone's nicked my tree!" I gasped running barefoot outside, to discover it had merely been the wind that had blown the gate over and blown the tree of the decking.Every morning since then, I find the tree in a new part of the yard, fallen over, a little more bashed, a little less green, water bucket empty. By Sunday I am sure it will still be the the same shape, they we spent 45 minutes debating on in the nursery.

Example 3 - The Children's Cards

So last year I didn't factor in that I would have to give Christmas Cards to my child's nursery class. But it worked out quite well, as I waited till that last day of term so I could just them to the kids he got a card from. This year trying to be organised, there are 60 kids in reception and I have a four year old who isn't great with surnames - how do I differentiate between the four Rubys, 3 Graces and 6 Harrys? Guess who will be stalking the school name pegs on Monday morning?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Death of a Doorbell.

Any of you remember the post about the Comedy Doorbell the FH ordered?

Well it's died. No longer will Chopsticks trickle through house, no more will Yankee Doodle Dandy announce a caller and no more will a cuckoo's crow scare delivery men. We are left again, with the old fashioned, abrupt and monotonous, hard-fisted knock.

After eight months of cringing when "Oh Me Darling" echoed up the stairs and eight months of apologising to salesmen, and postmen, as they had wait for Tchaikovsky's Ssymphony no. 6 to finish before they could begin their spiel, I'm slightly disappointed.

At first I was all I felt was relief as The FH fiddled with the batteries, unplugged and replugged the blasted contraption, pressed the bell for the umpteenth time then declared it was "knackered" and pointed at his two sons innocently playing in the playroom and mouthed "SWINES!". But then, disappointment set in; it was the last week of November and I had been secretly looking forward to ensuring the setting stayed on Jingle Bells and Silent Night through all of Decemeber. I was going to embrace the novelty, and the Christmas Spirit, answer the door with a beaming smile and blurting greetings of merriment, joke about mistletoe and  wear nothing but red and green, Alas, the doorbell had other ideas, or my children did... and sabotaged it.

So I reluctantly turn back to Mrs Scrooge, complaining about people putting their trees up in November, cursing hearing the same CD in the supermarket for eight weeks, turning down offers of mince pies EVERYWHERE I go and begrudgingly recording the Christmas Specials on CBeebies in the first week of December.

Doorbell, it seems you have missed your Christmas moment, and  so may have I.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A letter to the parent and child spaces at supermarkets...

Dear Family Parking Spaces,

I am glad you exist.

Generally my driving is not good, however, there is one thing I can do - I can reverse park. I actually hover over "exceptional" on the scale of reverse parking.  And, occasionally, when The FH is in the passenger seat (only if he has had a drink), we  have a moment similar to the end of Toy Story 2 when Buzz's wings pop out. "Good Jockeying" he says and smiles at me like I just scored Liverpool's winning goal. Normally  my passengers look terrified, so this compliment goes a long way. 

So I can reverse park - but can I get a car in between those two white lines in a car park? No I can not. So Parent and child spaces, when they invented you, I thought: "I need a child"

I have a theory about you, my dear and lovely family spaces. And even though my theory should enrage my feminist roots, it doesn't bother me. Because the fact that you little gems exist makes me so happy, I have no room left for anger or feminism.

The Official Reason You Were Invented -  you were devised to help parents get the children in and out of the car, park buggies safely at the side of the car and walk safely, with child, to and from the supermarket.

My Theory - That you were devised specifically for drivers like me - bad ones. And as there is still a (very sexist) notion that the majority of bad drivers are women, plus, statistically, more women still do the family shop, and, statistically, more women than men take their children to the supermarket, then the "Big Brains" thought they would make the lives of those poor, little women, who struggle to make a decision at a roundabout, easier by giving them more room to park in when they are shopping.

And do I find my theory offensive? No it don't. Because I am that woman. I single-handedly shame the whole of my gender when I get behind the wheel. I am the woman who gives good female drivers a bad name. And for all you good-women-drivers out there, you know that story an arrogant, sexist turd tells that always begins with "I was behind this woman driver..." I am sorry you had to listen to that; that was woman probably me.

Therefore, Family Spaces I would like to thank you, not just for the extension of the white lines, but you also encourage me to take my children shopping more, something without your existence would be a rarity.

Though, I do have a confession whilst I have been pregnant, I have been even been abusing the privilege; I have actually parked upon  you without any children in my car. But I honestly thought you would be sympathetic as I dare the car park attendant to challenge me, my rant fully prepared, (which included asking him to squeeze a bump this size out of a car door in a regular space and explaining how if there was ever a time a person needed an extra 50cm to help them park it is was when they were 8 months pregnant).

Take care Family Spaces and may you continue to bring joy to the car park, the bad driver and the world!


The woman who got a license based purely on her reverse park.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The major flaw with internet shopping

I love Internet shopping. I spend far too much time on the Internet, I am aware of this, but for ease, convenience and pure introverted pleasure, Internet shopping is marvellous!

Since having children I can count the amount of times we have been to a BIG supermarket to do a BIG shop on one hand. And it is rare, that a friend or relative living further afield than a 1 mile radius, will receive a gift, that hasn't been bought online, wrapped beautifully by someone else and sporting a typed gift message.

However, there is one major flaw with Internet shopping... 

Sometimes a picture can be very deceptive.

Example 1
My sister (Curls) and her partner were looking for a coal bunker. They were aghast at the prices. Much more expensive than they thought. Then, whilst trawling e bay, he found a cheap one. "Look at this, it's only 8 quid"
She had a look. "Yeah that looks great - get it, quick before it goes"
But being the sensible one in their relationship, her partner said "I think I'll go measure the space outside first, just to make sure it fits. What are the dimensions?"
Curls read them, then with a  puzzled expression said "3 centimetres by 5 centimetres.? That can't be right?"
He took the laptop from her, scrutinized the description for a few moments then fell about laughing "It's a coal bunker for a fucking doll's house"

Example 2
A friend had just started doing their weekly food shop online. Originally, they had been against the idea, but had been won round when completing their first shop by the amount of bargains they had found, that they would have usually missed in the Supermarket. They were a little excited when it arrived (don't judge - I was too). He immediately rooted through the shopping bags in search of the bargain toiletries he'd purchased.
 "I still can't believe how cheap they were, I normally pay triple that for them" he said, then pausing and pulled them out the bag "Why are they so small?" he asked holding travel size deodorant and moisturiser in each hand.

Example 3
My Mum had been trying to get hold of some vintage cooking utensils.

Finally, she found some on e bay. But a bit disappointed when they arrived.

Here they are... lovely, authentic and beautifully formed.

And next to a regular sized cup...

They are quite small!

Vintage TOY utensils - who knew?

Monday, 31 October 2011

So that's what I sound like when I'm really scared...

Last night, we had no tea and watched X Factor in bed, things were all a bit muddled with the clock change.

After X Factor it dawned on me that a 7 and half month pregnant woman needs to eat something to get through the night, so I left The FH in bed, netbook on his stomach, trawling e bay , whilst I went in hot pursuit of a tuna and cucumber sandwich with too much butter.

I considered putting on a dressing gown, fully aware that a once short nightie, was now skin tight and indecently short due to the material taken up covering the bump, but then thought "sod it" anyone peeping into my back windows is clearly too desperate to be consequential.

There I was, at 9pm, all lights on downstairs, pitch black outside, hunting for the salad cream in the fridge, when I heard a noise outside. I am a little bit neurotic about noises and have an overactive imagination. Usually I chide myself for being jumpy, but something had unerved me to the point I had to check the patio doors. Just as I got to them, I caught sight of a figure, tangled up in the washing line, heading towards me.

The next sound that came out of my mouth is a sound I had never heard before. In my head I was shouting The FH, but in reality I warbled a high pitched yelp, that had such an impact he appeared in seconds. It was the sound of true fear.

The figure was our builder picking up some ladders he'd left behind a fortnight ago. He had texted earlier, but the iphone had been drained to empty by the kids.

He was mortified, the builder, who is polite and apologetic by nature. I like to think his mortification came from having terrified me to a quivering wreck, and he overloooked the fact my arse was hanging out of my nightie as I stood, frozen to the spot, considering my weapon of choice, warbling.

I can honestly say this is the most terrified I have ever been...
And this is what I have learnt...
  • In a crisis I think too much... Phone? Knife? Lock door? Grab broom? Is this person pissed? etc etc
  • When it comes to Fight or Flight? I Freeze.
  • Those screams girls make in horror films - so unrealistic - it's a warble!
  • The FH will throw a netbook across a room if he believes I am in real danger.
  • If you trult believe you are about to die, you don't think about your underwear - even if you're not wearing any at all!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Three things that have tickled me

I was sat at my Mums, one child at school, the other asleep; I was relaxing. The phone rang, as it often does there. My Mum answered, already shirked as the caller display hinted it may be a cold caller.
"Hello" she said, appearing, cold, abrupt and stern all at once.
No answer.
"Hello" she repeated, louder and even sterner.
 She hung up, pressing the disconnect button with drama, flourish and anger.
"They make me so cross" she said to me.
Next minute the phone rang again.
"Hello" she shouted with unmistakeable fury bubbling in her tone.
"Did you just hang up on me?" a male asked with a distinctive Indian accent.
"Yes, I did" I hears her say, taken aback.
The caller said something in Indian, which Mum thought could have been loosely translated as "F### You" and hung up on her.
She sat there, aghast, spluttering and spitting feathers.
"How rude?" she finally said after a lot of shaking of the head.
"Very" I replied, stifling the giggles.

If you read my last post, you will be aware about the water meter troubles we've had. If not, in short, we've been stung. Anyway The FH had to determine if we had a leak or  not, this meant he had to read the meter and we were NOT ALLOWED to use any water for an hour, then he had to read it again.
"Right he said coming in from the yard. I've read the meter, nobody is use any water for ONE WHOLE HOUR. Ok?"
"Ok" I replied.
"No water at all Fran, you got that?"
"Yes I replied "I'll take the kids to the park then, just to make sure"
I faffed about finding shoes, coats and hats for a while.
"Are you going?" the FH asked.
"Yep. Just need a wee" I said running up the stairs (or whatever a 7 month pregnant woman does when they intend to move quickly up a flight of stairs).
"Don't use any water." he chided
"Ok" I chirped back.
I had a wee.
Got up.
Flushed the chain.
And then washed my hands.
"What?" I shouted back arrogantly.

I had to follow the FH to hospital the other week, after he was carted off in an ambulance. (It was a false alarm, all is well). When I arrived, and found his ward, he was having his bloods taken and a hospital curtain was concealing him and his hospital bed. I was ushered in and sat on the uncomfortable plastic seat as we made small talk, including inappropriate humour, to pass the time.

The nurse left us, also leaving the curtains drawn. Which is a strange experience; being left in the middle of a ward, concealed behind curtains. You naturally whisper and listen intently to anything going on the other side. Like hiding in a cupboard as a child.

It was a shift change, so the new Nurse was acquainting herself with the ward

The first conversation we hear:
Nurse: (Approaching bed to the right, presumably looking at her notes): Hi there, Alfred isn't it?
Patient: No. Chris.
Nurse: Oh that's a bit different from Alfred. Is that your second name?
Patient: No. It's because my surname is Noel. And that's like Christmas. So people call me Chris

Me and The FH, listening to each other intently turn and pull "WTF" faces?

The second conversation we hear:
Nurse: (Approaching bed to the left, presumably looking at her notes): Hello. Robert isn't it?
Patient: No. Mark.
Nurse: Right, of course. Is that your middle name?
Patient: No, I just get called Mark.
Nurse: Ok, Mark.

Me and The FH stifle giggles. I turn to him and whisper "You have to create an Alias".
He shakes his head, trying not to laugh "Piss off Fran"

The third conversation we hear

Auxiliary: (entering ward) Simon? Is Simon here?
I nudge The FH, but before he can answer, some-one else replies.
Another Scouse Simon: (in a Liverpool accent): Yeah I'm Simon.
Auxiliary: Your brother's on the phone.
Another Souse Simon: I'll call him back.

I turn to The FH (Who is not only called Simon, but is also from Loverpool and has a brother) "Well you're going to have to create a new identity now as he's  just nicked yours."

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Isn't hindsight fucking wonderful?

Warning: ranty, sweary and angry.

There are many things I would allow my older self to tell my younger self if she could... but nothing ever seems as important as the things we did wrong when we bought this house.

Younger self: sit up and pay attention!

You MUST pay for a proper surveyor -

Before the collapse of our economy, there was a time when houses were flying of their metaphorioc shelves and banks were giving away mortgages - "Do you want a 100% mortgage? Sure why not? Would you like a free surveyor with that?"

So as a first time buyer when they say "would you like a free surveyor or to pay for one?" - which one do you think we chose? They fail to tell you that a free surveyor drives past the building and checks it is is there, whereas, other surveyors actually do a building survey and tell you about the things that might cost you a lot of money in the future.

What a decent surveyor could have told me?
  • That all the joists in the front room were rotten and when we would come to pull up the carpets and lay laminate flooring, we would have to budget in the cost of replacing all the joists, as what we were walking on was a shoddy, makeshift job which could have collapsed and one of use could disapperared through the floor at any moment (you will be 7 months pregnant with first child at this point)
  • That the electrics were actually illegal and the house could have gone up in flames at any point. But we would only discover this when getting some building work done and therefore would have to pay for a rewire, every room to be replastered and re-decorated and turn what was meant to be a 2 week stay at my parents (with a partly pooty trained toddler and a new born colicy baby) into an 8 week stint!
  • That the pointing and bricks on the exterior back wall were actually knackered and having replastered every room, two of them would be subject to elements, during TWO Big Freezes,  and the wall will need rendering, the rooms replastering and redocrating ... again!

Take a good look at the Previous Owner

So you may have worked out the previous owner, Mr P, was a bit of a bodge-up, make-shift kind of guy. There may have been some signs, if we hadn't been so excited about buying a house together, we could have picked up on them. However, I have come to the conclusion after living here for numerous years, Mr P was tighter than a duck's arse.

We have recently been given the news are water bill is doubling - why is ours doubling and noone elses?  We are on a meter - oh no we didn't fit it, the previous owner did. Because who fits water metres? Single men who don't flush the toilet that's who. And now we are stuck on it - Forever! Which means our bill can cost up to 5 times more than our neighbours, who can use more water than us, just because some tight fisted tit decided to install a meter and we are now stuck on it!

Can you tell them you didn't know you had a meter fitted?
Yes, and they can say we don't care.
Can you tell them you have a third child on the way and are a one income family and will struggle with the new bills?
Yes, And they can say they don't care.
Can you express how ridiculous the system is and that either everyone should have a compulsory meter or noone, otherwise they are not treating you the same as other customers?
Yes, and they can say as we are the only water provider, we have no competition, we don't care.

And one final note, younger self...
You are very in love and you're both playing it cool; going for the safe option, buying a two bedroom terrace, because who's going to start talking about thrid bedrooms and gardens for the children when you've only just committed to moving in together? Get over yourself younger self and look at the bigger picture: this is the man you are going to spend your life with and have children with (all boys btw, forget the pink now), don't go for a two bedroomed terrace, push the boat out and buy the three bedroomed semi with a garden. Why? Because, there is a fucker of an economic depression coming your way where the price of petrol and a weekly food shop is going to triple. Plus you will give up work, become very fertile and end up living like Mr and Mrs Pontipine  in that tiny house. (Younger Self, Google In The Night Garden for the children's TV reference) Additionally, David Cameron (Google future upper class twats who will run the country) will make it his priority to squeeze the middle and you will never be able to afford to get a bigger mortgage again and your FH will buy you this for Christmas in attempt to save money on the water bill!

Mrs Pontipine

You can't reason with a pregnant woman!

The FH and I actually went to a supermarket... together ... to do a weekly shop. Since we have had children, online shopping has been nothing short of miraculous for us. But every so often we slum it at Tesco, with screaming, small children restrained in the trolley seats, just to remind ourselves why some genius brain invented online shopping.

In our house we have a rule that we don't stockpile chocolate, crisps, biscuits or alcohol. For the simple reason that neither of us have much will power and they rarely last an evening in our house, never mind a week.

"Shall I go get some biscuits?" The FH asked with mischief glinting in his eyes.
"Ooh risky" I smirked "Yeah, go on then - why not?  You choose." There was no way I was going down the biscuit aisle – the selection is too overwhelming, I fear I would never come out of there.0 Plus Fearless had just discovered it was quite entertaining to pick items out of the trolley and throw them on the floor, then giggle as his pregnant Mother struggled to retrieve them, so I had my hands full, literally.  The FH returned brandishing a packet it each hand; reduced fat digestives and Tesco’s equivalent of Hobnobs, aptly named Oaties.
"Wow" I said, genuinely blown away by his choices as he placed them in the trolley.

Fearless immediately picked them up and threw them out, beating me to it. The FH caught them.

"Good job I've got safe hands" he said, placing them at the other end of the trolley.

"Isn't it?" I replied monotonously.

Two aisles later, we were done. The FH went to get some bread, whilst I headed to find a checkout. Unfortunately I got distracted and he found me drooling in the front of the grab bags chocolates where there was a "2 For 1 offer" filling my heart with glee.

I picked up Galaxy Counters and Malteasers, and stood with them in each hand just as  The FH got to me.
"We don't need them Fran."

"I know but I want them and they're on offer"

"We don't need them." he repeated sternly

"I know we don't.” I sighed heavily "But" *dramatic pause* "I am 7 months pregnant, I am allowed a dribble of wine a week, apart from X Factor I have few things to look forward to on a weekend and this is the last time in my life I will be able to buy guilt free chocolate as when this baby is born I am going to have to be on a diet for eternity. I'm getting them." I finished by dramatically throwing them into the trolley, just missing Fearless' head. 
"Well I'll take the biscuits back" he threatened

"What the most boring biscuit ever made worse by taking some of the fat content out and the poor man's hobnob? Go for it."

It was hardly a choice was it?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Unexpected Sunshine

It seemed like it was only me who was not "loving the sunshine" last week. Me, my swollen feet, newly found double chin and pregnancy waddle did not appreciate the October heat wave one bit.
Both my sons were born in the summer, and during their pregnancies I was at my biggest on the hottest days of 2007 and 2009; I could be found almost naked on the decking as The FH sprayed me with water, like he was trying to save a beached whale.
This time, having a Christmas baby, I was looking forward to having my own personal central heating. The summer had passed us by with only a couple of beach days and we had barely witnessed the sunshine caress the decking, never mind the appearance of semi-naked-beached-whale. But, for me, I thought "well I got off easy; bring on the snow. I'm ready."
An Indian summer seemed out of the question. We packed away the crocs and flip flops, put the outside toys back into storage (the playhouse), paired up all the boys’ socks and spent a fortune on winter shoes and lined winter jackets. I even started to make movements to sorting out the cloak cupboard (well I told The FH what I expected him to do). Then -Boom! A late September heat wave - and for the North East the hottest temperature of the summer - Mother Nature, you cow!
 I was surrounded by belated summer joy! Television presenters gushed and giggled at the end of the weather forecast, Twitter and Facebook glowed with Sunkist updates and everywhere I went grinning smiles turned to sympathising, cock-headed looks of pity, as I huffed, puffed and waddled past.
 But being (almost) 7 months pregnant was not the only downside of the unexpected sunshine...

  • Early sunset and high tide - we headed to the beach on Friday, after picking Little O up from school, the Future Husband would meet us there.  My favourite thing about having the beach on your doorstep is making the most of summer evenings and fish and chip suppers. In high Summer the Sun bounces off the sand and promenade till late into the evening. In the last days of September we discovered the autumn sunshine was stalled by the prevailing cliffs and with it being high tide at 4.00pm there was only a thin strip of sunbeams between the cliff shadows and the shallows. This thin strip was closing in on itself as the tide drew nearer and the sun lowered its gaze further.
  • No Salad or Ice lollies. On the Saturday, I was unbearably hot. I had developed a heat rash on parts of my body that will go without mention. All I could bare to do was walk into to town, with the boys and The FH, and get an ice cream. My lovely little seaside town has three traditional sweetshops; each one had a queue out the door for the ice cream booth. We decided to head the supermarket buy a multi-pack of ice lollies and go to the bandstand to eat them, I also needed some lettuce for tea. Turns out Sainsbury’s wasn't prepared for the sunshine either - there was one pack of lollies left, an opened and battered box of Fabs, and one bag of browning lettuce. 
  • Scruffs with no tops. You're prepared for them in July and August, the inevitable desire for most unattractive males to strip from the waist up. But in October, you'd be forgiven for thinking this unfortunate side effect of the summer was over for another year. But there they were again, parading their tattoos and flabby skin around the town. And even if they have spent the last 3 years of their life in the gym, and their bodies are ones worthy of display, they team their naked torsos with tracky bottoms, football socks and trainers (and a gold chain if you're lucky). Now, I’m not perfect, but I think it is in the public interest if I never adorn a mini skirt, regardless of fashion or weather.
Now if David Gandy (see below) were to walk past me on a Summer's day wearing nothing but Armani jeans and  Havaiana flip flops then I wouldn't be offended, but even David Gandy in Adidas bottoms tucked into socks would make my skin shudder.

  • Outrage at the Christmas aisle. Another hot day and I found myself waddling through the supermarket in a sundress and flip flops, only to find myself utterly outraged to be face to face with Halloween masks and confectionary and then utterly appalled to discover Christmas gifts awaited me at the end of the aisle "for fuck's sake - Halloween and Christmas things already!" I muttered to myself. "Well it is October tomorrow" a shop assistant said behind me. "Fair point." I thought, bloody stupid autumn heat wave weather making me look like a Scrooge.

Friday, 23 September 2011


Warning: moaning about Facebook again.

This, unless you have cleverer, wittier friends in your news feed, is the MOST boring, obvious and unfunny part of FB.

Ok, so I'm ranting about Facebook. "Well just get off it" I hear you shout. I can't. It has me by the balls in so my ways, its not even funny... but please come on, are we not over logging into someone's account and writing the most "obviously not them" updates?

Even its name bugs me - anything that includes the word 'rape' should not be associated with humour? They just don't go together, onFB or anywhere else.

Some of the worst offenders...

Lad(s) logs into friend's account and updates status as "I'm gay" / "I'm finally coming out of the closet." / "I play with barbie dolls... " *yawn*

Husband/boyfriend loggs onto partner's account and writes "My hubby./boyf is the best in the world" (Well half of my newsfeed appears with this, written by the girlfriend, so what's new?)

Now this would be funny...

Husband logs into wife's account and writes "My husband definitely deserves a blow job tonight'

Lad(s) log into freind's account and writes "Do you know what I've always thought __________ (name of twattish friend) is a complete and utter nob!

Lad(s) log onto to mate's account and write on the wall of girl they have had 2 dates with "I know this is really early days, but I think I'm in love with you." or..."It's been 2 dates, when am I going to get laid?"

Am I missing something. Is it just my sense of humour, or lack of it?

Please share any Fraping updates that you hate or... Ones which are actually funny!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Eight years on...

It's time for the Rugby World Cup again. I think I have only ever watched one Rugby match from start to finish. This just happened to be the world cup final; the one we won. Apparently I chose a good match. Unfortunately, it didn't spark much further interest.

Back then...

We woke groggy, minging and still a pit pissed from the night before. I have no idea where we had been, but it was a Saturday or Sunday and it was a rare event if mornings (or afternoons) didn't start this way. From the bed, using a coat hanger as a remote control, The FH turned on the TV. The match build up was on. We filled the time by him teaching me the basics, me asking which one Jonny Wilkinsoin was  (he had just starred in an advert with David Beckham) and generally nursing our hangovers with small talk, painkillers and badly buttered toast.

His small flat smelt of stale beer and cigarettes, the walk from the bedroom to the kitchen was an obstacle course of Stella bottles and overflowing ashtrays. The only thing separating us from debauchery of the night before was a few hours’ sleep, a cup of tea and piece of toast. We were undressed, unwashed and unconcerned. He returned from the kitchen, swearing as he stood on a upturned bottle top,  a bottle of lager in each hand and a cigarette dripping from his bottom lip. "Well… How often are we in a world cup final?" he asked, climbing back into bed.
"Exactly" I said taking a bottle from him.

We won, which meant our behaviour was acceptable, we got showered, dressed and became semi-respectable. Hungry, we scavenged the freezer and found a packet of Birds Eye Chicken Pies, which we cooked and ate before we headed out to pub for warm up drinks before the footy kicked off. 'Boro were playing Liverpool at home. I have no idea what the score was, or where we went afterwards, but I know we went to the match and I'm pretty sure it was messy.


The FH swaps his weekend lie in to ensure his "get up" coincides with when  England are playing. I lie in bed, trying to find my missing hours of sleep. Usually I'm trying to block out the screams, wails and shouts from the children downstairs. However, this morning this is mainly what I hear

Fearless: (I imagine is pointing at the TV) Gargees?  (Loosely translated as "please may I watch In the Night Garden?'
The Future Husband: No. Rugby.
Fearless:  Gargees!
The FH: Rugby.
Fearless GARGEES!

... and this continues for what feels like many hours (as Rugby matches often do).

 Later on that day, The FH turns to me and says "My Pint and Pie never arrived."
"Pardon?" I reply perplexed.
"I signed up for a promotion with O2, they said they'd deliver me a pie and a pint before every England game."
"Right." I nod and turn back to the laptop.
"Not that I'd have them that early in the morning" he adds "That would be a bit grim."
"Yeah disgusting.” I agree, as we catch each other's eyes and smirk.

Oh life - how I love how you change us!

Friday, 16 September 2011

This is what September brings...

Another Goodbye 

Moneybags (my brother) came back from Australia, with his Future Wife, for a flying a visit. It was a wonderful week, just having him part of everyday life again, but it ended all too quickly and we found ourselves, stood on the front step, once more, holding back the tears.
"It's just nine months this time"  he reassured us. "Then I'm back for good"
"Oh that's nothing" I teased, rubbing my bump, "Just a pregnancy then - that flies by."
I held it together till the car's engine erupted into the street, then turned by back on the scene and let the tears roll out.

A new homophone

We were driving in the car, me and the boys, and happened to pass a factory...
Little O: What’s that building Mamma?
Me: A factory.
Little O:  That's not a fattree
Me: Yes it is, it's a Fact - tory.
Little O:  No, a fattree is a tree, like in the wood, which has a big round tummy, bigger than mine or... (looking at the bump)  yours. That's a fat- tree.

A 'Who's Who?' page on my blog.

I forget, a lot, that it is not just me and my family who read this... Therefore, I take for granted that everyone understands the blog pseudonyms. And with new followers (a warm welcome, by the way), who missed earlier introductory posts, I understand how 'Fearless' may be mistaken for a dog and 'The FH' as some mystical god, so I thought this may help with any confusion, or maybe not. It's gushing with compliments, to keep them all on my side - all true though. It can be found in the top right hand corner.

Another bollock of day

During this day, I often felt like I was reliving Michael Douglas' emotions in Falling Down, but as I now put it into print, it doesn't seem at all that bad and I am suddenly aware of what a drama queen I am. Hormones must have been raging on this day.

The day started with a tooth ache, which whenever things started to go wrong throbbed and ached a little bit more. Then, I spent too long in  the shower as I was pleading with my tooth to stop hurting, when I came downstairs I discovered Fearless had removed over half my laptop keys and had squeezed as many as he could  into his mouth. FEARLESS!

Any spare moment I had in the following, torturous nine hours were spent either a) looking for microscopically small clips on the floor or b) at the laptop with tweezers in one hand, the other acting as a guard between the keys and Fearless, whilst my one armed pair of glasses continuously slipped down my nose and I frustratingly jerked my head to hold them in place.. This was tedious, stressful, mostly fruitless and generally resulting in me screaming child-friendly expletives at the lap top and making deep throated growls at the Fearless.

The tooth ache continued to gnaw at my nerves and I attempted the first school run of the year, by foot. Fearless screamed all the way there, baby no.3 jiggled and wriggled against my bladder, and Little O cried all the way home because he was tired and thirsty. It was joy.

The final hours before The FH returned home included: the underwire pinging out of my favourite bra and carving its name into my left breast, Fearless smashing a glass, me dropping a plate, a neatly folded pile of laundry been thrown around the house, a bin bag splitting open  as I tried to carry it outside and, finally, discovering too late I had stood in  a piece of regurgitated banana and a soggy pool of Coco Pops.

Consequently, the Ctrl and Shift buttons still remain empty, their skeletal holes forever reminding of that bollock of a day.

The Return of Strictly

Yay for glitter balls and over-the-hill celebrities dropping two dress sizes! When will their celebrity intake list include part time bloggers too? I am a woman of extremes - I either watch excellent TV (e.g. Luther) or terrible (e.g. 90210) there is no middle ground. I'll let you decide which one Strictly enters, then I'm pleasing you all. It has been a whole year since there has been anything to watch on a Saturday Night - and now, as a little blessing from ITV and the BBC I have Strictly and X Factor to count me down through the last 3 months of pregnancy - oh it's going to fly!

A new school year

Little O starts reception. *Gulp*. He's ready. I'm ready. But it isstill is such a massive step and the end of such a wonderful time. However,  I am determined to have some quality time with Fearless, if the bump will allow; it's ever-growing presence seems to have other ideas.  Elsewhere, The FH is still sulking that the holidays are over.

Another embarrassing moment

Sunday is swimming day. As a family we half a 45 minute swim before Little O's lesson, Then O patiently drips dry on the edge of the pool, waiting for his lesson to start. We make a dash for the changing rooms so we can watch him and 9 other 4 year olds, drift around the pool, crashing into one another for half an hour. I take my time getting changed with Fearless whilst The FH makes a swift transformation, superhero style, to watch Little O start his lesson.

Normally, I stick to a strict routine, quick shower, game of hide and seek amongst the lockers (Fearless when stood upright, fits perfectly inside the family sized lockers), then he has a drink and snack wearing  hooded towel in the secure play pen whilst I get dressed, finally,  I get him dressed. Simple. However, today the changing room was empty, so I decided I would enjoy the freedom of space, I thought I would use the communal changing space and let Fearless roam free, exploring the cubicles, playing in the mirror, rolling around the soggy floor etc. Whilst I was, just fastening my bra, I noticed Fearless, had made it through the first set of exit doors. "Surely the second set is too heavy for him" I thought, grabbing my towel and heading that way, just in case. When I got there, the hooded crusader had already gone. I dashed through the doors, only in underwear and a towel, which was wrapped around me barely meeting due to bump and suddenly realised I was exposed to various, fully dressed, members of the public and Fearless, looking like a little gnome, his hooded towel open to reveal all his delights, had already made it to the extremely busy canteen. I just had time to think "fuck it!" and put by best foot forward when I heard the reassuring voice of The FH behind me. “I've got him Fran, you just get back in there” .I still don't know if I was pleased or mortified that he had found me there.

Back inside, Fearless was passed through the door by a giggling FH, as I carried him to the play pen, the look of mischief still glittered in his beautiful eyes, I told him in my teacher voice: "Next week we will NOT be deviating from the routine."

Long discussions, with no resolution, about baby names

So, naming a third boy. That's hard. The first was quite easy, we thought we had picked something original, and like most things, it becomes trendy and now is in the top 20 boys name for 2012. Originality score: Zero. So, with the second, determined to be original, we only considered names that were ridiculous - and when he was born did not name him till hours later - a name that is very original, so original some people question whether it is a name and ask if we made it up,  "There is a sportsman and a semi-famous antique specialist called it" I reply defensively.

So this time if feels like with have already discounted every other boy's name at least twice. Finding a third one we agree on feels like a bigger task than picking the winning lottery numbers.

His list: Leon, Cameron, Ralph (girl's remember Forever, Judy Blume)

My list: Hugo, Roddy, Jude,

You can see why we're getting nowhere. Any suggestions will be greatly received, but we've probably already vetoed them, but you know it's worth a shot.

The Jack Duckworth look... Still!

 The one armed glasses mention earlier, were stood on two weeks back by The FH. The consistently unreliable Specsavers mean I have resulted in sellotape to keep my glasses on my face. By this I mean sellotaping the arm to my frame, not sellotaping the glasses to my face. That would be ridiculous. It's a great look; I think it adds to my charm. Especially, as in public, I take great care to cover said sellotape with hair and then when talking to someone I barely know, like a shopkeeper, nursery teacher, parent of tutee, the arm drops, glasses fall from face and the whole sellotape debacle is publically revealed. *sighs loudly*