Archive for July, 2015

Not tonight love…

Yesterday evening was like any other Saturday evening. A pot bubbled wafts of tasty scents through the house as we sat around relaxing and chatting. Tummies rumbling with shouts of “mum when’s dinner”? There was even some sunshine! Life was good…

That was until my daughter alerted me to a dilemma of sorts. One involving under-age access to a music festival next weekend. She has the ticket, EVERYONE is going, but due to the festival organisers cleverly dropping dramatic warnings about unaccompanied under 18s through social media, she’s worried. She has succumbed to the shock-waves of panic sweeping through the under-age-concert-going community in Cork. Amazing how the organisers didn’t spread these rumours BEFORE the tickets sold out!

What if she is refused access to a muddy field in Mitchelstown next weekend? What if she’s denied the chance to stand knee deep in mud, beer and excrement as she queues for the portaloos? What a dilemma…

Back in the days of the Féile 90-91 ‘Trips to Tipp’ festivals, all us under-agers were herded happily into a hurling stadium, guaranteed access if you waved a can of Harp at the fella manning the gate. Back before there was much awareness of public safety, thankfully! Of course I shouldn’t be condoning this activity, but in reality I’m just jealous!

We’ve all been there! There is nothing like the pressure of queuing to enter a club or event knowing your under the legal age of access. I used to adopt the ‘act casual and confident approach’ as you shuffle towards the bouncers / security. Chatting with apparent ease among your friends, desperately hiding the fear that YOU MIGHT NOT GET IN. Oh the shame, the embarrassment and the disappointment.

As her mother I think my daughter would easily pass for 18. I did myself many times. At 5ft 10 inches tall, she’ll have the possible advantage of staring down any security guy in a high-vis yellow vest, or at least looking him in the eye as she dares him to ask for her dodgy fake ID. Plus she has regular arguments with city bus drivers about paying the ‘child’ fare, I reckon she’s a shoe-in. And NO I won’t Photoshop her passport!!?? Nice try though…

Through all this consideration of potentially illegal activity, I simply thought – if she gets in, she gets in, if not? Sell her tickets and put it down to experience, and a wasted Friday evening bouncing around the roads of Cork. You’ll probably spot me loitering around the car parks of Michelstown next weekend as I wait to collect her. The things us mothers get roped in to!! If I can get close enough, you might see me perched in a ditch trying to hear one of my favourites Basement Jaxx on the country breeze. Am I mad? Simply put, yes.

Speaking of passports, my relaxing evening was about to take a significant nose-dive!

I suddenly thought I’d better check my daughter’s passport as she is travelling to Belgium in a fortnight for holidays with her friend. Of course I’d meant to check it weeks ago!

Ya I was sure it wasn’t out until 2016, no it’ll be fine, sshhh no I can’t make fake age card’s – what sort of daughter am I rearing?? What sort of idiot am I? As I realise that her passport EXPIRES THIS MONTH. Honestly there was a loud expletive roared through the relative calm of the discussions of illegal activities in my house yesterday evening.

F*************k!!!!!!!!! Google, I frantically grabbed the laptop. Google fast!!

Phew…  there’s an emergency service, you simply click the button ‘disorganised gobshites’ and you start the process to renew the passport within 3 working days. She’ll be fine. It will take me a day or so to recover from the shock.

Great. Now on top of a hectic work week ahead, I look forward to the joyous experience of attending a police station with forms and my ex husband followed by hours in the passport office.

Could be worse… and the passport panic certainly put the music festival worries in perspective.

The next time you sit smugly listening to a friend’s woes of a late passport application, CHECK YOUR OWN CHILDREN’S!!! It could happen to you…

Where is my head at?

Are we a normal family?

I’m beginning to worry… is there something wrong with us? Instead of uniting us in harmless entertainment, board games cause screaming rows with occasional physical injuries!

Monopoly is the worst offender by far, plus it’s hard to feel good as you crush your fellow players through bankruptcy, especially when they’re your own children. It demands a considerable time committment however, we’ve eaten meals around games of Monopoly on the kitchen tabel for an entire weekend. Apparently the longest game recorded went on for 70 straight days. Was it fear of this happening that made Fidel Castro ban the game in Cuba in 1959?

Most board games cause fights in our house. With the exception of Guess Who – which isn’t really a board game anyway! Although accusations like ‘you MUST have green hair and glasses it’s the only one left’ are regularly screamed across the kitchen table. We fight like three angry Russians during a night of vodka and poker no matter what game we play. Please tell me we’re not alone?

My children’s different personalities are noticeable during a board game.

Daughter – starts off bossy, in command, ending up extremely stressed and slowly becomes completely frustrated by her younger brother’s complete inability to take anything seriously. She is too generous, kind and without the slightest competitive streak to be successful in the board game arena of life.

Son – cheats and laughs his way through every game, ignores the rules and invariably wins.

A few years ago I bought ‘Game of Life’ to add to our collection and provoke plenty more fights. It came with a 24 page instruction manual. Which was more than enough to put us off playing and condem it to life on the bottom shelf ignored. Last Thursday night we dragged it out and began a frustrating 30 minutes of learning how to play. The game brings you through ‘life’, including choices such as career options, investment opportunities and whether you choose to have children or not. I was amused to see that both of my kids opted out of starting a family based on the list of future expenses involved. Ha! Wise move…

game of life board

MB games developed the Game of Life in 1860. The original board featured cheery spaces for suicide, disgrace, poverty, and prison. They advertised the game as a way of promoting thinking, reasoning and responsibility through play. The modern version is much more positive and features an electronic system of credit cards, a far cry from the original game no doubt.

As we began to play the atmosphere was jovial, until we actually began to participate in the game. Within two rounds we were arguing. By the third round the happy mood had deteriorated into thumping and hair pulling. I had managed to referee the kids in the early stages with a little success, but made the mistake of needing to pee towards the end of the third round. As I flushed I heard a blood curdeling scream, followed by a loud bang, followed by ‘MOM!!’

game gizmo

After this hiatus, the kids discovered that they didn’t need to follow board’s paths and life choices to have fun. They just cheated repeatedly by landing on *lottery* and fooled the electronic gizmo into paying out endless jackpots into their cards. A jovial mood returned. We were all winners!

Thankfully real life is much more enjoyable than the board game!

Left a bit… right a bit… ouch, are you ok? Right, who wants coffee?

No. 2 of July blogging challenge.

Today I am ridding the attic of my car roof-box. I expect a few grazed knuckles as it’s a tight squeeze through a small gap in the hall ceiling. Its removal will involve a balancing act worthy of a circus performer to maintain an upright position on the fold-down stairs, needless to say I won’t be taking part in this manoeuvre!

It’s a gift to friends, payment will be in the form of a few layers of skin and a bottle of tasty red upon their return from holidays in France.

For illustration purposes only, mine was nowhere near this fancy…

I see it as a symbolic event as it marks the end of my adventures with a car full of young kids, a laden roof-rack and the dog thrown in for added excitement. In reality the dog always sits happily on the back seat drooling all over everyone, never putting even one paw in the boot! Her little white hairs becoming embedded in the car’s upholstery for eternity. Nowadays I’m lucky if my kids come to Lidl with me for the groceries, their lives are far too busy for adventures with their mother. Unless of course a shopping centre is involved.

Reading this, you’d think I used the roof-box regularly! I bought it second hand for fifty euro shortly after we got our dog. Back when I was naive enough to think the dog would actually stay in the boot. Back before I found a cheap kennel locally and just left her behind. The dog that is, not my daughter. Although truth be told, I was tempted on many an occasion…

The kennels are on a nearby farm and at eight euro a night, are a bargain! ‘Farm’ is the key word here. It eases the guilt, she often returns smelling of cow shit! Genuinely. This could be a ploy to convince Mr. Kennel man’s customers that their miserable, lonely pets are running care free through his flowery meadows during their stay. Not in fact locked up in a concrete area measuring 6 x 2 feet!

When I bought the roof-box it seemed to burst open with endless possibilities of long journeys and the promise of future adventures. I used it five times! Mostly for wet beach gear, wetsuits, wellies and vain efforts to minimise sand ‘explosions’ upon returning from beach trips. It was also a handy threat; eat your breakfast quickly or you’ll end up in the roof-box, tidy up your toys or… you get the idea.

Big gold parenting star for me!

Lastly, this made me giggle in my Google image search for a roof-box image…

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 with a roof box is ideal for skiing

Can you imagine… buying a Lamborghini Aventador, and slapping a roof-box on the roof??!! I’d say its 0-100kmph speed of 2.9 seconds is trebled when the wind resistance caused by a roof-box is taken into consideration!

Diving back in!

Spurred on by a friend emailing me a pdf entitled ‘365 Writing Prompts‘ a few weeks ago, I have set myself a challenge called ‘The 4 Blogs of July – Claire finally returns to writing*‘, with a subheading ‘Jeeze it took her long enough!‘ and a footnote saying ‘*she should never set herself any challenge, has she learnt nothing?

The absence of blogging in my life has been the elephant in my room, the thorn in my side, the unsightly bulge under my carpet – firmly swept away from my daily thoughts. Whenever I was asked about the absence of writing in my life, I would visibly flinch and recoil in shame before answering in petulance ‘I don’t knooowww….’

I couldn’t answer the question. I couldn’t understand it myself. Why had something that had given me such joy slipped through my fingers? How could I let that happen? I still look back in wonder, remembering the various writing ideas I had, saved in notes on my phone and computer, all dismissed and deleted in a fit of doubt and madness long ago.

I realise I could be setting myself up to fail, I am acutely aware that my 365 days of writing prompts only lasted for 35 days, however it gave me the push I needed to start contemplating a few blog posts again. Wasn’t that the point? To reactivate my writing juices, to excite my mind and give me a gigantic kick up the ass that I so clearly needed!

This first post is really the deep end in a swimming pool of punctuation. I have bounced atop the diving board for long enough, it’s time to dive back in! Who cares if I falter grammatically, the tiles at the bottom of the pool spell W-E-L-C-O-M-E  B-A-C-K. I may stub my toe or slip in the showers afterwards. This writing / swimming pool analogy may have been acceptable for a paragraph, but now it has been flogged to death, the last wisp of air squeezed out of its ring-bands.

Enough. Time to leave it there. Baby steps….

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