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We’re caught in a trap… 21, January 2009

Posted by babychaos in baby stuff, General Wittering.
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4 comments

We can’t get out… because we’re waiting for the courier with my new phone.

“We can give you a delivery slot.”  They tell me proudly.

“Great.”  I say.  “When.”

“Wednesday, any time between 8 am and 6 pm.”

Mmm…  Less of a slot and more of a day then.

Oh well…

Needless to say it’s the one day I had two things to go to with Best Boy which I’ve had to cancel.  I can’t even go into the garden because I won’t hear them knocking on the door from there and of course, naturally, it’s a beautiful, bright, crisp, sunny winter afternoon.

Rarer than unicorn poop.

Going begging.

Arse.

I can’t even have a cup of coffee.  We’ve run out of milk and of course, until it’s delivered I can’t leave the house to go to the local shop because that’s exactly when the buggers’ll turn up with it.

Knobs.

So…

What is the estimated time of delivery?

1.  Just too late for us to be able to grab everything and head over to my old home town for Rhyme Time, fun with other babies for Mini Me and a good old gossip with the girls for myself.

2. Just after it gets dark and is therefore too late for us to go out in the smashing sunshine, do the shopping and get the week’s veg from the market.

3.  After 6 pm, at the point where I’ve given up and gone out to the shop to buy a pint of milk.

Always assuming we’ve avoided option 3, where do we think I will be when it arrives?

1.  Bang in the middle of changing the boy’s nappy, ie when I can’t leave him and have to finish – ever tried to hold down an octopus and put an 8 armed coat on it?  Yeh, well that’s what trying to put a nappy on Mr Wrigglesworth is like – he usually does at least 4 full rotations in the course of each nappy change.  I will open the door on an empty street, a receding van and have to do the same bloody thing all over again tomorrow!

2.  While I am on the loo so I have to stop mid flow, wipe and dash to the door, not realising a large piece of loo paper is hanging out of the back of my trousers etc.

3.  In the final stages of soothing the boy off to sleep after a long drifting off session and naturally, too soon to leave him without having to start again.

When will it not arrive, however hard they try?

1.  When it’s convenient.

Oh dear, must go, as usual, boy is reaching through the bars of the playpen for something verboten!

Pipple toot!

Answer:

Just too late to go to rhyme time but wahoo, it’s still sunny so we’re off to the shops!

I am tired… I am weary… but I am also holy today. 23, March 2008

Posted by babychaos in General Wittering, Pregnancy Issues, Small Scale Disasters.
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8 comments

I could sleep for a thousand years…

Yep I’m fucking knackered today. Several missions on the go…

Mission one, should I decide to accept it… bake some edible biscuits. This is proving far harder than it has any right to be. My mother’s biscuits are so fab that I decided I would get the recipe. After all, most mums and babies seem to meet for coffee or tea so I thought that one, I could bake some biscuits which were made with low GI sugar and two, home baked must be more healthy than bought.

I have made rosemary and almond biscuits and two batches of melting moments. None of them bear the remotest resemblance to the things I eat at my mother’s house. To quote Mr BC.

“They’re ok but I wouldn’t eat them for pleasure.”

Spot on.

The only way I’m going to succeed here is to watch my mother making them, so I can see what the dough should look and taste like before I stick them in the oven.

Mission two, make a ratatouille – ok I’m on very firm ground with that one, it’s coming on fine.

Mission three, clean the house. Done. Mwa ha ha haargh… oh sorry did the smug waves knock you out.

Mission four. My father in law has written a book, more a repository for all his memories and stories than anything because he has forgotten so many of the stories his parents told him and realises a lot of this important social and family history will be lost if he doesn’t. Now THIS I am looking forward to. He writes well and the stories I’ve heard are fascinating, amusing or both.

Mission five. Keep upping the number of reps on the physio exercises. The SPD is getting very painful now and you know how when you break a bone the pain makes you really, really tired… well I guess I’m suffering from a dash of that, on top of the fact that pregnancy makes you tired anyway it leaves me wiped most of the time. Bear in mind this is our first weekend home with nobody else here, just hanging out, in seven and the last until the three weekends before Muffin is due.

Idiots? Yes, we are but people keep being 40 and having parties, there’s a wedding, there’s somebody who lives abroad visiting with his wife – we haven’t seen him in 3 years and we haven’t even met her… it’s stuff we want to do but it is tiring the way a whole load of once-every-10-years-if-that style events have cropped up at once, now.

Oh well…

It being Easter Day, today, I went up the hill to the Cathedral to do the God thing. It starts at 10.30 but it was snowing and the snow was up to my ankles.

So knackered and sleepy I spent too long in bed and nearly missed it, at 10.10 I realised what the time was and managed to get dressed, washed, clean my teeth and throw enough cereal down to keep my Muffin-induced ravening maw in check for an hour or two.

Weebled my way up the hill – can’t WAIT until the Muffin inside is outside and I can start to recover from the SPD (I expect I’ll be banging on about rock hard breasts and sore nipples endlessly by then, I’m a born whinger so there’s bound to be something).

Just squeaked it! Got there in time to be wished happy Easter and handed an order of service by a sidesman as the all-stand-the-choir-are-coming-in bell rang.

Found a good seat though, the advantage of being on my own, of course. There are odd seats much closer to the front than there are groups because British people in groups sitting in a row of seats always leave a one or two seat buffer between themselves and the next party.  As I headed over the man on the end of my row moved three seats in!  Result!  Should I need to wee I could waddle off to the loo without disrupting anyone else’s holy thoughts – these services take a while and I only have a short range.

They did Dvorak’s Mass in D. Very nice. Also did the Halleluja Chorus (from Handel’s Messiah) while everyone was taking communion. Splendid, a bit of baroque to improve Muffin’s brain.

Had to nip out for a wee but only once. It turned out the lady behind me – also nipping out to put lunch on – was from my exercise class so we had a nice chat. Asked the sidesman by the door if there was a loo in the cathedral but it was behind the orchestra so fearing entanglements with double basses and other expensive and highly breakable instruments – not to mention things which would make a lot of noise when knocked over. I nipped over the road to the publics…

“I bet that was a relief!” Said the sidesman cheerfully as I came back in.

“It certainly was!” I told him.

The Muffin is lying very low this morning which made leaning forward to pseudo kneel difficult, it made him kick and wriggle and I didn’t want to squish him so I just bowed my head. Actually sitting was hard work but of the three, sit, stand, kneel it was the easier option. I have a kind of period pains thing going on at the moment, mainly, I suspect because low means low. Muffin is RIGHT at the bottom where, frankly, there isn’t really room for him.

The recessional hymn was “Thine be the Glory” sung to a tune called Maccabeus – another Handel classic – which is especially great to sing with a full orchestra plus tympani going in the background. Enjoyed that. Hugely amused by one of the hmm… not sure what you call them, something posher than servers in a cathedral but essentially, that’s what they are.

He was the guy with the incense. Incense is used for high days and holidays in the Church of England. It’s like a small bar-be-queue. A guy fills a pot with charcoal and adds powder over the top which gives off a very pleasant scent as it burns, yep, God’s holy joss stick… with knobs on.

It’s meant to signify your prayers going up to heaven but I reckon it’s left over from days when the great unwashed really were and in order to stay upright and conscious the priests needed something to cover the all pervading stench of the congregation. These were times when the average joe really hummed and nobody wanted to know the words.

The whole shebang is securely fastened in a thing about the size of a teapot which hangs on three chains which are joined to a handle and the tout ensemble is called – technical term here – a “Thurible”. People, you know I couldn’t make a word like that up. It has holes in the top to let the draught in to keep the charcoal briquettes alight and to let out the fancy flavoured smoke. Obviously the more you swing it about, the more fiercely the charcoal burns and the more fancy flavouring you get.

The bloke in charge of it was enthusiastic enough today but when we launched into the last hymn he proceeded to do a series of full, fast loops in the instrumental break between verses. Alone I might have been but I couldn’t help laughing. He was giving it some serious welly, red in the face with the effort and clearly enjoying himself immensely. He was handling it with the deft assurance of the true professional but I couldn’t help noticing that one wrong move and any of his unfortunate colleagues processing alongside, in front or behind him could have ended up out cold. Wisely, they kept well clear.

Glad I went, it was a very relaxing service. Very enjoyable.

The law of cats and other time wasting things… 30, January 2008

Posted by babychaos in Art, careers, General Wittering, handy hints, Life and living, Play, writing.
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Mmm, red letter day today, time for our huge hairy cat, Chewbacca, to have his shots. I book him in for 10am so he can go out have a quick patrol of the parameters and then when he comes back to sit on my lap and purr from about 9 onwards I can lock the cat flap and stuff him into his box before he knows what’s hit him.

Good plan huh?

Yes.

Except as usual, the wheels fall off.

He goes out at the usual time and that is when we realise that our neighbours, either side, have clubbed together to have new TV ariels fitted at the same time. Their gardens – and ours – are full of strange men, friendly but strange nonetheless. There are power tools, noises and smells which do not compute and Chewie does a bunk.

Bollocks.

I wait until he is too late for me to make the appointment before ringing the vet to cancel. Within seconds he is at my side, chirruping merrily.

Git.

I ring the vet and explain he has just turned up. They agree I can be late.

Phew.

Once in the surgery, I open the box. He is sitting with his back to me, sulking. I up end the box and without changing position he slowly slides to the bottom. Finally he is weighed, checked and (hoorah) the vet administers a worming tablet. He is now asleep, upside down, where he shouldn’t be but I will allow him to spend the morning there, to make up for the trauma!

On a completely different note, I have found an interesting website. It’s one of these write stuff and earn rewards sites.

If any of you are up on this kind of thing you’ll know what I’m about, if not it’s places like epinions, ciao or dooyoo where you write product reviews in return for points.

The points add up and if you’re lucky after about… ooooh… ten years or so? You earn enough to redeem them for a £5 Amazon voucher. However for all the sweat blood for bugger all aspect (actually you can earn a good living off them but only if you treat it like a job, submit something every day and read practically everything else which appears so people find out who you are and begin to read your stuff) they have their uses.

Many years go I went to a book signing. I told the writer, Terry Pratchett, that I wanted to write a novel but that it wasn’t going very well because what was in my head was very detailed and somehow I just couldn’t do it justice, on paper.

I asked if he could give me some advice. He said I should just write stuff. Write something every day, write letters, e-mails or write about how I can’t think of anything to write. He said that if I did that long enough, I’d learn to drop the details in, in passing, by instinct and it would all come together. He’s dead right. It hasn’t come together quite yet but it’s improved enough to prove that yes, practice helps.

Anyway, as a writer, before I started writing this blog, I used to write reviews for review sites on the grounds that for those days where I couldn’t think of anything to write, I could pick something to review from their ready made categories and earn a very small amount of money for following Terry’s advice.

I still do this when I’m short of inspiration and then I submit the results to as many article and review sites as I can. In my view, since I’ve written the stuff anyway, I may as well get as many pennies for it as I can, they all add up eventually and/or give me another link to ingratiate me with those nice people at Google.

So, recently, I’ve found this site called Quassia which does pretty much this but it also follows the trend of article sites – you publish lots of articles with links to more information on your own site and it counts as an incoming link andGoogle loves you and yada, yada, yada.

Well, because it’s new, Quassia pays you more points than many other sites. Interestingly, it’s entirely geared to website promotion so you sign up add a website you want people to visit and then go about the process of earning points. The more points you earn the more your site is promoted – a bit like paid listings on Google, only sliding scale, the more you “earn” the higher your link is placed. You can also affiliate an adsense account with your area on the site – which seemed quite a good idea to me.

So… You get credits (they call them Quasia dollars but since they’re points and are not a financial thing, I prefer to call them credits) if…

  • you tell someone else about it and they join.
  • you write an article, yourself, points vary depending on whether the work is original to you, published for the first time on Quasia or elsewhere and how well it gets rated by other users.
  • you look at new articles or “screeng intels” as they, rather pretentiously, call it, written by others and rating them on a quality level A – Outstanding, B – Good job, C – Decent enough, D – Below average, E – Awful or even F – Fail [Reject] although you can fail articles which are not in English, incomprehensible, about Quassia itself or pornographic.
  • further units if your rating is the same as the majority
  • further units if you are the first person to read and rate an article.
  • Any article you submit has to be rated by 10 other people before it goes live.

When you’re rating other people’s work, you get extra credits for being the first to read it and if your rating agrees with the majority you also get bonus credits. I’ve managed double credits for most of the articles I’ve “screened” ie read and rated.

What’s on there? So far I’ve read some interesting recipes, some pretty good SEO and web editing hints and some absolutely AWFUL lyrics and poetry! I got 100 credits for submitting a bread recipe… which was nice, especially when I guess the nearest comparable site would be, DooYoo which gives you a mere 50 points for submitting an article – 50 points which have usually expired before I have earned the minimum redeemable points allowance.
In summary, it seemed like a good place to put soundbites, like yesterday’s thing about cats and static, it seemed like a good place for me to dump writing and earn something useful – optimisation (however little of it) for my business website in the form of links – I doubt I’ll do it enough to get actual promotional value – but if, like me, you have more than one blog or website to promote, it has a handy extra of allowing you to add as many sites as you like, so long as they belong to you.

I’ve no idea if it will work but it will be another useful thing to keep me writing a times like now, when inspiration is thin on the ground and it seems I can earn about 100 credits with absolutely no hassle from rating new articles as they appear. I just stuck the site up in a background window, go there sporadically, refresh the page and then read and rate the two or three new intels which have appeared.

I’ll let you know more when I’ve managed to link it up to my adsense account – which I stupidly linked with this site before I realised adsense on WordPress is verboten.

Still, I know some of you are quite active promoting your blogs (or at least, it looks like it to me although that might just be because I’m comparing your efforts with mine and I do, frankly, bugger all to promote this blog) so I thought the odd one of my readers might be interested. If you are and you want to join then if you go in via my page here I get some credits which would be very nice.

Oh yeh and a word of warning… they don’t respond to my kind of humour very well!  I don’t think I’ll be earning huge amounts of points for any of my material.  After explaining that kneading bread with nail varnish or false nails was a no-no I got, and I quote “Very interesting but lost my attention with the false nails part…yuck!

Scrooge, in person, writes Eternal Questions of Existence 18, December 2007

Posted by babychaos in Adult Content, Grumpy Old Bag, Light Fluff, Small Scale Disasters, whinging, winging.
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8 comments

Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Here they are.

Why do I never pay invoices the MOMENT they arrive so I don’t spend days over the subsequent weeks wandering the house distractedly with my cheque book trying to find the screwed up piece of paper they sent me with the VITAL number which MUST be included with my payment.

If I can remember the amount and the address to send it to by heart, why can’t I remember the sodding VITAL number as well?

Why does Goldfish – my credit card or bank as it now is – think backwards, so on my statement, if I have over paid my credit card and am in credit they show it with a minus sign?

Why do they send me a two page A3-sized bill approximately three inches squared of which is the part which gives me the nitty gritty?

Why do they treat me like a moron when I ring up and ask if the £-4.50 they have put on my account is really minus – and therefore payable – or credit?

If the minimum required payment on a debt of £100 is £5 why are they so bothered when I owe them £1.20 that they are prepared to charge me £20 administration fee if my cheque – which will cost them about £2 to cash, arrives late?

Why am I still with the bastards?

Why do they keep sending me cheques, I have a credit card why would I want to use it to guarantee cheques, I have a fricking cheque book to write cheques…? That’s another useless piece of financial paper I’ll have to clutter my life with for years or burn.

Where would I be without internet banking? Well… £20 down every month, for starters.

How do people who don’t use internet banking a) have the slightest clue what’s in their account and b) pay a single bill on time.

Why does sitting down to pay my bills fill me with complete dread and panic… no actually I guess the first point sorts that one.

Why, when I put every single invoice I receive in the same safe place for payment at the end of the month, does one always turn out to be somewhere completely different?

Why is it that the completely different place takes three days of anxious searching to find?

Why does my timing suck so badly?
Our house is a complete tip. We chose the coldest days of the year so far to have a new boiler installed so have spent 24 hours without heat. Yes the crapness of our timing is impressive. Never mind, the old one was limping a bit and I hate to think what would have happened if it had broken in the 2 weeks the gas board was closed over Christmas and New Year… so sort of reverse smart. I will be spending the next god knows how long cleaning the place up. Brick dust is not my friend, not the hoover’s friend… nor anyone’s friend. Brick dust is a shitter to get off. They were lovely chaps though.

On the up side, I have another art commission, on the down side, I drew the whole thing and then, just for a change, completely fucked up the lettering*… never mind, I’ll just trace the drawings… except for the horse, actually that was a bit crap… yeh, it’s probably for the best that I’ve got to draw it again… that’s if I can get the bloody house remotely near clean by the end of the week, of course. On the up side, at least I hadn’t coloured the bastard thing in.

I have found and paid this month’s lost invoice.

But there were two and I am panicking about another one.

I am going out tonight and I don’t really want to.

BUT the heating is on and warm.

I have at least 15 letters to take to the post office which are international or packages which must be weighed. The time from door to the counter is averaging 2 hours. Hmm… I will have to make sure I take a book… and possibly a folding chair.

Where is my usual sunny disposition?

Why am I such a miserable bastard about Christmas?

All I can think about is the obligations I haven’t fulfilled, how worried I am about the presents I haven’t bought/sorted/wrapped, whether I have covered everyone. Whether or not my Mum will throw a curve ball by introducing one of my many completely barking relations – removed cousins, mostly, most people in the world appear to be distantly related to my Mum – into the mix over Christmas without telling me until moments before they arrive and I have no present for them.

She has this thing about nobody must be alone for Christmas… there is always a hanger on from work, church or somewhere and while the odd one is great fun, there are others who are clearly alone at Christmas for a reason… Oh dear, the depths to which I will stoop, I apologise for my lack of christian charity! Then again, Mum has enough to make up for both of us!

Hmm… How many “maiden aunt” type presents should I wrap for unforeseen guests and should I take maiden uncle presents into account, as well? Yeeees… probably.

Why am I even asking the Christmas question? I have an over active guilt gland and I hate organising shit! With a constitution like that, hating Christmas is a given. If I had my way I’d not celebrate it at all but unfortunately that can’t happen unless everyone in my huge family decides to follow my lead.

Blimey! I’ll have to pull some positivity out of the bag soon or I’m going to go completely off my tree. I should be enjoying thinking about the people I’m getting gifts for and choosing what they want, instead I’m worrying I will fail to buy anything fun and disappoint them. It’s all to do with how you look at it and I am looking at it waaay wrong!

Have you noticed that there are only 30 Christmas pop songs, tops whereas there are hundreds of carols and all sorts of different recordings, none of which is particularly annoying – unless we’re talking hammond organ or pan pipe classics, of course.

Conversely, if I hear the Phil Spectre Christmas Album in one more fucking shop I will do somebody an injury… I guess when I was a kid there was a mix, carols in some shops, pop in others… but this year it’s strikingly apparent that there is no mix, it’s the Best Christmas Album in the World, Ever or the aforementioned Phil Spectre album EVERYWHERE until my ears bleed.

Since November.

Then again, at least I haven’t had to shop through Mistletoe and Wine yet and I haven’t heard the vomit-inducing “Last Christmas” by Wham either. Every cloud has a silver lining.

What bits of the pregnancy timetable have I forgotten to organise for New Year? Nope, I’m not going to go there, I’ll let the midwife tell me on Friday… do I think there’s an outside chance I’ll remember to wee into a bottle first thing on Friday morning? Probably not, it has to be the first one of the day, too so I’d better go for a dry (oh ho ho) run on Thursday, just to belt and brace… it doesn’t go off does it?

Nope, I won’t even think about that. I’ll go and put a jam jar in the bathroom NOW… subtly, where Mr BC won’t see it… but I will… hmm…

Oh look! You’ve been saved by the bell! Somebody’s come to the door to buy some of my cards.

* I always fuck up the lettering as standard and have to draw the bastard thing twice, even if I manage to do it right and then do the art work, I tinker with it last thing and stuff it then.

Additional: Hugely amused to find I am not the only one. Upon returning home after a 40 minute wait in the Post Office and a very unsatisfactory result – sent a package to America 4 weeks ago, tracked as a paper and packet for £1.98, sent the same thing, today and it was £3 something… go figure.

Anyway, got home and Mr BC was back from his meeting in town. I could hear him rustling around in the kitchen. His mobile phone was ringing and instead of answering it he was shouting.

“Fuck off! Fuck off and leave me alone!” And sipping his tea.