Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ten Minutes Ago...

I was standing outside my front door having a cigarette. If I written that sentence back in early July I'd have been at my back door or in my garden having my cigarette. Now I have no back door and my garden consists of some pots planted with flowers and a set of wooden garden furniture sat upon the roof of a pub cellar. Some garden eh? Still at least I don't need to mow it and if Ross can get away with calling his council flat an apartment then screw me if I don't have a roof terrace in my urban home!

Yep, home is not what it was back in Spring. I no longer live in a modern 3 bed semi with views over fields and the sound of sheep for company. Home is now a 3 bed 1800's built flat with views over a packaging company to the rear and a busy man road to the front and the sound of buses, lorries and sirens for company!

I was terrified of this flat when I first clapped eyes on it. It was smelly, damp and just horrible. I think our family and friends who came to look at it back then thought we'd lost the plot! Their voices were saying "Oooh it's huge and there's plenty potential" but their faces...well they were definitely saying "OH MY GOD".

I happily admit that I wasn't sure I could live here. I could see the potential alright and it is huge but I could also smell the damp and see the green stuff growing up the walls! It took 3 weeks of non-stop hard work to get it cleared out and into something remotely resembling a habitable dwelling. In Mid-July we moved in. I cried like a baby when we left our old house. We moved over two days but once I walked out on the Thursday I just couldn't bring myself to go back on the Friday to pick up the last little bits and pieces.

I was dreading that first night in here. I'm the girl who leaves the toilet light or tv on all night when I'm somewhere unfamiliar, the one who refuses to sleep in a bed against a wall and needs to sleep nearest the door. Mitch and I are one couple who don't have "sides" of the bed because I change it to suit where we are! Anyway my fears crept up on me all day and by bedtime I was freaking myself out...I shouldn't have worried. I got into bed (dragging Mitch with me), put the tv on... and woke up to bright sunshine and the noise of the traffic some 8 hours later! I fell asleep straight away and slept right through - a first for me in a strange place!

From that night on this place has been home. The noise, the chaos, the mess, all of it is part of normality now. The flat is still like a tip...there's no real kitchen, we have no cooker, the bathroom suite is in place but the shower isn't and there are holes in the bathroom floor, only Belle and Doodles rooms are wallpapered and finished, there is no carpet in the hall and all the other rooms still need decorated, the doors need replaced as do the windows but I live with it and that is a another first for the girl who wants everything done yesterday and is used to clicking her heels and getting her own way!

So tonight as I stood there having my ciggy and looking around me I wasn't too worried not to hear sheep or see fields. Instead I listened to the screech of the police car shooting down the road, the squeal of the brakes of the bus that had pulled up at the bus stop over the road and gazed at the roof of the warehouse in front of me and then I looked up...the sky was clear and hundreds of stars twinkled away above me and I realised the view I was looking at right now was the same one I'd often stared at in my garden in the countryside. Some things are so different but some things are still exactly the same.

Jenny xx

Time Flies....


My last post on here was the 13th March. Back then I was working for a major employer in Edinburgh, living in a wee village out West and had plenty time on my hands!

It all seems like a lifetime ago now.

Jenny xx

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beating The Bullies....

Last week 11 year old comes in with a face like fizz. After much persuading I get the story out of her that her "friends" have been calling her names, pushing her, telling others not to play with her. The core of this is one girl. Her angry face quickly disolves into one trying hard to hold back the tears.

My face changes from concerned Mother to angry it does when one of your cubs is upset or hurting.

"I'm not going to school on Monday" she whispers. "It's too hard trying to ignore them".

Nope. Nope. Nope. I'm not having that. No first instinct is to go and find the buggers who have made my daughter cry, who have told her she is ugly, who have told her her hair is the wrong colour, who have called her names she (and they) don't really know the meaning of and grab their little necks and wring them but a) that's not allowed and b) that's not teaching my daughter how to deal with this properly.

So I ponder for a minute or two. I face this test of parenthood and consider my move.

I am always teaching my kids that the only weapon you will ever need in this world is a smart mouth and the ability to use it properly.

It's something I believe in. Know how to use your mouth and you can achieve all sorts.

So I gather 11 year old and we get in the car. 11 year old wants to know where we're going. I tell 11 year old that I will explain it all when we get back.

We pull up outside the local shop. There "Friend 1" is standing. We walk past and go into the shop. No sign of the rest of them. I purchase what I need and head back out the shop. "Friend 1" is still outside.

"Hiya Toots, have you seen Emily*?" I ask her. She answers no. "Ok babes well if you do can you tell her I was looking for her please? I'd like to speak to her about something" and we walk away.

We get back to the house and 11 year old is looking a bit panicked. "Mum why did you do that? Emily will know I've told you now". I agree and say yes she will but let's just wait and see.

A few minutes later another "friend" appears alone in the street. I open the door and go out. "Hey Hun, have you seen Emily?" I ask her. Again the answer is no. I move into second gear. "Oh ok Hun. I'll catch up with her later because I want to talk to her about something. I also want to talk to you but since you're here I won't need to look for you"

"Friend 2 " looks at me. The expression of smart ass 11 year old instantly changed to worried 11 year old.

"Ok babes, Belle has told me what happened tonight and what's been happening all week. I'm really disappointed that you have been part of that and I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to have to mention your name when I speak to the Head on Monday. I know your Mum will be annoyed and I know you'll be worried now all weekend about getting into trouble on Monday but I am annoyed and Belle is going to be worried all weekend so we're all square now"

Friend 2 is quick to point out that it was Emily. Emily started it and Emily told them to do it and Emily said she wouldn't speak to them if they spoke to Belle.

By now Friend 3 has appeared and is listening closely. "Am I getting told on?" he asks.
"Where you there? Have you been involved?" I ask him back. He answers yes. "Then I'm sorry Toots but I'll need to mention you to0". Friend 3 is quick to point out Emily started it as well!

I move up a notch. "Ok guys look, I know you're good kids, I've known you both since you were 3 years old but you know Belle is upset and she's frightened and that is not good. I know Emily can be a little sod but when did you guys decide that she was the boss? Who told her she could make the rules and the decisions for you all? If she told you all to jump of a cliff would you do it?. I don't think so. It's a shame because now you're both going to get into trouble because you let someone else make a decision for you."

Friend 2 and 3 look to the ground. I sense victory and carry on. "You know guys, in a few months time you are all going to High School. On day one and for the first few weeks you will be really pleased to see faces and friends from your Primary class until you make new friends and settle in" They are now looking up at me listening intently looking very much like the wee 3 year olds I once knew! "Remember that you all have feelings and imagine how it might be if it was you no-one was speaking to or it was you people were being told to ignore. Imagine if that's you at High School."

"That would be crap" says Friend 3.

"Yes it would" I reply. "Ok guys I'll leave you to think about it and at least now you'll be prepared to speak to the Head on Monday. Have a nice weekend guys ok?"

"Yes Jenny" they reply and walk away.

11 year old looks perplexed when I go back in. "Mum what are you doing? I don't understand. They'll go and tell Emily and she'll be really angry that she's getting into trouble"

I sit her down and begin to try and explain. "Honey, imagine you are Emily. You've been told Belle's Mum is looking for you. That the Head is going to be told what you've been up to. Two of your friends are annoyed because they might now be in trouble becuase they did what you told them too. Belle's Mum knows your Mum. Your Mum is bound to find out. How are you feeling right now? I'll tell you are panicking. You are about to start backtracking and trying to save your skin."

Belle looks puzzled and then nods "Emily is going to be worried"

I say that she will and that it's good if she is worried because now she is feeling exactly what Belle is feeling....worried, frightened and nervous.

I tell Belle to watch some tv and just give it some time.

30 minutes was all it took.

I tell Belle to answer the door. There on the doorstep are 8 "friends". I can hear the "I'm sorry's" from the lounge. I can hear the reasons why things were said and done. I can hear the excuses, the explanations, the regrets and the promises it won't happen again. They give her 2 packets of sweets they have clubbed together for and bought t the shop. I can't hear Emily though....and then..."I'm sorry Belle, I didn't mean it" and on and on it goes for several minutes as Emily finally finds her voice.

Belle turns to me and says "Mum can I go out?" I nod.

I go to the door while she is putting on her trainers. "Well look at this on my doorstep!" They all laugh. "Sorry for making you annoyed Jenny" says one voice from the back. "Yep so you should be you wee brat!" They laugh again. "I want you all to know I won't have bullying and that goes for any of you bullying each other not just Belle ok? It's not big and it's not clever. Try and remember that you've all been friends a long time. If you can't be nice to each other then stay away from each other. If you've nothing nice to say then keep it zipped ok?"

They all nod. "Good. See ya'll later"

Belle heads out.

She returns an hour or two later, soaked, bogging and beaming from ear to ear. Which is how it should be.

Later I put her to bed. "Thanks Mum. I get it now. Make the bullies feel how you feel and they are not so smart"

"Yep that's it" I say "and remember if that fails then just smack them one right in the mouth!" and I walk away and close the door leaving 11 year old in fits of laughter.

Jenny xx

Obviously Emily is a made up name and I'm glad to say it seems to have settled down and things are back to normal. Peace has prevailed and the world is a happier place. I am going to apply for a UN Peacekeeping position in due course!

Happy Birthday....

It's my gorgeous Better Half's birthday today. He's older than 40 but younger than 50. You could say he's somewhere inbetween.

So Happy Birthday Honey.

I Love You Too Much.

Jenny xx

40 Years.

So last week the phone goes and it's my Uncle. He isn't really my Uncle, he's Dad's cousin but he's all the family we have now on that side bar my Great Auntie May and she has Alzheimers and hasn't got the faintest idea who we are, and Jim has always been Uncle Jim to us.

Now it's not unusual for my Uncle to ring me. Since Dad's death (they were very close) he keeps in touch and we try and meet up when we can which is harder than is seems as he lives in Ayr and can't drive any longer due to having the hellish illness that is Parkinsons.

Anyhow he's on the phone and telling me that he's moved house. I'm shocked. Him and Auntie Margaret had a great house and they've been in it for about 20 years. Then he tells me he's bought a wee one bedroom flat in the town centre. I'm puzzled. They had a gorgeous old victorian house before with oodles of space.

Then comes the bombshell. HE has bought a one bedroom flat in the town centre. My Auntie is living elsewhere. They have seperated and are getting divorced! I am no longer shocked. I am truly flabbergasted. My Uncle and Auntie were a great couple. They have been a couple all my life and more. In fact according to my Mum they have been married for about 40 years!

40 years? That's a huge milestone in this age of throwaway marriages. Now though it is no more.
Worse still it seems to be a bitter and acrimonious split as my Auntie has an injunction out on my Uncle and he was put in Jail for breaking the injunction and going home! In Jail? He's 62 years old, disabled and can barely walk properly!

I have no idea what the hell caused this or why and really I have no wish to know. I can guess it involved shouting, arguing, general disagreeing and an element of throwing things around the house which most likely came to a head after a period fo frustration on both sides. My Uncle is not the young, lively, popular man he was in his youth. He is no longer the Regimental Sergeant major, the brave and fit soldier my Auntie married and put up with for 26 years while he was in service. My Auntie is no longer the RSM's wife. She has had her own ill health and has had to deal with the change in this man and their lifestyle.

It's about 18 years since he left the army. The house was full of army bits and pieces. It was their life. There kids were born in Germany. They moved house every few months. My Auntie was a proper Army wife. Their house was regimentally tidy and my Uncle was a proud and popular soldier. Life was ordered and planned as it always is for a family with a member serving in the forces.

It was hard for them all when it ended. When my Uncle went back onto Civvy Street. Could it really be though that 18 years later the change, the illness, the fact they are not the couple they were in their hey day has finally taken it's toll?

I think maybe so.

And it's sad.

So it seems my sister and I have misplaced another member of our family. It's unlikely we'll see my Auntie again. It's almost like a bereavment in a way.

Still onwards and upwards. We'll head through to see the old Uncle and see how he's doing. It's what Dad would do and he's so like Dad there's a wee comfort to be found in chatting to him!

Jenny xx

It's Obvious That...

I have been neglecting this here Blog in recent times.

The reason for this? Well I just can't find the time to sit here and type.

Time eh? It's the one thing in this life there definitely isn't enough of.

Today I have a spare 30 minutes before my day begins in full (meeting my Sis to go shopping, visiting my step-Daughter, taking the wee man swimming, organising a wee party for the back of 5!) so here I am. Take advantage of me while you have me people!

I will endevour to fill you in over the next 30 minutes on what's been going on.

Off I go to begin...

Jenny xx

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Years Resolution...

I made one as is tradition.

I was gonna vow to stop smoking but I still have duty free to finish!

I toyed with celebrating the return of the Spice Girls by getting back to the shape I was in when they first appeared on the scene in 1996 but then remembered that I was about 5 months pregnant then and that's not really a shape I wanna be just now!

I flirted with deciding to join a gym but then I remembered I have a fear of all things lycra so decided to give it a miss.

I thought long and hard about eating more healthily but then realised the meringue had to be eaten today so ate that and banished that thought.

Then it dawned on me. Each year we make these resolutions and each year we are smacked across the chops with the big hand of failure. Why? because we are too aspirational in our resolutions. We are unrealistic about what we can achieve. So I decided to make my resolution something attainable and I gave the matter some thought and decided it need to be something that I could prepare for and not just jump into, something that would require a bit of stamina, something that would require me to use my brain and something I could be proud of.

And finally after a long period of deliberation which lasted ooh a good 3 minutes I found something that fitted the bill...I resolved to paint my toenails! It requires a bit of preparation in getting the feet ready, some degree of stamina in doing the right foot with the left hand without fucking it up and a good degree of thought in choosing a suitable colour and when it's done I can look proudly down on my pretty toes...and, bonus time, it was something attainable and realistic!

I am pleased to confirm that for the first time in many a year I have actually made a resolution and stuck to it! My feet were soaked, my cuticles removed, my feet scrubbed and moisturised (there's the preparation!) and finally I settled on a dark red/maroon high gloss, 5 day chip resistant by Rimmel!

Job done and I feel a slight tinge of smugness which I am sure will last longer than any vain attempt to stop smoking, lose half my body weight, live on celery and watercress or squeeze my ass into some lycra cycling shorts!

Go on try it for yourself!

Jenny xx

15 Weeks And Counting...

Till my Grandaughter arrives!

Yep 2008 is gonna bring with it (God willing!) a wee bundle of joy for me to coo over.

For those who don't know - my Big Bairn (that'd technically be my step-daughter, my first Hubby's eldest daughter and 11 year old's half sister) is pregnant. So Belle gets to be an Auntie and I'm gonna be a Granny (not a step-granny according to Big Bairn but just Granny!) at the ripe old age of 33!

We know that the baby is a girl as Big Bairn and her gorgeous Boyf have had a sex scan to find out and so far she's likely to be called either Sky or Emily but for now is known by me as Lil' Missy (which is highly likely to stick once she's here!).

So roll on April...I can't wait!

Jenny xx

Happy New Year...

All the best people.

I spent Hogmanay in the house this year with my two babies and a glass of coke for company! Better Half was in bed by 10pm as he was up at 4.30am for work.

I watched a bit of TV, had a look round Kickback, kissed my kids at the bells and tucked them up in bed 10 minutes into 2008.

I then settled down and watched the Top 40 80's Films which I'd sky +ed earlier in the night with a hot chocolate and a tin of Quality Street and headed up to bed fairly satisfied with the number one choice of Back To The Future but thinking there were a few that should have been mentioned that weren't (no Ferris Bueller's Day Off) at about 3am without a drop of alcohol passing my lips!

It's all rock and roll with me baby!

Have a guid one wherever and whoever you are!

Jenny xx

On Saturday...

I had a wee gathering at my house.

Now even before the door went for the first time I had arsed the best part of 3/4 of a bottle of wine on an empty stomach which is never a good idea. So I was feeling a bit cheery by the time people started arriving!

As the night went on I dumped Gallo for a dangerous Russian called Smirnoff and happily admit to being completely intoxicated by him for the rest of the evening.

Anyway I trudged upstairs at about 4.15am barely able to keep my eyes open and trudged back down again 20 minutes later to say goodbye to Ross, My Sis, Lynnie and Rob* all of whom (as usual) were last to a very random thing to do kind of way I had taken off my jeans and knickers and had the foresight to put on my PJ bottoms (always a bonus when you come back down to say cheerio to people!) yet I kept my top, bra and jewellery on...more randomly still when I went back up I moisturised my feet and put lip balm on (as I do most nights) but didn't take my make up off! What the fuck?

Anyhow I sleep deeply at the best of times but when I'm drunk my sleep is more a short course in death so my next memory was hearing the doorbell at about 10.30am. The faint Ding Dong was registered somewhere in my head and promptly ignored. Then though the polite Ding Dong was relaced with a not so polite BANG! BANG! BANG! I opened one eye, lifted my head about an inch from the pillow, tilted it to one side like the dog does when she's listening intently, paused for a nano-second to take in the noise and just as I had decided whoever it was could sod off I heard a voice shout "You better open this bloody door!" Now that raised my interest level a bit higher. So I poked the lump lying next to me (who had yet to register any signs of life never mind interest) and murmured "Who the hell is that?" I was prepared for an answer like "Yer ma probably" or "Dammit that'll be my bird" but I wasn't really prepared for "It sounds like Kate*" again I felt my interest level rise a notch, Kate is one of my neighbours and a quiet wee soul. Her Husbad had been at the party but she hadn't as she was apparently ill. The banging had stopped and I heard footsteps stomping away from the front door.

I dragged myself into an upright position and looked at the clock. Just then the phone rang and for some stupid reason I decided to go and answer it downstairs rather than grab the one next to me. By the time I made it down it had stopped. A quick call check later and a listen to the answering machine and it became obvious that it was indeed Kate at the door. She was looking for her Husband who despite living 2 doors away had yet to go home.

I did a quick scout round...I heard someone in the kitchen and opened the door thinking it might be him...only to be met by my 11 year old in her PJ's saying "Well that's the first load in the dishwasher but I'll need to do another later and there were peanuts on the carpet you know!" in a very Motherly way. I nodded and left, feeling decidedly unable to communicate with her at that point. My search proved fruitless...there were no overnight guests to be found!

I headed back upstairs and fell on the bed. I reached feebly for my mobile and sent out feelers to a couple of party attenders on the whereabouts of the missing neighbour. A couple of Beep Beep's later and it was established that rather then walk the 2 doors home when he left at 4.30am my neighbour had jumped in the taxi which was Edinburgh bound and had last been seen at about 7am on the sofa in my Sister's house. She and Lynnie had crashed out about then and the reply came back that he had left sometime between then and now.

Better Half was nudged again with instructions to get dressed and go and let Kate know that her Hubby wasn't here and hadn't been since 4am and that last we knew he'd gone into Edinburgh (I felt it best to leave the fact that that happened to be in the company of a single man and two single females out!). Better Half was not overjoyed at this but agreed it was best to stop Kate worrying about him.

10 minutes later and with me firmly back in bed and aware of a horrible earache kicking in, Better Half returned to say the message had been delivered and that Kate had spoken to her vanishing Husband (who had turned his mobile back on) and that said Husband could "Get to fuck cause he's fucking done it this time"


So safe in the knowledge that my doorbell wouldn't ring and my door wouldn't be banged on and no-one was likely to be shouting at me from outside I pulled up the covers and got comfy again...course as Better Half was dressed he was sent to pick up the dog from the kennels and directed to the kitchen to rustle up sausage (quorn of course!), egg and beans and a nice cup of tea for me...and after eating my breakfast I promptly went back to sleep until 4pm!

I knew there was a reason I only do this party thing once every few's not the party as such or the's the inevitable chaos that ensues afterwards!

Jenny xx
*Rob and Kate ain't their real names. Their real names are Janet and John. Nope that's a lie too!