The original, award-winning Crash Test Mummy blog... voted Top Ten website by those nice people at Easily - started summer 2006 and temporarily abandoned Spring 2007 when my Dad got carted off to hospital and subsequently handed in his lunch pail. The blog has now moved to The Daily Grind page, and picks up from June 2007. Here is the original column...
21.4 07 Banging My Head On A Wall: I don't mean to be alarmist, but if you live
in my area and are aged over 70, try not to get sick and go to
hospital. So stunned am I by the shocking treatment my old man is
currently (not) receiving, that I am now considering taking out another
mortgage to get him out of there and into a private hospital where he
might actually get some attention. I shall say no more. If I start, I
doubt I'll ever stop.
Cardio Creche: Some of you have noticed my absence lately, which I now
explain with word that my dad hasn't been well. I have spent the last 3
weeks battling with the health service, taken him to 3 doctors, and
finally (after holding a gun to his GP's head) had to get him into
hospital on Friday. What the GP had said was indigestion/low blood
sugar/too many Werther's Originals, actually turned out to be heart
failure. Easy mistake to make, huh? Unsurprisingly, we arrived for his
'emergency admission' and were told 'no beds - go and wait in A&E
with the drunk people'. To cut a long story short, we're talking 36
hours before he made it to the cardio ward. He'll be in for a minimum
of 6 weeks, which should be plenty of time for him to contract a couple
of superbugs, or die from the grotesque so-called food they present him
with. More about this on the Grannies page...
10.4.07 Losing the
will to live: I look like an Easter egg, the freeloaders are off school
for another whole week, and we have a mouse infestation. They are
currently building an extension behind the kitchen units.
Inertia: I've been awake less than an hour and I can't be bothered to
do anything today. Can't be arsed. I am truly inert. Am going back to
bed to watch Philip and Fattie on the tellybox.
Has Sprung: First day of spring today, although you could have fooled
me. It's about minus 40 outside and my body is still trying to
hibernate. I'm so fat now that I've taken to wearing my husband's
clothes. Keep forgetting I'm on a diet and accidentally eating biscuits
and buns, then thinking, damn... I knew there was something I was
supposed to remember.
Mothers Day Aftermath: I'm not entirely
sure what happened, but I have the mother of all hangovers today. Awake
at 5am, lying there trying not to honk, and now have to endure the
school run. I'm probably still over the limit. Oh well. I suppose I
could go and shuffle around Asda for an hour and try to sober up.
Looking at the people in there always makes me feel a bit better about
myself. Saw the fattest man in the world coming out of the doors last
week - it was truly disgusting, like Jabba the Hut in a shell suit.
Talking of which, I'm starting my latest diet today. When I sit down I
can feel my side flab against my arms. Nice.
Bank: I don't know why I bother going to the cashpoint. Saturday
morning and the teenagers have stripped my purse and gone off on the
bus to the nearest confluence of grunting, spotty friends. I've lost
count of the times I've tried to buy a packet of fags and a bottle of
meths up the shop only to find I can't pay for them. They know my pin
number too and now my card details are registered with every online
retailer in the universe. Just wait til they grow up. I'm going to move
in with them and wee on their sofas.
5.3.07: The Reluctant
Gardener: My husband has been put on 'gardening leave'. I'll say no
more. He, of course, is pretty thrilled that he's got some time off
before starting his new job. I, on the other hand, am now mercilessly
marooned with a husband who, frankly, is not supposed to be here during
the day. Now I have to pretend that I use my time in a constructive
manner. Gone now is Biscuit Hour With Trailer Trash TV, and the eons I
spend lying around going blah blah blah on the telephone. I'm having to
eat something trim and quick for lunch instead of preparing my usual
gourmet treat for the day and having a good old muncheroonie with a
massive glass of wine. It's due to go on for some weeks, so I may have
to contract cholera and check myself into an isolation ward.
Birthday To Me: Yes, it's that most important of days. Having been
married for five billion years, I know to give my husband a list with
very specific instructions with regard to my gifts. Confident that I
couldn't go wrong, I received the carrier bag with glee, only to find
that it contained entirely the wrong thing. How the fuck can you
confuse a bottle of perfume with a bloody candle? I wrote it down in
black and white but, oh no, much too confusing. 'What's this?' I
demanded. 'A candle,' he smiled nervously. 'I wanted perfume,' I
yelled. He went white. The rest of the conversation I can leave to your
imagination, including the part when I demanded he show me the list I
gave him and read it out loud. It's all right. I'm not too upset about
it. He's going back to the shop today (I have kept the candle as a
consolation prize) and I fully intend to get my own back when his
birthday comes around. I'll be buying him a dress.
B***ards: So. Half term is over and I wake up this morning rubbing my
hands together only to find that today is a so-called Teacher Training
Day. This roughly translates to 'extra day off' for those poor
over-worked teaching staff. Excuse me? Well I'm sorry, but I think they
are a bunch of lazy taking-the-Mick public service spongers. Our
schools here were closed for 2 days when we had that pathetic flurry of
snow. Was there a single flake of it on the roads near the schools?
Take a wild guess. I am very tempted to get in my car this morning
anyway with a couple of cans of spray paint and graffitti exactly what
I think of the lot of them right across the main entrance.
Half Term Week: Oh joy. The teenagers are off school for a whole week
which means I get to listen to them screaming at each other during the
day aswell. I have decided to take an entirely zen approach from now
on, which means sticking my fingers in my ears and saying la-la-la-la I
Can't Hear You. By reducing my own standards of behaviour,
communication becomes much easier. They look at me uneasily and even
offer to make me a cup of tea now and again. Meanwhile I stare at the
wall in a comatose manner and speak to inanimate objects. Seems to be
working a treat.
15.1.07: Things Are Looking Up: Yes, my
friends, not only have I escaped, but I have also had a very
intellesting week. All these years of biding my time are finally
beginning to pay off. While I am away, I shall be plotting Phase II of
my exit-from-responsibilities plan. The way the years shoot by, I
reckon those kids will be off my hands before I know it. Cool.
New Year: although why I should be rejoicing at the prospect of another
twelve months of misery, God only knows. I am currently suffering from
concussion after my nephew decided to dislodge a piece of furniture and
aim it at his auntie's head. Maybe it'll knock some sense into me.
Anyway - here's to 2007... may it bring you health, happiness and good
fortune, and if none of that is forthcoming, may I suggest you set fire
to your house and everyone in it.
21.12.06: Breakdown, anyone?:
My 'to do' list today is longer than the Amazon and most of it involves
being dragged around the shops by the heaving crowds. Having finally
got my shit together and jumped in the car, it has of course refused to
start. So I ring the AA (again) and am told that I can't book a call
out because my husband is already broken down and freezing his nuts off
on the hard shoulder of the M40. So, there is a God....
Thank God It's Friday: I don't think I could have taken much more this
week. Teenager number 2 is breaking up for Christmas in about, oh, an
hour. The Valium I ordered from Drugs-R-Us online still hasn't arrived.
Does nothing work in this country?
5.12.06 Worrying News: Ruth
The Housekeeper didn't turn up for work this morning. In all these
years, that's a first. She usually gets her husband to ring up with a
lame excuse, rather like a parent might ring the school with a lurgie
report. I'll be keeping an eye on the local news bulletin tonight to
check she hasn't been caught trying to shin over the wall of her local
Co-op and escape. Further worrying news... there's something seriously
wrong with my bathroom scales. The digital display flashes 'XFB' within
moments of my mounting them. They must be broken, as were the three
previous sets. I am seriously thinking of writing to Trading Standards.
1.12.06: Flinglish: I feel really ill. Just had a massive fried breakfast. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Invasion of House Bugs: Being the generous kind of person that I am, my
doors will be thrown open to the Travelling Wilburies who have been
backpacking around the world and are now in serious need of a bath. I
am pretending to my husband that it's all a massive inconvenience,
while secretly rubbing my hands together and planning various
complicated sorties with the guest wife. This week, there are four of
us long-suffering women ganging up on Thursday to go 'Christmas
Shopping'. Yeah right. Roughly translated, that means we'll turn up at
a restaurant somewhere around midday, have civilised pre-lunch
drinkies, then fall out of the door around 4.30pm when the staff
finally refuse to serve us.
16.11.06: With my husband away, I
have put my 'me time' to good use and booked a great big tropical
holiday for myself in January. By the time he gets back tomorrow, there
won't be a thing he can do about it. Clever, eh? I have been in cahoots
with Ruth The Housekeeper to take over the daily grind of the school
run/shopping/feeding/shouting and the kids. All I have to do is pack a
back and sneak out before he gets home from work on my departure day. I
am feeling very pleased with myself indeed.
the amateur fireworks display orchestrated by Danger-Husband on Sunday,
our lawn now looks like Arthur Scargill's hair.
19.10.06: I had
a real bath this morning. With real water and real soap. No idea how to
turn the new heating system off so I am now dying of tropical heat
exhaustion. Update: So I called Darren and pleaded 'how do you
turn the bloody heating off?' Lots of plumbese followed. He made me
ring him back with a mobile in hand, standing in front of the new
boiler, (because it was that complicated). 'See that switch in front of
you?' He asked, to which I replied, 'What? The one that says on and
off?' 'That's it,' he said. 'Turn it to the off position.'
: I'm stressed. Plumbers arrived yesterday and started ripping out the
central heating and hot water system. Being men, they are making as
much mess as they possibly can. Being a woman, I am viewed as the
tea-making machine, and I am not to make any comments about the damage
they have caused (foot through a ceiling yesterday, flooding caused by
someone leaving a pipe disconnected), because women don't understand
these things. It's okay, I can bide my time. They'll make a start on
the biscuits soon, having no idea what I've done to them. I can hear
them laughing upstairs. Yeah, go ahead suckers.
In the meantime,
we've got no heating, no hot water, a hole in the ceiling and a sodden
carpet upstairs. So there's me this morning, boiling the kettle
non-stop from 6.30am, hulking buckets of hot water upstairs while
teenager number one does her pieces and threatens to kill herself if
she can't wash her hair. God, it's temping sometimes, isn't it?
I got a parking ticket today. Sixty quid. The moron that stuck it on my
windshield is obviously completely BLIND as there was a valid ticket on
my dashboard. So I rang them up, as you do. The grumpy old bag who I
spoke to said I have to write in now, with the ticket, explain why I
should not be criminalised, and keep a photocopy of everything in case
they lose it because they are soooo incompetent. Give me strength.
Since when do I have the time? If it's going to be such a massive
inconvenience I may well just drive down there and stick it to her head.
I've crashed my car. Last night. The other car was blue. I know this
because there is now an enormous streak of blue paint and dented
bodywork down one side of mine which, incidentally, is red. Not a great
look. I also have a horrible feeling that the other vehicle involved in
the accident may have been a Porsche. The reason I am unsure about the
other car, is that it was parked, and I didn't stop. There was some mad
woman in front of me playing chicken run and a man behind me who
probably ought not to have been at large in the community. I pulled
over when I found a space (about eight miles away) and called Camden
police to tell them what I had done. I have to go to the cop shop this
morning and get a naughty-drivers' form. So, if you happen to live in
the Belsize Park area, drive a blue Porsche, and have found your car
somewhat rearranged this morning, it was me. Still, that's what you get
for driving a wanker's car.
4.10.06: I'm all alone in the house.
No kids. No stinking husband. No housekeeper. Do I do the laundry or
check that bottle of gin hasn't gone off? Decisions, decisions....
AMAZING STOP PRESS: DEAL OR NO DEAL... Ruth the housekeeper won the
phone in bit of Deal Or No Deal! Two thousand of your finest English
pounds are winging their way to her as we speak. She has no intention
of telling her husband. Way to go, Ruthie!
27.9.06: I'm not very
well. Got a dose of the 'well-bad lurgie' (as teenager number 1 calls
it). Am now bumbling around the house smashed out of my brain on Night
Nurse. I understand they do a non-drowsy Day Nurse version, but where's
the fun in that?
20.9.06: The central heating's been on the
blink and I just got the quote this morning to sort it out. Five
bleedin' grand, plus VAT, plus each radiator has to be fitted with some
kind of valve that costs twenty-five quid a pop. There are 28 radiators
in the house. I'm rubbish at maths but even I know how many pairs of
shoes that equates to. It's enough to make you weep.
Anyone who has had any dealings with Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk will
be thrilled to hear that I (politely) told them where to shove it
today. The in-store staff have to pass thick-o-meter tests before they
are hired, and I've seen more intelligent things lurking at the bottom
of the laundry basket. Delighted to see today's reports that they have
been fined half a million quid for rubbish service. My next task is to
get all the money back that they have plundered from my bank account.
Hooray! One down, one to go. Elder kid went back to school this
morning. Stuck with the other one until the 18th. I feel like opening a
bottle of gin. Mind you, with me now reduced to wearing wraparound
horse blankets, the diet has to start today. I suppose I could always
use slimline tonic and substitute two slices of wholemeal toast with a
scraping of low-calorie spread for a cocktail umbrella.
Younger kid is moaning 'I'm Bored'. I swear, if I hear that one more
time, I cannot and will not be held responsible for my actions. The
last week of August. Like the final mile of the marathon. I am
calendar-watching and clinging on by my fingernails waiting for the big
red letter day yelling 'Back To School'. I am completely unable to fit
in my secret life alongside the holidays. All internet connections in
my house are up the swannee except one, which we are now all fighting
over. It is most frustrating.
27.8.06: The piano-tuner turned up
this morning. Deaf as a post, he bellowed at me 'MORNING! SORRY I'M
LATE!' He is now smashing away at a very out of tune grand in the
sitting room. I've opened all the doors so the teenagers get the full
11.8.2006: After the abortive Cornwall sortie, you'd have
thought I would have learned my lesson. Yet there I was, stuffing
things into bags and about to get on a plane to Portugal, teenage
daughters from hell in tow, to spend a few days with a girlfriend who's
husband is wedged-up enough to have a rather nice pad out there. He's
had to come back to Old Blighty for a few days to take care of some
business, so his wife and I have contrived to take advantage of his
absence. She has shipped in several cases of vino collapso, so things
are looking up.
Teenager number one is doing her pieces upstairs
as I've told her 'hand luggage only, lady.' God knows, she needs an
aircraft carrier just for her make-up bag. Teenager number two is still
in bed at midday. On the upside, I'm leaving the husband behind. Ruth
the housekeeper is under instructions to count the empty beer cans by
the bin and report back to me on Friday. I may even take a few fuses
out of the junction box just to amuse myself.