Friday, 31 August 2007

You live and learn

I didn't stall the car a single time this morning.

Those of you going "bhah!" should kindly take into account that being a lady of considerable years I just embarked on car-taming adventure quite recently.

Back in Home Ground I was a seasoned townie and fiercely proud of it. Always lived near city center. Walked everywhere (OK-OK, used cabs a lot). It never even occurred to me to learn driving. Even if it did there were several very weighty factors to keep me from doing so.

  • Traffic. Anybody who has ever experienced city center traffic at rush hour knows that by the time you get from A to B in a car you could have got to said B twice on feet with a little pub stop in between.
  • Parking. By the time you find a spot to dump your cherished vehicle the movie (meeting/pub crawl/etc) will be long over. When you get back to your car you can happily practice your damage assessment skills by counting broken windows, nicked wheels or some creative key/pen/nail induced artwork on doors.
  • Money. Petrol+insurance+parking+maintenance=one broke Foreigner. Oh, did I mention you'd have to buy a car first? Oopsie. How could I forget. Such a minor wee expense.

But beyond all those practical reasons I am quite frankly freaked by cars. Don't mind sitting on passenger seat at all. Can happily make my way through the most mind-bogglingly mad junctions (even with a buggy filled with wildly annoyed baby, proven fact). But sitting behind the wheel makes me instantly paranoid.

You see, there is no way I can be in control of 3000 pound concoction of processed natural resources, that's just silly. It's bigger than me. And heavier. And probably just waiting for me to drop my vigilance levels. And THEN it'll get me...

No way I was going to present one of them monsters with an opportunity.

And then I moved to Ireland. Into a village.

Suddenly I couldn't even get a haircut without dragging the poor long suffering Ultimate Other Half with me. I needed him to go shopping, visit a doctor, get a bikini wax, go to work... Time after time I mused aloud that I really SHOULD learn to drive. Leaving it happily at that and dragging Other Half kicking and screaming into the car to give me a lift.

Then Sir Sprout popped out and things got serious. At first it was just driving lessons.

"Some people have natural knack for driving," one of the instructors told me. "Others just need to practice and practice and practice!" Cue thoughtful look in my direction.

Oh. Really. Thanks for words of wisdom. (Bitch!)

Once I managed to keep the amount of stalls per minute below 5 I proceeded to practicing with our own car as suggested by said driving instructor. Most likely to save her some big bucks on Valium.

And, boy, did I hate every minute of it! I growled, I sulked, I snapped, I mumbled, I cried. The Ultimate Other Half, a kind and compassionate human being, did not deserve the horrible realization that he had married a neurotic hag who will probably eventually end up running amok and scalping the cattle.

Therefore I have every right to announce with just pride and satisfaction that I did not stall the car a single time this morning.

I did yesterday though.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007


I am not good at mathematics.

True enough, my Mom is still proudly nurturing "Best Mathematician in Class" badge. It was granted to me at the end of first grade. I guess it was my academical high.

All went downhill from there.

For a while things were not too bad. I managed multiplying and dividing with some bravado. Then they brought in equations involving all sorts of unspeakables like "x"-s and "y"s. At that point there was a proverbial "zap!" and the lights were off. For good.

Thing is, my brain just doesn't function on that level. I DO have some traces of abstract thinking. It's just as long as I don't feed any mathematical conundrums into my biological floppy drive.

I have a reverent admiration for The Ultimate Other Half whose brain is very much tuned into that sort of thing and who enjoys immensely solving Sudoku puzzles, the more complicated & time-consuming the better. And it serves as an excellent excuse to leave all the bill-paying duties on his shoulders.

But I still prided myself in my ability to add 2 to 3 and get 5. Wrongly so, it appears.

Last week I started to think about my holiday balance for this year. It was a happy thought since I spent good part of 2006 and 2007 on maternity leave thus not using up many holidays. There were couple of days taken there and then and two weeks for a trip to Home Ground this year. Didn't remember much about last year but was quite certain there had been couple of trips and quite a few days off but not all the holidays for the year used up for sure.

I sat down and pondered. I was sure there should be enough to take some time off in October and still cover Christmas weeks. About 15 days, I guessed. That's plenty.

Just to be on safe side and maybe even do some planning ahead I sent short query to HR department. This week I got an email back from them with a little neat Excel report attached. I opened said report with mild curiosity.

Your holiday balance for year 2007 is 26 days, it said.

So, let me get it right, my holiday balance is more than my yearly holiday allowance???

I checked everything twice. They had all the days I had used up marked.

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect old teapots or candy wrappers or tissue box covers or Barbie dolls. I collect available days for vacation.

When I hit 100 I will throw a party. You are invited.

I might even take a day off!


Estonian discus thrower Gerd Kant won a gold medal today on Osaka Worlds Championship in Athletics!

Excuse me while I raise the flag!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Good thing we are not wedding planners

We have a wedding to attend next Saturday. Me and The Ultimate Other Half, just in case you thought I'm using a royal "we" here.

Originally Sir Sprout was supposed to join us. So, typically for first time mother all my preparations were circling around himself. I got him a cute outfit. Soft leather recommended-for-the-babies-under-the-age-of-two-for-
ensuring-healthy-feet-development booties. Adorable little baby braces. Backup outfit for those unpredictable food/barf related incidents.

The Ultimate Other Half didn't say a word.

I had visions of well behaved little angel sitting pertly on my knees while the blushing bride is swanning down the aisle, pausing for a moment just to take in the unearthly beauty of my precious child. I had bought a special not-quite-fancy-but-roomy-enough-to-take-extra-nappy-and-
packet-of-baby-wipes handbag. I was just about to start looking for plain white bibs to harmonize with his outfit.

The Ultimate Other Half still didn't say a word.

Then we sat down to discuss logistics.

"Do you know where the wedding invite is?" he asked.

I thought about it. Hard. No, I didn't.

"Where is the church? Do you remember?" he asked.

"Ermmm ... Ennis???" I guessed.

"Not in Mayo?"

"Or maybe it was Galway," I mused.

We looked at each other.

"We better find that invite," I came to a conclusion.

"Do you know what time is the church?" asked the Ultimate Other half.

I was starting to get a bit annoyed.

"How would I know?"

"Thought you might have remembered," he sighed.

Conclusion was the same. We better find that invite. (We did. Two days later.)

But Other Half had more questions.

"Are you sure the hotel room is booked?"

I was pretty sure. Almost. Not that I had booked it. Or checked. Or knew exactly what hotel we were staying in. So I said the only thing I could have said.

"I think so. Gotta ask Shelly."

The Ultimate Other Half seemed to be satisfied with that answer. Phew.

That's when we started talking about wedding itself.

Once we had got past the fact that Other Half needs a new shirt and that I will get shoes from Shelly the conversation steered towards the joys of juggling the baby and a wedding dinner.

Then it occurred to us that we'll probably miss it. Or at least a big part of it since Sir Sprout does not look kindly at major changes in his bath/bed time. And that unless we put up travel cot in the function room one of us needs to stay with baby while the other one gets merrily drunk.

There was a long sad silence.

"So what will we do?" I asked.

And that's how we decided to dump our bundle of joy with adoring grandparents and take on the wedding on our own. Be it in Ennis, Mayo or Galway.

He can practice his table manners there. Maybe we will take him next time.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

From the jungle that is my hard drive

Information overflow. Crash into a tree.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Just another day

The Ultimate Other Half (at lunch time, just as I'm starting the car): So have you finished all your reports for today?
Me (shocked): That was an INCREDIBLY insensitive thing to say!
Other Half: What?
Me: grrrrrrrr
Other Half: So have you finished them?
Other Half: I guess that's a "no" so...

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

How come he hasn't shot me yet?

No honestly, I'd like to know. Sure enough, maybe The Ultimate Other Half doesn't have a gun but appearantly those are not hard to come by nowadays.

Or maybe he is just a particularly nice and sensitive guy with a patience and endurance of a camel.

Now to think about it it must have been on the Top 10 list of Reasons I Married Him.

This time it all started in MSN with a seemingly innocent picture of wooden doll house.

Me: Can you see something constructionally very weird about that house?
Ultimate Other Half: (after a pause for investigating the picture closer) It has chimneys but no fireplaces? Bath but no toilet?
Me: Aw come one. Look at the staircases!
Other Half: What about them?
Me: They don't GO anywhere!!!
Other Half: Yes they do!
Me: No they don't!
Other Half: Look closer, the staircase is coming up next to the bathroom!
Me: FFS! Ain't we lucky you're not an architect!

At this point the phone rang. Obviously The Ultimate Other Half had decided he was not getting anywhere via the messenger.

Other Half: Come on, look in the bedroom next to the wardrobe.

This time I actually looked closer and alas! there it was, staircase coming up next to the wardrobe. Damnation!

Other Half: Can you see it now?
Me: (annoyed mumbling)
Other Half: So what's wrong with it?
Me: (mixed with annoyed mumble) Well, firstly, its coming up into the feckin bedroom...
Other Half: Oh come on, it DOES come up though!
Me: (grudgingly) Yeah, I didn't see that at first.
Other Half: So are you taking it back now?
Me: Taking what back???
Other Half: FFS and stuff...
Me: NO!

I guess I SHOULD take it back though.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Should I get worried?

I mean - VERY worried!

Dads push bulletproof backpacks in schools

Sir Sprout hits one on 7th of September. At some stage he will have to let go from Foreigners (he prefers to call me Mommy) apron strings. Start junior infants. Proceed to academical heights of senior infants, intellect permitting (so far stubbornly squeezing the cubes through round opening, serves Mommy right for buying a SOFT shape sorter... safety me arse).

Maybe, presuming he will have learnt to make a difference between a pyramid and a cube by his teens, he will have to attend high school.

And what THEN??

I mean - of course there wouldn't be a question about spending 175$ for a school backback if necessary. And I never planned to raise Sir Sprout in cotton wool - he'd just get terribly hot, especially in summer. It's just that once we're taking the "safety first" approach the backpack alone is just not cutting it for me. What's the use of backpack that "stands up to bullets as well as machete, hatchet and Ka-bar knife attacks" if there are a whole lot of essential body parts utterly exposed to all kinds of harm. Like whole front, neck, head...

No, that will NOT do!

Perhaps THIS would be an answer to responsible parents prayers?

At least it looks undeniably cool and is bound to grant your offspring some major respect amongst his peers. Come on, who won't be wanting to hang out with a kid who looks like a Transformer!?

Guess I better start saving now. Kids grow out of clothes so fast I'll need at least 4 different sizes.

And how do you launder one, kinda looks like it might not do well in the washing machine.

Mind boggles...

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