Friday, 19 October 2007

How sun SHOULD set

About 10-11 years ago (oh. I'm old) my interesting-but-poverty-inducing job back in Home Ground started to pay a little more. Enough to fund my move into an apartment with running water.

I know - wow!

Location-wise the place was pretty much next to hellhole, around the corner from the end of all hopes. A huge and stunningly gloomy region of endless apartment blocks, grey, dirty and criminogenious. It doesn't look that bad on the picture, that's what good camera work and fortunate light conditions can do.

The apartment block itself was a genius work of Soviet architect suffering from severe depression and deep hate of fellow humans. Huge. Coulourless. Square. Grey. The front door couldn't be locked thus the stairs were constantly stinking of urine, garbage, cigarettes, alcohol and whatnot. Especially whatnot.
There was a lift of course. Usually broken. Anybody who has lugged shopping bags to 7th floor on regular basis will NOT tolerate any fitness-related lectures. Proven fact.

Walls between apartments were made of sturdy corrugated cardboard or at least from something just as soundproof. You'd know most of the intimate details about neighbours 4 floors below.

I thought I had died and moved into paradise.

Before you decide that I am a sick masochistic freak let me assure you that once you had jumped over piles of faeces and cigarette butts, snook past any more or less violent discussions on stairs and caught your breath after climbing 7 floors; the apartment itself wasn't that bad at all. It was quite roomy and clean with no heart-tearing attempts at creative interior decoration.

And let me once again stress the running water the apartment featured.

But my favorite part didn't have much to do with interior or exterior of the building. It was all about the position of the place which was fortunate indeed. Because they had built that blunder of a monsterhouse on the very edge of the huge apartment-block area. On top of the hill. Facing the sea...

So on nights I actually got home before dark I would stand at the sitting room window having a fag and watching the sun setting into my beloved Tallinn Bay.

It was different every night. From smoky shaded highlights to cold pastel bursts to warm mysterious glow to vicious bleeding skies. You name it.They don't make sunsets like that any more. Especially in Ireland.


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Lathering up - rant warning!

Due to some (not entirely unforeseen) family circumstances we've been staying at The Ultimate Other Halfs parents house this week. Luckily we don't live too far from them so situations in lines of "oh shoot, those bodysuits don't really fit Sir Sprout any more" can be rectified with swift drive there and back.

Are kids SUPPOSED to grow that fast? I mean - I could swear those things were fine on him last week. Either that or we were just too sleepy to take any notice that we had to apply extra muscle to squeeze Sir Sprout into his underwear.

I have also been blessed with Extra Mad With Topping Of Despair And Panic week at work.

All that together translates to ourselves rushing around until the young one has been knocked out for night (if we're lucky, he's teething on top of it all) and then collapsing on inlaws fancy (blue!) leather couch.

That's when the going gets really tough.

You see, we have entered The Soap Zone. Every single soap is watched in that house. Eastenders, Corrie, Home and Away, Fair City - bring it on!

For some mysterious reason Emmerdale seems to be blatantly ignored. I should bring up that issue in the future. When I'm out of the house again.

I am not a soap person. They annoy me with endless string of stupidity, see-through story lines and repetitions. The fake "realness" they strain to achieve. The token characters every single soap features - a wise old strong-minded woman, a vicious womanizing bastard, a long suffering mother on the verge of breakdown, an adorable kid, a rebellious teenager, a loudmouth vulgar woman (comic relief), a nasty Bitch From Hell etc. Because of that I don't even notice when one soap ends and another one starts. Same issues, same stereotypes. Same "keep it simple" very regulated directing style. Loooooong shots of talking heads. Brief inserts shot outside the set (why push the costs up...) usually when something really drastic is supposed to happen.

Above all I just don't have a stamina. You'd really want to be determined to watch the same story with slight variations for years and years (A was married to B and cheated her with C while running shoddy business with D. Two years later A is married to E, still cheating her with C, D blackmails him and there is probably also F-the-long-lost-love-child bouncin around while B-the-abandoned-and-deceived-ex-wife is plotting to ruin/kill A. Yaaawwwnnn.). Sometimes I admire people who have endured decades of mind-numbing nonsense like that, still insist on turning on the TV on Holy Hours Of Lathering and actually seem to have their sanity more or less intact.

Plus the limitation all that soap business puts on your life. Oh, I really can't meet you at 8, Corrie's on or Why have a conversation at dinner table when we can all watch Home and Away instead?

Oh well. Shouldn't get too carried away here.

After all I have my dirty little secrets/weaknesses as well. Wanna know what?

I watch CSI. All of them. In all their glossy morbid sci-fiesque glory.

So there. Now you know.

Friday, 12 October 2007

I'm a winner after all!

Here's the proof:

“This award casts a spotlight on bloggers who are just beginning to draw lotsa attention — the equivalent of a song with a bullet on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. Lotsa good posts. Lotsa good buzz. These bloggers are going places in a hurry.”

K8! I am one smug woman now!

Couple time

It is now 4 years and 2 days since I and The Ultimate Other Half became A Very Official Item and got a fancy binded document to prove it.

On Wednesday morning he dutifully handed me the flowers and I provided him with A Day Of Slightly Less Nagging. I was able to master such a substantial gift mainly by making sure we didn't spend much time together.

After getting home from work we stuffed Sir Sprout with random leftovers from the fridge, let him run riot for a while, hosed him down, squeezed into pyjamas (WAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAA!!), pumped full of milk and deposited him into his cot for night.

Then I donned my dancing gear (read:track suit + runners) and took off with The Fancy Neighbouress to attend our third lesson in salsa dancing. I don't know why it's called salsa dancing since so far we've been shown the basics of cha-cha-cha and rumba but, quite frankly, I don't care.

I am also determined to ignore all the minor earthquakes caused by my attempts of booty-shaking.

And if any of you experienced some particularly nasty bouts of wind knocking over the dog houses or fences on Wednesday - sorry, but we were TOLD to wiggle our racks and I'm not the one to disobey the teacher. It has got me into all sorts of trouble back in high school and being wiser(ish) now I just salute and do as told.

I might need to strangle The Fancy Neighbouress though if she continuously neglects to put on loads of weight, wear scruffy clothes and look generally frumpy. She should also be considerate enough to at least TRY to match my clumsiness levels somewhat more adequately. You know who you are! Don't say you haven't been warned!

Anyway, that was our wedding anniversary sorted.

Yesterday we agreed to ship Sir Sprout to adoring grandparents and have the night for ourselves.

You know, like couples do. Before they have children and stuff.

It was going pretty smoothly at the start. Sir Sprout didn't have any objections to staying at grandparents since they were just sitting down for dinner. Eating is an activity which our baby tends to take quite seriously. We left him munching mashed veggies in bliss.

After getting home we had some leftovers from the fridge for dinner. (If you're wondering why all we seem to eat, is leftovers - don't ask. Just. Don't.)

And then we decided to go crazy and visit a pub. I hear you - respectable people like yourselves, what kind of a role models will we be for Sir Sprout etc. Well - we're just reckless and youthful like that.

So there we were, drinks on the table, out on our own. Not saying a thing.

You see, I had a fierce resolve NOT to discuss ANYTHING baby-related. It was a COUPLE time after all. We should talk about -erm- something else. Something personal and meaningful and wow-factor intelligent.

The silence was getting a bit awkward.

Eventually I pulled myself together. I raked my head for any witty, fun, nappy free ideas. I looked around for inspiration. There wasn't any available.

But I was DETERMINED to start a lovely loving chatter. The only option was a subject raffle. Just shake the contents of your brain, pick out a random thought slip and throw it on a table.

"So...are you going skiing next year?"


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Close your eyes, kiddos!


And there was me thinking I'm all nice and polite and goodie-goodie!

Just for those nosy ones who'd like to know what I've blurted out to deserve Parental Guidance Requested label - here it is:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • hell (4x)
  • hurt (2x)
  • torture (1x
The shame is killing me, honest.

Thanks to MadMad for the link.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Flippin Lion Never Sleeps

There's a moment in every parent's life when (s)he makes A First Big Mistake.

Something that will haunt and torture you for months and maybe even years to come.

I made that mistake last week. Trying to amuse slightly cranky Sir Sprout I showed him this:

It cheered him up a bit so I showed it again. He clapped. He hummed. He waved. He bounced.

Awww, I thought, how cute, he really likes that song.

So I let him watch it again. I showed The Ultimate Other Half how funny Sir Sprout is when he enjoys the lovely lion song.

He found it amusing as well.

Over the weekend we watched the video a lot. Can't say I and Other Half enjoyed it as much as first times but Sir Sprout sure did.

By Sunday evening we were quite relieved when the bath-and-bottle time arrived.

Yesterday when we got home from creche I plonked Sir Sprout quite unceremoniously on the floor and made an urgent run towards loo. Barely had I gotten there when I heard the young one in family room.

"La-la-la-la-laaaa," was his message to the world.

Since I was in quite a hurry I didn't pay much attention. But Sir Sprout kept pleading more and more urgently.


Getting a bit worried I managed to achieve quite impressive result in speedy liquid disposal. I made it to the family room in quite reasonable time. Sir Sprout didn't think so.

He was standing in front of computer, pointing to the screen and demanding angrily.


I took the hint and proceeded to switching on the computer. Meanwhile Sir Sprout was growing increasingly frustrated.


With shaking hands I started the browser, found the bookmark, propped him on my knee and started the video.

Wemoweh, wemoweh, wemoweh, wemoweh..

Baby humming. Baby dancing. Baby clapping. Baby happy.

Parents screwed.


It's very quiet in my head this morning.

Although I'm at work and things are busy enough (not hectic though or I wouldn't be able to write that post) I still seem to be floating above little nuisances with unnerving calm.

People pop up at my desk and ask me complicated questions which under normal circumstances would take half an hours lecture to answer. I manage to get the point across in couple of minutes. Not because I'm particularly efficient at the moment, rather too lazy to go into details.

Messy email threads land in my mailbox and I read them in slight daze. Then I type my response in couple of simple sentences and the moment I press "send" button my head becomes empty again.

Everything seems to move in slow motion.

I feel like I should go out and run couple of times around the building to shake that foggy mist off.I nicked the image here

Monday, 8 October 2007

Why I should be reported to the Animal Welfare

I am a dog person. Ask any of my friends and they'll confirm that otherwise very sensible (erm - almost sensible) Foreigner will morph into bouncy babbly 3-year old after spotting a random manky pooch on the street.

One of them even have had a nerve to compare me to the spaniel which I wasn't too impressed at the time ("Spaniels are not dignified!!"). Given the breeds tendencies to gluttony and knack for weepy-eyed blackmail sessions to get their way; she was probably right though.

I have walked the same route near the village for over 2 years. Couldn't name you many people I've met on the road. I could, however, give you the full description, life story and name of every dog living around there. Except two grumpy collies who still live in hope that one day I'll whimper and run instead shouting at them in most disrespectful manner. So they could finally attack Mutt The Mad who'd happily oblige them with fair fight.

They don't know what they're up against though. I have nerves of steel as far as growling dogs are concerned and Mutt the Mad is blessed with jaws deserving a movie. "The Hound of Foreigner by Default". Or something more catchy maybe.

Anyway, considering my pet name for Mutt the Mad tends to be The Firstborn you would think I am a caring and responsible owner. Or bonkers. Or both.

About 6-7 weeks ago I noticed that Mutts abundant coat was starting to get a bit more abundant than necessary.

"Should take him to the groomer soon," I mentioned passingly.

4 weeks ago:
"He really needs to be trimmed, I'll call the groomer next week."

3 weeks ago I got a number for newly opened grooming business from Mrs Nononsense, The Ultimate Other Halfs Mom.

2 weeks ago:
"He's so matted now it's kinda embarrassing to show him to the groomer..."

1 week ago:
"Euchhh .... It's not really nice to touch him any more, is it?!"

This Sunday I armed myself with detangle comb, scissors and hefty bag of dog treats; wrestled Mutt The Mad onto floor and addressed the matted coat issue with fatalistic gloom. Mutt was even gloomier since grooming is something he views as totally unnecessary evil, right next to bathing.

Two and half hours later we emerged from family room utterly knackered, stiff, immensely relieved and mostly dematted. The last was true at least about Mutt because I spent ten minutes trying to brush hairs off my clothes and eventually just gave up.

This week I really need to make a groomer appointment for Mutt.

Circle of life, eh?

Friday, 5 October 2007

Alarming tendencies

The Ultimate Other Half seems to be obsessed on waterproofing everything lately.

Veerryyyy suspicious.

Sounds like he doesn't want to wreck his watch OR miss anything in the soccer match while he's drowning me in the bath.

Note to myself: Keep away from the bathroom.

I did have a calling, honest! Quite a few of them, actually!

Have you ever met anybody who has become what (s)he actually dreamed about when a kid?

"Since I was 4 I knew my calling was software engineering!" or "My greatest childhood wish was to become a plumber and here I am!" or "I've been into data entry big time since I got hold of the keyboard when I was 10 months old!"

My first calling hit me when I was about 3 years old and visiting relatives in the country. They had chickens, couple of horses, pigs and three big glorious black and white cows.

I liked the cows with their big sad eyes, long lashes and cool moooooo-noise. But I was totally won over when I saw auntie squeezing milk out of them! She actually let me to have a go (it was an old and VERY patient cow) and eventually I succeeded in squirting a bit of milk into the bucket.

I decided to become a milk maid there and then.

What a life would it be, I thought, you get to mingle with cows every day. AND do that fun milking thing. Wow!

My mother killed my dream. She explained me I'd have to be up VERY early every morning. That was a no-go. I've valued my beauty sleep since the tender age of 16 months.

But I still needed some plans for my future so I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a great alternative - a vet! Surely vets wouldn't need to wake up early!? And doctors have even cooler equipment than a bucket and footstool. I'm talking about syringes here! Stethoscopes! Otoscopes! Them little hammers that make your leg bounce up!

I saw myself examining horses tonsils and administering aspirin pills to the chicken.

Life was going to be so much fun!

Eventually it dawned to me that being a vet I would need to deal with hurt animals on daily basis. Hurt animals made me cry.

So there - another no-go.

I think I was playing with an idea to become a doctor with human patients for a while but it never got hold of me properly, obviously wasn't fun enough.

Once I started reading my future job choices started to reflect the current preference in literature.

Archaeologist - History books and historic novels
Lawyer - detective books
Teacher - some cheesy novels with teacher protagonist

I'd say one of the few things I never wanted to become was a journalist.

I ended up working in media for twelve years.
Then I packed my bags and became Foreigner by Default. That actually WAS a calling, I guess. Only a very different one.

So, confess, who did you want to become?

Monday, 1 October 2007

Outings and innings

In an effort to insert some girly activities into our nappy-infested lives Fancy Neighbouress and I decided to go shopping on Saturday morning.

"Around half nine or ten," guessed The Fancy Neighbouress. "I'll just feed and dress The Limbo Baby and pick you up."

I broke the news to The Ultimate Other Half whose face lit up like main street at Christmas time. Usually he's the one who has to taxi me from one retail park to another keeping his fingers crossed that I pick the one which at least sports the likes of PC World or Homebase.

His relief was obviously a bit overwhelming since he carelessly mentioned something about taking care of both babies while we're gone.

I was over to the phone before he could change his mind and broke the news to The Fancy Neighbouress who cheered with delight and promised to give us half an hours warning before she arrives in the morning.

Which she did.

I kicked The Ultimate Other Half out of the bed providing him with clear instructions to take his shower quickly and roll out the red carpet for The Limbo Baby.

"We'll be gone at least couple of hours," I warned him when The Fancy Neighbouress was emerging from her car looking like a lost celebrity attempting to fish for directions from rugged locals. Only thing spoiling the impression somewhat was her choice of accessories - clearly non-traumatized baby and huge plastic khaki-coloured ride on toy car.

I took a gloomy glance at my tracksuit-bottoms-will-go-with-anything outfit and promised myself to make more effort in the future.

"Are you sure you will cope?" I asked The Ultimate Other Half.

"Yeah," he mumbled.

I wasn't sure if he's sleepy or plain freaked so we took off quickly.

We got back five and half hours later.

Both babies were intact. In fact, they were quite perky and happy-looking.

"Does The Limbo Baby ever sleep?" asked The Ultimate Other Half with mild curiosity. "Sir Sprout had a nap but he didn't show any signs of slowing down."

I made a big joint of roast pork for dinner. Gotta compensate somehow.

Oh, and he got to have long baby-free Sunday afternoon with The Suave Neighbour. Watching rugby. On a BIG screen (involved the projector borrowed from a friend and a sitting room wall). Drinking beer.

I think we're even now.

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