Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Viewer #8

Seemed to like the house, but then I heard myself telling him about the ghosts. Haven't heard anything since...

Very spooky goings on...

So I have been selling things on ebay that belonged to a relative that passed away recently. It's weird, but the stuff needs to go and the family told me to do it. And a few items finished at the weekend, and when I went to get the buyer's details they had the exact same name as my relative, and came from the place where she was cremated. That is a very strange coincidence isn't it?! I would have told the buyer how strange it was, but I didn't want them to think they were buying a dead person's stuff!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

House still for sale...

Oh, and no we haven't sold the bloomin' house yet. All that's happened this week is that a different estate agent at the firm of monkeys we hired insisted we redo all the photos. They do look better minus the toys everywhere but it annoyed me as originally the girl who took the photos said I didn't need to move them after I offered. And we paid for a fancy brochure that now has old shitty photos in. We were broke for 2 months after that, and it was only after I paid it I realised it wasn't compulsory! Damn them all.


A relative asked for a list of what the boys wanted for Christmas and birthday presents, as they are very close together. So I spent a lot of time considering it, asked the boys what they would like, and sent a list of 2 items. One for birthday, one for Christmas. Job done. You would have thought.

Then I get a phone call telling me they got something completely different. At half the price. Not that the original present idea was expensive. And Littl'un thinks he is getting what he asked for! I give up.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Trick or treat...

I took the boys trick or treating for the first time this year. It wasn't altogether successful. First of all it was bloody freezing and the youngest spent all his time shivering and saying he wanted to go home. But we went to the neighbours we knew, and most of them were lovely, pretending to be scared of the monsters at the door, and giving them sweets. One old lady we knew had lovely prepared bags of sweets that looked really posh. Until we got home. They were chocolates from at LEAST last Christmas, and some were caramels and nuts which I had to take away, and then when they opened the ones they had left they had gone all white and manky and had to be thrown away too! But she did give them 50p with it too so it wasn't all bad! Then I decided to help the boys with the sweets they could eat and ended up at the dentist the next day! That was an expensive Halloween for sure...

Rhino hide

We had yet another visit from our thick-skinned relative last week, man it was hard work. Still, after all these years. I will now present you with the reasons why I turn to alcohol while they are here:

  • They drive a good 4/5 hours at least to get here. Then spend the majority of the time on the sofa with a cob on as "something" unspecified is wrong with them. Every single time.
  • They ignore the kids apart from to tell them off or force feed them sweets (then later they will announce that they have had too many, hence their excitable behaviour).
  • They fall asleep on the sofa.
  • They force everyone else to watch rubbish tv they like, despite the fact that they are taping it at home.
  • They help themselves to drinks, without offering one to anyone else, including their partner.
  • They announce when they arrive that they are spending an extra night, without warning. 
  • They only come to life after a drink, which they like A LOT. 
  • They spend a lot of time complaining that they are on a diet and that they can't eat fat. They poo poo every meal suggestion I make as it "upsets them", so we have very bland meals. When we go out for a meal they pick something healthy and sit there with a face like a slapped arse. Then proceed to spend the rest of the weekend eating sweets, fried food from the takeaway, crisps, and snacks aplenty, and then 2 hours later moaning about their gut.
And I could go on. It is getting beyond me why I put up with it. I do make the occasional sly dig here and there but as with everything else, it goes over their head! Pass me the gin...

Viewers #6 and #7

No. We haven't sold the house yet. But I've never cleaned it as much! #6 was a friendly man who came to view with about 20 minutes notice. He seemed to like it even with mess everywhere, but was undecided where he wanted to live, he had our area and somewhere about an hour away. So he wasn't that serious in my opinion. Then #7 was at the weekend and I had high hopes for him. He was a single bloke, seemed to really like it, and won the award for the first viewer to open the cupboards (and nothing fell out on him!). I was convinced he would make an offer, but silence. Our estate agents are supposed to ring with feedback, but they haven't bothered. As I am doing all the tours, I fail to see exactly what they are doing to earn £3000 if they manage to sell the blessed house. People can find the details online, and all the agents have to do is ring up and check I am in. They are not doing a lot more. I should have just put the house online myself, I might as well have!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Viewers #4 and #5

So we had a busy weekend. Cleaning for no apparent reason that is! The first lot of viewers were a young couple, looking to buy their first house. They were lovely and seemed to like the house, I was very positive about them. But then I asked what else they were looking at and they showed me a picture of a new build house which was pristine and very very shiny. So that's that then! The next viewer turned up with half an hour's notice, an Eastern European, very tall gentleman. He wanted a buy-to-let, and he looked at my bedroom as if he was figuring out exactly how many families he could fit into it. He also asked if the loft was high. I said "not high enough to live in" but I fear he thought otherwise!

And now I am being doorstepped by all the other estate agents in town. Which is positive as apparently there are lots more people registering to buy. But we are trapped in with our current agents for a few more weeks, but I have lots of promises of reduced fees and am getting lots of free advice just in case we decide to change agents when the time comes.

Even if we don't sell, I am actually starting to enjoy it now! I'm treating tours of my house like I used to do library tours, though I fear buyers aren't really interested in the book collections and size of my bed. Which I have managed to point out to every one so far. But it IS big :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Viewer #3

Today's viewer didn't like the garden. It's too long and needs too much maintenance. I said he could always concrete it over :) I am getting more laid back and cynical with every viewer we get. We have another one tomorrow, she'll probably not like the fact that the carpets are green. But one day, one day far off in the distant future, someone will come in and like it. I hope!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Selling houses

Ah, I knew there was a reason we decided to put our house on the market. It is so I have a fresh batch of material to blog about, raising kids isn't really that exciting/rage-inducing. House selling/buying is. You think I would have remembered all this from last time round, when I accused our solicitors of being trained by monkeys.

But no, after 5 years of solicitor and estate agent free bliss we signed up for the rollercoaster again. And I have to say it's going marvellously! No, really! First of all, the valuation. The estate agent we picked to sell the house was super lovely, SO enthusiastic about the house, she had "at least 5 viewers lined up already", was positive about what we could get for it, and how quickly we could sell it. For definite. It would be sold in about a day. Then we signed on the dotted line. And it all changed. In the 3 weeks it has been on the market they have got us the grand total of 2 viewings. The first lot didn't like the fact we didn't have a proper hallway. And they didn't have a deposit. And the second was a doctor who basically wanted a crash pad for when he was doing long shifts at the local hospital and couldn't get to his Hertfordshire mansion. Which begs the question: "DID NEITHER OF YOU EVEN LOOK AT THE DETAILS??". The details clearly show the lack of hallway, and the fact that we have a 100ft garden. I don't suppose a doctor on 12 hour shifts is going to want to start on that when he gets in. And he didn't like the car garage on the corner. Honestly.

I am cleaning like a thing possessed before we have viewings, just in case the dust on the lightshades puts people off. But it is turning out that people are weird. Bloody weird. And they walk around with poker faces and don't say much, and I wish they were just honest and said what they did or didn't like at the time. When it is our time (ha I saw "when", this may never happen) to look at houses I am going to sniffily say that the lack of helicopter pad put me off, or the fact that it had a front door. There is no rhyme or reason to people, but at least my house is super tidy at the moment!

And I haven't even got to any serious dealings with any solicitors yet.

I''m starting to think it would be easier to just get an extension on our house. Then I can do a blog on "dodgy builders" instead! Or just sell one of the kids...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Still don't like school!

A week later we have progress. Of a sort. Littl'un walked into his class without screaming or having to be carried in. He then looked at me sadly and went and sat down at a table with tears coursing silently down his cheeks. I think I preferred the screaming on the whole! He just looked resigned to his fate today bless him.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't wanna go to school today...

So the 2 year old started pre-school this week. 3 mornings a week, just to run around and play in messy things he isn't allowed to play with at home. His older brother was fine, went in without a problem when he started. No tears, nothing. Not this one. We have had tears every day, screaming and pleading not to leave him there, it's been a tough week! I thought he'd be fine, he's been asking to go to school for about a year already. I hope he gets used to it soon, you do start to wonder if the minute you leave they lock the kids in a cupboard or something when they really don't want to stay.

So for the 2 days a week he isn't at school I am making it REALLY boring, cleaning and shopping and stuff, in the hope he'll be running to school next week. Shame he enjoys a good polish really...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More bad parenting!

And not from me this time! At a kids party yesterday, two parents turned up with their son who was invited to the party, and also their much younger daughter who wasn't. The host said to them that the girl could stay and play if they paid for her entrance. Then all the kids went off to play and nobody thought anymore about it. Then when the kids were called to come and eat the girl came along too and started tucking in, so the host took her off to find her parents. And came back 5 minutes later to say the parents had buggered off and left the kids unsupervised! So the host of the party had to pay an extra £15 for the girl to eat. And they are really not well off, they struggled to have a party at all. It made me so mad. And at the end, the parents reappeared and smiled and left. No wonder they were bloody smiling! I wonder if they do that at all the parties they are invited too, sneak an extra kid in so they don't have to feed them later. The cheek! But I know who won't be on the list if my boys have a birthday party!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I want to open bank accounts for the boys. You would think this would be easy. But no. The bank I chose as they had the best rate couldn't see me for 5 days (they "didn't have anyone in" to do it apparently) and now they are demanding to do a financial review about my account which is with a different bank before they'll do anything else. Why my financial affairs are relevant I don't know. If I was an aunt or something they wouldn't want to would they? I feel a row coming on. And when I told the man that I didn't bank with them, he looked disgusted. You would think they would welcome new business and be very nice to me, or else I'll go elsewhere. Which I might just do. I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. When we win the lottery I'll go in there and show them my wads of cash going "you could have had this". That would be brilliant.

Monday, August 06, 2012

What is "piss off" in Lithuanian?

Ah another trip to the park, another row! I really shouldn't leave the house these days. But this time I had proper grounds. We went to a little park up the road and there were 3 other kids in there, 2 boys and their older sister. Littl'un was playing nicely with the middle boy, despite the other boy not knowing a word of English. Then I noticed that the boy and his sister were sneakily pushing Littl'un whenever they got the chance, and when the girl chucked him off the swing the minute he sat on it that was it. I asked her to leave Littl'un alone and let him play, and she started arguing back, she could speak English well enough to argue. Then the kids carried on playing. Littl'un then asked for his crisps and before you could blink the 3 kids had surrounded my buggy clearly begging for food. Their mum sat there oblivious. It was quite sad, they had expensive bikes with them, so why were they so hungry? Or were they just rude? Littl'un was nervous and dropped his crisps on the floor, and the 3 kids leapt on the crisps on the floor like scavengers. So we left. Not before I'd told their mum what I thought of her, not that I think she understood a word. I wouldn't have minded sharing with them if they hadn't been so mean and aggressive to my boys.

Why are people so odd?! If my boys had behaved like that I think I would have done more than just sat on a bench watching them! Or is it me?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Espressos and "wild camping"

Today on Day 3 of the Summer Holidays (said Big Brother style) we went to the park. Usually it is full of Eastern European mums and I can't understand a word they say. Today we had Posh Mums and Posh Dad, sitting by the swings drinking espressos out of a fancy flask and discussing the merits of various coffee machines. It was hilarious. Then one mum said "oh we're off to Hampshire next week. We're going Wild Camping". This sounded exciting, Posh Dad even said so, imagining they were staying in a campsite somewhere with guided tours of the local wildlife. "Oh no," Posh Mum snootily said, "we go into the forest, find a good couple of trees, hoist up a hammock and then light a fire. It's Wild Camping!"

Actually I think she meant camping. Just camping. Sleeping in the woods with a campfire and various apparel. It's camping, love. Don't give it pretensions! But I suppose to the Posh crowd that were in the park today, anything less than a Centreparc or a week in Florida is dangerous in itself!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The summer holidays: Day 1.

These holidays are going to be veeeerrrrryyyy long. Today like a Good Mum, I took the boys out and got them a new paddling pool as the one they had was so small they could only fit one foot each in it. Then we spent ages filling it up with a watering can as the dog we had for 24 hours ate the hose. Ten minutes in, the youngest hit the eldest over the head with a bucket and that was the end of that. So by 11.30 on  Day 1 they were stuck in front of the tv! I am a terible mother. But at least it's quiet! What are we going to do tomorrow? I'll have no voice left by the weekend from all the shouting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Facebook: only for the good times?

We had a bereavement in the family last week. It was a big shock and still hasn't sunk in. The oddest thing is that there is a Facebook account for the person, and it's still active, and it is compelling to keep looking at it. People have started putting up tributes and photos, which is nice, but a bit weird to me. And on my own account, I don't really want to mention it as firstly I don't want to look like I am fishing for sympathy, and I have a mixed collection of friends on there and I don't necessarily want them all to know. I didn't post anything for a while, but now I'm back to my usual pithy remarks and putting photos up of the Olympic Torch going past the bottom of the road. But then I think, to people that do know, I must look bad making jokes and going on as normal. But what else can you do? Even if I put something on there about what happened, eventually everyone would go back to the usual dross that we all like to stick online.

Social media vastly complicates the bad times. But it can also help, as lots of friends I didn't know have sent lovely messages. But some people also like to speculate about stuff, and really have no thought for the people that could be upset about it. And do you know how hard it is to close down an account without the password? Bloody hard that's what. And you can't even really close it down, they "memorialise" it so people can still see it.

I'm going back to pen and paper like a Luddite. Probably. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If all else fails...

...tell your neighbours to F*** off when they yet again light a bbq while looking at your almost dry washing. Then don't put it out again at the weekend just in case as you don't know what the next step is! Probably guns...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Benjamin Banjamin or Benjanim?

If you want proofreading work, don't email the publishers basically telling them they are shit! You won't get a response...

But really, do I want to work for a company that ignores 5 different spellings of Benjamin?!

The Great Hamster Escape

We now have a hamster, named Hotdog by the boy, which is quite annoying to say, and she is a girl. But hey, at least he didn't go for the other option, Milkshake. Hotdog settled in well, every morning she was waiting by her food bowl for her breakfast. But one morning she wasn't. My first thought was that she was dead, and I was trying to think how to hide it from the boys. But then on further investigation we found one of her tunnels that goes round the outside of the cage had fallen off. Queue panic, there was a hamster on the loose!

Now if you could see my front room, you would appreciate the scale of the problem. Toys, books, boxes of lego. Shit. Everywhere. A perfect hiding place for a canny hamster with a wish for freedom. We had everything up off the floor, while cooing "Hotdog, where are you?" and Littl'un waving a peanut around in the hope she'd pop up and go "oh here I am!". No joy. My dad was due in the evening for the weekend and all I could think was that if we didn't find her then at some point over the weekend Dad was going to be surprised by a hamster popping up out of the sofa and biting him. Probably in the butt.

But the boy had to go to school so I had to abandon Operation Hamster and make breakfast. I went to get the cereal out from under the stairs, and saw something move out of the corner of my eye. The bloody hamster was sitting in a box of coke cans looking at me innocently, her expression was definitely "what?!". And I didn't realise she was so fat as she was pretty easy to spot! She went on quite a journey by the looks of things.

Now she's back in captivity she spends a lot of time looking forlornly at us through the bars, she had a taste of freedom and I think she liked it! I am watching for attempts on the tubes again, she is so fat now she could probably break through them if she had the inclination...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

New neighbours: an update

So this week son #1 came running in saying "Emily has just weed behind a bush and she does it all the time, and I am going to marry her". Whoop whoop, just the sort of classy girl I had in mind for a daughter-in-law.

The big fences have gone in, but they are not high enough for my neighbour who is really annoyed by the new neighbours, and he is planning to add trellises on top for maximum height! But to his vast annoyance Emily now hangs out of an upstairs window shouting at my boys, or she has figured out if she bounces really high in her trampoline she can still see them. The fences do help a bit but now we get shouting of "what are you doing? I can't see you?" which is still annoying!

Now the sun is out we are being treated to really loud Lithuanian europop, which while not being as annoying as hippety-hop or gangsta rap, is still annoying. Our neighbours were all really considerate of each other, while I would have loved to have a stereo in the garden blasting out music I never did as I know the neighbours like their peace (apart from the boys which I can't do much about!). But this lot don't give a hoot for anyone else. Living so close to other people is difficult, in London you can never get away from them, and if you get one lot of neighbours that are like that it really ruins your quality of life. I'm just thankful they aren't right next door. Our road had a load of elderly people living on it when we moved here and now they are either moving to retirement homes or off the mortal coil altogether, and I think we were a bit spoilt. I think we might move to a retirement complex next, who can turn down organised bingo and coffee mornings?!

Monday, April 02, 2012

New neighbours: the "highlights"

1. 1 week after moving in, 7 year old girl flashes her boobs at my 5 year old.

2. The weather is nice, all the washing is on the line, practically dry. They light up an extremely smoky bbq apparently directly aimed at our washing. Husband goes mental at them. They just look at him (probably didn't understand a lot of it, from Lithuania, but they definitely got the jist).

3. Week later, washing on line again. Bloke looks directly at it, then at me, then lights very smoky bbq. I say "are you having a bbq?" He grunts. I say for the second time "would you PLEASE tell me next time so my washing doesn't get ruined?". Another grunt which I take for "not on your nelly, I don't give two hoots for your washing".

4. Caught girl encouraging my 2 year old to let himself out of the garden and go to her house, only as he couldn't actually open the gate and was trying to climb over it. I said he was far too young and could she please not encourage him to leave the garden, to which I got loads of arguments. 

5. Now it's nice, the kids are out in the garden lots. Catch the girl telling my 2 year old he is a liar and encouraging him to repeat it. I ask her not to use words like that. Now I have to monitor the kids in the garden constantly, she is always saying things to them that aren't quite appropriate. She is older so my boys are in thrall to whatever she says. 5 year old now has constant attitude too.

6. Ask 5 year old if the girl has shown him her boobs recently. He pauses. "No," he says, much to my (short-lived) relief, "she showed me her bum".

The long and short of all this is that I can't leave the boys in their own garden unsupervised, and she keeps asking the boys over to her house, and I look like the bad guy when I keep saying no. Luckily the neighbour in the middle of all this REALLY hates them and is having 6 ft fences put up on their side this week so at least they won't be able to see her anymore!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You are allowed one phone call...

The school rang me up today to tell that me that Littl'un had bumped heads with someone else at lunchtime, though he was fine, no need for me to go in etc etc. I was sorely tempted to say "well, the last 5 times he bumped his head or came out with a random bruise on his cheek, nobody felt the need to ring me or even tell me about it". I wonder if they have some system, after you've had 5 accidents in 1 term you are allowed a phone call. A bit like criminals and lawyers...

Can you be too obsessive?!

So finally I managed to get a publishing house to let me do some proofreading for them. Not paid yet, it's a test to see if I'm any good. So I spent hours trawling through the proofs, it was supposed to be a straight reprint of the hardback so they weren't expecting many errors. I found quite a few, that had also made it through to the hardback. I am so obsessive it scares me sometimes. So they'll either hire me on the spot or say I'm too picky and would cost too much with all the errors I pick up! I just hope the person who proofread the hardback isn't the one who sent me the test or they'll really hate me! I am so made for this job. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Perfect boy

Litt'un #2 had his 2 year old check up today. It went very smoothly, apparently his height and weight are "perfect", his development is fine, no problems. This worries me more than the time they said he was deaf. They must be missing something...

Don't wanna go to school today...

It's all going down at school this week. Since a new head started back in September, the unrest has been growing steadily. A total new system of learning was implemented overnight, everything was changed, teachers started leaving, parents started complaining. Then the head was removed overnight, and escorted off the premises. Nobody knows why or what happened. It is so frustrating! We had to put up with all the upheaval and upset kids and teachers being off sick as they didn't want to come into work. Trying to guess what happened is hilarious though, we've gone from pagan rituals in the staffroom to sleeping with someone inappropriate. It's probably a lot less interesting. If we ever find out!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I like to move it move it

I think both my kids have OCD. The amount of times we have watched Madagascar since Christmas is ridiculous. And they show no signs of moving on to anything else. I know it word for word. And at zumba she has a new routine to "I like to move it move it" which is just taking the piss.

Pity party for one

So recently me and Mr Babs brought up the subject of having another kid. Yes we are crazy to even consider it. 2 is ok, 3 is a lot of arguments waiting to happen. And while the thought of having another little baby is tempting (until they start talking they are generally lovely) I realised that I was actually quite looking forward to getting back to work. Being a stay-at-home mum is fine, it is lovely to spend time with your kids growing up. But I've done it for 5 years now and it's getting a bit stale. I don't talk to anyone apart from other mums who only talk about their kids. Or shout at my own kids. That is it. I don't even talk to Mr Babs anymore as I have little to talk about. And we are super broke.

But then wondering what work I could go back to is also hard work. Ideally I need a part-time, term-time only job, but library jobs are SO not like that! And I miss libraries. What DO people do with their kids in the summer holidays!? I have no idea. My mum stayed at home until we were in secondary school so I have nothing to compare with. Working in a school would be the ideal option but I don't want to be a teacher or a dinner lady. I could do shifts in a supermarket but then I feel like I've wasted all my education and library qualifications.

So what does an out of work librarian with 2 kids do?!?! Having another kid seems the easiest option at this point!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Our school is in trouble. On special measures for probably 2 years now, but now we have a new head and everything is looking up finally. But this improvement brings lots of paperwork, questionnaires, letters galore, ofsted reports etc. Yesterday Littl'un brought home a questionnaire about what we think of the school. The questions go something like this:

"My child is taught well at this school"
"My child's lessons are not disrupted by bad behaviour"
"My child is making good progress at this school".

Now how am I supposed to answer those without having a spy camera in Littl'un's bag?! It's hard enough to get out of Littl'un what he did in a day (mainly "nothing") without asking if he feels he is being taught well! He is 4. The most I know is that in his reading book at home I have to write detailed comments about how he is doing when we read every night. The teacher puts a sticker in his book when they read at school. No comments about progress or anything.

But I have to return the form to his teacher so I can't put anything too damning in case they take it out on him! And I doubt if I wrote a 1000 word essay on what I thought needed improving they would do anything about it.

Click and collect

Littl'un turns 5 next weekend (how did THAT happen?!?!) and I ordered his present from a well known supermarket. I decided to do that new click and collect service they offer, to make sure I didn't waste a trip to the shop only to find it wasn't in stock. The premise of this is that you pay online, and they contact you when it's ready to collect. I've done it a few times with other shops and it's been really easy. This time I realised I hadn't been contacted in well over a week, so I rang them up to check. "Oh yeah," the lady told me cheerily, "when it arrives in store they usually don't bother to scan the packages so the emails don't get sent". And this is normal?! Oh and it gets better. I asked how long they keep them in store before returning them, as if you don't know it's there you aren't going to go and collect it are you? Other stores have a 7 day policy before they refund you and return the goods. Not this one. "Oh, one time someone's stuff was in the store for over a month before we realised!" giggled the lady on the phone. And this is funny?!?! Honestly.