Thursday 19 Dec 2013
Yesterday had a terrible start. Want to hear about the next 24 hours?!
Contents of most of the parcels
Well, I had to leg it back down the busy 70mph dual carriageway (2 right turns. With teary eyes. Safe. Not…) to get my forgotten purse. Then back again to pay the vet. Mini and I had an early lunch at the local cafe – she ate and I cried into my coffee. I also had a stack of Christmas parcels to send, so waited an age at the Post Office to send them. Normally I’m not bothered about waiting in queues, but this wait gave me too much time to think about my poor cat. I walked back across town in the rain with Mini Minx to post 2 big parcels by Collect Plus at the Co-Op. Or so I hoped. The woman behind the counter looked in horror at the parcels like they might explode and said that I needed to take them to the Post Office, that this was a supermarket.
“No”, I replied, “They’re going CollectPlus. Can I buy a label for them here?”.
She sighed, and with over-exaggerated enunciation said: “You. Need. To. Take. Them. To. The. Post. Office”. Then very helpfully: “Parcels need stamp. No stamp here. Food shop. Go Post Office”. Wow. I guess my Glaswegian accent must have confused her. Maybe her little brain couldn’t cope with looking at a tear-stained middle-aged face framed with pink hair, and also speaking in vaguely-grammatical English at the same time.
I picked up the huge parcels and realised that actually, maybe CollectPlus shops didn’t do labels after all, and that I’d need to go home to buy a pre-paid label. Oops…
So I bundled Mini back in the car, and off we set back down the dual carriageway (yep, 2 more dangerous right turns, more tears). It took about half an hour to shout at the printer and sort out the labels. Back in the car, back down the dual carriageway, back to the Co-op. This time I got to smile winningly at the now-exasperated woman (“No! You go Post Office! You not <beep> Oh….. It scanned. Bah.”).
By now I was running out of time to pick up the eldest 2 from school, and I was also running out of diesel. So, back on the dual carriageway (go on – guess which way I had to turn…?) to the incredibly expensive garage to buy just enough fuel to collect the minxes from school and get them to gymnastics and back.
It was hard telling them about Foster Cat, but I insisted they went to gymnastics to take their minds off him. It being so stormy, driving there and back certainly concentrated my mind, away from the cat.
Once we were all safely home and The Boss took over parenting duties, I slunk away for a hot bath, which generally makes me feel better and on a more even keel. The Boss came up to check I’d not drowned myself and spotted the torch by the side of the bath. He scoffed at my explanation that the lights might go off at any time in this storm and that I needed a torch within hand’s reach at all times.
I was the one smirking, though, when not one hour later the power failed suddenly and with no warning.
“Stand still kids!” I yelled up the stairs “Mummy’s coming to get you!” And just as I’d coached them the previous month, the girls froze to the spot as the lights went out and waited for me to come with my torch. Florence Mummy-gale.
After settling the girls again in their bed, I got The Boss to hold his torch above my head while I finished decorating the final batch of Christmas cakes I’d been making for relatives. It was actually quite a pleasant little half hour, rolling marzipan by the light of a little Petzl!
When the lights had gone out, my first action was to reassure the kids. The Boss’s immediate response was to cover the nicely heating mulled wine with a lid to keep it warm. Good man! So when the cakes were ready to be left to dry, we retired to dark beds with a big shared mug of mulled wine. We had to make Edwinn and Edward’s elf shenanigans pretty basic that night…
The next morning (19 Dec) had an early kick-off with 3 cold little girls fighting and squirming beside us. With no power, there was no heating. And this old farmhouse gets very cold very quickly. The Boss bounded out of bed and went to the heat of work just as fast as his long legs would take him. Though he did pause long enough to find the old camping gas canister and make us both a cup of coffee. Superstar! Meanwhile, creative Maxi objected to me serving up breakfast by the the stark light of the torch and asked that we light the Christmas candles instead. So we had 5 tealights in an ornate and fancy snowflake. Lovely!
No-one objected to an early school run, so I delivered Maxi and Midi to a snowy playground that was warmer than the house (8degC and dropping). The Boss had contacted the electricity company and texted me that a power line had come down locally; when that was repaired, we’d have power. On the way back from the school run I could see the missing power line. I could also see the energy company reps huddled inside the energy company van for warmth. I could also see the snow blasting the van sideways, and the bitter wind rocking it. It didn’t take a genius to figure that it might be some time till we got power back… In a fit of cleverness, I kept driving past the house and on to the local soft play area.
Mini thought all her Christmases had come at once as she had the whole place to herself. She tore about sliding and jumping and squealing and dancing. I managed a coffee, then strained my neck falling asleep. (I fell asleep sitting up. My head lolled back. I got mini-whiplash jerking it back up. Doh).
With our 2 hours over and bodies nicely defrosted and dry, we drove reluctantly home and I put the fire on. It’s a fire I’ve moaned about before – lovely big flames, but unless you are hanging directly over it, it gives off no heat at all, all the warmth rockets up the chimney.
Suddenly, at midday, just as I was losing the will to live, the power came on. Hooray! My immediate actions this time? Get the heating on, get the kettle on for a coffee (and to fill a flask and a hot water bottle), and ask Mini what she wanted for lunch.
“Hom-lit” (winsome smile)
That child is addicted to my cheese omelettes! I don’t know if it’s just the taste or that I let her make them entirely herself apart from the frying pan bit. So I set her in front of the cheese and the grater while I put the frying pan on the hob and got the eggs out the fridge ready for her to do her knock-knock-eggs-put-thumb-in. I guess the excitement was too much for her – for no reason we can fathom, she suddenly toppled off the little kitchen step. Yep, the step that’s covered in grippy glitter glue and long sand-papery grip strips. So no-one can slip off it. I’ve still no idea how she did it.
I heard the huge crash and felt the kitchen shudder. The poor baby let out a roar that just went up and up in pitch. She turned her little face to me, blood dripping from her contorted mouth. Actually, a lot of blood dripping. On to the floor. An awful lot. Had she knocked a wee tooth out? I looked closer and saw a gaping hole in her tongue. Ow, ow, ow! I picked her up and cuddled her while I paced about completely ineffectually. Well, in my defence it took all my capacity to say reassuring things and make my voice sound completely normal! I finally found a flannel, ran it under cold water, and got her to bite on it. We sat on the floor rocking until she calmed down a little. She showed me her tongue again. The gash was maybe a bit over 2cm long. It started to bleed again. I popped a dose of Calpol in there, got her to bite on the flannel again and grabbed a trusty home medical manual. Nothing on bleeding tongues. I called The Boss and got him to google for me so I didn’t have to put my clingy monkey down. Nothing scary, but nothing reassuring either. We sat in front of some inane stuff on iPlayer for 10 minutes. I asked Mini to poke her tongue out at me again. Yep, definitely an inch-long cut. I decided to take her straight to the doctor’s surgery to check that I’d done all the right things. Getting Mini to let go long enough for me to drive back along the dual carriageway (I swear I’m wearing a trail to that town!!) was a trial.
The lovely Practice Nurse made Mini almost laugh, and gave me some great advice on where to go for medical help for a range of future inevitable Minx accidents. She reassured me that no treatment was needed unless the bleeding was unstoppable or the tongue was hanging off. She also agreed that Mini had the longest non-giraffe tongue in NATO.
The rest of the afternoon was spent snuggling in front of CBeebies on iPlayer (ie every single episode of Topsy & Tim, followed by every single episode of Katie Morag). Mini liked the Quiet Time, and I needed the calm and cuddles after the previous day. Within a few hours she was snoring happily in my arms, a mostly-rotten 24 hours behind her and forgotten.
The final part of the day did get better. As I’d been too entangled in hurt 3 yo to make a decent dinner (curry out a jar) and no pudding, The Boss made up a batch of instant muck: Angel Delight. Midi made the momentous discovery that strawberry Angel Delight tastes amazing eaten off a bit of poppadom. Bleurgh!