Run, Rudolph, Run

White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada

Please don’t hurt me! Pleeeeeease? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Boss had a day off work today, so he came with me in the car to take the minxes  on the 15 minute drive to school. Halfway there, he spotted 3 big deer tearing across a huge wide open field.

“Look kids!” he gasped, “Huge big deer!”

I slowed the car to a halt. We oohed and aahed at their grace and effortless beauty. The front deer slowed up and all 3 came to a halt and looked at us. Then they started running again, with a new sense of urgency, in a direction that took them on a collision course with us. I released the handbrake and drove slowly on.

As our paths coincided, I slowed the car to a halt again. The first deer was approaching the fence. I barely had time to excitedly call, “Watch this kids: watch it jump, wheeeeee!” before it sprung nimbly over, clearing the fence and the verge in one leap before bounding off into the woods. The second deer jumped up, up, up, but a little too high rather than forwards. It clipped the fence, barely cleared the verge, and came to a leggy *splat* in the middle of the road. As it struggled to its feet and ran back to the fence, the deer’s third companion threw out its anchors and refused the fence.

As the minxes gasped and laughed and smiled, I went into 1st gear and crawled forward, past the wild-eyed deer.

That was my first mistake.

As my wheels drew level, it shot in front of the car…

Thump. BUMP. Crunch.

“Shit!” I threw it into reverse and eased back. Second mistake.

Crumple. Bang. Bump, bump, bump.

Oh holy God, as if once wasn’t enough, I’ve run over it *again*! Just to make sure.

I put my head in my hands as Maxi Minx wailed and Mini burst into tears. Mummy’s run over Rudolph. Oh hell…

I didn’t know what to do. I braced myself for the worst sight and went to get out the car. The deer suddenly resurrected and shot off into the woodland, with one lame leg. I looked wordlessly at The Boss, glanced at the queue of traffic in my rear view mirror and drove off slowly towards the school.

“It’s ok, kids, the deer’s fine. It’s not dead!” I attempted brightly. “I didn’t hurt it – look, it’s gone skipping off into the woods to meet its friend!” (to die slowly and horribly, poor thing… I added under my breath).

careful mother

“You have no natural predators, my little darling. Just the Grumpy Old Trout” (Photo credit: ynskjen)

In the playground, a mum came up to me and asked how I was. I recognised her as the driver of the car behind and smiled wanly. “I could tell you were shaken by the way you drove the last bit to school”, she said. “Honestly, the deer was fine, it jumped off. They’re wild and a total pest, and one landed on my car roof once!” she reassured. It was so kind of her to try to make me feel less guilty. I reasoned with myself that the car hadn’t actually gone over any bumps (ie legs or hooves). The multiple thumps were the probably the animal struggling to get out through the engine block. It probably hurt its leg when it landed in the road, before it dived under the car. Probably. Perhaps.

I think we’ll be having traditional turkey for Christmas dinner this year and not venison after all. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve kind of gone off it, strangely…

How To Get Rid of Shop Queues

Me and Mini Minx were out shopping today. I’d generally rather stick pins in my eyes than go shopping, but it’s usually pretty tolerable with a minx or 2 or 3 along for amusement value. Today scored pretty highly…

“Mummy, look at that man with the HUUUGE fat tummy!” Mini shouted, pointing helpfully so that there was no mistaking who her poor victim was. So that killed 15 minutes while I explained (yet again) to her why it wasn’t nice to talk about what other people look like.

I thought we might be safe in Tesco. Walking around, Mini loudly and unself-consciously sang away to herself:

“Durrrty dees… dun-dun-deed! Durrrrrrty dees… She’s a durrrrrty wooooman!”

The other shoppers glared at me and nervously sidled away. I guess Mini’s sweet tones totally disguised the ACDC song she was singing (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap).

At the fish counter I bought some whole trout on special offer, and asked the staff member to gut them for me, to save me time later.

“Mummy, mummy, mummy! Please keep the eyes! I want the eyes! I love them, they’re my favourite!” Mini squealed, in a voice that would pierce a ton of butter. The server glanced nervously at me and Mini.

“My 3 daughters like to eat the eyes”, I shrugged; “They must get it from their Daddy. Rather them than me…”.

Mini slurped loudly like a cartoon character and sighed: “Eyeballs…” then started anxiously nagging me again to let her eat all 6 eyeballs. I was aware of a ton of eyeballs boring into the back of my neck, from the queue of other fish-wishing customers.

Koi fish feeding frenzy

Koi fish: pet or tasty snack? (Photo credit: jcolman)

“What is it you like so much about eating fish eyeballs?” I asked her.

“Ooooo, they’re so smooze (smooth) and juicy and yummy and delicious in my tummy” she explained.

“Oh”, I wittily retorted. The staring down my neck feeling suddenly faded, just like the fish counter queue. Must remember to chat tasty fish titbits with the kids next time we’re stuck in a long queue…

Kiddie CrackPol

Nov 8th, 2013

Mini Minx is snoring and wheezing on the sofa, and both Killer and Foster Cats are stretched out on the other chairs. I’m just waiting on school pick-up time / GP appointment for my croup-ridden youngest.

I don’t know what possessed me, but earlier this week I saw the Sound of Music DVD for £3 in the supermarket and bought it on a whim. Last night the minxes sat down to watch it. It’s got Julie Andrews in it, so what harm could come? It’s innocent, right? Ummmm….

Well, for a start, I hadn’t realised that the girls have had no exposure to nuns or Nazis, yet. We had some interesting questions to field, I can tell you!

“Ah, right, ok, so nuns are like uber-Christians, then?” summarised Maxi.
“And Nazis are very, very, very, very, very bad men?” tried Midi. A bit sexist, but I let it slide.

And it wasn’t just that – when Captain von Trapp and Maria lean in for their first kiss, Midi wrinkled up her delicate little nose: “Ewwwwwwww!” she said. “That is yuck! It’s deee-sgustin’! I’m never, ever, ever gonnae kiss a man ever. EVER!” she spat. Then snuggling closer into The Boss and giving him her best innocent smile,”Except for my Daddy”. The Boss smirked. Bless… he really thinks that he’s trained her well. He’s so blissfully innocent of the coming hormonal turmoil in about 6 years or so. I’m preparing for it much like some panicky survivalists stockpile and build for a threatened nuclear holocaust.

The kids safely in bed later, me and The Boss settled down for a proper geek-fest on the TV – lots of great Open University programmes, like the one on explosives. Brilliant! Alas, our youngest’s cold turned into croup, and she woke up screaming and coughing and barking like a seal.

Maxi had croup as a toddler once and we panicked. Midi’s had croup 4 or 5 times and we were watchful and concerned. Mini has croup, and after checking for stridor at rest (nope), any signs of cyanosis (no) or breathing difficulties (not at all), we self-diagnosed mild croup, filled her up with painkillers (calpol and ibuprofen), sat her upright and comforted her on our laps. After 10 minutes, the calpol worked its magic and sent her absolutely loopy.

First her little eyes grew into saucers. It was nothing to do with the fire and bangs and very impressive explosions: it was the drugs. The presenter of the programme went through a revolving door. “Ooooo, spinning door!” Mini cooed. “I love spinny doors. I wanna spinny door. I want one at [name of farmhouse]. I want it now. Spin. SPIN!! Spinny-spin!! Yippee!” The Boss and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. He passed her a little bottle of water. “Ha! It’s got butterflies!” Mini cackled, looking at the bottle. “Butterflies. Butter. Flies. Butter. Butt. Hehe”, she crowed. “Look, Daddy, butterflies in your face! Whoosh! Miaow!” and waved the bottle at The Boss’s chin. He stifled a snigger.

Within another 10 minutes, she’d passed out on the sofa between us. “Mfffl, hmmmm, cat fart, ffffffffl”, she muttered.

I wonder what colour the sky was on her planet last night?!

I parked her between me and The Boss all night so I could be nearby if she needed me. Sure enough, at 5am she woke up screaming in terror at the pain in her stomach from all the coughing. For all that I grumble about being woken in the night, every night, by the kids, it’s no hardship getting up when they’re ill, is it? It took about 15 minutes to medicate and cuddle away the hysteria and most of the pain.

Today she’s been very pale, wheezy, barking, and cycling between painful feverishness and calpol hallucinations. I was on the blower to get an emergency appointment the second the phone line opened at the GP’s surgery. Hopefully a wee dose of steroids will sort her out. Crikey, I might even get some kip myself!

Update 13 Nov: the prednisolone helped, but Mini still has a squeaky, weak voice and coughs continuously at any exertion. She was probably classed as ‘better’ yesterday. Finally! Poor wee thing.

Tattie Holidays Week 1

After kicking off to a good start (!), the rest of the first week of the Tattie Holidays followed a very similar pattern: get up early, get Maxi and Midi fed and dressed and driven to gymnastics, then kill 2 hours with Mini. Every. Single. Day.

On Day 2 of the holidays we spent the 2 hours walking up and down the hill a few times. Well, I didn’t think to bring a snack and drink for Maxi and Midi (oops. Kids get hungry and thirsty when they’re running around doing handstands for 2 hours. Who knew…?) so had to go find a shop, buy some food and water, and fetch them back. Then I treated myself Mini to a milkshake and a cake at a local cafe at the end of another walk back up the hill. Well, my excuse was that the weather was still too minging to go to the playground or do anything properly fun. Honest.

On Day 3 of the holidays the library was open, so I spent 90 minutes reading Mini stories. The librarian interrupted a few times to try to strike up a chat, but I found that incredibly rude (was Mini invisible or something? Was my ‘conversation’ with my little girl so unimportant that it didn’t count?), so kept on with my story-telling. Maybe she couldn’t handle any more of the way I tell stories…?

leaf crunchingOn Day 4 the sun shone for a whole 45 minutes, so I dragged Mini along the sea shore. She really wasn’t interested in enjoying the sunshine or looking at the seagulls or spotting possible forage-worthy fruits. I did manage to tempt her with leaf-crunching and mud-puddle-squelching, though.

Our entire haul. Might make a molecule of jam.

Our entire haul. Might make a molecule of jam.

On Day 5 I dressed Mini in waterproofs and let her run riot in the playground next to the sports centre. I even managed to catch a little bit of Maxi and Midi’s gymnastics. Watching Maxi doing a kind of cheerleading routine on the beam was quite something – my baby… able to balance… and do things that I can’t! I’m glad I didn’t see her do a supported handstand on the beam or I’d probably have cried.

We got up to stuff in the afternoons as well: thanks to saving up every single one of my Tesco clubcard vouchers since the Year Dot, we’d stashed away enough virtual money to pay for half a tv. So on Wednesday (Day 3) I picked up a new-fangled flat tv – apparently no-one sells cathode-ray box type tvs any more. Wow! This thing picks up iPlayer and 4OD! In’t technology brilliant?!

So while the minxes rested for an hour post-lunch in front of the on-demand TV (we can’t get live TV, and I’ve no interest in getting it), I got on with my almost-maniacal chopping and resewing of fleece throws into clothing for the kids. I’ll do a separate post of the things made so you can have a good laugh too, but in the spirit of a tricky school holiday, here’s a Facebook status update from that week:

I’m using fabric paint to draw patterns on fleece to form a non-slip surface for the slipper-socks I’m sewing my 3 daughters. The nozzle got clogged. I poked it with a safety pin. That didn’t clear the blockage. I shaked it. That didn’t work. I used brute force and squeezed the nozzle as hard as I could. That worked! Oh boy, that worked… It exploded! So I now have neon pink, glow in the dark, permanent, wash-proof paint over the fleece bits, over the table, over my sewing machine, over my hair, over my posh cashmere sweater, over the carpet…

 <also seeing the funny side>

I was discovering pink blobs for days afterwards. At least it scraped off the windows; can’t say the same for my lovely posh jumper…

The offending paint, and the mess it made on just one of the fleece scraps. PS my hair isn't pale yellow anymore: it's blue

The offending paint, and the mess it made on just one of the fleece scraps. PS my hair isn’t pale yellow anymore: it’s blue

So after a frenzied clean-up, I was really impressed (!) when Killer Cat tried to escape outside via the chimney for the 4th time. Yep, sooty clouds of muck everywhere. Will she ever be even grey again, never mind her natural pure-white?! On the bright side, I didn’t need to get the chimney swept before I lit a fire. I don’t know what the attraction is with the chimney, especially because she gets out whenever she wants, now – we relented a wee while ago because neither Killer nor Foster Cat were adapting well to becoming indoor felines, so we let them out regardless of the 70mph dual carriageway at the bottom of the garden. Was a mouse hiding up there? I wonder, because one of the cats is leaving dead rodents at the back door every single day (brown and black and grey mice and a vole or 2. And one small bird) and the mouse trap in the kitchen caught a mouse. Pity I didn’t know about it until the smell pervaded the room, days later…

A Day in the Life

Look, I’m not going to trot out all the usual reasons why I’m not posting every day – instead I thought I’d tell you how this morning’s gone. It’s just been a standard morning, so should give you an idea of what’s going on.

I woke up as usual at 6.45am, but with a sore back: Midi Minx had been kicking me since about 5, claiming to be unwell. The Boss bravely stuck his nose out from under the covers, shivered, then checked the thermometer: 10.7degC. Brrrrrr! Our heating oil ran out on Sunday. Now, the last time it ran out was at the beginning of September and that was because we’d not realised that the tank was on fumes when we moved in. This time, it ran out because we didn’t think we’d go through 500 litres of oil in 6 weeks (normally we use that in about 6 months). Grump, grump, grump.

The Boss got up and out, moved the other 2 minxes into our bed, and de-iced both cars before he left for work (what a superstar!). I fed cats, administered medication to one child and one pet, made a vat of porridge, dressed the kids top to toe in fleece and got them downstairs. I stupidly turned on the radio and heard about 2 accidents on The Boss’s route to work. I texted him with details in case he was at a stop, and asked him to text me when he was at work safe. Spent the next 20 minutes fretting about my best friend. What if something happened to him? How would I keep living? Who’d look after the kids? Turned off the radio when every second segue was about the crashes. Got a text from The Boss. Phew! Turned attention to the kids and their synchronous, streaming noses. Finally fed and dressed and brushed and wiped, we headed out to drive 4 miles to drop one minx at school, then 5 more miles to drop another minx at nursery, then 5 miles back. Meanwhile, the oil man filled the tank with oil! Hooray! We must have been first on the list.

Back home, I made Midi Minx a nest on the sofa and built as big a fire as I could (hey, I’m getting better! No firelighters, and only 3 matches this time!). I footered with the lockout reset button on the old heating system, gave up, and called The Boss – he’d sorted out the airlock in the system last time. I followed his directions, then bottled it when no oil or air was spurting out the loosened valve, I was feeling very sneezy (I’m a bit ill too) and got a bit nervous of all the “DANGER! High Voltage!” warnings all around where I was poking a screwdriver. I think I’d rather be cold than dead, ta.

More Greatest Hits of The Monkees

Maxi, Midi, Mini and Mega Minxes. Hint: I’m the one with the warm hat on
Photo credit: Wikipedia

I gave Midi a snack and 2 fleece blankets, put my third jumper layer on and a hat, and heated up myself by hoovering everywhere. Bedroom thermometer now 8.9degC. Dear goodness… Time for coffee!

I set the brilliant Aeropress gadget up with the last of the coffee and left it on the side to steep and get maximum caffeine out while I made Midi up a hot water bottle. I thought about taking some painkillers myself, and reached over for the hot water bottle stopper, a bit distracted…

I guess my streaming eyes are stopping me judging distance too well: I knocked over the aeropress and mug, spilling coffee and grinds everywhere. All over the floor and running *under* the cabinet. Oh hell, it’s inside the cupboard and soaking into my month’s stash of toilet rolls and kitchen rolls! Hang on… it’s in the kettle socket! Shit! Danger-danger!

I switched the socket off at the wall with my elbow and started throwing bits of kitchen roll at the rapidly disappearing puddles on the worktop, floor and inside the cupboards (how the hell did it get in the cupboard? It toppled and fell over, not against it… the geometry’s not right. I’m confused!). Before I can dab and mop, the front door bell goes – parcel delivery. And the man’s already got back in the cab and looks like he’s about to drive off. Panic! Run!

I retrieve the parcel (Christmas present books) and realise my tampon’s leaking badly. Great – my only pair of warm trousers. And there’s no hot water to wash in. Still, in a few minutes when I’ve cleaned up me and the kitchen I can have a nice cup of…. No! NOOOO! That was the last of the coffee!

Will today get better? Probably downhill first before it does – I’ve 2 more school runs to do with a poorly 5 year old in a dressing gown, nothing in for lunch except a tin of spicy soup, and it’s barely above freezing outside so it’ll get colder indoors. But I know it’ll get better – it’s mine and The Boss’s 8th wedding anniversary. We’ve got a top night planned: bubble and squeak and the leftovers of Sunday’s rib roast for dinner, snuggled together on the sofa with Homeland and Green Wing on 4OD, and (hopefully) some heating and hot water!!! Cannae wait 🙂