Sunday, 29 November 2009

My Martian does it again!

Three sets of reports still to write (by Tuesday), Christmas shopping not yet started, house is a tip and piles of washing now taking over the landing. Behind with everything after being sick last weekend.

So, what went through husband's mind when he was asked to go and help at the North of England trials today? (Bear in mind that he did his under 18's football yesterday morning and went to City yesterday afternoon)

Was it

a) I have family commitments - daughter has swimming lesson on Sunday morning which is my responsibility?
b) I have family commitments - my wife is overworked and needs help?
c) I have family commitments - Christmas is looming and isn't going to happen unless I help?


d) yes, I'll help with the football!

No prizes for guessing which it was; it's tragically too easy.


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

For want of a nail.........

In amongst all the frustration and strain associated with the new IT systems at work at the moment, last week I found that my workstation's usb port was broken. I desperately needed to save the school entrance exam onto a memory stick to take home to work on it (it was too large to e-mail as an attachment). I sent a helpdesk message to ask for it to be fixed.

The IT Support boys, let's call them John and Edward, turned up, mumbled a bit and said, "We'll change your station" and they proceded to swap mine with another colleague's. (Yes, really!) I left them while I went to teach.

Guess what?

The usb port on that one was also broken. I sent Jedward a message.

Jedward came back, tutted and hummed and then said, "We'll order you an external usb"

The next day they fitted an external usb.

Guess what?

My mouse had stopped working. I sent Jedward a message.

Jedward came back, tutted and hummed and then said, "We'll reinstall it and reboot". I left them while I went to teach.

Guess what?

My mouse worked, but the computer wouldn't reboot. It just got stuck. I sent Jedward a message.

Jedward came back, tutted and hummed and then said, "We'll get you a new station"

This morning I went into the office, and there was my new station.

Minus the post-it notes I had stuck to my old one reminding me of the things I need to remember!

Guess what?

I can't remember what was on them - that's why I wrote them!!!

(I have to laugh at the moment or I would cry)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Nativity Nightmare

Now you know how strict I am about bedtime? Well, here's another story: I've just found out that as well as a 2pm performance of the Nativity Play, my five year old daughter has to do a 7pm performance!! That's right. 7pm!

I'd gone to see her teacher to find out when the Nativity was so that I could arrange for a colleague to cover for me.

"It's 2pm on the 15th and 7pm on the 16th" I was told.

"That can't be right" I said to her teacher. "She goes to bed at 7pm, you must mean the juniors at 7pm"

The other year 1 teacher was summoned to confirm the time. Yes, year 1 and 2 Nativity is at 7pm. I looked horrified.

"Yes, I know" she said, "They're fit for nothing the next day and it's the panto trip and party"

Then she added "And it's never a very good performance because they're all tired"

"Excuse me? They are too tired? Of course they are, they are five years old! So why do it to them?"

(Of course I just thought that bit, I didn't dare say it out loud)

I went home and looked at the calendar. Husband is away with work and I'm singing in a concert in Manchester. So that's that, daughter can't do the 7pm performance.

Secretly, I am relieved.

What a naughty mum I am!

Monday, 23 November 2009


Mojo at 60% and rising.

Exams marked 53

Reports written 46

Grades awarded 156

About a third of the way through!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Pooly. Ill. Sick.

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Yes, I'm poorly, ill, sick. I've caught the sickness bug daughter had last week. Except mine came accompanied by the other thing, if you know what I mean. I spent all Friday night and Saturday morning in the bathroom, I still have stomach ache and I'm not quite able to stand upright without feeling dizzy.

Luckily, husband took daughter to work with him on Saturday morning so I did get some peace. He said she was very helpful, entertained everyone there and was filled with sweets, chocolate, cake and fizzy drinks by them! Nice.

Unfortunately, I missed an African Music Workshop that I was due to go on with the choir on Saturday afternoon. And I was so looking forward to taking out all my current stress on an African drum!

So now I've got a pile of exams waiting to be marked in my briefcase, a pile of ironing waiting to be done in the dining room, 442 posts to be read in my Google Reader (I'm sorry, I won't get round to reading them all) and I haven't even thought about sanding down the staircase which was what I had planned while husband took daughter swimming this morning.

Daughter has amassed four lots of homework to do this afternoon (how did that happen?) and I have to take her to a party and I'm so not in the mood for socialising with other mums. Just want to curl up in ball under the duvet.

When husband asked me if I wanted anything this morning I just said:

"I want my mojo back!"

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Losing it

Think I'm losing my marbles now. Today, as members of my department were struggling with the new Data Management System, I decided to help them by typing up detailed instructions of how to input various types of grades and reports and how to filter and print the parts they need ("Surely IT would do this?" I hear you cry - another story)

Anyway, when I'd finished I e-mailed a copy to everyone and printed out my own version with a cover sheet saying

"Carol's Cool Instructions"

then I took the department's stamps and stamped "Brilliant" "Well done!" and "Superstar!" all over it.

I recommend it!

Boosted my self esteem no end!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

When you've got your nose the grindstone ..........

I don't normally write about the things that are annoying me at work; I love my job, I love the kids, I love my colleagues (well, not literally, but I do like working with the other members of my department) and there are always stresses and complaints in any job, you just have to get on with it. However, today I'm making an exception.

Now, to set the scene, you need to be aware that this time of year is the worst time of year in our school. There are Open Evenings and Parents' Evenings to attend (meaning 13 hour days), all my classes are doing Christmas Assessments (tests and exams) in the next two weeks, which need to be marked and recorded, and then I have 130 reports to write before Christmas. All on top of a normal teaching load. I also have to record grades and write reports on the new Data Management System that went live in school last week, so we're still getting to grips with it.

This is what I look like at this time of year:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

(That's me on dinner duty in the canteen)

Okay, so it's a busy time of year. Fair enough. There is an INSET day coming up next week (to those who don't know, this stands for "In Service Training" and usually consists of useful stuff like Child Protection Legislation, Asthma Awareness, EpipenTraining, IT Training, Fire Safety talks, etc.) we could use it to have some extra marking time, to write reports on the new system with assistance available, to have important departmental meetings to review this term's initiatives.

So what have the "powers that be" decided that we need on INSET day?

An ex member of staff to come and talk to us about how great life is after retirement!!

Talk about rubbing your nose in it!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Why can't a man be more like a woman?

Last night daughter was sick. There is sickness bug going round school so it didn't surprise me. Unfortunately I didn't get to her in time to manouvre her to the toilet, so she was sick on her bedroom floor, then the bathroom floor, then all over the toilet. But strangely, not actually in the toilet! I started to clean her up, change her clothes and reassure her when husband appeared.

"Can I do anything?" he asked.

"Yes, you look after her and I'll clean up"

He took her to the other bathroom to clean her up and put new PJs on then he took her to our room while I spent nearly 30 mins in rubber gloves armed with a bottle of Dettol. By the time I'd finished I could hear her being sick again.

I went into our room and guess what?

Had husband thought to get a bowl or a bucket for her to be sick into the next time?

No, he had not.

She had been sick all over our duvet.

"This time, you can do the cleaning up" I said.

Friday, 13 November 2009

What the blazers?!

No, not a typing error, but a rant about blazers.

Now my daughter has reached the dizzy heights of Year 1 she has to wear a blazer. Not a simple blazer from M&S. No, a £50 embroidered and gold braid edged blazer from the school outfitters, Messrs Got You Over a Barrel & Co. (I think I've mentioned them before)

So what do we do with this blazer?

Well, every morning I put it in a bag and take it to school (because she is wearing her official school coat embroidered with the school crest) and she hangs it on her peg.

At the end of the day I pick daughter up and we take her blazer from the peg, put it in a bag and carry it back to the car.

Why did I spend £50 on a blazer that is now just an extra bag to carry?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Seven things you didn't know about me

I have received this lovely award from Rosiero at Alcoholic Daze and Fat, Frumpy and Fifty:

If you haven't read Rosiero's blog, go along and give her your support. The lady is a saint.

Anyway, along with the award I have to tell you seven things about myself. Some of these I have done before, but some readers may not know:
  1. I have sung with Pavarotti and Jose Carreras (my claims to fame and I'm hanging on to them)
  2. At school I learned the art of campanology (church bell ringing)
  3. At university I danced in the university ballroom dancing team - kept this quiet for a long time, but now it's fashionable thanks to 'Strictly Come Dancing'
  4. I can touch type - much to the annoyance of my two fingered colleagues!
  5. In times of stress I hide chocolate under my bed- that last time was a bar of Ritter Sport when the electrics went haywire
  6. I still suffer from travel sickness - at my age!
  7. I like my books arranged in height order (husband says I have a touch of OCD!):
(Yes, that's really my bookcase)

Now I shall nominate seven other blogs to receive the award and tell us how weird they are:

A working mother's chatter
and 1 more means four
Diary of a Surprise Mum
Ladybird World Mother
Ramblings of a Moo Cow
Scary Azeri in Suburbs
The Wife of Bold

Looking forward to hearing their seven things and feeling that I am not alone in my weirdness!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Half Term is over, the nights are drawing in

It's the end of another half term holiday and, despite having two weeks off this year instead of the usual one, it has flown by. Think it might have something to do with what I packed in:

  • I have sanded, primed, undercoated, painted and emulsioned the hall, stairs and landing.
  • The joiner has replaced all the interior doors and the staircase with spindles which I have started to paint and varnish.
  • I cleaned the house from top to bottom twice because of the above two points.
  • We had a family fun day in Blackpool.
  • We cleared the garden for winter.
  • Daughter had three playdates and went out trick or treating for the first time.
  • I took her to the cinema to see "Night at the Museum 2" (it was the Odeon Kids movie; £2.45 for her and I go free, that made the decision for me).
  • I went to hospital for my follow up appointment after my little visit last month; I'm going to be hooked up to a 24 hour ecg monitor - should be fun.
  • I retuned four TVs and two digital recorders (ours and MILs) following the second stage of the changeover to digital.
  • I had my car MOTed and serviced.
  • I wrote this year's Entrance Exam for school.
And now for the best bit:

In true, Working Mum style, I have got ahead:

I have made my Christmas Cake, plus one for the Church Christmas Fair.

I've made and frozen 30 christmas cupcakes ready to ice for the school Christmas Fair.

And ...........

I've bought and written all my Christmas Cards!

Smug feeling spreading over me now:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Won't last long, I'm back at work tomorrow - chaos will ensue.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Why I am a working mum

I've recently been thinking about why I'm a working mum. How have I ended up working and raising my daughter at the same time? For some reason it's been going round and round in my head. I wasn't going to try to articulate it, but I was inspired by a post by Scary Azeri in the Suburbs entitled A Pretty Tray for my Cupcakes which, although not quite on the same subject, added to my thoughts, muddled my head and made me want to sort it out.

I've also recently been out for a meal with the mums from my daughter's class who are mixture of SAHMs, full-time working mums and part-time working mums. I'm really interested in why they've chosen the path they've chosen, but don't feel I know them well enough yet to ask. Why has the GP and the Account Manager given up work to be a full-time mum? Why have the Teacher and the Planner gone part-time? Why has the Solicitor continued to work full-time? And what did the rest of them do before they had children? Are they happy with their choices? Would they like to go back to work at a later dater, or are they glad to be out of the rat race? The choices facing women in the 21t century are multifold; why have we chosen to do what we do?

And why am I a working mum?

Scary's post made me realise that there is one aspect of my working that I hadn't really appreciated before - independence. I like to think that if the worse came to the worse and I was left alone with daughter, I would be able to provide for us. Working gives me a certain sense of independence. Not in the sense of being separate from my husband, no, I love being married and financially all our money goes in the one pot, we're not a 'my money/your money' type of partnership. No, just a sense of not being dependent on someone else to provide everything. That seems to be important to me.

I've already mentioned before that I'm part of that generation of women who were brought up to believe that they could, nay should, have a career as well as a family. So I work because that's what I expect to do as a result of my upbringing. When I was pregnant it never occurred to me to leave work. I just expected to carry on. I thought about working part-time, but financially that was worse. I would have been in school almost full-time (because of the timetabling) and so paying for full-time childcare on part-time wages, so I thought I would continue to work full-time and see how it went. It was very hard at first and I had to be mega organised and accept that there would be no time for me, but now it is a lot easier. It also helps that daughter attends my school now and that I have all the same school holidays as her so I don't have the hassle finding someone to look after her in the holidays, or the working mum guilt about that.

Then there is also my sense of self; that I value myself by my working worth. When I was on maternity leave, I hated it. I felt like a 'non person'. I felt I had no place in society, that I was of no use and not contributing in any way to society. At this point I realised that I don't even mind paying taxes! I couldn't wait to get back to work. I felt invisible when out pushing the pram, like I didn't really exist. The relief I felt when I walked back into my classroom was tangible. I thought "This is who I am. This is what I do". I feel useful when I'm working.

So, it's been going round and round in my head - independence, expectation, sense of self .........

And what conclusion have I reached?

In the hive of life, I am one of the worker bees!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Party Pooper

Yet again my daughter is swamped with invitations to birthday parties. We're now onto 6th Birthday Parties and the variety amazes me: bowling, pot painting, train rides, pony riding, High School Musical, swimming, farm animals, etc.

I try to enable her to attend them all because

a) she enjoys them
b) it's nice for the birthday boy/girl to have their friends there

Even if I am overwhelmed with work, I will take her and sit at the back of the room marking work, writing exams or proofreading reports. (Yes, I am that sad mum at the back, working)

However, recently she recieved an invitation to a party and I turned it down without telling her. What a bad mother I am.

Why did I turn it down?

Well, the party was a "Disco Party" to be held from 6.30 pm to 8.30pm at a venue about 15 miles away and my daughter goes to bed at 7.00pm. It just wasn't going to happen.

I have always had a 'thing' about bedtime. I'm quite fastidious about her getting her 11 hours sleep. It helps her to grow physically and develop mentally and it stops her from being tired, tetchy and tearful the next day. I bent the rules for my 40th Birthday meal in the hotel in the Lake District, but that was a one off. We like the routine of PJs, milk and story and then one very happy and peaceful little girl goes off into the land of nod.

So I turned down the invitation.

Did I do wrong?

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Pelemy Polo

Pelemy Polo is my car. It's supposed to be "Penelope Polo", but daughter couldn't pronounce it, so Pelemy it is.

Well, Pelemy has reached a milestone.

She turned ten years old last week.

She went for her annual MOT and service.

She passed first time, as she has done every year.

She's not perfect, she has a few foibles: the driver sun visor falls off occasionally, the driver window won't wind down properly, the passenger wing mirror no longer heats up, but she's safe and she starts first time every morning. In fact, in ten years she's only needed a new battery, exhaust, timing belt, a few light bulbs and a couple of tyres.

People keep asking me if, now that she's reached the ripe old age of ten, I will scrap her under the government car scrappage scheme.


Pelemy is reliable, economical and loved (see photo!)

She costs me nothing but the annual MOT and service.

Why would I send her to the scrap heap?

How wasteful is that scheme?

No, Pelemy will live on!

My blog's "Working Mum on the Verge" and it's been hit!

Anyone know anything about this character?

(Click on the picture to find out more)