Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A New Olympic Sport (1) : finding a pot noodle in Waitrose

I get up early, do my physio exercises (in a half-hearted-lets-skip-this-one way), sort out ds1's drink, snacks, waterproofs and bag for his archaeology dig.

I print off a map of the town centre, draw directions on it, find a plastic slippy-in thingy for it, and explain to him how I am going to pick him up in the van at noon, take him home for a bath, and then put him on a bus at 1pm to go to his OTHER archaeology thing this afternoon.

I get the younger ones to pack some 'entertainment' and we all get in the van.

I drop ds1 at the archaeology dig, then drive further round the ring road, find a (free) parking space, spend half an hour in the hairdressers having a haircut while the younger ones entertain themselves. Meanwhile ds1 texts to say that the afternoon archaeology thingy has been cancelled. And could I bring him some lunch, preferably a pot noodle.

I can't face going back home only to go out again, so I go into Waitrose, the nearest supermarket. I hunt the shelves for pot noodles.

They have speciality bread.

And speciality jam.

And speciality ketchup.

And every s***ing-peciality-thing you could ever imagine.

But no pot noodles. I'm too ashamed to ask a shop assistant in case they use tasers on people who eat junk food.

I give up, buy scones (that's pronounced scohhhhnes in Waitrose, you know) and some speciality things in a packet (I'm not fooled. To us ordinary folk they are called pancakes)

And then...



They look at me forlornly.  

Can we?

It is sat there, all lonesome, in the pumpkin basket all on its own.

Being the tight frugal sort, I had planned to use one of the teensy, manky-looking squash I managed to grow in the garden, as a substitute for a pumpkin this year. But it has started to rain. I would have to go pick the pathetic-looking thing from a wet and muddy garden. More importantly this would mean doing the garden-path-slalom to avoid treading in the semi-dissolved-in-rain dog poo that I've been meaning to clear up since last Tuesday (which is the last time that my slalom-that-took-a-wrong-turn reminded me in a very physical way that I needed to clear up the dog poo).

Besides, if it's anything like the last squash I tried to make into a pumpkin face, it'll be rock-hard through-and-through and will take all day to carve. I don't have all day.


And this is when the revelation happens. I discover that people who work at tills actually speak without scowling. They even put things in bags for you without playing that will-it-bounce-off-the-end-or-not? roulette game. Obviously, I have been shopping in Tescos for too long.

I drive back to the archaeology dig, give a hungry teen his supplies. Then follow him back to look at what he's been doing. With great pride he shows me bits of jaw he's dug up. Are they human, I ask?

We drive home. I put washing away. I lurk at the washing basket and ponder the wisdom of putting another twenty pairs of odd socks and toxic pants through the wash. It is still raining. I put the lid back on.

I hassle the kids to do their 'folders'. Sit with dd while she does hers.

The kids start decorating the front of the house with bits of my knitting wool and lumps of cotton wool. I wonder what is wrong with the halloween decorations I bought them. I mean, at least they are waterproof and wont be a choking hazard for small elves who might come calling on Halloween.

The dog has been eating a plastic wine bottle cork. I note that it looks remarkably like a half-chewed quorn sausage. The children agree. We study it for a while, reassembling the pieces on the lounge table.I remember that I still haven't cleared the garden path.

I remind the kids that they ought to be doing something with THE LAST PUMPKIN IN WAITROSE.

It takes us close to 15 minutes to make a square foot of space on the table in order to perform the pumpkin operation.

The children start stabbing.

I phone a friend. We compare notes on our day so far.
You - YOU - went to Waitrose????!!! Five minutes of chortling and guffawing later...
It seems I have a reputation to keep.

I make a vegetable chilli for the weekend, shove it in the slow cooker and wonder whether to set it at the impossibly-slow-you-don't-actually-want-to-eat-this-meal-this-week-do-you  setting. After much deliberation I opt for the burn-and-learn setting instead.

A friend phones. She tells me that her son has agreed with my son about what my son is buying her son for his birthday. They are getting it tomorrow. Uh huh. This present involves a trip to Games Workshop with another child (who is contributing to the purchase). Apparently it has all been sorted, and didn't I know about it?

I chew on this latest news.

The first puzzling thing is exactly how long my son has been working in a job well-paid enough to splurge on Warhammer.[What? You were expecting me to pay for it? Ah...]

The second puzzling thing is, when did children start ganging up and holding other people's parents to ransom over birthday presents?

The third puzzling thing is why - seeing as we are budgeting so hard I haven't had a haircut since January and it shows - other people, including my son, think we actually have money. I mean, if I had money do you really think I would dress like this..? (No. Don't answer that.)

The kids, meanwhile, continue attacking the pumpkin.

I call another friend (all the while I am clearing and cleaning, albeit very ineffectively) to find out
a) if she can pick my kids up for an activity on Friday
b) can she have dd for a sleepover on Saturday because other friend needs to pick her up for a fencing competition on Sunday and the time-space continuum thingy is not working in my favour this weekend and
c) to confirm what the geography homework was because ds1 has already spent 7 hours working on question 1 and the thought of doing question 2 as well is pushing us both over the edge.

Friend invites dd over to play. Now.

I pack dd in the car, leaving ds2 still carving a pumpkin. "Don't cut yourself or do anything that's going to make me look like a bad parent..." I sing as I go out the door.

I deposit dd at playdate.

I return home, stuff something frozen in the oven and try to remember how to set the oven timer to come on automatically. I pray to the oven god of frozen convenience foods.

I get back in the van, go to pick ds1 up from his archaeology dig. Swinging back around the ring road (now getting jammed with heavy traffic), I go to pick dd up from her playdate. We get home. I put the immersion on and direct ds1 to the bath.

The frozen things are cooking. I shove random vegetables into saucepans and half boil them to death, while nagging children and scraping something, possibly a new life form, off the kitchen surface

I check in on the pumpkin appendectomy. The conservatory table resembles a slaughter house, but the pumpkin looks the business.

We put the pumpkin on the front step and discover there is a reason why it was THE LAST PUMPKIN IN WAITROSE..

It is not a pumpkin. It is an anti-Weeble.

For love, nor money, or even the enthusiastic glare of an 11-year-old, it wont stand upright.

We prop it up with a brick. Perfect.

I yell at the kids, stir gravy, mash potato, put up with ds1's comments about not liking margarine, try to check my emails on my phone while dishing up food and shoving it on the table and doing some more yelling.

Dh arrives home from work. I shove food down my gullet. I shove the plate in the kitchen. I shove myself out the door, late for work, leaving children in the full frenzy of greeting trick-or-treaters with the big box of sweets that, yes, I was actually organised enough to buy.

I sit down at work.

And rest.


globeonmytable said...

Aahhh! It sounds like the beginning of the Hamlet ad from years ago. Cigar time! Remember the piano music too?

Pip said...

lol!! I know i shouldn't but i am giggling. It's the way you tell it! Hope you enjoyed your rest at work! xx

Anne B said...

Thank you for putting my week firmly back in proportion...