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Aug 31

How to wreck your social worker’s buzz

Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012 in Family, Rantings

If there’s one thing that scares me more than men with guns or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s social workers.

This young wan called ’round recently, jaysus the house stank. The cat had shat in the bath and the dog hair was everywhere. I hadn’t even had a chance to finish my first cup of coffee of the day, and I was fierce bedraggled answering that door. Children seemed to be everywhere, but when she walked in they lined up as though it were a staged musical… it would have been perfect if the director hadn’t been so feckin’ cranky.

She sauntered in and looked for somewhere to place her files, I directed her to place them neatly on the dog, for he was the only thing that didn’t have stuff on it at the time. She did so without batting an eyelid, fair play to her.

She wanted to find out if our housing situation was suitable for us as a family, so I showed her around our tiny kitchen (God love her) and introduced her to the chaos of the bedroom that my 7 year old girl and 2 year old boy try to share. Laughingboy’s batchelor pad was next, but given that his quarters take up the majority of the rest of the house, she seemed happy with his living conditions.

But what point is there in his having adequate living conditions when the rest of us are going insane?

We pointed out that there was a house nearby that is presently empty. It’s adapted for a disabled person, and has four bedrooms. It has a decent kitchen, in which there is room to flip a pancake which would make a nice change. We wondered if we could possibly move into it?

Social worker lady told us that no, that this house has been allocated for travellers, which means that only travellers can move in to it.

So how can I become a traveller? I asked. She laughed nervously. I laughed hysterically.

As she walked out, I noticed the screensaver on our computer… it flashed the following image;


She did a double-take.

But by then the image had moved on to an idyllic family group photograph and I presume she imagined that she’d been seeing things.

I imagine she went home for a stiff one.

Jul 6

In which I ramble on about stuff because I feel like it.

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 in Rantings, Strange and Unusual

It’s been a long day. It’s bucketing rain outside, I know, because I battled M50 drivers today for the privilege of being the fastest driver out there with the quickest reaction times. Drum and Bass music tends to do that to a lady. The amount of fender-benders I saw! I pointed and laughed and zoomed away with my ABS brakes and threw caution to the wind because I was in that sort of mood.

The power keeps flickering.

Three weeks of rain in two days, they say.

It’s sodding July!

It’s been a long day. Laughingboy is in hospital with a zombie virus. I know it’s a zombie virus because my husband caught it off him and the symptoms are… deathly pallour, creepy moaning, resistance to sunlight and the overall telltale sign… arms outstretched searching for my blood. Or my attention. Whatever. It could be man-flu though, the symptoms are very similar.

I’ve hidden the other children somewhere safe. But now I can’t remember where that is. Oh well.

So anyway, now I’m going to tell you about the last day of library duty.

As soon as you read the words ‘library duty’, I’m sure you switched off to a certain extent, but I can assure you that this library is like no other library because first of all, it’s a haunted library (and I have this theory backed up by a very up-standing member of the faculty staff so I know my suspicions are true) and second of all, the frequenters of this library are very, very small.

I’ve been volunteering at the school library for three years now, and it’s strange… although the night before I’m bricking it, the experience itself is actually kinda nice. The enthusiasm that some five-year-olds have for books is pretty inspiring sometimes. And also it gives me the excuse to say that I DESERVE that quart of scotch afterwards.

On the last day of term, however, it’s different.

It happened two weeks ago.

The last day of term, that is.

Forty five children. Junior infants, Senior Infants, and first class children. All packed into this tiny room full of precious books and maps and posters about chickens and Lord of the Rings.  Normally they have this kind of bored and frustrated sort of air to them, which is when I like to drum the enthusiasm of the written word into them.

But this day was different.

It was like their parents had fed them with Nitro-Glycerine for breakfast.


I had a heavy-duty encyclopaedia on-hand, just in case I needed to clobber the overly enthusiastic ones… I swear the teacher wouldn’t have noticed, she was dealing with a dislocated shoulder at the time. In fairness though, some of those shelves take a lot of climbing so injury is to be expected!

Fiachra approached me with a book on trains. He is all of four years old.

“You already have eleven books out, kiddo! This is the summer holidays, you can’t be taking books out, you should be returning the ones you’ve already kept for so long!”

This statement went over his head like a giraffe’s fart.

“I want de trains.” he replied.

“No!” I says, “this library day is different, I’m not giving books out… sure the whole library will end up in your house and your mammy will give out to me!”

The lower lip started to quiver.

I readied my encyclopaedia.

It was when the principal of the school herself appeared to quash the confrontation that I backed down. I did admit that the aforementioned library ghost liked to screw with library tickets to make librarians such as myself to THINK that such kids had oodles of books out when they did indeed have not, so I caved, and gave the kid his train book. As the last of the ankle biters left the room, said library ghost sent the entire shelf of ‘read it yourself’ books tumbling to the floor.

Or that could have been me.

I’m not sure.

Either way, the bottle of Jack Daniels that day was totally deserved.

May 17

My sweetest downfall

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Family, Music, Philosophy, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

So there you have it! Gots me an x-ray today that says I don’t need no nasty support pins inserted into my buggered wrist. Turns out wrist is not so buggered! I started popping some homeopathic Symphytum 6c a few days ago and the weirdest thing happened… it worked. The cracks on my distal radiator have faded to thin wee lines within a week. But of course that could be a coincidence. Whatever. Four weeks left of no driving.

This wrecks my head.

No driving.

Or does it?

I’ve been pardoned from all sorts of things. Previous stresses have just… melted away. The flu that’s been farting around my chestal area has disappeared. Stressed-out-woman-flu. Gone! Baths are a pain in the ass with a fibreglass arm, but I can’t bite the nails on my right hand so they’re kind’a pretty now. Ying and yang.

I can’t look after the Accidental Terrorist in his post-operative state, though, that’s a bummer. He has to spend his birthday this weekend in an old folk’s home. I haven’t found the silver lining in that one yet, besides an opportunity for bets on aul’ones in wheelchair-races down hill-slopes.

A spare xbox would definitely cheer him up though, and I’m sure as hell not giving up mine!

Not looking at anybody.


But the worst thing of all is that I have to give up Laughingboy. He’s booked away for ten days, umpteen bags are packed in the hallway. Nebuliser meds, feeds, kangaroo bags, tubes, syringes, baby wipes, funky rocket pyjamas… he’s been there for most of the week already, he came home yesterday temporarily and I missed him.

I put Florence and the Machine on for him and spun him ’round on his roof hoist sling even though I’m not supposed to and gave him a head-scratch with my new nails. He’s a sucker for a head-scratch.

As I tucked him in, I did the usual under-cover sweep of arms and tubes to make sure one would not reef the other causing eruptions of stomach gunge (as you do), and as I did my hand was grabbed. Laughingboy has never really done that deliberately before. He squazzed my hand tightly and gazed into nowhere and purred quietly, his gaze fixed on something out the window. Or the window itself, or a far away galaxy maybe. I stayed until he loosened his grip. The chicken nuggets got slightly burned, but it was worth it. He’s going away tomorrow, I’m going to miss him so much, the sort of hurt I wish they could put pins in.

May 4

Keep on keeping on.

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 in Family, Jobs, Rantings

Maybe it was the Accidental Terrorist’s worsening spinal condition and impending stream of surgical confusion coupled with the erratic swings of his emotional state caused by the masses of weird chemicals he consumes to control his pain. Maybe it was the worry that Laughingboy stops breathing at night time and investigations into his sleep apnea aren’t being investigated quickly enough. It could have been exhaustion from the parent’s committee and its efforts to raise such huge amounts of cash at the cost of mine and its other member’s time and energy, or it could have been the looming bills and the bank letters that go with them that state the bleedin’ obvious fact that there isn’t enough money in any of our bank accounts to cover same. I would thank them by hand-grenade by return-post, but I don’t have any hand-grenades. Two-year-old’s tandrums. Demanding daughters. Nothing for dinner. No fuel for the car. Old shoes with holes in.  Not being able to have a peaceful crap on my own. The fact that our house has possibly been condemned. The beckoning but ultimately evil bottle of scotch whiskey…

Maybe it was all of it all at once, triggered by something irrelevant such as running-out of firelighters, or the cat crapping on my duvet. Something snapped, either way.

Whatever it was, it led to my sitting in the middle of a rain-soaked field screaming from the pit of my soul for some sort of answer, or release, or solution. It felt good, and one can’t exactly go about doing that sort of thing in front of one’s children without eyebrows being raised and strange kiddie questions being addressed to teachers the next day, hey.

Fields are great inventions.

Fat old Wouldye dog didn’t care. He just chased butterflies and relished the sniffings. I felt happy for him.

I stood up eventually, and found a river by which I stood for quite some time.

It amazed me. I felt so jealous of it, the way it just kept on flowing. No matter what was placed in its path, it just kept going with an unstoppable energy. Determination. And it seemed so enthusiastic with it. Gushing. Rushing. Pushing to get there. Uninterrupted flow.

I drew energy from it, and wondered what drove it, besides obvious gravitational pull. There was something else, something that I was missing. Natural order perhaps. Where the hell is my natural order? What is pulling me to an end? What have I got to be so enthusiastic about?

I wish I was a river. I wish I could see my purpose and be so determined. I wish something would pull me, and not have me struggle towards it. And what is it? And where does it end?

Rivers don’t have questions, they just are.

I wish I could just…


Oct 7

Half a job

Posted on Friday, October 7, 2011 in Family, Little known facts, Rantings, Strange and Unusual

Story of my life, innit?  This blog’s looking like my teenage diary, large gaps filled with absent memories, a half-assed diary of mystery. Still, I’m glad I still have them both, as haphazard as they are.

I’ve learned exactly half of Xtreme’s song ‘More Than Words’ on the guitar.  I spent half the time in college that I was supposed to. My house is semi-clean, semi-cluttered. I’m a half a job, a quitter, a loser even.

But that’s good, right? If there were no losers, there’d be no winners. You can’t have night without day, hey.

If I’d been more commited, I would’ve told you about Laughingboy’s brush with botox last month. Not just for those with more money than sense, the stuff happens to be quite useful it seems. I was only too happy to have them inject poison into my kid, in fact.

He mutated earlier this year, you see, from a little boy into a strapping young man. His schoolteachers panicked and swiftly ordered larger equipment to handle him, I rushed out to buy big-boy clothes and meanwhile Laughingboy suffered.  Nature would have it that a child’s bones grow first, but their surrounding supportive tendons can take up to a year to catch up.  Cruel, isn’t it? Seems Mother Nature’s a bit of a half-a-job, too.

That’s what the botox was for, to relax those muscles, to make them sleep and stop hurting while his cells multiply.  You should see the difference it’s made! No longer frog-legged, no longer squirming in his wheelchair, he’s his old Laughingboy self again, but taller.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I’m so glad he lives in the 21st century.

Jul 30

Fickle Picky Ickle Friend

Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Family, munchies, Rantings

It happens occasionally that Puppychild gets to have a friend for dinner at our house (with some fava beans and a nice chianti) and from experience I’ve learned that the simplest foods go down the best where five year olds are concerned.

So, I served wholemeal spaghetti with tuna and sweetcorn flavoured with a wee blob of butter and a squitch of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of fresh cream. Then I made a mistake. I added a sprig of well chopped parsley.

Puppychild’s friend pulled a grimace when I placed her little pink bowl of food in front of her. She poked a finger into the depths of her spaghetti and withdrew a teeny speck of green… she looked as though she were about to vomit.

“Wha is dis?” she waved her green speck at me.

“It’s parsley” I explained, “It tastes lovely and it’s very good for you, there’s only a tiny bit in there though.”

“I don’ like ih.” she folded her arms in a huff and shoved the bowl away with her elbow.

“But how do you know you don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it?” I implored.

“I just don’ like ih.” She began to tweeze bits of sweetcorn from the food, but only the sweetcorn that had in no way come within any distance or association whatsoever with the horrible, terrible parsley.

Babyled“So what’s your favourite food at home?” I asked.

“Kebabs” she replied.

“Your mummy makes kebabs?”

“No from de chipparse” she replied.

“You like kebabs from the chip shop?

“Yeh s’yummy.” She assumed a hangdog pose, lower lip thrust forward… it was that look that small children make when they’re trying to convey to you that they’re so cruelly starved they’d happily eat a leper’s arse through a hedge (as long as it didn’t have parsley on it).

“But kebabs are full of all sorts of artificial crap, spurious stuff out of cans opened by men with hairy fingers and sweaty arse cracks, you big pink freak!!”

That’s what I didn’t say to her. I just made her a ham sandwich instead which she ate happily and when the children had finished eating, they rushed gaily outside to eat grass soaked in dog pee and to dig up worms and slugs.

Children are so weird.

(img found spuriously via Public School)

Jul 28

Almost happily ever after

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Family, Rantings

I’ve been trying to fill out this questionnaire for what seems like years now, and again here I am having become distracted by the lure of the internet… it just seems so silly, is all. It’s asking me questions about a good buddy of mine, I’ve known her since secondary school and they’re asking me intimate details about her life, her habits, her weaknesses, and any racial opinions she might have. So silly.

She’s been unlucky in love in the past, this girl. She has a herd of children by different fathers who diddled her over in their various ways but finally, finally she found an amazing fella who not only fell in love with her, but with her children too and that’s something that isn’t exactly easy to do. She married him, and is living her happily ever after with their dogs and their white picket fences and the future is finally rosy.

Except there’s one thing darkening her horizon, the fact that she now has to adopt her own children.

How bizarre is that?

This is what the questionnaire is in aid of. She’s declared me as an unrelated friend of the family and it’s now my job to let the Health Board know that she’s fit to raise her own children. It’s making me feel really uncomfortable. I mean, I know that her husband likes a few cans after a hard day working, but should I mention this? Should I keep it strictly corny and gush about her well adjusted children and not mention that her toddler eats out of the dog’s bowl occasionally?

It just seems so silly. I could write whatever I want and it might not necessarily be true… they know we’re friends, I’m not about to dump her in it am I? Perhaps they have someone tailing me to see if I’m a stand-up citizen, perhaps there’s someone else out there filling in a dumbass questionnaire about me.

Questionnaires, red tape, paperwork… I don’t know why I’m even worrying about it. It’s not like anyone will end up actually reading it, in all probability. I just feel sorry for their family. All they want to do is live, and love each other under the one surname, but they have to parade themselves and confess their weaknesses to do so.

At the same time you have crack head parents smacked up on gear on trains with sweet little children in decrepit buggies who have no ounce of security in the future, totally escaping the radar. Where’s the sense in it all, at all at all?

Jul 6

Eating – ur doin it wrong.

Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 in Rantings, Strange and Unusual

I was at a wedding dinner last month in the company of other carrot slurpers and talking about the awful state of the weather when I suddenly got a terrible shock. As I looked around, I discovered that everybody… absolutely everybody was eating with their knives and forks in the wrong hands.

I do know how to set a table; the knives go on the right of the plate, the forks on the left. Whenever I pick them up to eat, however, I always switch hands. It just makes more sense to shovel with the right, or use a right-handed anchor to hold the meat down while I saw through its sinews with a left-cutting knife. I’m right handed, ergo my right hand has more control, Shirley? Until that day, I had presumed that everybody ate this way.

It was a very shameful moment, but nothing champagne couldn’t fix.


Almost as stupid as this, I felt. Almost.

I did try switching last week, I shouldn’t have worn that new blouse… shouldn’t have trusted my left hand to take control out of the blue like that, I should have eased it into the idea gently, dammit! Poor lefty bottled it halfway on the journey from plate to mouth and had an awful case of the shakes, discombobulating all over the boobal area of said blouse. Disaster.

But what have I done to my brain?! This lack of control practice for poor lefty has probably damaged it beyond repair, synapses’ bags packed, they’ve gone in search of sunnier climes probably. In fact, I’ve most likely passed the tendancy to eat incorrectly to my growing foeti… if their left hands drop off in their mid-50’s, it’ll be MY fault.

I’m a freak and I’m screwing up the evolutionary chain, the smell of antiestablishmentarianism is rank. I flatly refuse to conform to being a left handed forker though, it’s everyone else that’s wrong, not me!!!

Jul 2

Would yeh ever go an’ shite?

Posted on Saturday, July 2, 2011 in Family, Rantings

This post will be a load of crap, but sometimes talking shite is all I have left.

This is especially true for every conversation I’ve had with Laughingboy’s teachers or nurses at school over the last three weeks. He hasn’t seen his schoolroom in over a month, thanks to this bizarre diarrhoea spate he’s been suffering, so they call me up every now and then to check his status.

For the last week, however, there’s been nothing excrementally newsworthy to tell them… the poor kid hasn’t produced so much as a nodge of poo whatsoever, so I don’t really know whether he’s better or not, meanwhile much-needed summer camp respite is on hold.

There aren’t that many ways to express this fact politely though, it’s hard to phrase the problem nicely… there’s:

-He hasn’t produced anything solid, nappy-wise.
-No bowel-movements as of yet.
-Bowel openings are a negative.

I yearn to just come right out with… “The little shit hasn’t had a dump in ages!”

…but that wouldn’t go down too well.

It was out in the garden earlier when I smelt the spurious hum. Laughingboy was swinging in his hammock with a smile on his face, Florence and the Machine was blasting through his earphones and he looked like he was in the zone… you know, that zone.

I whisked him out sharpish and brought him to his bed where I whipped off his tracksuit bottoms and tore at his nappy like a five year old at Christmas, hoping for a flash of brown underneath.

But it wasn’t to be.

I suddenly heard my mother’s voice, that wise poem she used to recite under the right circumstances:

Poor aul’ child, broken hearted;
Paid ten pee, but only farted.

Jun 30

Did someone call for a waahmbulance?

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Family, Rantings

I can’t pause for long, there’s a young man in the kitchen that wants to dance with me. I’ve been dancing with him for two hours now, he likes a slow waltz to the beat of his heartbeat, he keeps his hands on my shoulders and I firmly grasping his buttocks. An odd jig now and then might take his fancy in a frisky moment, but for the most it’s a slow dance he wants.

All I want is to turn my hand to whiskey and blog, but he doesn’t understand. He shouts with violent gestures and pounds the air with his fists and I watch the face I love so much boil in its furious redness and I know he doesn’t really mean any of it, he just wants to dance and there’s nothing bad about that.

Even now, as I sit and type, he sings and talks and chatters and pleads with me to dance with him again. He talks and talks, and shouts and yawns and still he won’t go to sleep, this man of mine.

And then I give him the bottle. His third of the night, if you don’t mind. He drinks it down, and talks himself to sleep in the corner and I daren’t move him, lest he start shouting at me again. The abuse I get from him is heavy, but it underweighs the good parts, his constant want to entertain me is flattering and I love his ways of making me laugh and I love his love and the way he makes me feel real and I know I could never leave him.

This could be said for any man, many men. They’re all the same.

Mine is one year old. I’ve never had the opportunity to raise a man before, but it’s comforting to know that they’re born like this, that they can’t be changed. It’s up to us as mothers, as sisters, as girlfriends and wives to find a way through it, to as close as what could be described as harmony as possible,

even if it does mean hitting the bottle.