I’ll try and quickly run-through the past two weeks. (Regular readers will know that I have no idea how to be brief-so may want to grab a cup of tea) I left off at about the 12th of March-so let’s see how much I can remember.
I know the kids and I did shopping on the Friday-but still had one major problem. I hadn’t been able to get Kieran a proper long sleeve shirt. The one we bought on Thursday ended up being far too small for him. Every time he lifted his arms, the shirt came un-tucked. We came home slightly defeated in the afternoon, and didn’t have a clue as to where to look next. There were tons of short sleeve shirts and white polo tops, but not one long sleeve dress shirt in sight. This is why I have got to learn not to procrastinate-something always goes wrong. Just added that to stop Michael from saying ‘told you so!’ 😉 Anyway-I had a major brain surge just after 3:30 pm and remembered that we have a school shop in town that supplies to the more up-market schools as well-they were bound to have a long sleeve dress shirt. I gave them a call-and they had some in his-or what I thought would be his size. How on earth am I to know his chest size? The clerk was helpful and located two shirts in his approximate size. I wasn’t going to be able to dash across town to the shop and get back in time for Hazel’s ballet lesson-so organized a pick-up first thing in the morning. This is why Michael rolls his eyes at me-the shop opens at 9 am, Kieran had to be at the tap exam by 10:15 am-and I still wasn’t sure if the shirts would fit.
Well-rest assured all worked out well (doesn’t it always?)-and I think he looked rather smart. He said it went well, and he had fun. There are two other boys in his class-so it was nice to see all three dressed to impress.
We managed the quick dash to the shop to try on the shirts-the first one fit, so we bought it and dashed home. I managed to iron it quickly-and we got him there on time. He insisted we all take him to the exam, so it turned into a mini-family trip out. We came home and had a quick bite to eat, I packed Hazel a lunch and then she headed off to embroidery for the afternoon. Once again she had a nice time and is eager for the next one.
The rest of the weekend is a bit of a blur. I did some gardening on Saturday-I managed to clean and prepare all the seed trays and managed to plant most of the seeds on Saturday evening. Kieran entertained himself most of the day. Sunday Michael went to play golf with a couple of friends and the kids and I went shopping. We went to the farmers market and to Waitrose for some groceries. I know there was St. Patrick day activities and lots of cleaning as well.
On Monday I had some surgery, nothing too major-but necessary for some on-going problems. I didn’t know until the week before that they weren’t doing everything I was told would be done. Then again-as you rarely ever see the same doctor twice here -it’s no wonder things change. Has anyone back home gone in for pre-operative consult and not seen the doctor who ordered the surgery, and who was hopefully the one to do it? I have to say-I still can’t say anything positive about yet another visit to the NHS (National Health Service-and one minor note-it is not free, no matter what anyone says-it costs 12% of your salary). Maybe if I hadn’t worked in healthcare settings back home, maybe if I hadn’t had major surgery back home, only maybe then could I say something positive about the NHS-but I just can’t.
I truly feel sorry for patients who don’t know what questions they should ask and are left to the mercy of the system. Don’t they know they should check diabetics sugar levels before they give them a general anaesthetic? Or after surgery and before any food? Then-don’t you think someone post-surgery should be given something healthy to eat? I don’t tolerate wheat well-I’m not a celiac (at least I hope not!)-so asked for fruit. The nurse insisted that a banana or apple wasn’t as substantial as bread-and I had to have it if I wanted to go home. OK-well processed white bread has the worst affects on me-so I said something with wheat bread-and no processed ham. She brings a tuna sandwich. What could be wrong with that? Nothing if you don’t mind eating: E472(a), E471, E300, E415, E202 and a whole other list of yucky things-and to top it all off-vinegar mixed with the tuna paste. The sandwich was made with two thin slices of bread-the tuna was like a paste-and I barely gagged down half of it. And this is what a registered nurse felt was better for me than fruit-you know, that natural food! Though I only barely managed just under half of it-she wouldn’t get anything else-even though I sat there from 11:30 am till 6:30 pm.
Shouldn’t a doctor, any doctor, follow-up on a patient within 7 ½ hours post-surgery? Well-they didn’t. I saw the doctor who was in charge of me leave the hospital at 4:55 pm. Well, I think he performed the surgery, but I was out before I went into the OR-and as it’s the NHS-you just never know. When he left I called Michael and told him to pick me up after the kids Irish dance class. They were at the hospital at 6:30 pm. The nurse wouldn’t take my IV port out till I was standing at the door with my coat on and told her she could do it for me-or I would do it at home. She finally consented and I left. Argh!!! It would have been more dramatic if I stormed out-but my slow snail pace of a woman in pain would have to suffice! And then this article hit the headlines the next day, and believe me-I’m surprised there aren’t more cases like this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/7948293.stm (This isn’t the hospital near us.) Enough of my rant.
As I was supposed to be out of action for a few days-Michael took some time off to be with the kids. They had a great day by all accounts. The kids did their daily work, then they went to the Living Rainforest. Michael brought all of their sketch books and they all did some sketching. The kids were excited because they got to see the monkeys being feed. They also baked chocolate muffins, bought my Mother’s Day gift, and went to Irish dancing. Michael hasn’t seen them dance in class since the feis-so he was basically blown away with how far they’ve come on. I think he enjoyed the day immensely. When we got home he rustled up a quick pork-stir fried rice for all of us-the first ‘real’ thing I had to eat in 24 hours.
Tuesday was St. Patricks day-the kids made us a card and taped a pound coin for each of us on the back of it. They did their morning work-which for the past few days was just all St. Patrick Day related activity sheets. I found addition sheets, language sheets and all sorts of other fun sheets like word-searches and colouring pages on the internet. They managed to make a booklet out of the work-something they always seem to enjoy. Here are some photos of just a few of the decorations they made. Hazel designed the pot-of-gold and the shamrock on her own. I thought they were lovely. They even made tops for their Monkeys. Hazel took the first photo, and was rather pleased with herself!
I was feeling far better than expected. (This is going on previous experience) Not going to say I wasn’t sore-but just not overly so. I think I managed with just two Tylenol tablets for the day. We made a rather angry call to the hospital as the doctor never called in the evening to discuss the surgery. Basically-I left without knowing everything they did-there were three internal things they were going to do-and one of those was a ‘possibility’-they were going to wait till they could see inside before deciding if it was necessary or not. The irate phone call finally had the wards head nurse (called a ‘sister’ here-a title I think needs updating to the modern world-what if it was a male nurse?), but she didn’t call till the afternoon. Then again-she couldn’t actually tell me what was done-I had to play the ‘hot/cold’ game over the phone to get the details. Infuriating or what? Honestly-it’s a good thing I knew what was what. I’ve had two of the three procedures before, and am luckily bright enough to do the research for the third, but what about those people who just can’t do it for themselves?
The rest of the day I took it easy. Michael ran a few errands with Kieran in the morning and Hazel stayed to look after me. She was ever so cute-reassuring me that if I got terribly ill at any moment, she knew exactly what to do. I truly felt safe in her hands. I sat on the porch in the sunshine for a bit and we had a chat with our neighbour and her son, who had a tooth removed on Monday-he looked far worse than I did! My step-father asked if we had what the Irish Americans have for a traditional St. Patricks day dinner-corned beef brisket and cabbage. I had to let him know we had a roast chicken for lunch, and sausages on the grill for a late dinner. I don’t think they do that kind of corned beef here-it’s not like the processed one you get at the deli counter. Not sure if I’d actually make it if they did-I like it, just don’t like the lingering smell of it cooking!
Wednesday was a better day all round. The kids were very excited in the morning-as they took Michael to the little local WI market to get eggs and their usual treats from the market. I give them each a pound and they can get whatever baked treat they want. After lunch Michael took them to their recorder lesson. Once again-he had fun seeing the lesson. Even though we see them practice at home-it’s not the same as sitting in on a lesson when new pieces are introduced. I think all dad’s should be given the opportunity to leave work once in a blue moon to participate in some of their kids extra-curricular activities. Gives them a much better idea of what’s really going on. Michael was so impressed-he didn’t keel over when she told him how much their exam was going to cost! 🙂
I was getting round in the afternoon with very little pain-and even managed to direct Kieran and Hazel with the planting of the onions and the carrots. We also potted up some early potatoes in the greenhouse-hoping to have some ready to eat by June! Michael made a fleece covering for the carrots, and a few other jobs. Have I mentioned that we were having absolutely beautiful sunny days?
Thursday the kids and I were on our own. Though I love Michael to be home-I couldn’t justify him being home again-as the only activity of the day was a private ballet lesson just down the road, and I was basically feeling fine. That was until I drove-ouch! I was surprised how much that hurt. Oh well-it was a 5 minute trip. Until the afternoon when I realize all our library books were 2 days overdue. Another 5 minute car ride-ouch! We normally can just renew online-but a few of the books had met the maximum amount of renewals, so had to go back. Kieran decided he wanted dinosaur books. Not one or two-but all they had! He literally cleaned out their stock.
Hazel very excitedly got out Anne of Windy Poplars (or Willows, depending on what country you’re in). It is the 4th in the Anne of Green Gables series-they didn’t have the third one in. I don’t want to put ‘age’ restrictions on books, my mom did that with a few books for me (only a few-she was very good at letting me read most things I wanted to-don’t forget-that was in the 1970’s)-but I did think the series was getting just a bit too ‘grown-up’ for her-as she is only 7 reading about teen-agers in love, etc… Hazel is smart-but is very young as well. It was quite cute watching her read the last few chapters of Anne of Avonlea-she kept giggling because everyone was falling in love! Which basically also indicated the topics were getting just beyond her reach. So-I didn’t bat an eyelash when she excitedly showed me the book. I let her make up her own mind. She made it up very quickly that evening. She decided it was “just a bunch of letters, and she just doesn’t get it.” The story is told in a series of letters, and she didn’t understand that format, or the topics. I’m glad she came to that conclusion on her own, without me influencing it.
Later that evening Hazel had her Brownie promise night. She looked rather cute and was excited. We may not like the promise or what it represents-but she really does enjoy being a Brownie. It was held at one of the paint-your-own-pottery studios, which made it just that bit more special. She was so excited about getting her red scarf and her ‘box’. Kieran had Badgers after the Promise Ceremony-so he wanted to dress in his uniform as well. This is the first time he has dress trousers on–he usually just wears jeans. Might as well make use of the trousers we had to buy for the tap exam!
Friday was a relaxed day at home-we were out in the sunshine for awhile-but I wasn’t driving anywhere. Michael brought Hazel to her dance class-and I think that summed up the day. Saturday was a day at home as well. Michael made a start on treating the fencing out back this week. He started on Wednesday, and by Saturday evening he had most of it done.
Sunday was Mothering Sunday. The kids woke me up bright and early to give me the cards they made-and the customary box of chocolates that I must share. That’s not a joke-I must open it up and pass round the chocolate-as soon as it’s unwrapped. They also bought me a beautiful flower arrangement and a thermometer for the greenhouse. Hazel also made me some flower and heart Hama bead decorations.
She and Michael went to the shop for some groceries-and I think the moment they walked back into the door I had one of those freakish moments only women can understand. (Or at least I hope someone else can!) One of those completely unexplainable Jeckle and Hyde moments-one moment you’re sane-the next you aren’t? And though you can’t seem to stop it-you are fully aware of how crazy you are being? Well I had one of those-and spent the rest of the day in what could only be described as a foul mood-so I took to my room and just ironed. Honestly-it was so irrational even I couldn’t understand it, or what caused it. The only other time that really happened was a few months after Hazel was born. Michael and I had just had a Chinese Singapore noodle take-away and watched West Wing, Hazel was fast asleep in the Moses basket beside us, I took the dirty dishes to the kitchen and I swear as I was walking to the kitchen I was thinking how great my life was-when all of a sudden I hated the world and my life-everything was awful and it was all his fault! I swear-it was like a switch went off in my head when I turned on the tap to wash the dishes. I was suddenly this domestic slave furious with the world-how dare I have to wash 2 forks and 2 dishes! I can laugh now-but at the time I thought they were going to lock me away! Anyway-I reclaimed my sanity-and was normal again before dinner.
(By the way-are you on your second cup of tea? We’re almost done!)
Monday was another trip into London for another science lecture. As I still wasn’t up to tons of walking we decided to go the National Gallery first. They all had their sketch pads with them-and I sat and people watched. I also managed to enjoy the view in front of me: The Hay Wain by John Constable. I have to admit I’ve generally just walked by his work before without giving it too much attention. I enjoyed my time looking at his works. I was glad that both kids could point out that in all seven of his works in the gallery, they were all outdoor, had grey skies and all contained some element of water-even if it was just a puddle.
We enjoyed the views of Big Ben (who doesn’t look so big from this view) from the main entrance for awhile before going down to the square to eat our lunch. The kids and I all donned our raincoats with hoods up to eat. No, it wasn’t raining-I’ve been rather unlucky in the past with the thousands of pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
We then headed over to the Royal Institute by bus. We went to see As if by Magic by Dr. Andrew Szydlo. The kids were so excited when we got there-there were a few families from local groups there. When we sat down in the theatre they saw Ysabel and her mom come in. They were waving frantically to get their attention-but they finally ended up going over to say hello in person instead, right before the show started.
The kids and I enjoyed the show-so did Michael, though his intellectual side comes out in things like this. The kids and I were ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ at the mini-experiments, and Kieran especially loved the blasting rockets.
A year ago that would have sent him from the theatre screaming-but not now-he wanted more! But Michael-being the smart one-thought it would have been far better concentrating on just a couple of the key elements and delving more into them. Part of me really agrees with him-and still, I’m all for the occasional mad-dash through scientific facts-for those few moments of ‘magic’ with the occasional explosions thrown in! After the show we briefly said hello to the Portico before going off to get a cup of tea-we hadn’t had one since breakfast. We then decided to leave the city-we were going to go on to another museum, but I thought I wouldn’t push myself anymore.
When we got home I suggested to Hazel that she might want to do a Sketch Tuesday entry-she didn’t give it her all-but I think it’s still rather good for a 7 year old. Kieran did his while at the National Gallery-I love it’s backside!
Tuesday was a day of recovery for me-and for my seedlings as well. Hazel was a great help in getting them all transplanted to bigger pots. She wrote up extra labels and did all the watering for me. A few years ago it would have been so hard to get it done with their ‘help’-now, they really are a help! While we were busy with that, Kieran was busy being an ‘archaeology’ man. He was looking for fossils, digging a trench right in the path from the shed to the green house, trying to label the land-trying to determine when it used to be the sea, showing me his finds every other minute or so-and generally having a blast. Someone has been watching Time Team-can you tell?
Wednesday and today were quiet as well. We managed to get tons of work done. The kids have been working on some solar system booklets again-and each managed to finish a whole booklet both days. They must have worked on them for about 4 hours throughout each day. Yesterday they had recorder and today another private ballet lesson. It’s basically for Hazel, but Kieran joins in as well. Hazel has entered a competition, so needs to learn a routine. Today was the first day of learning the whole routine, and I think she caught on fairly well.
We also picked out an outfit for her to wear-luckily enough we both liked the same outfit for her. Kieran had Badgers tonight, and while he was there Michael and Hazel ran to Waitrose for a few essentials for dinner tomorrow, and I baked a Banana bread-the first one since last summer I think. The kids were so thrilled. Luckily enough it cooled enough for them to have some before bed time.
If you managed to read to the end-WOW!!!