Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I take my phone everywhere

So I'm not the most technical person. My I-phone has very few purchased Apps and possibly the smallest collection of music known to Apple. It's not synched with anything (that I know of) and until a quick tutorial from my neighbor yesterday, I was unaware of its ability to understand my voice and act accordingly. Sigh. 

But from now on it's never leaving my side.

See, the other day I locked myself in our downstairs loo (bathroom) with no phone and no means of getting out. Utter panic. Just utter panic. The door knob has been dodgy for some time, and ironically, the replacement had arrived in the mail that morning - only to be boxed straight back up because I had ordered Antique Brass instead of Unlaquered Brass so it didn't match the others. Can't have that now can we?

I hate these door knobs, but unfortunately they are all over the house and it would cost a ridiculous amount of money to change them all. Most of them aren't a problem because they're just door knobs, but a select few are privacy locks which look like this - 


See that little pin thing on the side of the rosette? You're supposed to push it in when you want to lock the door then pull it when you want out. Problem is, due to wear and tear, the pin now comes out in your hand. Most of the time we screw it back in and then it operates as it should. Yesterday however, although I screwed it back in, the knob itself continued to turn round and round without making any different to the locked-ness of the door.  

Ours is not one of those loos/bathrooms that houses everything but the kitchen sink (or bathroom sink in this case). Underneath, there's extra toilet paper, soap, tooth-brushing equipment and a towel. That's it. No point in even looking for anything to unscrew the entire look from the door, although the 12 year old swears blind that the implements to clean around his braces would have done the job! 

As I said, blind panic. The loo is in the basement and in the middle of the house, so no amount of shouting would have helped. (Did I mention I was alone in the house?) My husband was out of town (of course) and the 12 year old didn't have a key. All I could think of was that he would arrive at the front door, not get an answer and then not know what was going on. Of course, he would have phoned me but my phone would go unanswered, and he would have no idea what to do. And - he was the only other person due home that day. No sibs, no dad. Nothing. 

I spent a good few minutes trying to do the utmost damage to the door by pulling with full weight on the handle, to no avail. By this time I was shaking and in disbelief. A few more minutes of fiddling with the bloody pin and still nothing. Then, just as the tears were looking imminent, I gave the pin one petulant shove and it engaged, or clicked or something, and I was able to operate the locking mechanism. 

Such was my relief that I had to kneel on the floor for about five full minutes as my legs would simply not support me! I swear it took me a few hours to calm down, even after two cups of tea. 

Lessons learned - 

1. Carry your phone at all times
2. Give the 12 year old a key
3. Remind everyone where the hidden key is (with code for lock box)
4. Disable the latch thing on the door with three layers of duct tape
5. Tell everyone they have to sing loudly when using that loo!

Never again! 


Monday, February 1, 2016

A Very Close Shave

Instead of complaining about what is going on in my house at the moment, I'm going to look on the brighter side and see it as a very close shave. 

Like every jet set family (not), the 12 year old and I flew down to Miami for a long weekend to join my husband, who is on a completely transparent golf boondoggle at a work conference. 12 year old had Friday off for some teacher thing, so at the last minute (because I had forgotten about said day off) I decided to fly down on the Thursday night and come back on Sunday. Us grown-ups had a few dinners, but other than that we walked in the sun and floated around in the world's biggest non-water park pool. (I just made that up but it felt like it.) 

It continues around the corner at the top right. 

Came back Sunday, faffed around for a few hours, watched Downton then retired. It wasn't until this morning, when the shower had been running for about ten minutes, that we realized we had a problem. No hot water. Given that the boy hadn't showered the day before, he was forced to have a cold splashy bath, which I may force upon him again if waking up is a problem! 

Long story short, the 13 year old water heater seems to be crumbling all over the place and needs to be replaced. They can come out tomorrow morning - a small miracle in and of itself. I think we can survive another cold water sploosh or perhaps copious amounts of wet wipes. Of course, as is always the way when there's an emergency in the house, the Ball & Chain is not here. I'm a grown up though, so I can take care of things without falling apart. Except I seem to have to take the door off the room where the water heater is. Of course I do. 

I also have to move a large weights bench with the weights still hanging on the bar, and shove a treadmill up against a wall. In case it slips your mind, I also have a pretty severe case of sciatica going on right now. Quick text to the strapping college boy, with the promise of a chicken pot pie reward, and all is well though. 

And the close shave? The water tank is leaking and the guy who came out said he can't believe there wasn't a gigantic flood on our return. 

Phew. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Put Some Bloody Clothes On Parents!

It's long been a bete noir of mine - people wearing pyjamas outside the house. I know they're comfy but really people - they're for bed. 

Anyway, it seems one head teacher (principal) in the North East of England (where else? - tell it like it is) has had enough. 

“We are trying to raise standards and get better outcomes for the children and we noticed a lot of the parents are turning up to school as well as meetings and assemblies wearing pyjamas. If we’re to raise standards it’s not too much to ask parents to have a wash and get dressed,” she said.

Give that woman an OBE! Is there anything more disgusting than the thought of sitting in a meeting next to someone wearing clothes they have been sleeping and sweating (and god knows what else) in? And some of them are still in their slippers for crying out loud. 

Now, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I have never gone further than my own back garden wearing night attire. Oh wait, I lie. There was one summer when we were  staying with my mother in England, all trying to get out the door for some or other family function with not enough time for everyone to take care of ablutions. I of course, found myself last in line, as usual, so I picked up a towel and my toilet bag, and walked over the road to my brother's house wearing a bright turquoise (with red strawberries) pair of cotton PJs. It was, as I recall, a beautiful summer morning, with very little traffic on the semi-rural lane, and I knew I wouldn't be shaming anyone. My brother didn't see things quite the same way however. He just happened to be out in his driveway, pointing a hose at the car, which he promptly dropped and fled into the house when he saw me approaching. Tee hee. 

Anyway, back to the slobs in sleepwear. So even though I can't recall ever taking the kids to school in PJs, I understand that every now and then it might be necessary to shove them in the car and throw a long coat over yours. We're all human. I might do that if I knew I didn't have to leave the car, but walk into school? Attend a meeting? I think not. 

Or am I in the minority here?


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