Friday, March 28, 2008


It's well documented that there are certain things I can manage on a Monday that I just can't do on a Friday. I tend to leave all the major cleaning to Tuesday, because Monday needs to break the week gently. By Friday, I'm just about done. The kids are sick of me. I'm sick of them. And then, once in a while, I get a call at lunchtime saying "I'll be late tonight" that just puts the cherry on top. In short - I'm effing exhausted, and Natalie Portman covered in Bird's custard couldn't stir me from my funk.

But, here's a fun game for all of you. Can you spot where I went wrong in the following story?

With our new bulging bank balance (thank you, tax rebate) we've been letting our hair down. Red Hot sauce AND Tabasco? You got it! Paper towels AND tissue paper? It's a deal!

So, for dinner tonight, I did a double. What with it being Friday, and my reserves pretty much empty I went for Chinese food - my kids favorite - and ice cream for dessert. So I went to the Chinese food store, put in the order, went next door to the Dairy Queen and picked up the ice cream cups - two kids sized scoops - and then back to get the Chinese food and then home.

Where did Adam go wrong? The parents of you probably already know.

Here's how my kids' minds work. The prospect of Chinese food was outstanding... until the ice cream came into play. This meant trying to get them to force down their FAVORITE chicken and broccoli was like pouring pepper on a urine stain on the carpet and then trying to rub the dog's nose in it to teach it a lesson.

"You like this! You were dancing around the kitchen, jumping with delight when I said we were having Chinese food tonight!"

"I don't like it"

"Well, just eat the rice then."

"I don't like rice."

Now, if this was a Monday I could have dealt with it better. But this is Friday. It wasn't pretty. Needless to say, they got their ice cream after negotiating a three-mouthful deal. The upside? I had a jumbo helping and there's plenty left over for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No More Diapers For Me - For Real

Looks like Patrick is done with diapers. This is verging on excellent news, and it's no exaggeration to say that it is life-changing for both he and I.

The impact on the family finances is not so noticeable as the lack of drama when, at 5am on a Sunday, we realize we're out of real diapers and we'll have to find a swim diaper (which doesn't actually hold the water in - that's the point of it - but it will stop a poop from becoming a floater at the pool) until the stores/my eyes are open.

Today was the acid test - I sent him to school in underpants, and gave the teachers a heads-up that he might need a reminder or two about going to the bathroom. When I went to pick him up, and he was still wearing the same pants I sent him in, I knew "we" had cracked it.

There will be accidents in the next month or so - hopefully very few (ie. none) at school - but the bottom line is, I am done paying for, strapping on, and changing crappy diapers until I become a grandparent. And that is worth a drink.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Petty Chew: update

50 pages, 10,000 words. And it's good, even though I do say so myself.

Reasons today is a "Good" Friday

* It's sunny outside, although the wind is whipping along at mach 12. Even my hair got ruffled, and it's three-quarters forehead.

* Good news from the accountant (something I thought I would never hear!) Tax rebate in a week, anyone?

* Hot cross buns - six for a dollar - and PG Tips, lots of milk, two sugars.

* Weather forecast for Sunday morning - soccer, with the potential for wind-whipped crosses to the near post for Keeble to nod in from three feet.

* Villa certain of victory against Sunderland on Saturday morning (my time.)

* Kids agreeing to be babysat by Pokemon DVD, enabling me to write this.

* One particular line in the novel I'm writing making me giggle every time I think of it. ("I don't know. Can't we... piss in it or something?")

* No mail delivery today, so no mail-delivery anxiety as I wait for the mail carrier to arrive and ultimately disappoint me by not bringing me the things I've been expecting since December in some cases.

* Golf membership card dues in the mail. I'll be swinging for the pin in just a few weeks.

* Two words - candied ginger.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Stories Wot I Am Writing

I am so excited about the novel I am writing now, I cannot contain myself anymore.

Provisionally titled "Petty Chew" (a butchered version of the French term of affection "petit chou") it's a coming-of-age story involving a group of 15-year-old boys from North London who go on a school skiing trip to the French Alps. The main character, Shawn, arrives in France in a melancholy mood after being dumped by his girlfriend of three weeks, Mel, just days before his holiday is set to start. Things don't improve as the school bully sets out to make Shawn and his friends as miserable as possible - and not always on purpose. Guided by the dream vision of Carol Decker (lead singer of T'Pau) and gallons of cheap French beer, Shawn has to take a stand and dig deep to find some self-esteem in the snow-capped mountains before going back for his last few months as a high school student, with or without Mel at his side.

"Didn't you go on a skiing trip with your school when you were 15, Adam?"

Well, yes I did. And it is obviously the inspiration for this story. The story is set in Easter, 1990 - a time period that I will long remember in real life as the start of the peak period of my teenage years. I'm about a third of the way through the first draft, and I really like it, for what that's worth.

I'm writing it alongside "Don't Put Baby In The Corner (and other parenting lessons I learned from the 1980s)" and they are both very fun to write, so hopefully will be fun to read for you all collectively.


... is that a subtle hint of coffee I can taste????

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I can think of one person who might take issue with what I am about to claim (I'm married to her,) but I would say I am pretty low maintenance.

I clean up after myself, let the wife do pretty much what she wants, I cook a little, and look after myself to some extent. My only weekly request is that I be allowed to play soccer on Sunday mornings. I like the odd drink, but can do without it just fine. Sure, I like a few TV shows and I like to watch sports, but you know, not obsessively.

But when it comes to food, there is my Kryptonite. Which is why, whenever I pick up the particular strain of virus that I have now, I get very, very frustrated.

For some reason in the last decade, when I get a cold I lose all sense of taste. I remember the first time it happened in 1998. I remember eating and drinking at the time and not being able to get that quick fix sensation. Then, all of a sudden when my sense returns, I am almost overwhelmed. It is nothing short of wonderful to be able to taste again.

So, this weekend my wife was out partying and doing all kinds of pampering for her birthday while I stayed home watching the kids. No big deal there. The only change was, normally I am home with the kids while she strives to earn the money to clothe, house and feed us. But last night, as she was at the Viceroy in Chelsea, NYC, I was watching an iCarly marathon on Nickelodeon and wishing I could taste the beer treat I bought myself.

Right now, my family is out at the town bar and grille eating buffalo chicken wraps and blue cheese burgers. I opted to stay home, not because I feel bad (I do, but not so bad that I can't think straight and function well enough) but because I don't want to spend $20 on a dinner I can't taste.

In short, why can't I just throw up a few times instead of this week-long (and it will be a full week) taunting when nothing is as it seems because I can't experience it, despite popping it in my mouth and chewing on it?

Friday, March 14, 2008

The End

Today is the last day of a run of tough days that began a month ago.

February is always a kick in the nuts, what with the weather and the lack of funds. But this March has been a bollock-stomper from the school of Dr. Marten's own Academy of Nuts-Crushing. And we're not even half-way yet.

Today is my wife's birthday. It's a big one. What with planning this, planning a fundraising event, and just planning what the eff I will be serving for dinner that doesn't cost anything and is somewhat warm (old leaves from the backyard held over a lightbulb, anyone?) has been hard. But after today, at least I can cross something off the list.

In other news, by way of a mental distraction and a way of staying out of the cold, I have watched two classic movies this week. The Manchurian Candidate, starring Frank Sinatra, was great. The Omega Man was utter cack. But both achieved their aim as far as I was concerned - I got three-and-a-half hours of escapism, although with Charlton Heston in TOM I was also in a state of disbelief that such a good concept could look so rubbish.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

False Positive

Again, the early false dawns have proved to be just that - false.

It's now frosty, with the promise of more snow and crappy rain all weekend long. However, most of the current downs have a considerable upside. For example ...

... despite the fact my kids school is closed today, the fundraising committee (fronted by one A. Keeble) had the foresight to arrange a movie playdate at a nearby cinema this morning. We're off to see Ratatouille in a couple of hours.

... the fact that we now have mere pennies left in the bank mere days after payday is offset by a bumper payday next month, and then our tax rebate the month after that.

... the fact that, despite the current rubbish weather, spring is so close you can almost smell it. I will be completing my golfing due membership form today.

... the fact that I remain very pleased with both my current writing projects, despite the fact neither has made me a dime so far.

... the fact I will have a pretty spectacular photo in the local paper this week - complete with credit, I will only be paid $0.50 (approximately)

... the fact my daughter is now all signed up for FREE (well, if you don't count taxes) education for the next 11 years starting in September, despite the fact we still haven't paid for my son's pre-schooling.

... no eggs in the fridge, but a whole pack of bacon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

TerrifiK Day

This morning sees my daughter take her first step towards moving out.

OK, so I'm probably getting ahead of myself a little, but today is the day I sign her up for Kindergarten - and for everyone involved, that's very exciting.

For me, primarily, it means "we" (meaning "my wife") can stop paying for pre-school, which was getting increasingly less affordable as we progressed through the school to her final year with its mandatory four-day plan (not to mention this year we were also paying for my youngest who's in his first year at the same place.) It also means I can start my fantasies about her whipping through to high school, earning a full scholarship at NYU and becoming the very best whatever the heck she wants to be.

For her, she is excited at the prospect of "big school."

I have enclosed a begging letter with my registration forms in the hope we get Penny into the morning sessions as opposed to the afternoons. It is the most important thing I have written in the past two weeks.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Fairly Unfortunate Translation

Not only has The Fairly Odd Parents jumped the shark with the addition of the new fairly-odd character, but fans in England must be wondering how they got away with it.

Friday, March 07, 2008


I always assumed it would be my son's antics that would drag me to the E.R. at the local hospital first.

Alas, this afternoon as I was relaxing and putting my innocent three-year-old boy down for his nap, I heard a coughing and a spluttering from my five-year-old girl downstairs. I came down to see if she was OK and was told: "I just swallowed a jewel."

She had indeed swallowed a plastic jewel about the size of a nickel and, according to her, it was stuck in her throat.

Ten minutes (and a frantic phone call to the wife) later, we are at the hospital. I am filled with visions of my daughter being given some vomit-inducing drug to make her throw up or, even worse, surgery.

In fact, it would seem, the jewel had shifted and was on its way "down" to its eventual destination. Since returning home there have been several explanations of why the jewel will come out as poo-poo and not pee-pee.

All in all, it's been a really shit day, despite the humor I'm trying to inject to make myself laugh.

And tomorrow, my wife leaves for a weekend away with the girls. Needless to say, in the effort to make the weekend without back-up go smoothly, pizza and take-out food will be on the menu. Plastic jewelry will not.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

False Dawn x 2

Today sees the second false dawn that winter has gone and spring is here. It's somewhat sunny and warm enough that I just opened a window.

It will be at least another week before I start believing it myself, but I cannot wait for some sunshine and some heat. It wasn't a bad winter - some good snow, about two weeks when going outside was intolerable, only one big spell of sickness for the kids, but now the teaser is here I'm so ready for warm weather.

The first sign that spring was coming, aside from the rain this morning taking the last of the lingering snow with it, was our first trip to the town playground and my first re-encounter with one of the many moms I socialize with for 9 months of the year.

As with so many of the people I meet randomly at the park, I knew her kids names, but not the mom's. Unlike myself, who people remember easily (only guy at the park, English accent) I didn't recognize this mom at all for the first five minutes of arriving. Only when I asked her if she could identify the tokens in my pocket - were they video game tokens from the gym? or carousel tokens from the mall? - did the penny drop that we had actually met before.

One of the truer parts of my book is that the hero, Dean Allen, and myself both keep a book to remind them of the many, many moms we meet at the playground. More than once, I've been met with "Hi, Adam! Hey, Penny!" by a total stranger... so I look in the book at my notes and compare them to the subject in question (that might be - Debbie, mom of Dan and Ethan, drives White Explorer, lives in Waldwick, husband is a Mets fan) and identify who I'm actually talking to.

The other reminder that spring has nearly sprung is that the pre-school nominating committee met today ahead of the May General Meeting and confirmed that I have been nominated as the President of the board for the next school year.

My first order is to dissolve the Old Republic and order the Stormtroopers to crush the Jedi uprising!


Just kidding. My first order is to make myself President for life. Then the stormtroopers with the Jedi thing is next.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Still here...

... but reeling from a rough few weeks. Watch this space.