December 18, 2013

The nights before the night before Christmas

Three more days till school breaks for the holidays. I never thought I'd say that as a parent, but I will - Bring on the holidays. It's going to be 16 and a half days of total madness - Christmas, entertaining people, grandparents, bored out of their mind children and bad weather (hopefully snow, probably lots of rain). And still it will be better than what we have now. Now we have a whole lot of people who are at the end of their rope.
So let me count the ways in which this period of a second-before-the-holiday drives everyone crazy -

We went to the school yesterday to give out our Christmas gifts to the teachers and the moment the head teacher saw us you could see her thinking "on no! What the f*&^ck could these two want now?!" Yes, we have been spending a lot of time at school lately. Yesterday I told Hidai I think I'm there more than some of the teachers. Hidai is a governor and had some governor things before the break, we had all the festivities, we've had our usual meetings about Yon (and some unexpected ones) we've had trouble with Ron, I will be volunteering in school from next term helping children learn towards the 11+ exams, we've had parents-teachers meetings, and we've had lots of talks with our head teacher, so she was excused for thinking we were there to nag her once again, so just stood there waving chocolate at her saying "no, no, just Christmas gifts!". She is exhausted, Yon's teacher said they are all counting the minutes, the boys are so out of it Ron actually had a fight with Siri (about weather or not Arsenal would win the league). And with the iPhone (it bullied him). And with the computer (none of his players scored). And with my baby-tree (it's in the middle of the football pitch also known as my corridor). Yon just informed me yesterday afternoon that he "absolutely definitely totally NEEDS YouTube. He can't do anything else because he NEEDS YouTube". Of course he watched YouTube all afternoon. How could I refuse that plea?
Baby tree at the football pitch
It is not surprising then that the school is on a not-really-studying-anymore mode, they had pantomime, class parties, school play, movies, presentation days, fair, singing, etc. Yesterday it was the school play. They don't do nativity shows in our school, just secular school plays that are nice regardless of your religion and beliefs, and this year they chose The Wizard of Oz. I am not a big fan of school plays to begin with, and this one had even more issues for me than most with the amount of time they needed to commit to practice during school hours and after, the person in charge of it, and it having 8 main roles and a whole school who wanted to participate but couldn't. Ron got to be a guard and had three lines and insisted we come watch him perform. Of course we came. And sat in the second row, and smiled, and waived and took loads of photos. Was it worth the 6 weeks of after school practice? and the week he missed football for it? and the fact that he had nothing but rehearsals for the past week? No. He was very excited about the whole thing and hardly slept the night before, he was worried about his scene, and he was up to the end quite disappointed to get such a tiny role. He was excellent of course - came on stage on time, fell asleep on time, sang on time, and performed his lines in the same incomprehensible mumble as everyone else. And immediately went to change and play some football in the rain. As one does.
I am just happy it's over for the next year or so, so I could go back to my never ending list of things that needs to be done before Christmas. To add to the fun I've had my first physiotherapy session this morning, and now if you remember I wrote a few months ago about my health-scare and tests and everything I went through. You would think I would have an update on that. You would be wrong. When I went to see the doctor she didn't have the results. When I went back today they had the results but not the doctor, so I still don't know exactly what we are talking about. I did have a physiotherapy session where she basically told me to continue wearing the splint at all times, do some neck movements and come back in a month. Not really sure why. As a result I now have pain in my back, neck and hand. Totally worth it.

I have spent five hours in total I think wrapping presents this past week. It used to be fun, I used to do it while watching the xFactor final with a glass of wine and some nibbles. This year the children have decided to watch the xFactor so that was out of the question, and I was left with having to wrap them in the middle of the night with Hidai checking the boys every few minutes to see that they are still sound asleep. I finished it all yesterday morning and now have to check that I have enough chocolate to put in the stockings (I don't). And I still have to put all the bows and trimmings on the wrapped gifts.
Last present to be wrapped this year!
I have my menu for the Christmas eve dinner, but there were a few disagreements about my choices, decisions to be made about what to give the children on the night before Christmas (books), still haven't bought any of the food and I am living in fear that Ocado won't deliver my turkey. If you wonder why I don't buy it sooner the answer is really simple - lack of fridge space. And as a vegetarian that turkey staring at me every time I open the fridge gives me the hibijibis, so if everything goes according to plan it (and the rest of the food I have yet to even order) will be here on Sunday. And now I remembered I am missing one wine glass. Don't suppose when a guest asks if I want them to bring something "one wine glass" is an acceptable answer???
Hidai last year with our first ever turkey (all cooking thanks goes to my mum)
We are late to everything. Everything. I am never late to anything, you see, I have a rule against it. But these days, we are a few minutes (not to say half an hour) late to everything. No one has any energy to actually get up and get ready, and so in the end everything is done in five minutes, in a rush and with lots and lots of yelling. On Saturday we had a Christmas party at Yon's outreach program. We were half an hour late. And still we were the first to arrive. It ended up being wonderful, the boys love going there (Ron likes it because they have a court he can play uninterrupted football in) and we ended up in McDonalds having a very good and open conversation with Ron about Yon's condition. When asked if he has any questions of his own, Yon answered with a resounding "I love my glasses".
Kids at the outreach gathering
I have made a Christmas Fun List which bear a striking resemblance to a bootcamp agenda, and is intended to make sure everyone has fun. And that's an order. We will be - going to meet Santa (and reindeers) at the zoo, going to WinterWonderland, Having a night at LegoLand, having a few days of shopping (including the mandatory Boxing Day), Taking my parents to see the lights at Oxford st, Piccadilly st. Covent Garden, Upper st. etc., Doing the Kew Gardens at night tour, and probably a museum or two. Some people hinted that it might be a tad too much planning.
Last year at WinterWonderland. Yes we still have the giant teddy
I got into a fight with a company who did not pay me for some work I did for them. It was 35 pounds, and after a month of chasing them I did what any sane person would do. I went on LinkedIn, found the names and emails of every person whose job title began with a C (or a director) and wrote them a very angry email including a promise to let some other partners of theirs know how they treat people. I got 3 apology letters, including the CEO, my money and a delivery of flowers & chocolate. Which the boys ate alone.
Apology chocolate. THe best kind.
I have Christmas songs stuck inside my head. I can't shake those jingle bells. Yon however have decided that our new theme song is Gary Barlow's Let Me Go, and whenever someone turns on the iTunes he runs over shouting "I Want That Gary Barlow Song!!!" He still hadn't figure out he can find it on YouTube. Please don't tell him.

So as you can see, life here is going smoothly and peacefully as ever. Just keep it in mind, that if you don't hear from me again after Christmas you will know why!

And yes, the blog share buttons have mysteriously disappeared. Or as I like to think of it - has taken some time off to enjoy the holiday with their family, and will just as mysteriously come back after they have some mulled wine and a rest...

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