The Holiday (Part 1)

Day 11

My babies are back and today we enjoyed each other company, the girl did lots of drawing and the boy played on his computer games. Very boring, very lovely but totally un-blog worthy so today you get fiction. The is another serial, sorry!

Part 1 – Conception and Planning


I had made such wonderful plans in my head. When I planned it out while in bed waiting for sleep it was all sunshine and laughter. We were going to have to most amazing time, I was going to be the most amazing Mum ever and do all the things amazing Mums are supposed to do. My children would remember it forever and tell their own children and Grandchildren about the summer holiday they took with their Mother. Well. As it turned out the children will definitely remember it. They will definitely tell their Children and Grandchildren about it but not at all in the way my sleepy brain had envisioned.

The sun bleached haze of the holiday that had taken place in my head continued as I began the first stages of planning. I ruled out holiday centres like Butlins and Centre Parks because we didn’t need all that planned and prescribed fun, oh no, we would be free of that! We didn’t need all those facilities on our doorstep, that kind of thing didn’t exist in the Famous Five books that were the backbone of my imaginings and they wouldn’t exist in our holiday! I would rent a little cottage in a quiet non touristy spot of undiscovered Cornwall. We would go for long walks along the coast and take picnics! We would frolic on empty sandy beaches and befriend a local farmer! We would pay a quick visit or two to the local town, not one of those really busy tourist hotspots, no, one with some tourists that I could look at and pity before going back to our little cottage to fly kites and drink ginger ale.

I know. You can stop laughing now. It didn’t take too many google searches for me to discover that every single inch of Cornwall was well and truly discovered and during the summer holidays every inch is inhabited by tourists most wanting what I wanted and most being stressed as they try and claim a square meter of beach space to call their own. The whole mornings search and discovery only left me to marvel that the whole peninsula didn’t just break off on August due to the stampede. I was either going to have to compromise and risk joining the legion of stressed Motherhood or I was going to have to rethink the whole thing.

That night as I laid in bed and I let my mind wander to the summer holiday question I had an epiphany. I was looking completely in the wrong direction. If I wanted isolation and freedom from the masses I needed to head north. I remembered being a small girl and spending what I remembered as a glorious summer holiday in the Outer Hebrides. I remembered camping just behind a sand dune on the island of Barra and discovering that the beach on the other side was in fact the airport. Heading up to the north of Scotland might mean that the chances of glorious sunshine took a bit of a hit but, I reasoned, everybody has to be willing to make a compromise somewhere. I sighed happily as I drifted off to sleep, my fantasy of our amazing holiday where I could be an amazing Mum and my children could make amazing memories was once again intact.

The small detail that had been skimmed over in the fantasy started to make itself known as I googled anew the following morning. Barra Island is 550 miles away. Google maps told me that it was a an 11 hour drive. It told me the route involved toll road and if I wanted to avoid this toll the drive would be nearer 12 hours. What google maps didn’t say but what I realised as I pondered the definition of ‘island’ there would also be the need for a boat.

The deflated and disappointed feelings that I had experienced the day before as my Cornwall dreams fell down around me faster than the model of a saxon village my had daughter made at school last year was not something I was willing to allow to happen again. I was going to take my children on holiday to a remote island and have a splendid time that would be remembered for not just my lifetime but for all the future generations to come. We where going to have wholesome fun, pink cheeks and ginger ale even if it killed me (and I did have at least some appreciation for the fact that it just might). I completely blocked out like it was an undesirable on Facebook the small voice in my head that was telling me that maybe, just maybe, I was putting a little bit too much into my dreams for this holiday and it was all going to end in tears and possibly a nervous breakdown before we had even left the county.

I managed to keep my serenity and fantasy going throughout the process of finding the perfect little holiday let, it was just as I had imagined my undiscovered Cornwall would be just with more rocks, less sun and more wind. I excitedly decided that being the perfect Mum on the perfect holiday we would make the journey part of the experience, I booked two campsites along the way giving us plenty of time to see some bits of England and Scotland we may never have visited otherwise. I even contacted the Sunday Times to see if they would be interested in buying my story as a lifestyle piece for the colour supplement. They never got back to me though and I was too busy with the most pretentious holiday planning that ever was to chase it up. That was one thing I ended up being glad about.

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Pictured: What could go wrong?

Twas the night before Christmas

Written in homage to my girl, who did just about this to me last Christmas!

It was Christmas Eve. All was far from silent and even if a mouse had braved moving with daft cat about it would have had no chance of being heard above the racket that the children where creating.

The evening I had envisioned, curled up on the sofa, a child snug in new pyjamas on either side watching old Christmas films was I knew, always going to be an unattainable fantasy. It was just never going to happen. Not while the children would still fit inside those new pyjamas. By the time I might gain a little control I would probably be over run with Grandchildren. At least by that point I can at last be smug about it all.

It was taking every second of my eight years of parenting experience just to get the two wildly over exited children to stop bouncing up and down squealing intermittently and asking if they could just open one little thing now. Even with those years of experience I was still failing miserably. Even daft cat had defied me and broken into several gifts under the tree. It was a lost cause and all hope had been abandoned somewhere around lunch. Around the same time daft cat had a silly moment and rolled around on a glitter painting that had been left on the floor. I now had a daft cat that shimmered with a Christmasy red sparkle. Classy.

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Pictured: Daft cat, glitter rat

It took a considerable amount of time, threats and bribery but the children where finally in their beds one and a half hours behind schedule. No lovely traditional Christmas films had been watched, apparently they are all boring while watching Frozen for the 957th time is not, apparently.

I now had to finish off all the wrapping and wait for my little blighters darlings to actually go to sleep. Sounds so wonderfully simple.

I finally finished my Father Christmas wrapping at midnight, the living room was tidy and the breakfast things laid out by one but still every time I snuck upstairs to check that the children where in a deep enough sleep one of them would stir, raise their heads and then quickly pretend that they where asleep all along. By 2am it was only the eldest that was keeping it up. The child had morphed into the lightest sleeper known to man or beast, nothing escaped her notice. By 3am I was considering hitting her on the head with something just so Father Christmas could visit and I could try and get some sleep. I still had just about enough reason in me to realise that a concussion was not really what I wanted to give my first born for Christmas and maybe, just maybe I would regret such action.

At 4am I finally made the connection. The gig was up and the child was playing me. She knew dam well that the bringer of gifts was my own sweet self and she was simply determined to catch me in the act what ever it took. Fair play she was really going for it. I decided in the end to pretend that I didn’t see her pretending not to see me. Rather than risk a full incursion into the children’s room I carefully placed the two stockings in the open doorway and ran like hell into my own room hoping for the best.

Not 10 minutes later, just after I had finally laid down my sweet head I heard it. The sound of a tenacious 8 year old scampering out of bed to claim her prize. A few moments later I heard her wake her younger sister to join her in the spoils of her war. At that point I just gave up completely, closed my eyes and welcomed the hour at most of sleep I was going to get. Merry Christmas indeed.

Mothering the Apocalypse (part 2)

Dear Diary,

The crunch arrived today, My expected Ocado delivery was a no show. I know there is an apocalypse on but it is so very unlike Ocado not to come, I would expect it from Asda, maybe even Sainsburys but I somehow held onto the hope that James in the Avocado van would brave it all to keep his customers happy. So, cupboards bare of anything I could feed us on without the use of electricity I had to face the prospect of post apocalyptic food shopping.

It took longer than I should really admit to decide that leaving the children in the house while I went out to do whatever a ‘quick shop’ consisted of in this new world we found ourselves in. While finding myself answering hard questions from police and social services was no longer something to worry about my concerns mainly revolved around the many different ways God and Helen could finish off what is left of the human race given the smallest of opportunity.

I contemplated walking for less time than you can say ‘herding cats’ and thankfully the now fully burnt out car on the road outside the house was just far enough along for me to be able to get my Mum tank off the drive. Well almost far enough over but I don’t think I need to worry about insurance claims for the damage caused and maintaining the paint work on my car is so far down the list of priorities it is making itself comfortable along side mowing the lawn and clearing out the loft.

So off we headed through the largely empty suburban streets only seeing a couple of other people out braving this new world and occasionally catching movement of curtains as we passed by homes, you can never put down neighbourhood watch it seems.

I did for the first time start to wonder what had caused this cataclysmic chain of events, I know as well as any parent how quickly things can turn to chaos and violence if you pop upstairs to the loo on your own for a few minutes but given the world had seemed normal on the last day of term two weeks earlier the speed of societies collapse was somewhat suspicious.

My deeper musings were pushed aside once more a short time later as we pulled into the large carpark of the supermarket. The sight before me was a real let down. All the hours of pop culture I had ingested had lead me to expect the opportunity to indulge in some good honest looting. I had been nursing the expectation of grabbing a trolley, sprinting around the store scooping in piles of tins of beans and peas (I can’t really explain why peas, but my fantasy was very precise), I had planned to loot sensibly paying close attention to what would keep the best and be the most versatile, I was going to be the best looter any apocalypse real or fictional had ever seen.

Yet again I had missed it. I had spent too long holding onto the hope of James and his Avocado van. The thing that surprised me wasn’t what you would have expected, empty shelves with everything already stripped out by others was what popular culture had told me would happen but the reality was that a small group of fellow survivors had taken control of the supermarket and were running it like, well, a normal shop.

It was all very civil and sensible and utterly, utterly disappointing. What good was the collapse of society if you didn’t get to have a little fun with it? Clearly there was a slightly higher risk involved than a normal day as evidenced by the heavily armed guards protecting the building but if there had been any rioting and fighting for control I yet again had missed it completely. I did run up against one major sticking point and that was payment.

Clearly cash had no value but to be fair to me I had braved the outside with the expectation of having to fight off crazed survivors for the last tin of peaches found under the empty shelving units (again, precise fantasy is my thing). I had almost looked forward to the excitement after the entire school holidays and three days of hoping with no company or entertainment other than two small bickering children, I felt I had been robbed of an experience by the civilised nature of the set up, I was very close to getting back into the car to go and find somewhere I could scratch my looting itch.

Thankfully the maternal instinct people always seem to bang on about found a way through eventually and I begrudgingly accepted that maybe going looking for trouble with kids in tow might not be the actions of a completely sane and reasonable human being let alone Mother.

I used my full arsenal of available weapons to get enough food to tide us over for a few more days, I drove a tough bargain and the shopkeeper cracked quickly. Who wouldn’t when presented with two crying children and a snotty and sobbing middle aged woman. I had in fact had to  bribe the children with the promise of a full fifteen minutes of the remaining laptop battery time if they cried about how hungry and scared they were.

So we are safely back at home with our first visit into the outside world over with. I am still none the wiser on the subject of what on earth happened, the people we met at the shops didn’t want to talk about it, in fact the only time I felt at all worried for our safety was when I asked the question. I am starting to wonder if everybody else who has survived also missed it but are as embarrassed as me about this fact and that is why they are so defensive.

Mothering the apocalypse (part 1)

Forward – This is a very rough first draft and is moving out of my comfort zone as it is not a one off but rather intended to be part one of a series. It still needs allot of work but I know me well enough that if I don’t put it out there I wont move forward with it. Thank you all who read for the support! Any ideas for a better title greatly appreciated!

Dear Diary.

I have suffered yet another blow in the process of being eliminated as a person and replaced with the entity known only as Mummy, I have also been cruelly and vindictively denied the first day back at school I had been promised two weeks ago when they broke up for Easter.

It happened sometime yesterday morning while Helen was downstairs watching the Peppa Pig DVD on a loop while I was upstairs trying to get Godwin to complete his holiday homework. I was up stairs for quite some time due to the fact that we had only just that morning opened his book bag to discover there was holiday homework and due to the fact I was not born to be a teacher, whenever God and I sit down with the intent of learning you can guarantee we will both be in tears within ten minutes and I will find myself channeling my teenaged self and recreating my top 10 most epic door slams of puberty.

What I am saying is that the overall noise level in the house was high and dramatic in nature so I guess I can understand up to a point how it happened but it still doesn’t make me any less bitter, make me feel like I have been any less out of the loop of normal adult life. I mean it can’t be normal surely, it could only my house runs on a level of noise and drama that a literal apocalypse goes un noticed for hours.

Yes. The end of the world as we know it happened and I missed it. I missed it because my 10 year old son and I were locked into a battle of wills so loud it drowned out the civil unrest that, judging by the scene outside our windows, bubbled over into outright riots all over the quality of the ‘WOW’ words in his writing homework and my 4 year old daughter had taken the television hostage to the point that I haven’t had a sniff of news about the outside world for the entire duration of the two week school holiday.

I am still completely in the dark as to the reason for this apocalypse as the only reason this unexpected turn of events came to my attention was when mine and Gods homework related wails were drowned out by Helens screeching anguish when the power went out taking Peppa Pig with it. Attempts to pull up an episode on Youtube just to make her stop only served to inform me that the mobile networks had also gone down. So no access to information is to be had, I have no way of finding out what had happened to the world in the space of two weeks.

I have come to the somewhat shaky and flawed conclusion that it doesn’t really matter anyway, after all, how many times a day does God tell me Hel has ruined everything and she is the root of all trouble that falls upon him? I never really know what has gone on, I never really know who is right and who is wrong, I rarely have any clue about how it all started but I mainly manage to bluff my way through it and at least look like I am in some kind of control. Surely I can pull myself and two small children through an apocalypse of unknown origin in the same manor, I mean, how hard can it really be? I have managed to survive several summer holidays with only minor collateral damage to property, children and mental state. I keep telling myself this in the hopes that at some point I might come close to believing it.

So thats it. Doomsday has arrived and I am very, very peeved. Firstly I was due to have the shopping delivered tomorrow and I suspect that is not likely to happen so I am going to have to figure out the whole keeping us fed things soon. Secondly the children are becoming rather difficult to keep entertained, I have managed to play on the novelty factor so far combined with every art and craft project I can think of but God is getting particularly restless and keeps asking awkward questions like ‘Why is that car on fire?’ ‘Where are the firemen?’ and ‘How far away is Pluto?’. Most of all though I am mad as hell that I have nursed myself through two whole weeks of school holiday, I have used up all the plans for ‘a lovely time with the children’ and now I have had the return to school snatched away from me. I did consider taking them up there this morning on the off chance but the car that had prompted God’s questions awakened the slightly less lax Mother in me. I might yet try tomorrow.

Living in the real world

(Fiction – thank you for the inspiration Mum, I bet you are glad you managed to get out without outside help!)

Do you ever feel like screaming ’Stop the ride I want to get off!’ before realising that the ride you are on is called life and the ride operator is so rarely seen that they have become legend. The little booth that he sits in has been nicknamed heaven but the windows are tinted and you start to wonder if there is anybody operating the ride at all.

The school run that morning had been one of the usual affairs that saw me thanking the ride operator for the fact that my sleepwear can pass for outerwear from a distance, while covered with a winter coat and as long as all the other unfortunates on the school run conformed to the rule of not looking too closely at each others attire. So with the boy and girl deposited for the day I dashed back home and into the welcome embrace of a bubblebath and it was then in a moment of weakness brought on, I think, by the hot water I foolishly allowed myself to believe that may day was getting better.

Wearing nothing but my middle age and a bathrobe I made my way in search of my hairdryer, last seen on Monday morning when it had been involved in an attempt to coverup the fact I had forgotten to turn the tumble dryer on the night before.

I found myself in the lesser visited corner of the small utility room that adjoined the kitchen thinking that I may have chucked the hairdryer onto the shelves above the hot water tank along with the towels that had also proven useless in my jumper rescue attempts. I looked for some reason at the hot water tank before the shelves, just as I was thinking that I could have sworn the tank was taller the last time I had looked at it I also noted a sudden lack of floor under my feet and then like Road Runner, a fraction of a second after the removal of solid ground, I began to fall.

A small part of my being had at least some wits left about it and just at the crucial moment my elbows shot out and managed to arrest my fall. I hung there, my weight held by my chicken wings for a moment or two while my brain processed what the hell had happened. I found myself looking directly at the suspiciously squat water tank while the cogs turned and I realised that. like I, the water tank had gone through the floor. Without arms to catch it the tank had been lucky enough to only fall part way before being caught by the joists. How at that moment I wished I was the water tank because it was about then that I realised that my bottom half was feeling rather draughty and the terrible reality that I was hanging with my top half in the utility room, my elbows stopping me from falling all the way through to the flat below, my dressing gown gathered up around my armpits and my lower half, now exposed in all its glory protruding into the downstairs flat.

Ten long minutes passed while I tried to find a solution to the rather interesting position I found myself in. Well, it felt like about ten minutes, I had no way of really knowing given that I foolishly never saw the need to mount a clock on the water tank and my phone was not about my person. I was trying to find a solution to my predicament when I heard the sound of a 20 year old male pure maths student discovering what a 30 something mother of two looked like naked from just above the waist and hanging from their ceiling. It wasn’t a pretty sound as such, more of a high-pitched scream, a pause to take in the full wonder of the sight before him followed by a string of expletives, a bit of cursing the ride operator and finally a call enquiring about my well being.

The key for my flat that I had cut to give to the neighbours was naturally sitting on the shelf in my hallway waiting patiently for me to give it to them. It had been waiting for over 6 months at that point, it had taken me 2 months to remember to get the thing cut and it was now only a month or so before they moved out ready for the new students in September.

As there were also no ladders to be had other than the ones in the garden shed (the key for which was keeping the spare flat key company on the shelf) my newly traumatised in ways his counsellor wouldn’t believe neighbour called the fire service.

Two fire engines one police cars and one ambulance was the final tally. They got me down into my neighbour’s flat quite quickly but that is to be expected really when you consider that my rescue crew was 16 firefighters, 2 police officers, 2 ambulance crew and a student doctor on a ride along.

The only real damage it transpired once I had been checked over by the ambulance staff was to my floor, my dignity and the mind of my young neighbour. Soon the emergency services started to drift off ready to dine out on my experience for many years to come, thankfully I realised before the last firefighter left that I was still not in the correct flat and that there was not a key for my flat in existence that wasn’t on that bloody shelf mocking me. The police officers and the remaining firefighters had a small standoff when it came to which one of the two services would get to use the small battering ram. I had to step in and play Mum after a few minutes as by this point I just wanted to put on some clothes and try to get a little time to sort out the gaping hole in my floor before the children came home from school. I ruled that the fire service had their turn when they got me down from my perch and it was the turn of the police now. The last firefighters appeared to be sulking as they got in their truck and departed and the two police officers could be heard at the top of the stairs outside my front door having a small tussle over who was going to break the door down. I trudged up the stairs, told the police officers that if they couldn’t agree I would do it at which point they seemed to snap to their senses, realise that they were police officers not children and broke down my front door.

It was less than two hours later when I left to pick the children up from school, now at least, dressed in proper clothes I didn’t bother picking up any of the keys from the shelf in the hall, there didn’t seem much point anymore.

An ordinary morning

Fiction

I am jumping right in while riding the high of my post earlier this evening, the below bit of writing is far from refined, has only had a very light edit, I didn’t want to allow myself enough time to bottle it and loose the drive so here it is, my first work of fiction in I really don’t know how long but about 20 years. Given all that I am fairly pleased with it and enjoyed writing it, once I started, one I had the framework in mind it just flowed so I hope it isn’t too terrible!

So, where do you start with this kind of tale, what are the opening words? It could be ‘It was cold winters morning’ or maybe ‘The day seemed ordinary enough’ both would be true but neither really seem to sum up the reality somehow, they don’t seem to capture that fact that is was way below freezing, the heating had failed overnight resulting in indoor icicles and the school uniform hung out to dry before bed the previous evening was now stiff as a board with frost. This crisis of modern life and others like it do not seem out of the ordinary to me, bad luck and disaster seem to follow me around like the angry goat at city farm, yet I know for others that this wouldn’t be a day that seemed ordinary, I think I am just resigned to my fate now, the living proof of the hypothesis that what can go wrong will go wrong. I could easily be misjudged at this point and taken for a wet lettuce in the middle of a pity festival but thats not me. At least I really hope it isn’t, the outlook I am really going for is to be the kind of person who laughs, shrugs and gets on with the day with a smile. I have got the shrugging and carrying on bits down, the laugh and smile missed the bus so will be in late this morning. They do that allot and should probably learn to drive.

So, it was one of ‘those mornings’ the Monday morning from hell when it’s all gone wrong before 8am and then you eye up the book bags in the hall, they both have the tell tale look of containing homework books, the ones that are due in today, the homework books that have been sitting in the book bags untouched all weekend.

The children re-enact several world wars (hot and cold) as they eat breakfast while you desperately try and thaw out the last remaining school jumpers that have escaped the crack in time and space that seems to exist in the school cloakroom and sustain itself entirely on the most expensive parts of the school uniform and try to think of what excuse for missing homework you haven’t already used this term. It is at this point that the oldest, the girl, pipes up that she doesn’t need her recorder today as the school photos are being taken and her class are first because they have swimming this morning.

There it is, that moment in all it’s rotten glory, that moment when Monday morning jumps the shark and becomes one of ‘those’ mornings that the children will remember and retell to their own Grandchildren, that morning when Mummy’s face went completely white before she was sick in the sink and then did a fine impression of an old fashioned kettle hitting the boil.

I don’t remember much detail of the moments that followed the girls revelation. Unfortunately I can remember all too well how long it took afterwards for me to pick up the clothes that that decorated the whole house like an indoor, fabric, toilet roll bombing. Why is it that when you don’t need an item of clothing you find it seemingly everywhere while looking for something else yet when you do need to find the blasted swimming costume in a time frame that would make even the most hardy of Dale Winton’s Supermarket sweep contestant blanch you simply can’t remember that sensible place you put it?

I did find it eventually, it had clearly been playing mind games with me as after I had searched the whole house I pulled open the girls underwear draw contemplating on the likelihood of social services involvement if I sent her in with a vest and knickers and called it a tankini when there it was, in among the vests and pants, in the very place I had looked for it first. This chain of events was repeated for both her swim cap and goggles. By this point I had abandoned the idea of thawing the school jumpers and had barked instructions to them both to raid the lost property bin for a couple of jumpers while no one was looking and they could put them back after the pictures where done. I have no idea if they had actually taken in this instruction given they had entered the trance state of their morning meditation in front of CBBC but by that point I was past caring on the jumper issue and was more occupied by the fact I would need to write a note giving permission for the wearing of goggles and to do this I would need to locate both pen and paper.

My house isn’t large, in fact it is little more than a postage stamp, not even a large letter one, a bog standard postage stamp and given it is just me, the girl, the boy and the cat who thinks he is a squirrel who reside here you would think losing things shouldn’t be a problem. It is, it’s a big problem. I can find anything I am not looking for, thats fine, but the minute I need something and need it quickly the situation rapidly goes down hill. At that moment all I needed was pen and paper, I am a Brownie leader, the girl is a budding artist, pens and paper should be one shortage we should never encounter and yet all I could find was half a purple crayon and the envelope from a bit of junk mail (not one of the ones with a free pen in, no, that would be too useful) so after an unfruitful attempt at trying to convince the girl that her eyes didn’t really sting and go red with chlorine and that goggles are overrated I scrawled ‘Girl can wear goggle because of eyes’ in purple crayon on the torn envelope, just in time I remembered the homework situation and added ‘P.S Girl and Boy will bring homework in tomorrow due to life, sorry’.

The boy had been back and forth to the hallway three times and like a squash ball he just kept coming back having achieved nothing but break another chunk of what passed for sanity away from me. Once his shoes finally did find their way to his feet we repeated the same for his coat. The ‘helpful’ alarm on my phone that let me know when we needed to leave for school had been blasting out for a good five minutes but it was lost somewhere under the enormous pile of ‘stuff’ strewn around after the swimming kit search so I grabbed up all the bags, hustled the children out the door and was halfway down the front path before I realised I had only managed to pull on a pair of jeans, was still wearing the baggy t=shirt I had slept in, had no coat on and worse, no shoes.

The next attempt at leaving the house saw us getting halfway down the road before the fact that neither child had brushed their teeth hit me like a shetland pony who had just caught sight of a packet of polos.

Third time lucky, we marched down the road, the children eating toothpaste and me trying not to look at the girls hair that looked something like a birds nest the day after the chicks had moved out and the parent birds had thrown the party of their lives.

I put the lack of other people heading towards school as a bad sign, we were late, I was going to have to do the walk of shame across the playground and take the children in through the office and then try to escape before anybody saw the purple crayon monstrosity or looked too closely at my non jumpered, non groomed and homework light offspring.

We rounded the corner and I walked straight into the hard metal of the school gate.

The closed school gate.

I looked up at the empty playground beyond, the agonising lack of cars in the staff carpark and then finally my eyes found the note taped on the gate, the one that informed me that a burst pipe due to the cold weather meant that school was closed and at the bottom, somewhat smugly was added that a text had been sent out to all phones registered on the Parentmail system. My phone was registered with the system, it was also under several upended laundry baskets and their contents.

With my laugh and smile still somewhere on the bus in the morning traffic I shrugged, took the hands of the boy and the girl and headed home. We would have another bash at it tomorrow after all and maybe tomorrow would be the day we escaped the Groundhog.