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Weekend Round-Up

10 December, 2017 at 8:28 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday night there was no hockey training for Michael as it was cancelled due to cold weather. This is not the kind of attitude adopted by the hardy GAA players/coaches to cold weather; it was very welcome though. I had my office Christmas party so although it was my Friday half day, I went back in about 5 having spent the afternoon picking up my daughter’s bike from school (she was on the DART to friend in Wicklow) and watching a film in front of the fire with my loving sons. I was reluctant to go back to work but did and it was grand but I felt dutiful and virtuous rather than having fun and letting my hair down; possibly for the best. I bailed out about 7 to pick up herself from the DART. She was going to a friend’s Christmas carol concert in Trinity. I was a bit dubious – I have been stung before by youth choirs. We met her other friend J in front of Trinity and then went into the chapel where the concert was to be and to my surprise and delight it was quite warm. And then the concert itself was absolutely superb. The singers were amazing; they were unaccompanied but sounded utterly beautiful. The performance included the only good version of “Away in a Manger” that I have ever heard (sorry everyone). My favourite song was probably “Gaudete” but they were really all excellent. Afterwards herself and myself went to supper and that was lovely too although she was exhausted by the time we got home.

On Saturday afternoon, Daniel had his final GAA session of the year (7 a side tournament – which his team won – followed by pizza). You will note that the GAA were not put off by inclement weather like the hockey people. Michael meanwhile had his drama showcase (v good if a bit confusing). Herself and myself attended and we picked up glitter Christmas glasses.

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Afterwards we went to look at the Christmas window in Arnott’s (for me, for me, children only v mildly interested) and got on the new extended Luas line home (verdict from children – “it’s a tram”).

On Saturday night we all trooped off to see the Princess win an award. My poor parents and parents-in-law are not really well enough to attend this kind of event any more and my brother and sister are a bit too busy and far away so herself had to make do with enthusiastic support from her parents and some lacklustre support from her brothers who were, you know, supportive but a little bored.

This morning we had mass (herself mentioned from the pulpit for her award but they got her name wrong so, um, swings and roundabouts) and choir rehearsal. Had a great chat with one of the other parents while waiting for rehearsal to end. Like my mother, he is from Limerick and v interested in horses. I was asking how his daughter was getting on in secondary school and he said that he had spent last night explaining sets to her. “It is,” said he, “very useful for working things out if you want to put a combination on the tote.” He spent some time trying to explain this to me but, unlike his 13 year old, I seem to be a slow learner, I am glad, however, that somebody has found a practical example for the use of sets.

At lunch time we took ourselves off to see a special screening of “A Muppet Christmas Carol” in the cinema. Singing along was encouraged but it did feel like Michael and I were the only ones who knew all the words; so we were, I thought, a little conspicuous. We had hoped to go and look at the snow in the mountains but it was too cold and wet (I mean, I know snow is wet but you want blue skies to enjoy it not leaden sleeting ones) and we realised, belatedly, that herself has grown out of her hiking boots and would have to climb the mountain in Converse runners so instead, we went to the parents-in-law for a visit and now we are home, I have lit the fire and nobody is going anywhere for the remainder of the evening.

How was your own weekend?

Note to File: We are a One Car Family*

22 November, 2017 at 8:05 pm by belgianwaffle

I was away overnight for work. Usually I take the train to meetings if at all possible but due to a combination of difficult times and location, I drove on this occasion. I rang Mr. Waffle from the hotel this morning to see how things had gone in my absence. “Fine,” he said, “but I felt a bit bad sending the kids out on their bikes in the lashing rain.” “Not that bad,” I thought to myself, “or he could have given them a lift.” When I got home this evening, Michael was a little ball of bitterness about his damp school commute. “You should have asked your father for a lift,” I said. “And where, mother, was the car?” “Oh right, yeah, Kilkenny, sorry about that.”

*I have spent more time trying to decide how to capitalise this title than writing the blog post; advice welcome my lovely readers.

Still more of it

21 November, 2017 at 7:32 pm by belgianwaffle

I had a thing at work on understanding how our brains work so that we can all be better employees. So, the nice Ukrainian psychologist sat down with me and showed me a map of my brain and started talking about the importance of hydration. “You know how you feel when you have a hangover?” she asked. “Actually, no, I’ve never had a hangover,” I said. She started to laugh, “Twenty years I’ve been talking about this in Ireland and you’re the first person ever to say this.”

I have commented before on the perverse relationship we enjoy with alcohol in Ireland. Yeah, it’s funny, but you know what, it’s really not.

Busy Week

16 October, 2017 at 1:19 am by belgianwaffle

This week nearly killed me. We did a lot of stuff and I’m not counting school/the day job. It will have to stop or we will all keel over.

Monday
GAA for Dan; cubs for Michael (he is going to both cubs and scouts during transition to scouts); and bookclub for me.

Tuesday
Herself attended a “Zeminar” in the RDS. Neither myself nor Mr. Waffle could take her due to work commitments so she had to go herself on the bus which we weren’t crazy about but she managed fine. She visited stands from three Irish political parties at the conference. For Irish people, see whether you can guess which they are:
Party 1: Extremely earnest young man explained all their policies in excruciating detail.
Party 2: “You have no information about your policies up,” she said to them, “all you have is stuff about Game of Thrones”. “Ah,” they say, “you don’t want to be putting people off with the old policies.” “But,” she protested, “you are a political party, people expect you to have policies.”
Party 3: “We can help you to get ahead. We can introduce you to the Taoiseach.”

When she came home she went to the school open night so that she could impress possible incoming students and their parents with her prowess with a bunsen burner.

Michael went to scouts.

Mr. Waffle went to football.

I got sodden cycling in to work and resolved to get new rain gear at the weekend.

Wednesday
Herself was back at the Zeminar and afterwards she went to Bray on the Dart to see a play in a friend’s school. Daniel had training after school and I had to drive to Bray (very far away, people) to collect herself at 9.30

Thursday

Herself had games club followed by a debating tournament after school and had to be collected at 8 (bitter defeat, thanks for asking). Daniel and Michael had their booster vaccinations and sore arms. On the plus side this meant Daniel didn’t go to scheduled GAA training.

Friday
The boys had games club. All three children were supposed to have French but T, our faithful tutor, was sick. Poor T, but it was a relief to have something cancelled. Mr. Waffle and I went out to see Class in the New Theatre as part of the Theatre festival (herself babysat, part of a quid pro-quo for the 90 minute drive I had to bring her safely home on Wednesday night). I thought it was only alright but I was a definite minority. It’s about working class parents meeting a middle class teacher as part of a parent-teacher meeting. Class in two ways, you see.

Saturday

Daniel had a GAA match in the morning. I had a migraine. Unsurprising, frankly. Michael had drama in the afternoon. I dropped him in and bought myself a new waterproof coat while he was being dramatic. By early evening I had recovered sufficiently from my migraine to play “Capture the Flag” in a local park. I wanted to know how it worked before having 8 boys round for Daniel and Michael’s birthday and learning on the hoof (no date set, thanks for asking).

Sunday
Mr. Waffle and Michael went to mass at 10 and hockey at 11. I marched the other pair up the road, running late for 11 o’clock mass. We were half way up the road when herself said, “What time is it?” “It’s already 11, we’re going to be late” I said trotting along. “But mass doesn’t start until half past.” Good point. They had choir and she did the second reading. It was a reading from St. Paul. Even after 2,000 years, his personality still comes across very clearly. Favourite line which I think will become a running joke in this family: “There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships.” [Emphasis added]. The first holy communion class were there for the prayers of the faithful and so, the prayer for the dead, always a bit of a tricky one, was doomed. The child did not realise that she had to pause to allow the priest to list the names of the dead and so she ploughed on with her prayer and he ploughed on with his list until he realised there could be only one winner and let her continue. He read the list afterwards but he was clearly ground down by going mano a mano with the 8 year old at the lectern and when it came to a complex name he said, “It’s Áine Ní..M..no I can’t pronounce it, it’s something like that.” He’s not a native English speaker and it was all too much for him.

Mr. Waffle’s parents, who are very prompt, came for lunch and were sitting in their car outside the door when Mr. Waffle and Michael came back from hockey and the rest of us came back from mass. After they went home, I took the boys to see “We come from Far Far Away” which was a play for children about refugees. It was quite good actually but the boys were a bit too old for it and didn’t really enjoy it. Also, we had to sit cross legged in a yurt for the duration which is not very comfortable it you are a grown up. Or maybe that’s just me.

After this we went to Milano’s in Temple Bar for dinner as, for a birthday treat, their father had bought them tickets for the live show of “Impractical Jokers“; they are very fond of the deeply unsuitable TV show. We managed to lose the tickets between dinner and the car and had to tramp around looking for them (in vain) and then go home and reprint them which made punctual Mr. Waffle extremely tense. They arrived at 8.05 for an 8 pm start and, in fact, the warm up act still had ages to go. It was even more deeply unsuitable than the TV show but the boys loved it.

Meanwhile herself and myself were at home. A couple of her friends came round and I was able to give all of them the happy, happy news that the Department of Education had decided to close every school in the country due to the oncoming hurricane. Not a standard Irish weather feature. Then, with growing horror the realisation dawned on me that there might be an impact for grown-ups also and that my office might have to close for the day. I spent the remainder of Sunday evening consulting with colleagues, looking at weather warnings and reading runes while we collectively tried to decide whether the office should close or not tomorrow and how best to get the word out to everyone. You will, I am sure be rivetted to hear that the office is, in fact, closed tomorrow or, at this stage (it is late) today. Mr. Waffle has have brought in the bins and I have parked the car as far away from trees as possible on our tree-lined street. I have my new, guaranteed waterproof coat. My work for the week is done.* How was your own week?

*Actually, it was Open House this weekend and we usually go to see something but this year we didn’t; I’m not even sure I’m sorry.

Alas

9 October, 2017 at 5:38 pm by belgianwaffle

I went out for a leaving drinks at work recently. It was loud in the pub. I was chatting to one of my younger colleagues who has a strong Dublin accent and he said to me, “You’re looking very on-trend tonight, Anne.” “Really, do you think so?” I asked, quite pleased as, you know, I don’t think I was ever on trend really. I was just wondering whether the 90s wardrobe I was rocking had come back around into fashion when he said, “Yeah, you look exhausted.” “Sorry,” said I, “what did you say earlier?” He said, sympathetically, obviously taking pity on my advanced age, “I said that you’re looking very drained.”

Further Intimations of Mortality

25 January, 2017 at 10:52 pm by belgianwaffle

I meet a group of former colleagues for lunch regularly. The median age of the group is 40ish and I am the oldest, at 47, and the youngest is 36. We met recently and I got there a bit late. As I arrived, one of them asked, “How old are you?” “Why do you ask?” I said. “We were speculating because you were late,” they replied. I told them. “Oh really, that old we thought you were younger, except for G, she guessed you were approaching 50.” I turned reproachfully to poor G, who said, defensively, “I only said that you were looking very well for someone in her late 40s.” I understand that there are three ages: young, middle aged and “you’re looking great”. Have I really entered the last phase?

Poker Face

30 May, 2016 at 11:50 pm by belgianwaffle

A former colleague used to say to me that he liked to watch my face in dull meetings as all my emotions flicked across it. I never entirely believed that this was true and a part of me felt that I always kept a very straight face.

My belief has been undermined by a former colleague who now reports into one of my old bosses. He made a proposal to her with which she disagreed. “That’s a real [Belgiawaffle] face” he said. Apparently my name is a byword for showing exactly what you are thinking on your face. Alas.


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