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Archive for March, 2015

Palm Sunday

29 March, 2015 at 9:41 pm by belgianwaffle

Today is Palm Sunday. A fact I had forgotten until I entered the church this morning and Michael began loudly complaining when he saw the size of the missalette. “It’s three times longer than normal,” he hissed. “That means mass will last three hours.”

While it didn’t last three hours, it certainly was grand and long. The priest read the first gospel (which I think is not compulsory), he read the longer version of the long gospel (you know the one, it’s the miniature passion play) and then, crowning indignity, he gave a sermon which is normally unheard of on Passion Sunday. The elderly lady in the pew in front fainted. A group of older mentally handicapped people who were behind us made noise throughout the mass much of it mournful. One could hardly blame them. At communion, one of them ran up to the altar scattering pensioners in her wake; it was a difficult Sunday for the pensioners.

As our neighbour’s teenage daughter came down from communion, Mr. Waffle asked whether I thought her top was entirely appropriate for mass. She was wearing a pink hoodie and it was only when she passed me that I saw that the legend on the back was: “Hockey is my religion.”

It was that kind of Sunday. How was your own weekend?

All Mod Cons

27 March, 2015 at 9:42 pm by belgianwaffle

Yesterday the eircom man came and restored our broadband and television. I cannot tell you how delighted we all are after our long fallow period. Things we have done in the evening in the absence of internet and television: played cards, played table soccer, read books and learnt off poetry by heart from books. I think the consensus is that well and good as those things may be, a full life cannot be lived without internet and television. There it is. Philistinism will out. Personally, I was bereft without the television. If you had asked me, I would have said that I hardly watched any television. I was wrong. To celebrate the return of the television, I stayed up watching the Miliband v. Cameron debate; clearly, very worthwhile.

On the plus side, everyone now knows Up the Airy Mountain. And much of Lepanto which is no joke, I can tell you. Parts of it are a bit obscure to the modern reader and I said to herself, “We need a glossary.” And she replied, “The internet is our glossary.” Welcome back, glossary, we missed you.

The Glory that was Greece, the Grandeur that was Rome

23 March, 2015 at 11:52 pm by belgianwaffle

The other day, I was wondering aloud how the Romans did all the maths they needed for their engineering achievements in those very cumbersome Roman numerals. Mr. Waffle tells me that they did the difficult bits in Greek numbers and then translated them back into Roman numerals at the end.

Did you know that already? I am rather surprised about the numbers of my friends who did Greek in school, it turns out it’s useful for odd conversations in your 40s. A friend’s wife said something quite innocent about some word possibly coming from the Greek for horse and she was instantly corrected by her husband and mine who said, “No, hippos is a horse*.” Reporting, this rather disapprovingly, to some other friends, it turned out that they had studied Greek also and one of them said wistfully, “Greek was my favourite subject.” She is not the kind of person I would have thought of as a lover of ancient Greek but it just goes to show how little we know of our friends. I suppose at this stage you could count on the fingers of one hand the numbers of children anywhere studying ancient Greek except maybe in Greece.

Bonus prize for you, if you know how the Greeks did their numbers. I can stop any time.

*This is very unlike both of them and I can only attribute it to the lasting power of Greek teaching in the Irish school system.

Extravagance

22 March, 2015 at 11:46 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess made tea and marble cake for me recently because she has a saintly side.

After our first round of tea, the pot was empty. “Will I make more?” she asked. “Yes, please do,” I said. “I’ll just go and put on the kettle, will I use a fresh teabag?” she asked. “Of course!” I replied. “Oho,” said she, “we all partied.”

Reliable Research from the Back Seat of the Car

21 March, 2015 at 11:09 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Everyone hates homework.
Herself: What’s the sample size and what’s your source?
Michael: [Pause] Everyone.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (belated)

20 March, 2015 at 11:30 pm by belgianwaffle

On St. Patrick’s Day, I decided that we would all go for a walk. This was greeted with varying levels of enthusiasm (ranging from very little to none at all) but I was adamant. We set off with our picnic at 11.30. By 12.30 we were still not out of Dublin having to skirt the parade route. After that we drove down to Wicklow relatively easily until we came to Glendalough, but it was still 1.30 by the time we arrived.

I thought that we would have the place to ourselves. It turns out not. Every Mammy in Ireland appeared to have had the same idea as me and the place was teeming with families out for grudging walks. Both car parks were full and we had to park on the road and walk for half an hour before we got to our starting point which wasn’t great. It was about this point that Michael and I discovered that we had had a fundamental misunderstanding about the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. I thought he didn’t want to go. He thought we would be going later. We would not be going later. Cue unhappiness.

In my vision, we were going to have the picnic half way through the walk but it was abundantly clear at this point that we would have to have it before the walk started. Never mind, the picnic was eaten, the incentivising lollipops were distributed and the children took an opportunity to try to get their feet wet before the walk started.

Untitled

We went up to the Spink. It offers a lovely view of the upper lake but it is a bit of a slog up. The children did not enjoy it. There were bitter complaints on the way up. We passed a young child of about 5 coming down when I knew we were very near the top and to encourage the boys, I asked her, “Are we near the top?” and, perfidious child, she replied, “No, it’s ages away, although the views are lovely.” Daniel muttered mutinously, “The only view I like is the one of my x-box.” We did finally get to the top and there were nice views.

I knew that I would be pushing my luck to actually do any walking along the top so, to the children’s huge delight I said we could go back and they went careering back down, leaving Mr. Waffle and me to plod in their wake. As they were sitting waiting for us at the bottom, they ran into some of their classmates who were also on a forced St. Patrick’s Day march.

The next day, I met the classmates on the walk into school and asked how they had enjoyed their trip to Glendalough. “Worst day ever!” announced the younger bitterly.

It is good to know that I am not alone.

Mr Waffle’s Birthday

19 March, 2015 at 10:32 pm by belgianwaffle

Today is Mr. Waffle’s birthday.  We made him a cake.

Me (at breakfast) : You will never guess where we have hidden the cake.

Him: Let me think.  In the oven?

Me: Nope, you will never, never guess in a million years.

Him: Hmm, maybe in the tumble dryer?

Me: Yes.

How could he guess?  I have never hidden a cake in the tumble dryer before.  What, do you think I am weird or something?

So, Mr Waffle, another year older and also psychic.

Broadband – Our Ongoing Saga

18 March, 2015 at 11:08 pm by belgianwaffle

Another depressing message from Mr. Waffle on the broadband:

Another 10 days before we get broadband…
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <getmore@eircom.ie>
Date: 16 Mar 2015 12:50
Subject: Your eFibre & eVision installation appointment
To: Mr. Waffle

eircom
Account Number: XX

Dear

Thank you for choosing eircom. Your eFibre and eVision installation appointment is 26 March AM.

In the interim, poor Mr. Waffle has taken to lugging his modem home from work which is good for us but only in the evening. Poor Michael, you should have seen his appalled visage when I told him that it would be 10 days before the internet and television were restored. I asked if I could take a picture of his sad face for the blog but he seemed to regard this as an unwelcome and tactless intervention, so you will have to use your imagination.

Rubbing Salt in the Wound

16 March, 2015 at 7:15 pm by belgianwaffle

For a combination of reasons we drove to school one day last week and the Princess brought in her phone. This is a bit unusual and she kept trying to tap in to the local wifi and calling out names as we passed (“Dublin bus wifi” “Cafe wifi” and so on).

There is an anarchist squat at the bottom of our road (this is how we roll) and as we passed she said, “Oh ‘squat wifi'” Really? We can’t get a service from eircom and the people in the squat can get wifi? Insert your own jokes in the comments.

More on our Broadband

15 March, 2015 at 3:13 pm by belgianwaffle

Because, unlike eircom, you care.

I was in Scotland last week for work (rainy, but interesting, thanks for asking) and I got this pathetic message from Mr. Waffle on March 11.

Hi,

Hope your night out went OK. Just to say that UPC seems to have withdrawn service – neither TV nor Internet work. Still no news from Eircom…

Since then, the eircom technician has come. Pause to appreciate that. True, Mr. Waffle had to work from home for a third day but the technician came on Friday 13th. Unfortunately, he is only phase one of operations and another person has to come now. Date unclear as they cannot yet give us an appointment, but I am willing to bet you that it will not be before the national holiday on March 17.

In the absence of TV and internet, the children have been thrown upon a combination of their own resources and the DS for entertainment. None of us is sure how long this will be sustainable.

I am writing this from the broadband heaven that is my parents’ house in Cork. I am not sure what appetite I will have to blog from the 3G on my phone when I return to Dublin, so there may be a hiatus here. Or, at least, pretty short posts. I know, it’s a worry, you’re on the edge of your seat out there.

Carlingford Again

14 March, 2015 at 7:05 pm by belgianwaffle

As I was away on the day of my birthday, Mr. Waffle and I decided to take Thursday off work and go for a walk together as a birthday celebration for me.

We went to Carlingford. It can be really beautiful up there. It was not beautiful on Thursday. It lashed rain; that rain that hits the ground and then bounces back up again and hits you from underneath. We abandoned our plans for a walk and went to the Heritage Centre in the old Protestant church. It was fine as these things go but limited. Standing in the church graveyard in the driving rain looking at the gravestones, I couldn’t help feeling that it was all going rather poorly. This was before I stood on a large sloping, slate gravestone to examine the inscription in more detail. Slate is quite slippy in the rain and I managed to hit my knee, shoulder and the side of my face as I went down. No serious injury but mild pain, humiliation and misery.

Then we went for lunch. We went to Fitzpatrick’s. It was recommended by a friend. It didn’t really do it for me. Mr Waffle described it as “Johnny Fox’s North” and that was about the size of it. Food was fine; big quantities and decor very touristy. Unfortunately, I then proceeded to succumb to a migraine to add the icing to that particular birthday cake.

Alas. Let us hope that the rather inauspicious beginning is not an omen for the year.

Lenten Thoughts

13 March, 2015 at 11:46 pm by belgianwaffle

Did you know that the Irish word for Wednesday, Céadaoin, means first fast? And Friday, Aoine, means fast? And Thursday, Déardaoin, means day between two fasts? It makes me reflect on how religious and abstemious our celtic ancestors were. Meanwhile, on Ash Wednesday, I forgot that it was a day of fast and abstinence and had a beef sandwich at lunch. The guilt. Also, for Lent I have given up sweets again. I feel I should perhaps be trying harder.

Technique

12 March, 2015 at 11:45 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: I have to fill the kettle again.
Her: Daddy fills all three hot water bottles from one kettle of water.
Me: That is because your father knows nothing of hot water bottle filling.
Her: Yes, you’re right, a hot water bottle should be like a pillow not a sheet.

Hypercorrection or Big Bird

12 March, 2015 at 11:38 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself told us that they were doing fairy tales in school and someone said that the handsome Prince went to the market disguised as a pheasant.

That is all.

American Tourists who are in for a Surprise

11 March, 2015 at 11:35 pm by belgianwaffle

American Tourists: We are going to Belfast tomorrow, what is it like?
Waiter: It’s really cool.
American Tourists: Is it very different?
Waiter: I guess compared to Dublin, it’s a lot like Canada is for people from the US.

I really don’t think so.

She May Very Well Pass for 43 in the Dusk with the Light Behind Her

10 March, 2015 at 11:42 pm by belgianwaffle

I am 46 today which is surprising. It turns out that 46 isn’t as old as I once thought. If you were to say something in the comments, it would prove there was somebody out there and fill my middle aged heart with joy. No pressure now.

The Ongoing Tale of Relations with our new Service Provider

9 March, 2015 at 11:23 pm by belgianwaffle

So, Mr. Waffle rang eircom on Friday morning to say that even though he had stayed at home all day Thursday (and had previously arranged for someone to be in the house all day on a previous date), no one had come. He spoke to W who passed him to J who hung up/lost the connection. Mr. Waffle rang back and spoke to A who said the technician had telephoned Mr. Waffle. “He did not,” said Mr. Waffle. On checking he found that they still had the wrong number for him on file as “he had given the wrong number initially.” Seriously, where do you believe that the error lies? Anyhow, Mr. Waffle pointed out that they had raised this issue with him previously and he had given the correct number on the 2 March for them to amend their records. He gave it again; perhaps this time they will update the information or perhaps they just like to keep people like us on our toes. A added that, in any event, the technician had left a note. “He most certainly did not,” said Mr. Waffle. “I’m only reading what it says here on the system,” said A defensively. “Well then,” said Mr. Waffle, “can you update the system to state that the client says that no notification was received?” She was shifty on this point so I am guessing not.

We seem to be back at stage one now and Mr. Waffle has to stay home all day Tuesday for the technician to come. As luck would have it, our washing machine also broke down at the weekend and the technician from Bosch is coming to give it a poke on Tuesday too but at least they telephone half an hour before they are due to arrive. No such luxuries are available from the eircom service. How do people who can’t work from home manage this kind of thing?

I am beginning to think that we might investigate Sky. Can the service possibly be worse?

Busy Weekend

8 March, 2015 at 11:23 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday night we dropped Michael off at the scout hall at 7 for his first sleep over. It was his first time ever sleeping without his brother under the same roof. They both really missed each other. All the time he was gone, Daniel kept asking when he would be back and when Michael eventually came home, they gave each other a big hug.

On Saturday morning, Daniel had a GAA match, herself was on a course and I went to look at new bikes. V. exciting. On Saturday afternoon at 3, Michael returned from scouts. At 3.30 the Princess and I cycled into town and tracked down a jacket for her to wear to her confirmation. At 5.30, I dropped Daniel and Mr. Waffle up to meet a group from Daniel’s GAA club who were going to see Dublin v Tyrone in Croke park (a draw). We collected them at nine and collapsed into bed. On Sunday, we had a starring role at mass. After mass, herself and Daniel stayed for choir rehearsal. When they came home, we had lunch and then cycled to the supermarket (reasonably painless) to pick up treats for a trip to the cinema with the cousins at 4.

Is it any wonder that we were all a bit tired as we sat down for dinner at 7.30? With one thing and another, we also have a very busy week ahead and as, over dinner, I outlined the excitement that was coming, I commented, “And I’ll be playing a couple of tennis matches as well, because I’ve entered the Spring round robin.” Then I sat bolt upright in horror as I realised that I was meant to be playing at that very moment. I telephoned my opponent all apologies and we agreed to meet at 8 instead although I was somewhat unenthused after my roast chicken dinner. I returned defeated 6-0, 6-3 an hour later. And I still haven’t packed for my work trip tomorrow. Sigh.

How was your own weekend?

Confirmation Preparation

6 March, 2015 at 8:58 pm by belgianwaffle

Teacher: Now, the Holy Spirit takes the form of a bird, does anyone know what kind of bird?
Child: A pigeon?

Herself tells me that her class will be a lot holier by May. She is currently engaged in learning off the nine gifts and the seven fruits of the Holy Spirit. In Irish.

More of It

5 March, 2015 at 8:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Mr. Waffle spent today working from home. The technician from eircom was to come. Mr. Waffle rang eircom about 5 wondering whether the technician was coming. They said that they didn’t know but Mr. Waffle couldn’t say the technician had not come until after 6, so if the technician didn’t come Mr. Waffle could call them in the morning and they would apply their escalation procedure. The technician did not come. Can’t wait for that escalation procedure in the morning.

Oops I Did It Again

4 March, 2015 at 8:07 pm by belgianwaffle

When the children and I were away, the cat disappeared briefly. Mr. Waffle found her by following the piteous meowing sound to the neighbours’ enclosed patio behind their shed. She had got in but she couldn’t get out. The neighbours were away for the week and Mr. Waffle could only get her back by throwing random bric-a-brac from our shed over the wall to improvise a ladder. She began by sheltering from the rain under it but gradually worked out that she needed to climb up it. As Mr. Waffle leaned down perilously to grab her, he heard the unwelcome sound of our own shed door banging shut leaving him left out in the lane. At least he had rescued the cat who scampered off home over the roof of our shed. Mr. Waffle had to do the same. Nobody was injured you will be relieved to hear.

Can you believe that the idiot cat did the same thing the following day? Here she is in the pile of bric-a-brac resting a tentative paw on the climbing frame.

IMAG0987

More From Our New Service Provider

3 March, 2015 at 11:24 pm by belgianwaffle

So, still no service from our new internet provider. I particularly like their email address: canwehelp@eircom.ie. Oh how we laughed. On the plus side, they may be trying to give Mr. Waffle money. I wonder for how long more our current provider will continue to supply broadband and whether we will be cut adrift in a cruel world without internet and television. Still, think of the saving. Recent correspondence below for your delectation because I know that you care.

From: Mr. Waffle
Date: 2 March 2015 at 11:44
Subject: Fwd: Register for My eircom to view your new eircom bill online
To: canwehelp@eircom.ie

Dear Sir or Madam

On 2 February I signed up online to get TV, phone and broadband from Eircom. I was given account number [xx]. A technician was supposed to come on 16 February but never turned up. After many contacts with your company, I was advised that it was necessary to cancel this order and start again. On 23 February I got a message (screenshot enclosed) from J in your Customer Care Administration Team confirming that the account had been closed on 19 February.

Since then, I have still not received any service from Eircom. I am still waiting for a technician to come to my house. I have no idea when this might occur (a month after I first attempted to sign up with Eircom).

On 27 February I got a message (below) saying that a bill had issued for my account. The message says that I can view the bill on “My Eircom”. However, when I attempted this, I got a message saying that the account number was no longer an Eircom account. See screenshot enclosed.

I would be grateful for an explanation of (a) how I can see this bill, and (b) what I am being billed for, given that Eircom has not actually provided me with any service and this account has been closed

Yours sincerely

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: eircom Bill Notifications
Date: 27 February 2015 at 15:39
Subject: Register for My eircom to view your new eircom bill online
To: Mr Waffle

Bill Notification

Dear Customer,
Your new eircom bill is now available to view online.

As you are on paperless billing, you can view your bill simply by registering on My eircom using your telephone number and your account number .

Register for My eircom

Your bill amount is €-5.60.

Once you login to My eircom, you can view a PDF of your bill, your bill summary and the itemised details of your bill online.

If you are set up for Direct Debit we will automatically take your payment. If not, you can pay your bill within My eircom.

If you need help understanding your bill we have a full bill explanation available here: Your Bill Explained.
Thank you,

Eircom
To find answers to commons questions or chat to an agent visit
Help & Support
Register to My eircom

This is an automated email. Please do not reply to it as you will not receive a response. Contact us here

Stranger Danger

2 March, 2015 at 11:03 pm by belgianwaffle

I was late leaving work this evening which often happens because I am busy and constitutionally ill-adapted to being on time.

This meant that Michael was late getting his healthy pizza (ahem) for dinner. His father had been out dropping Daniel to GAA. If only I had been home on time, or somewhat organised and got herself or the childminder to put on the pizza, Michael would not have been eating pizza in a plastic box as we screeched out the door to go to scouts (still very popular, thanks for asking). There was some running up and down the street in the snow to find where the car was parked – definitely adding to the allure of the pizza – and a call home (don’t mock the afflicted) but we found it eventually.

After dropping Michael to scouts, late, I had to go and collect Daniel and a neighbour’s child from GAA. The traffic was very slow in the driving snow and I didn’t turn up to collect them until 7.30. I arrived to find the pair of them sodden, frozen and last to be picked up. A man I didn’t recognise delivered them to the car.

As they thawed in the car, I asked what had happened. Due to the snow, practice had stopped at 7 rather than 7.15 (unprecedented in my experience, usually nothing stops practice); the club house was locked, the other children’s parents were punctual (caring, delete whatever you think is appropriate yourself) and they stayed alone and coatless in the snow like a pair of orphan waifs until a man came up to them and asked whether they would like to sit in his car. His face was familiar and he had a kid they knew from training in the back. Daniel said, “But stranger danger, [neighbour’s child] didn’t want to get in.” “So,” I said in horror, “you stayed freezing in the snow.” “Oh no,” said Daniel, “I got in alright, just [neighbour’s child] stayed outside in the snow. The man did try to bundle him into the car, but he resisted.” One can only imagine the scene. Shortly afterwards, the man brought them up to the car park where they met me and all was well.

You may draw your own conclusions about this little tale but I am quite pleased by Daniel’s good sense.


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