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Long Hot Summer

July 1st, 2018

The boys have been on a range of courses on a week on/week off basis.  On off weeks, Mr. Waffle is normally able to check in at home a couple of times a day.  Mr. Waffle was away for work for two days last week and the boys were home alone for both days.  On day 1 they went out briefly to deliver leaflets for a neighbour (there’s going to be a local walking tour apparently) and Michael lost a baby tooth.  He’ll be 13 in September, will the baby tooth collection never end?  He felt strongly that in his father’s absence the tooth fairy would never come but he was wrong.  He said that the fact that agents associated with the tooth fairy accidentally threw the tooth in the bin earlier meant that the work force was unreliable.  However, the fact that the tooth was found – and you have not lived until you have gone through the black bin on a warm day looking for a missing baby tooth – argues strongly for the work ethic and reliability of this particular tooth fairy agent.   So, day 1 was alright but by the end of day 2, however, it wasn’t quite “Lord of the Flies” but it wasn’t far off it either.  Michael’s entire intake for the second day prior to my return home from work appears to have been 2 slices of toast and honey so no wonder he was  a bit ratty.  On the other hand, it is so hot that even I don’t feel like eating and, unlike Michael, I am fond of eating.   Poor Daniel does not deal well with being cooped up all day and he was like a caged lion.

Mr. Waffle came in on Thursday night on a late flight.  He said that he heard two other passengers who had met on the plane chatting.  She was a Ukrainian woman who appeared to have lived in Dublin for a number of years and he was a Pole visiting Dublin for the first time.  Mr. Waffle heard her say to him, in reply to a question about the weather, “It’s 28 degrees, they think it’s really hot.”  Dammit it is really hot and I remember 1976 (the year of the heatwave, lads).  Guess what Mr. Waffle brought home from Luxembourg?  That’s right, a French/Dutch Michelin map of Denmark.

On Friday afternoon, I took the boys to the swimming pool.  I was kind of amazed that they could swim.  I think I have mentioned before that we gave up on swimming lessons years ago in the face of stern opposition from them and I have ever since been terrified that they would drown in open water.  While I wouldn’t describe either of them as strong swimmers, they both enjoy swimming underwater, can both float for ages and Daniel can do a length and Michael about 3/4 of a length which, frankly, was much better than I would have thought possible, clearly something sank in from the hated lessons.

On Saturday we went for a walk in Wicklow from the Pier Gates to Lough Dan. It was pretty toasty. It was fine on the way down although a bit warm from time to time. We seemed to reach the shade pretty quickly.

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The views were delightful, as always.

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The boys enjoyed going across the little river on the stepping stones.

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When we got there, the lake was beautiful. Mr. Waffle and I swam and the boys paddled, it was boggy but warm. What genius brought swimming gear and towels? This genius.

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I thought the journey back would be easier. I don’t know why I would have thought that because it was ALL uphill. Once we got out from under the trees, it was a bit “Mine eyes have seen the abomination of desolation” as we trekked up the stony roads in the blazing sunshine.

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By the time I arrived back at the car, I was utterly exhausted. The boys seemed ok though, so that was something. We went for dinner in Roundwood to sustain us for the drive home.

Today was quiet after our epic trek yesterday. We went to visit the grandparents but that was about it for the day. Excitingly, I did get to speak briefly to my firstborn. Main news items: she is enjoying her residential course and she is out of phone credit.

Poor Mr. Waffle is off to lovely Luxembourg again today so I dropped him out to the airport this evening. His flight was delayed by an hour but he was able to work on his Danish on duolingo – we are doing this in anticipation of our trip. Possibly a bit pointless. I can now say, the girl eats the apple and the girl eats an apple. A distinction which seems ludicrously important in lesson 1. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Ch Ch Changes

June 27th, 2018

Herself has dyed her hair for the summer again. Compare and contrast 2017 on the left and 2018 on the right. The most noticeable thing, I think is how much older and more sure of herself she looks. That and the hair.

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She went off to a three week residential course on Sunday and she was only too happy to say farewell to her sorrowing parents. There was an unfortunate incident in relation to a retainer. In the car as we were arriving she said, “[My friend] M says that she left her retainer in our house on Friday”. M is going to the same residential course so when I saw her and her parents, the first thing I said was, “I hear M left her retainer at our house.” Had M told her parents? She had not. Were they annoyed with her? They were. Did the Princess blame me for being unable to keep my mouth shut? She did. Did we find the missing retainer despite Mr. Waffle going through the food bin in case it had been inadvertently thrown out? We did not. Alas.

She went to see Christine Lagarde (in town for a brief visit) speak and asked her father but not me for some good questions. I was suitably outraged. I have good questions.

Notwithstanding the associated drama, I miss my first born.

The boys and I are home alone today and tomorrow as Mr. Waffle is away for work. The pair of them were at home alone all day today and, I have to say, I did feel quite guilty abandoning them but they seem to have survived with no particular ill effects. On the contrary, Daniel has become a scrambled egg making master.

And in other very exciting news, we have finally booked our summer holiday and we are going to Denmark. Give me your Danish tips.

Home alone or Random Updates

June 20th, 2018

“So what news?” you ask.

A couple of weeks ago, I made Mr. Waffle and the boys go to the theatre to see “A Feast of Bones” which the Princess and I saw five years ago and liked. They left the house with great reluctance. Michael, in particular, pointing out that I had a history of never booking them in to good things. I pointed to the session on African explorer Thomas Parke which still remains my single most successful cultural outing. However, I finally have a second triumph, because they all really enjoyed the performance. Go me.

The weekend before last, Mr waffle was off in foreign parts for the weekend. He had a 25 year college reunion. Meanwhile I held the fort. We had a lot of pizza. Michael had his drama showcase which went fine thank you for asking. Daniel had a match – I dropped him up and another parent brought him home. He told me that he was taken off injured after 5 minutes which wasn’t totally ideal. I think he has some kind of floating body in his knee and from time to time, when I have an idle moment, I worry about this. Herself took a break from studying (this was when the Junior Cert was still on – happily it has now ended, it was ok, results in September) and went out for walk at the seaside with her friends. There was a certain amount of scurrying to get everyone everywhere on time but we made it. I left the washing out on the line overnight though – living life on the edge.

On Sunday we cycled to mass. “Are you ok?” I asked Dan. “Fine, why?” he said. “Your knee injury from yesterday,” I said. “Oh,” said he, “I made that up, I was fine and played, it’s just that I didn’t want you to make me have a shower.” Where to begin? I still took him and his brother to the cinema that afternoon (because I am saintly and he did shower on Sunday morning).

Herself finished her exams last Friday and the saintly mother of one of her friends took a group of them to the Taylor Swift concert. A good time seems to have been had by all etc.

Last Sunday was the annual church garden party. Yet again, I found myself manning the ice cream wafer stall with no fridge. Very trying, frankly. Mr. Waffle won the father’s day raffle – a hamper which looked promising but turned out to be full of Nivea for men products. That’s what happens if your sponsor is the local chemist, I suppose.

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There was a box full of loads of Greek and Latin plays and histories. And even though our house is full to overflowing with books and I suspect I will never read them I was unable to resist picking up 5 books for a euro (two French books as well which will be for herself to never read). Here are the books I will never read:

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The boys did a science course last week but have no activities planned this week which fills their little hearts with delight. I met them in town for lunch on Monday. They made their own way in and out. They were in great form. I have to say, if I never see Milano’s again, it might be too soon. That evening, Daniel had a GAA match in Tallaght. Tallaght! With the snow earlier in the year, they are still catching up on league matches during the week rather than at the weekend and it is spectacularly inconvenient. It feels like the season is never going to end.

Daniel went back to the ophthalmologist this afternoon and basically he is cured. He will probably always need glasses but as he is very longsighted, his eyesight will improve from now on. Apparently watching television and playing on the phone is good for his eyesight, if anything. The patching when he was little has worked and his astigmatism is gone. He can wear contact lenses for sport if he likes. And we never need to go back to the ophthalmologist. Nice man but, frankly, I rejoice.

He got his hair cut to celebrate and we had a cup of tea.

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Mr. Waffle is away for work until tomorrow evening, so I am coping alone (so far so good). Real challenge will be tomorrow. The children will be home alone all day – when Mr. Waffle is in the country, he drops in at lunch time to feed them – so I have told them that they have to get dressed and feed themselves. It remains to be seen how that will pan out. Will I come home to starving, feral children in pyjamas? All to play for. Poor Daniel has yet another GAA match. Happily it is relatively nearby so I have told him that he will have to get himself there by bike and he seems resigned if not enthusiastic (I appreciate that enthusiastic would be a big ask there). We’re all looking forward to the return of Mr. Waffle tomorrow evening, particularly the person who may, possibly, have felled a down pipe while doing some overdue rose bush pruning. Also the cat who is sitting looking at me as I type, hoping against hope that I might feed her again.

Tragically, he has to go away again next week and the week after. How will it all end? Also, we have no summer holiday booked. I think I am beginning to panic a little here.

My aunt was 89 today or will be on Friday. My granny always said that my aunt was born on June 20th but the Californian authorities have recorded it as June 22nd on her birth cert. Still, the family wisdom is that my granny ought to have known and so my aunt is celebrating today. Only a spring chicken etc. compared to my father, of course.

Any news yourself?

Musings for Middle Brows

June 20th, 2018

I was listening to the podcast of “In Our Time” and they were doing Persepolis. It was really interesting. Though, seriously, how is Persepolis in our time?

I’m reminded of how years ago I was at a pub quiz and the room was there was a group of school inspectors at the next table they left early and my friend said, “They must’ve heard that there was a good play on the radio”. Oh how we laughed. The boot is on the other foot now, of course as I constantly bore my family witless about podcasts I am listening to. I read during the week that Irish people are among the world’s most enthusiastic podcast listeners, so I am clearly aligned to my fellow citizens.

I learnt about Darius and apparently it’s not pronounced like you might think. I was so interested in Darius and Persepolis that I went all out and had a look on the internet for more information. The first search return was the Darius takeaway. How the mighty have fallen.

Before this I knew nothing about Persepolis. I had read the book by Marjane Satrapi and that was pretty much it. My father is fond of saying “Is it not passing brave to be a king/ and ride in triumph through Persepolis.”* Turns out that it definitely is.

*The internet tells me that this is from “Tamburlaine” by Christopher Marlowe. What exactly was the curriculum they were drawing on when teaching Cork schoolboys in the 30s?

It Begins

June 6th, 2018

Herself is sitting her very first state examination this morning; the first person in this household to do so since 1988. The man to clean the gutters is arriving at 8.30. It’s all happening here.

Wish her luck.

Alas, Alack

June 5th, 2018

Daniel made dinner this evening.

He rang me about 6 as I was heading home from work.

Daniel: How do you use the blender?
Me: Ask your sister.
Him: She’s out.
Me: Is your father home?
Him: Nope.
Me: Well, it’s a bit tricky…[accidentally drop phone on the road and it is run over by a bus – he tried his best not to but the back wheels got it]

Despite the absence of my phone I was anxious to tell Daniel not to use the blender unsupervised so I pulled out my work phone. Do I know my home number off by heart? I do not. Any of my children’s mobiles? Nope. So I rang my husband who was a bit stressed trying to finish up at work and told him to ring Daniel urgently and tell him not to use the blender. He was baffled and a bit peeved.

Dinner was great in the end.

Do I have insurance on my new iphone that I got in April? I do not. I will take its mangled body to the shop tomorrow to see what they can do. I wouldn’t describe myself as optimistic.

Also I have a blister on the top of my left middle finger from a splinter I can’t get out. Woe is me.

Not with a Bang but with a Whimper

June 3rd, 2018

Last Friday was the boys’ last day in first year. They were both quite miserable with colds and we kept them at home. So there was no real celebration. Herself has the Junior Cert starting next Wednesday so she isn’t finished her school year for a couple of weeks yet.

On Friday night everyone was recovered enough to go out for our traditional end of school celebration in Milano’s. Traditionally, this was a lunch time event but since the boys were a bit under the weather and herself wasn’t finishing school until mid-afternoon, we left it until dinner time. I would not recommend Milano’s in Temple Bar on the Friday night of a bank holiday weekend. There was a large hen party at the table next to us and the noise was deafening. The combination of wavy wallpaper and a light on the blink created the perfect conditions for a migraine to develop. It was all a bit hideous.

However, we have got through the boys’ first year in secondary school and, all in all, it hasn’t gone too badly, I feel. It was a tough transition from primary school but they got there. Michael has just been chosen for the student council and he is quite pleased with himself, thank you very much. Daniel has found himself just the wrong age for school sports teams which has been deeply frustrating for him but something that will be remedied from September. Academically, they’ve both been fine despite some misgivings on my part because they were so young.

Herself seems to be very on top of the whole school thing now – it’s always so hard to judge but she seems to be very relaxed and well able to deal with anything the system throws at her. The teachers love her. She cleaned up at the school prize-winning again and came home laden down with trophies and certificates.

Notwithstanding the relative success of the school year, we are all delighted that it is over. Roll on summer holidays.


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