Red Rain Is Falling Down All Over Me

Bad news – due to half term and other commitments for the person that runs it, Baby Boogie isn’t on for about a month. This means that I am going to have to find something else to do in my lunch-hour on a Friday if I’m working from home. That said, there are plenty of things that need doing around Aitchworld Towers as we hurtle towards replacing the kitchen. Everything needs decorating for a start.

Surprisingly, the colour choice was agreed on very easily. I thought it was going to be difficult when we set out as Mrs Aitchworld had suggested a grey colour. My idea was to wallop everything in Magnolia and use furniture and accessories to add colour (get me; don’t I sound fabulous?). I flatly refused to have grey walls until Mrs Aitchworld explained she was thinking more of a silvery grey. Well why didn’t you say so? I can do silver. I have had at least three silver cars (although one of them did look a bit lilac in some lights). I have silver hairs too, which I am not fussed about in the slightest. But if they were grey cars or grey hairs, that would be a different story. There’s a very big difference between men and women here – I know if I were to suggest to Mrs Aitchworld that she had a grey hair, she would possibly punch me very squarely in the face. If I then corrected this to silver, I reckon a swift kick in the knackers would follow.

In the event, in the paint aisle in B&Q, all the grey and silver paints looked awful so these were quickly eschewed for something called Soft Coffee. I don’t know what soft coffee is, nor do I know whether there is such a thing as hard coffee. I suppose an Expresso might just about fall into that category and you wouldn’t want that on your walls. Maybe a soft coffee is a hazelnut latte or something like? In paint form though, it is a cream colour that is slightly darker and warmer than Magnolia. We’ve only had time to paint a couple of sections of wall so far, but it looks good. At the rate we are going, we should have it all painted by Christmas. Which Christmas I’m not altogether sure, which could be a problem as the new flooring was delivered last week and we ordered the new kitchen this week, which will hopefully be a self-assembly and fitting job.

We’ve not quite figured out how to pay for it all yet either, although shortly after the boys were born, in view of a number of monetary gifts we received for the boys, we decided to open bank accounts for them. We have continued to deposit money into them of our own volition and as a result they are in rather rude health. What I am wondering is whether it is considered poor form to empty them and replace them with an IOU? After all, the new kitchen is for them. Sort of.

Illness has befallen Aitchworld Towers this week. Both Henry and Arthur have had colds. Henry’s way of dealing with it is to just carry on as normal. Arthur dealt with it by vomiting up every meal and drink of milk that he consumed between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, resulting in a trip to the out of hours doctors at the hospital on Saturday. Our washing machine has never been so busy. People must think I am dirty because it appears that I am always wearing the same clothes and never change, but the truth is they are being washed so often that it is easier to wait for them to come out of the tumble drier than it is to change into a new set. The way we tried to deal with it, but failed, was to dose them up on Calpol, Nurofen, cough medicine and multi-vitamins. There are so many syringes and medicine spoons lying around the house, it looks like a crack den.

I recently lamented the poor quality of children’s television. To my annoyance, and utter embarrassment, I was wandering around the house humming an earworm of a tune that was stuck in my head. Half a day it went on for, before I realised that the tune I was singing away to myself (and some of the neighbours most probably, as I got quite loud at times and had the back door of the house open) was the theme song to that sodding night garden programme. Interspersed with this were random outbursts of some of the tunes that the boys’ Jumparoo and Step ‘n’ Play make. I’m doing it all the time and it can only be a matter of days before someone in the office, or walking down the street following me is going to identify the tunes I am singing and mark me out as some kind of fruitloop.

Other parenty types have warned me about how, when the boys are a little older, they will be wanting me to play nursery rhyme and Disney music CDs in my car. Well, we have a plan to circumnavigate that little eventuality. My main car is a company car. It is, they will be told, company policy that we are not allowed to insert CDs into the player that haven’t been previously authorised by the lease company, which could take several months for approval to be granted. And we’re not allowed any of that Radio 1 shit either! My old Ford Sierra doesn’t even have a CD player, so that’s a non-starter. Which leaves Mrs Aitchworld’s car, which to be honest is the only one we use anyway – we can’t get the pushchair in any of the others, so they are largely metal driveway and garage ornaments at the weekend. Mrs Aitchworld’s car has a multi-changer system in it. However, it is located behind a removable panel in the boot, which just happens to be full of baby paraphernalia all the time, so filling it becomes a chore in itself. When we went up to the Lake District earlier in the year, I remembered the presence of the auto-changer so decided to fill it so we had some half decent tunes to listen to on the way up. The problem with that plan was that I only remembered once the boot was almost full. Still, I’d rather play boot Jenga again than have to listen to Graham Norton or Paul O’Grady, or anything at all on Radio 1. To make it more exciting, the CDs were random ones I had pulled out of a box of unlabelled CDs, so it was a case of Music Roulette and I didn’t have a clue whether there was decent music on them or not. “Not”, was the general consensus from Mrs Aitchworld.

The clocks changed last week. Social media was awash with posts by parents complaining how they wouldn’t be enjoying an extra hour of sleep, moaning that they would have to spend an extra hour with their enthusiastic children who had no concept daylight savings time, or whatever it is. Not me though. For one, I’m not going to get upset about spending more time with the boys, but we also had a cunning plan. Mrs Aitchworld had read somewhere that in the weeks leading up to the clock change (although it didn’t specify how many, but we assumed six) you should keep your babies up a bit longer of an evening before putting them to bed, increasing by increments of ten minutes per week, until they are going to bed an hour later than they would have normally. I’m still not convinced, to be honest. It seemed to work brilliantly – the change of time zones seemed to faze the boys not one bit. But then a few days after the clocks going back, we took the boys with us when we went to order the kitchen and we didn’t get home until about two hours after their normal bedtime and this didn’t cause any upset either. We have a bedtime routine, which is feed them half a bottle of milk and have burp time, have bath time, the second half of the bottle and then bed. We do this every single night without fail and the boys know it is bedtime, no matter what the time on the clock says. I am far more inclined to believe that it is the routine that matters and got the boys through the time change, rather than messing around with later bedtimes.

You can’t have clocks going back without shortly being followed by Halloween and Bonfire Night. I’ve never been troubled by Trick-or-Treaters. I say never; there was this one time… Now I’m not proud of this, but I’m not embarrassed either, so I am happy to share what I did. Different times and all that!

When Aitchworld Towers was two flats and I lived on my own in the upstairs one, the kitchen window was directly above the front door. I thought it would be a jolly old jape to get my revenge on any Trick-or-Treaters that may ring my doorbell. In a large jug I mixed some red food colouring with some water and added some corn flour to thicken it all up to a consistency and appearance not entirely dissimilar to blood. In fact, even though I do say it myself, I did an excellent job in this respect and it was an incredible likeness. I left the kitchen window open and the first time that someone rang the doorbell, I shouted “TRICK” at the top of my voice and emptied the contents of the entire jug over whomever was stood on my doorstep. Fortunately it wasn’t my dear old Mum popping round for a brew but just some local children trying to scrounge my Haribo from me. I scored a direct hit, covering each of them with the liquid. The screaming, as they fled from my door at a speed I didn’t realise a small child could attain, covered in fake blood, could be heard several streets away, if not counties. No one ever said anything directly to me about this incident, but I got the distinct impression that I was henceforth always referred to as that mad bloke in the big house at the top of the street. It was almost twenty years ago now and I have never had a single knock on the door on Halloween since. I did tell Mrs Aitchworld about this when we first met, but she gave me a look of “He wouldn’t do that sort of thing, would he?” It was only when we ripped out the upstairs kitchen after we had purchase the downstairs flat and she found the red food dye that she realised that I would and I did.

And then we have bonfire night, and the fireworks in the weeks leading up to it, and the months following it. On the one hand, I don’t mind fireworks. The more of them there are, the greater signs that the economy of the country must actually be doing quite well if so many people can afford to spend their money on something they are just setting fire to for it just to go “phut”, “pop” or “wheeeee” with an accompanying small flash. But for that very same reason I just don’t get them. Even the big ones that do actually whizz and bang and make enough light to actually see something don’t impress me. They are a fire hazard that flashes and bangs, which is pretty much the same description of small-town nightclubs, and I’ve seen enough of those in my lifetime. But these are the only reasons I don’t like them. Other people bang on (no pun intended) about how pets don’t like them, which may be true, but Dave and Charlie are totally unimpressed by them (I taught them well), and how their children are terrified of them. Really? What sort of wet arsed jessies are we raising in this country, who are scared witless by a few damp fireworks that barely make enough sound to be heard through a decent set of double glazing? Every time we have heard them this week, we have picked one of the boys up, taken them to a window, or up to the loft to dangle them out of a Velux a bit like a tribute to Michael Jackson, and shown the boys what a firework is. Fortunately Arthur and Henry haven’t inherited the misery gene from me and they absolutely love them. I can see a future of standing around in a wet garden, trying to set light to soggy fireworks bought from a supermarket, every November the fifth. History is repeating itself.

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