The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Haven Holiday Hell in pictures

Just to keep you amused, and to remind myself that despite the minute amount of housework I do, I do not live in squalour, here are some pictures of the apartment we were given at Haven, Weymouth Bay for our summer holiday. Remember, this is billed as a family camp - bring your babies and grandparents - which is what we did, and why we refused the accomodation!

The two bedrooms! The stain you can see on the walls is rising damp - wet enough to soak through the pillow, duvet and mattress of the beds overnight!

And I thought MY windows needed a clean!
mmmmm. nice! This was part of the open plan living/dining/kitchen area!
There's more...... but Aggie is still uploading them onto Flickr, so I'll have to do another post later.

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I'm surrounded by them!

Did I mention that at work yesterday I sorted out 8 large lever arch files of trial bundle. that's all the documets that have been put forward as evidence in a trial. Most cases reach 1, 2 or even 3 files full, but this particular case is a doozer:-) Our firm needs a copy, as does our counsel/barrister, and also the court. Sometimes we get to make them up for the other side(s) too, and occasionally even the client. Each bundle has to be identical to the others and paginated in strict accordance with court rules. My job was to check the three sets of bundles we had and ensure they were identical and all up to date, photocopy anything that should be there but wasn't, remove anything that shouldn't be there but was, paginate everything, then make up a separate batch of "stuff" that was not included in the official documents but might be useful for us.

Then I wrapped them all up nicely - 2 files to a parcel, labled them and took them down to the post room.

Then the solicitor realised that the front cover on each folder had to be amended. So i took them all back upstairs, unwrapped them all carefully (new wrappings would be an extravagance - I was re-using old ones already), changed the front cover and wrapped them all up again. And carried all eigh bundles back downstairs to the post room.

Then the solicitor realised that she hadn't included three large documents that had just come in so were not indexed yet. Downstairs, collect, upstairs, unwrap, slot in new papaer, re-wrap, take downstairs.

Then at 450pm she remembered that actually, they weren't going to the address she had given me, but to a different one altogether. Quick change of labels, then a mad rush to get them to the collection point over the road. jogging while carrying 8 lever arch files wrapped in plastic is not fun!

Today, the decorators finally turned up to paper LMB's room. They were supposed to come before we went on holiday, but didn't turn up! Then they were supposed to come yesterday, but soemhow, didn't make that either. they finally arrived around 10.00am today. They were supposed to put up new paper, with a sticky big border round the room to break up the pinkness! Which is EXACTLY what they had taken down 10 days ago. By the time I get home at 3.30pm and stick my head round the door they seem to be about 75% through the papering, which seemed fair enough for half way through the day. So when they came down 40 mins later saying they ahd finished I was a bit surprised. That is because the idiots had only papered half the room, then stuck the border on the bottom half. Which is a) not what they were asked to do, b) not what they took down, c) not going to stay up as borders are designed to stick to allpaper not wall! and d) means the border will be completely hidden but he furniture when it is returnd to the room.

The insurance company called this evening to ask if we were happy with the work. um, NO!!!!! We said they will ahve to come back and do it again. But it means LMB will not be back in her room for her birthday!

AND, on top of that, not only did they do a pretty awful job of clearing up after themselves, but they did it with MY vacuum cleaner, then left all their rubbish (including the old plaster) behind! I have told them that if it not gone by Friday midday we will be charging them for it's removal.


Anyway. I ahve written and printed my letter of complaint to Haven. And attached a CD full of photo's of the problems. And cc's it to Holiday Which?, the local newspaper and Tourist Info. I'll post it from work tomorrow. They've got 14 days to make us an offer of compensation so we'll just have to wait and see what they say. I amy even post some of the photo's here for you to cringe at:) I suppose I'd best get on with the letter to the bloody insurance company now!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One (green) finger one thumb keep moving

We've been busy busy busy again.

I have managed to completely (almost) unpack everything from the holiday (no mean feat for me, as I tend to leave everything wherever it is until needed), AND catch up with the laundry! I've written my letter of complaint, and looked up the details of local (to Weymounth) newspapers and Tourist Info places to cc it to:-) It's not sent yet though as I'm waiting for Aggie to burn off the photo's onto a CD.

With th first bank holiday Monday off for years, we decided to sort out the garden a bit (again!). We were doing really well through the spring, but then it rained, and rained, and rained for months on end, and everything grew and nothing was weeded, cut back or dug up! So yetsreday we spent the day out there cutting back everything we couldn't cut down, cuttimg down everything we could, and clearing away most of what was left. I had a great time burning half a bay tree - although it would have been easier if Aggie hadn't shredded all our old, dry wood with his new toy of a garden shredder! I pulled up the last of our spring onions. We had a fair few back in the spring when they were just perfect, but they are looking a bit past it now! Ho hum. I'm still impressed that we managed to grow them! The leeks are still growing and should be ready in another month or so. Aggie has to mow the lawn now - before my mother & sister turn up on Friday for LMB's birthday - which I hope will be held in the garden thereby saving me the effort of clearing up the house:-)

LMB is getting ever so excited about starting school now. We brought her new school shoes yesterday too. LMD was ever so put out that she didn't get any new shoes! Aggie brought all of the kids school uniform today (nearly). She looks so grown up (and cute) in her grey pinny. But I think she will probably prefer the gingham summer dresses!

I was back at work today. And straight into it. There were a few problems last week in the department, so there was plenty of "urgent" work to keep me busy. Which is better than twiddling my thimbs as I was doing just before I left. Although having to redo an hour work three times because of other peoples mistakes didn't go down fantastically well! I ahve written a couple of letters to companies I would like to work for - but haven't sent them yet. I'm still thinking about it......

LMD was back at pre-school today - on her own. She was fine about it, and not at all bothered that LMB wasn't with her. And she made it right through the whole, long day without needing a change once! That's the first time ever she's made it completely clean and dry through a day! watch me do the no more nappies dance:-))))))

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

The good, The bad and the Haven-ly

We've just got back from a week's holiday in Weymouth. I'll probably flesh out the details in another post, but there were some good bits: LMD won the fancy dress competition in a borrowed nurses uniform by virtue of being the cutest one there (everyone was wearing hop-bought clothes. What is the world coming to?). I thought she'd lost when an even littler girl appeared dressed as a bumble bee - but she hung onto mummy the whole time, and wouldn't talk or look at the audience, whereas LMD went up on her own, yelled her age down the microphone, and roundly told off anyone who tried to steal her moment of fame:-) LMB also got to win one of the paltry prizes of "a foil mask" by winning hide and seek on the last day. Admittedly I found the hiding place - but she stayed there quiet and still, so the victory was hers.

There was some bad - we had booked a chalet/apartment thing bcause I hate caravans, and my kids are not just like a herd of elephants but more of the full safari at 6am, and there is no escaping that in a caravan, whereas a cottage offers rooms to be sent to, and doors to be shut on! When we arrived and realised there were only two cottages, right on the very furthest corner of an enormous site we weren't delighted, but c'est la vie. We let ourselves in, and looked around - there was a bit of a smell, but it was slight. I shut all the windows, which were wide open, pushed the kids beds up against the wall from where they had been left in the middle of the room, unpacked, explored the facilities, went for a swim in a disgusting pool wth no changing facilities, but a long muddy walk from anywhere, put the kids to bed and decided to make the ost of it.

The next morning, in the cold light of day, we decided to take photo's of the the cobwebs, mould and dead insects that had obviously not been cleaned for several weeks. Then I went into the gils bedroom - where had pushed the bed back against the all to ensure LMD did not fall out, it was sopping wet. With daylight streaming in, I could see that the whole of the back wall was dripping with damp. The smell was awful no the window had been shut for several hours. next door in Mstr A's and Nanny A's room it was even worse - damp rot and mould on the walls. Nanny A could hardly breathe at all - having only left hospital following a severe chest infection a few weeks ago I was not happy.

We went to reception at 9am, and refused the accomodation. I was expecting a bit of an argument, as it is high season, and they obviously would not be able to offer an alternative cottage as there were only the two! However, i barely had to say what the problem was before they were agreeing with me that it was not acceptable. I feel that they knew that it was uninhabitable before they even put us there! I gave them until lunch time to sort it out. Went back, packed everything up again. Tried to explain to the kids what was going on. Went back at 11.30. They offered us a two bed caravan. i refused. They offered a 3 bed caravan on the next door site until Tuesday. I refused. i suggested they give us a full refund and we'd find somewhere else, and that i expected whatever happened to be sorted out by midday, as we had already lost a day of our holiday. they decided the 3 bed caravan was actually available all week. so off we went, and spent the rest of the week in a caravan after all. Unsurprisingly, come Tuesday, the cottage was occupied again - I expect they told whoever was suposed to be coming into the caravan that they had been given an upgrade!

So, we had very little sleep all week:-(

And now I have to write a letter of compliant again! bah!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The most family unfriendly?

We went out for a meal to celebrate me passing my exams tonight. we had all the kids with us, but I didn't fancy just another chain place, so we wandered down to the local Italian. Mstr A adores pasta, most kids eat it happily, Italians are noriously loud, friendly and family orientated. It seemed likethe perfect solution.

We went there for lunch when it first opened, shortly after we moved here, and found it friendly enough if not specifically orientated towards young children. We'v been for a couple of lunch-time meals since then - mostly in the winter when it's quiet:-) Aggie and Nanny A took mstr A there for lunch last week for his birthday, and he was enamoured. So when we arrived at The Mask of Venice at 6.05 this evening (just 5 minutes after it opens) we expected much of the same.

The waiter was a bit flustered that we hadn't booked. I looked arund the completely empty restuarant and wondered why, but h soon recoverd and we were seated at a nice table at the back of the restuarant. We sucessfully ordered srinks, including an expensive (for me) bottle of wine for me and Aggie. We asked for the starter Mstr A had a few days ago at lunch time, but despite it being a particularly asy dish to make (mozarella chesse on toast) and the menu specifying "if you do not see what you want on the menu please ask your waiter and our chef will do his utmost to assist", we were told that was impossible. But we managed to find another suitable starter, and main course for everyone.

While waiting for it to be cooked LMD fed her stuffed Tasha doll some bread. She asked me to cut Tasha her own piece - I didn't understand quickly enough and she wailed "cut it mummy". Immediately the chef sormed out of the kitchen, and asked us to make her quiet. By the time he arrived at the table she was already calming down as I cut her piece of bread up! I reckon she wailed for maybe a maximum of 30 seconds. there were NO OTHER customers in the restuarnat at the time.

i thought it was a bit rude, but ignored chef, and soon the food arrived. It was nice. maybe not £60 worth of nice, but nice.

A few more customers arrived - one other family with two small children, an older couple and two men drinking at the bar. The waiter came over - I thought he was asking of the food was OK, as it had been served only 10 mins earlier (and his English was not good), but infact he was asking if he could take the plates away. LMB had decided not to eat hers, and Aggie had finished as I was busy sorting out LMD I had barely started. he cleared LMB's & Aggies plate away while we were still eating. then came back for the glasses - almost snatching them out of LMD's hand, and loitering until I I shovelled the rest of my food in and let him take my plate too.

Once her plate was gone, LMD gt down from the table, and promptly bumped her head. She cried. Obviously. She's two! I picked her up and gave her a cuddle. By the time she made it onto my lap chef was there telling us to shut her up and she was disrupting the whole restuarant. Again, she cried for a maximum of 30 seconds. As far as I could see, no-one else noticed.

Overall, I never been made to feel so unwelcome in any establishment, ever. The Mask of Venice is a place to be avoided at all costs if you have children, or even just want to chat and have a laugh with a group of friends. I am amazed they are so keen to get rid of their local trade! And their main summer trade - weston is a family resort! Perhaps that is why it was so empty considering this is as high season as we get! I will certainly never go back, I would recommend any visitor to the town does not go, and I will be commenting on every website/review that i can find! as I said to the manager when we left, they should put a large sign in their window saying "family unfriendly". At least if they were truthful about it they might get a few customers who were looking for an adult only restuarant!

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unexpected benefits

Mattel recall

Well, now I get to feel terribly smug about the fact that I am penny-pinching unfair mother. By refusing to buy my kids any branded toys, anything to do with Barbie or such revolting concepts, or anything that is "in vogue" this year, (well OK, I don't buy them any toys - they have waaaaay too much stuff), I have no worries about lead poisoning. Unlike everyone else in the western world apparntly.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Passing time

Yay me. I passed my exams. The results came in today - two days early! I hit a nice mid-range pass mark, which is pretty much what I expected. Now I am half way through the first half of my qualification:-) just another decade to go until it's all over!

Mstr A turned 7 yesterday. We had a bowling party for him at the weekend - which went pretty well. My mother stayed for the whole weekend, and I managed to only yell at her once, which is pretty good going with my mother;-) LMD got over her chicken pox nice & quickly - much to her disgust! every time I tell her she is all better now she tells me "NOT better - look, spots" and shows me the scars. i think she is determined to milk it for all it's worth!

LMB is growing up fast too. Its her last week at pre-school this week. We're off on holiday next week, then she has a week at home with daddy (hopefully learning to ride her bike) before starting big school. Well, for a couple of hours a day anyway. For 5 weeks! I'm sure it must be discrimination against working parents. 6 months ago I was really worried about her starting school just a few hours after she turns 4, but now I'm feeling much happier about it - I reckon she'll hold her own no problem.

LMD spent the whole day in big girl pants today! Yay yay yay! No more nappies? Or at least a start towards no more nappies:-)

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Monday, August 06, 2007

slogging on

Life is just slogging on at the moment. LMB's chicken pox scabbed over pretty quickly and she went back to school admidst wails of protsts. I thought it was just that daddy had spoiled her while she was at home, but as the days went on I had to wonder if there really was a problem. I finally managed to get a couple of names out of her today and spoke to the staff, so hopefully that ill be an end to it. She's only got two more weeks there, then we're off on holiday and she's staying off to do some fun things before starting big school, so i want them to be good weeks.

LMD finally caught chicken pox - yesterday 1000's of spots suddenly appeared all over her. Literally1000's and literally all over - she's got over 100 on her face poor love! In her usual awkward way she waited pretty much the full incubation period before getting it, she couldn't have it at the same tiem as LMB! Which means Aggie has to have another week off his groovy drugs. His skin's getting quite bad at the moment:-(

I had some issues at work last week - you'd think that a law firm would manage to implement employment law - or at least not do anything so *****ing stupid that they are begging to be taken to tribunal, but no. Apparently not. I seriouly considered leaving & taking them for all the money they deserve to pay out, but in the end decided just it write it down for future reference, then ignore it. My solicitor was on leave so he couldn't sort it out - although he was steaming when he got back yesterday! And I decided that I like him, and the rest of my department, and the work, and the set up is convenient for me, so there is no need to leave at the moment. But it was pretty stressful for a few days.

My nice new lap-top lasted one full day:-( Then it died:-( I'm back on the old one now Aggie has put it back together - sticky keys and all!

Mstr A started a week of football (soccer) lessons today. After all the successes we've been having recently, and the apparent non-aspie findings of his assessments I thought we might have got over all his behavioural issues. His school report was great, and he's started playing imaginitive games with the girls - but it was not to be, He spent half the time ignoring his coach and the other half hitting the other kids:-( We've had a long talk this evening, and he's written a letter of apolog, so hopefully he'll be a bit better tomorrow, but I'm not sure:-(

Although he loves his golf lessons - and seems to be doing pretty well at them. And he's asked to do some music lessons (if I can find anything that doesn't cost an arm and a leg) so perhaps we should consolidate his solitary persuits before working on team things.

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