Tuesday, 31 August 2010



I worked at Makro for a month when I was 18. It truly did feel like 10 years. Here's my story...

The jobs I liked were ones where I could get to know people. Usually the people I worked with. That's what interested me. That's what helped me get to work in the mornings. Then I went to work at Makro. 

This was a real turning point for me because I hated that job sooo much! Bryan doesn't even know all of this. I don't know if anyone knows all of this. But, well, here's what really happened at Makro:

I started work at 6am in the morning. It was the best and worst shift to work because it was so quiet, so you could do your own thing until the store opened at 9am. Usually we'd deal with old people at this time and they had some promotion running every two weeks on a Thursday morning. Old people really love promotions because they think they are getting a great deal. Usually promotions are run just to attract customers who wouldn't normally come to the store and they end up buying things they don't need plus buy into the promotion. It's an old age marketing strategy and it still works on people to this day. It was the worst shift to work because it was the shift that was filled with the most sleazy and misogynistic men I've ever had the displeasure of meeting. I tried to be subtle about getting moved over to another department, but someone decided to stir things up and told all these sleaze bags just why I'd been moved to the clothes department. This made working there ten times worse. I make no apologies in standing up for what I believe in and I still maintain those standards today. However, with hindsight, I should have taken the easy route and found some other excuse to get moved. 

Working with clothes was a bit better...but there was one awkward moment sitting in the staff room with someone I worked with in that department and we got talking about what we did before Makro. Then she went all teary eyed and told me she'd had three miscarriages and was trying to get pregnant again. Now, not many things silence me and I like to think I'm a person who can't be shocked/has an answer for everything (inner smart ass in me) but well at this point I was a little sheltered from random people telling me they'd suffered multiple miscarriages and were trying to conceive. My heart didn't understand the pain of what that feels like. So I said; "Oh...Oh. I'm sorry." What a dumb reply, but better than a lot of other things I could have said.

I made friends easily with a guy called Ian (names are true, after all, he's not going to read this is he?) and a few other people, but Ian was someone I could say I trusted in that hell hole. Boy did I get burned by him! 

We started to confide in each other about who we thought sucked and who rocked at Makro. I did impressions of our Manager (Jenny, I think her name was) and basically told him I hated the place. He told me the same thing and we'd spend our time together planning our escape routes. Then I said I had lied about having a migraine when I was off. The truth was too embarrassing and related to bowel troubles, so I thought off the top of my head and told Jenny I had a migraine.

Then, one day, Ian was called into do an extra shift. No way would they dream of calling me. I was way too unreliable for that kind of nonsense. And I wasn't hurt or offended when I found out they didn't consider me to do extra work. 

However, when I got back to work on Monday, I found out the lovely trust-worthy (NOT) Ian had back stabbed me and blabbed everything our discussions had been about, including my lie about my migraine, to our lovely Jenny. Needless to say I was taken "upstairs" (it looked like the behind the scenes of Big Brother) to HR and interviewed about my "conduct" and discussions I'd had with Ian. I was mortified. I felt betrayed first and foremost because those conversations were private and couldn't actually be validated. Although I wasn't willing to lie any further and confessed everything that had been said and because I am dog-sick loyal I didn't drop him in it. I know, I know...I really should have. But I am not like that. I kept my mouth shut, my nose clean and my head down from there on in. Also, when I was taken to HR they embarrassed me by saying; "Oh and you said you would have liked someone in here with you, do you want us to get someone in for you?". As in a witness. Because I'd told Ian that when Jenny had previously taken me up for a "chat" (about my "migraine") I would have liked to have a witness in there because she was running circles around me. And now she was making a mockery of me and to be fair I deserved it, so I took it right on the chin.

From that point on I plotted my revenge on Ian (just kidding) and got on with my job. I didn't make friends with anyone else because I didn't trust myself around other people and if anyone tried to chat to me, I didn't talk about anyone or anything to do with Makro. Ian the back stabber taught me a massive lesson, however, and that was never to let your guard down at work. Never talk about the boss or other workers. Even if you have to put the biggest smile on your face and find something positive to say about everyone who works there whether you like them or not, you do it. What you don't do is bitch or confess things to people. Unless they're your best work mate friends.

The funny thing was, with Ian out of the picture, the hours dragged on and I hated the job even more than I had before. I decided to give it up, went on holiday and didn't hand in any notice. Very bad behaviour and not something I condone but I just didn't have any fight left in me for that place. Not even enough energy to let them know I'd left. So I went on holiday for two weeks and when I got back I had a lovely letter waiting on me letting me know I was fired.

The moral of the story: don't lie and don't work for Makro!

I am so blessed that these days the only thing I consider my "job" is this boy...

Saturday, 28 August 2010

If it's broke...tape it. Or glue it.

This is my vacuum cleaner as of today...

 I remember, when I was about ten years old, reading this book called "Crummy Mummy" and at times I feel like Crummy Mummy.

 The main character in the book was a ten year old girl talking about her slap dash Mum. I can well imagine that Crummy Mummy would tape up her vacuum if it wasn't working...although I'm pretty sure Crummy Mummy was allergic to housework. So I can't be all that crummy.

Although, the jury might still be out on that one. I have at least eighteen years to prove myself. So far, I'm doing a good job, but this is the "easy" part (I'm waiting for it to get harder, but the only thing I find hard is the interfering that people seem to love, the judgements from stupid people who've not had kids in about twenty something years plus or people who have kids and I shudder seeing them with their children and the glut of "advice" from well meaning people).

I'm not a great Mummy to my vacuum, however, as it decided to commit suicide tonight. I tried to save it from the brink a few times. It got over heated (my OCD was in full swing today, so a lot of things got cleaned) and well it looks like a trip to Argos might be in order...the tape won't help it. That's just masking the bigger problem.

I don't really have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I wish I did. And I wish it was the stereotypical kind that every one believes is OCD. You know, scrubbing the house top to toe for about twenty hours a day until it's perfectly organised, cleaned and sorted. Living with it for real is boring, frustrating and at times you feel like throwing a very hot iron in the face of the sufferer - just sayin'.

So...where were we? Broken stuff in my home.

Well, when I was a newly wed and didn't have a job (them were the days) I bought an expensive charity shop bought photo frame. An Umbra one, if you're really interested and I was so excited. However, what I did not realise was that you need a Masters Degree in Engineering to put the blasted thing together. It was mighty complicated and took me about an hour (I kid you not) to build a flipping photo frame.

So, following the very complicated instructions, which consisted of basically looking at the picture on the front of the box I felt a building sense of achievement at having "made up" the frame - it's a pendulum photo frame, don't worry I will illustrate my point with a photo very soon - and having the hang of where all the nuts and bolts (again, I kid you not, this thing has more nuts and bolts than Dr Frankenstein's monster) went I thought it sensible to try out the different photos I might like in the frame. Sensible, yes? 

Not so much.

On my second attempt of unscrewing the bits and pieces that made up the frame, a crack started to appear in the glass. I panicked, moved one of the bolts round too quick and cracked the blasted frame. I was devastated. Here was my lovely frame, ready to house my even lovelier wedding photographs and my stupidity had destroyed my hopes. 

I put it back in the box and pretended it had all been a horrible nightmare. I was sure that the photo frame fairies would fix it. If not, I had just broken a £42 photo frame. That I had purchased for £2.60. 

We moved to a different town, different flat and the months passed. The photo frame stayed in it's box and I was sure it was dead and buried. Then Bryan glued back the glass and lo and behold, it was fixed! 

Click to enlarge.
This is the part where you think I have concluded the story, that we all lived happily after in a World of fixed photo frames and patched together vacuum cleaners that are held together by the hair of their chinny chin chins...well a few weeks ago, a chip of glass came off the photo frame, and a few days ago the chip of glass accidentally I was too lazy to dust the photo frames got swallowed by the vacuum. Now the vacuum isn't working.

I don't think it's related to the glass sucking up incident. Or at least I keep telling myself that.

Also, on a picture related note - did you notice the "Roman" name train? I have been secretly hoping someone would go to Rome (the only place in the World they seem to be available) and buy me one of these. Because I think it's very clear to all those that know me I am not going near Rome for a good while yet. My parents bought one of these name trains for my nephew when he was a baby and they got it in Rome and I absolutely loved it. I told myself if I ever adopted - was no way I would have dreamed of being pregnant or giving birth all those years ago - my kid I would get them a name train. They were (and are) adorable.

I actually started to fantasise about the name train when Roman was born. I went looking on-line for one and considered - but not for too long - perhaps making one myself. Then my Mum paid us a visit this week and like the magical mind reader she is at times, she had one for him. I couldn't believe it. I was gob smacked when I saw it. I almost didn't want to believe this could be a name train. And it was.  Also, my Mum didn't travel to Rome to pick up this "Roman." Nope, just got it at the county fair. Yes, they still have those these days. My Mum comes from a different part of the World called Thurso. It's magical and not unlike Narnia (both in winter and summer).

Everything's fantastic. Oh and my vacuum managed to work enough so I could vacuum the bed and mattress - does no one else do that? My sleepless nights shall be cured! And I make no note of sarcasm when I say that.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

My Amazing, Consistent Parenting...


Over the past two days, Roman has been napping less and playing a lot more. Oh what a joy it's been. I have my baby back. (Although, in other ways I have found it hard with sore joints and this added "bonus" of pain I seem to be suffering with: sore ribs! What the hell?).

I'd had an idea in my head ages ago about using an oversized hat and snapping some photos of him wearing it. I thought this would be an absolute nightmare because whenever I have ideas involving clothes he does not want to play along with those ideas and I can't very well take snaps of an un-co-operative baby and a baby who seems like he doesn't want his photo taken. That would be cruel...

Anyway....my whole point of this post:

So, since Roman decided to grow at a rapid rate all of a sudden when he was four months old, and grow out of his baby crib - legs were sticking out the sides, as were arms - I considered buying him a "big boy" cot bed.

My mum told me not to buy a cot bed. Her quote (probably paraphrased and psychoanalysed a million times by me) was; "They're crap quality, they're hard to put together and they fall apart." I think it was my mum who said it. And this isn't me stating that she is a nag, because she is anything but that. She also isn't an interfering mother, just in case you all start thinking that and my Mum reads this and never speaks to me again...

I digress.

Since it was like stuffing an elephant into a mini (hmm...maybe I should have used a better analogy!) when he started to outgrow his crib and he'd wake up crying and I felt like the worst mother in the whole world - sorry, I meant to say the worst mother in the universe -we started to think about where he could sleep as an alternative. The pop-up cot wasn't really an option as it didn't fit on our floor (well, that's my non-crazy reason, the crazy reason is that I was scared I'd fall out of bed and squash then kill him. My lazy reason is that I didn't want to have to vacuum the bedroom floor every day. Yep, I am working on my "Mother of the Year" acceptance speech already). So we were running out of ideas quick. I also didn't want to put him into a separate room from us so getting a cot at this stage wasn't on my mind.

Co-sleeping wasn't an option at this point because we'd done that and Roman really didn't like it - and that's not me saying we hated it and using him as an excuse. He would cry until he was in his crib and then he'd settle down. If we had him in with us he'd just cry and cry for hours. Nightmare scenario and none of us happy.

Then we thought about what we used to do on the nights he was new and wouldn't sleep; the buggy. I felt bad about doing this (take note of how many times I feel bad or guilty) but then it did make life happier for us all. Roman slept, we slept, we were all happy. So I was happy.

However, this presented a problem. He associated sleep with the buggy and nowhere else. When we got our cot (kindly donated by a friend...it's amazing how much we've been given or had a loan of) I put him in it and he settled down for a snooze. Perfect. We'd cracked it. Own room, own bed and fast asleep on the first night of trying! Then he woke 40 minutes later. Screaming like I have never heard anyone scream before.

And after about an hour and a half of rocking, feeding and changing him he still wouldn't stop. I think I actually screamed at him in this hour and a half and shamefully this wasn't the first time. Lack of sleep was to blame for all the other times (yep, I said "times", which means more than once) and this time I felt so annoyed at myself. I had been so smug that I had cracked his sleeping associations with the buggy and here we were me all wound up and him all wound up.

So I cracked and put him back into the buggy after I screamed at him. Whenever I get angry at myself and start screaming at a baby I know I have reached my limit and I need to stop and walk away from the situation there and then. That I did. And do you know what? Within seconds of going into that buggy he was out. And he didn't get up until 10am the next morning. Poor boy worked himself into exhaustion.

With a lot of pressure lately about him not sleeping in the cot (I know, I know, I shouldn't listen and follow mine and Bryan's way we want to do things, but occasionally I think "they know better than me" and I crack under all the pressure) I decided tonight that we would get him back into the cot. We put him in no problemo, he went to sleep, everything was great. I felt accomplished, but just in case we had a waking like last time I said to Bryan: "Whatever happens, we don't put him in the buggy." I even said it to him about 5 seconds later just to impress the point further.

"Okay, whatever happens," he said in a knowing tone. Knowing in this context being that "whatever happens" means if he's crying and not settling we just crumble like the weaklings we can be sometimes and put him into the buggy. Terrible, terrible parenting. So twenty minutes later I hear the cat-in-the-bag screams eliciting from his bedroom. My stomach churns and the devil on my shoulder is jumping up and down shouting; "Put him in the buggy, put him in the buggy!".

I want to remain consistent with this, even if this takes all night, he WILL stay in that cot.

Looking back I am being very unfair on Roman. For a start what people don't know is that his curtains fell down about a month ago. We have tried on numerous occasions to put them back up again, but it doesn't work. I have even resulted to climbing up on the window frame, with the threat of falling out the window, and hanging a purple sheet up - I would use black but seeing as we're not goths, we don't own such bedding and to be fair the purple is a dark purple. None of these tactics work.

So tonight I had Bryan climb up on the window sill, life in his hands, and pin up a bigger sheet. This worked but it looks a bit ridiculous - we really need curtains, not blooming sheets, up there. So I plopped him in the cot. All was well until the twenty minutes later he woke screaming. And I don't blame him.

At least in his buggy it's dark. It's smaller but he can stretch out and feel secure, whereas in the cot he does look swamped. We have a sleeping bag, a night light, a favourite toy so according to every one else I know whose moved their children into cots and every book I can get my hands on on the subject, we're all set up for success.

The only two things in our way are the lack of curtains. And the buggy.

I just hope he's not trying to sleep in a buggy when he's 20 years old. That could get embarrassing for him when he tries to explain that to his room mates at University...

Monday, 16 August 2010

Our Adventures...and some other crap we've been up to.

So what have we been doing with our two month blogging absence? Not much that we weren't doing before.

I'm still obsessed with getting a photo every day of our man. I'm still determined to make it to March, 2011 and have completed a year of photos every day and I'll be damned it sickness, sleepiness or dead batteries step in the way of that. I am just gutted that I didn't start from the 9th of Feb, 2010 the day of our Mini Man's arrival. Still, it doesn't really matter as we have a glut of photos from that 4 week period before I started my 365 Project. I did consider trying to wade through them all and compiling them day by day...but I am not that pedantic.

Roman has been growing. And growing. And growing. You put him down at 7pm and by the time 8am rolls around it feels like he's grown a foot in length (not an actual foot...that would be weird and pretty scary). He just SLEEPS so much! I should be worried but I can't complain, really, as it makes us quite happy even though I miss him so much and just feel like he's sleeping through his babyhood.

I honestly can't quite believe how much that boy sleeps, but I know it's to do with his monster growth spurts. When he's awake, he's cute and entertaining. Kind of like the babies you see in movies where all they do is sleep peacefully in elegant bassinets in a corner of the room and when they do make an appearance they're full of smiles and not much else.

Although, he is full of everything else; energy, personality and curiosity as well as full of "oohs" and "ahhs."

He is still absolutely taken by my camera. Most young babies hate cameras because they equal the flash that makes them jump out their skin...not this young Master Quinn. I have fears of him turning 17 and going off to London to become a model. Which will probably feel like a weeks time at the rate we're travelling right now.

He's just so happy. I cannot believe how happy and content he is. He smiles at everything.

Waking up first thing in the morning.

When you make any noise or speak to him directly.

When you blow raspberries on his tummy.

When you make funny noises, or shout "boo!" at him in his chair.

When he's eating.

I love our smiley, chatty and happy little baby-man. I love this delicious age. I could eat it up with a spoon...

I feel like we've come so far in our six months and one week with our Mini Man Ro Ro. He's got a million nick names. He is doing so much every day that never ceases to capture my amazement and heart. He's mine, all mine...until a significant other decides to make themselves known (when he's about 45, of course).

Until then...I'm enjoying what time I do have with him.