Again, I fail dismally

Haven’t been here again in a while. Muchos problemos at home which are en route to resolution! All good!
Have also started writing. Have EVEN allowed Hub to proof initial stages and first forays in chaptered authorship. Squee ish. We’ll see how it goes. It’s almost Halloween and my DoomKitty, my Goldy Witch and my Fionn McCool are all good. We are all okay. And I must go write…before I lose my ideas and am stuck in Block for another exhausting twelvemonth 😀

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Coupling

Not That Kind.

Filthy Reader 😛

No, I mean the kind of just being a couple. Hub and I don’t get to do it that often. We had a frenetic existence prior to Jasmine, anarchy during the 18 months thereafter wherein Red came along and even then I can still be quite highly strung!

No French-European style parenting for us! (As much as I try with all my might- my sister, Puff, Lindt and Chess, who lives in Holland with a penchant for felines, strike me as the most capable of pulling this parenting style off)

No we are 95% committed to parenting involvement. That 5% misses out because of lacklustre dinners on nights of exhaustion and possibly a little too much TV time… shh..

So this week, with absentee tear-aways, Hub and I did couply things. Well, we’d consider them couply. Not spa and golf kind of things… Yes, we had Bear, but one kid is seriously nothing compared to 3 and yes the French-Euro thing was way easier with one, but I like my little gang. So we’ve walked around 40k in the 3 or 4 days the girls have been away. Not to anywhere particular, just around. But my feet seriously hurt and they don’t normally do that, even with the amount of walking I normally do, so I know we’ve done a lot.

We went shopping. Not just food shopping (my highlight of the week) but THING shopping! This gorgeous store near me is having their end of season sale and lots of stuff I’ve been ogling since March or so is now down to my wallet limits! We are trying to prettify our (old in the not cool way)house. So for 20e, that should really have gone toward a utility or something, we got a lovely dangling candle thing, with the main arm-support thing shaped like a key (I initially thought it was just a crown). It’s sweet in a very forced shabbily chic way but Hub chose it so is not allowed complain! I wangled this kinda awesome looking wall mount branch with birds and leaves on and 3 frames hanging down (dangle season!), as well as a few sweet little candy or ice cream dishes and a porcelain pink jug with embossed heart designs that I think Lindt might ‘squeee’ over. (She likes her pale pinks), some spotty doilies and strawberry printed cupcake cases. Happy me!

Then Hub carried it all home and dropped into a thrift store and picked me up a small reproduction of a French Revolution painting whose title and painter have slipped my mind… bollox. Semi-naked, flag clad ‘Muse de Liberté leading a bunch of rebels..

We also went sea-bathing… at like 8pm… it was icicles, but I successfully dunked my head! Hub went and swam ages around but not me! Bear didn’t go in, he sat in the stroller, ‘gaaaahing’ at us and generally being quite noisy.

It was interesting. We kept being mistaken for a first time baby couple. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I do tend to turf Bear around just because I’m not as much of a hazard-phobe this time and we do get reproachful look and comment and the odd ‘Biddy’ coming up telling us, ‘He needs a swaddle, will I do it?’ or ‘Put his hat on, he’s red from the cold’ (this particular day was like 20 degrees (C) and we just say ‘No, you’re good, cheers’ and bop on our way.

We took turns having lie ins! Crazy mofos!!! Inevitably, I do wake up regardless, but Hub got up twice this week- UNPROMPTED!!!- achievement unlocked!!$$

The girls are, however, back today. I’m so thrilled. I spoke to Red on the phone this morning and she sounds like such a baby. I forget she is still 3, turning 4 tomorrow. She’s very eloquent and it’s like having Aristotle or Kate Winslet or something speaking from a toddler’s body. Jasmine is the same. It’s only when they’re not beside me 24-7 that I realise I might just be a bit of a grammatical taskmaster.

And all today I’m a-baking and a-caking for tomorrow’s mini-Red birthday. Pink Pink Pink Pink Pink and a little bit of Pirate thrown in too- Be proud Puff! They both love their skulls!!!

We didn’t get any coupling done though. Through all the long, relatively empty days and nights, we genuinely just didn’t find the time!

HandHolding is the new thing, y’know.

😀

Out and About

Town. The Schmoke. Átha Cliath mhór. Dublin. 

Cripes, how I hate you today. Most days. The city.. centre-city. The area encompassing Grand Canal/ Ballsbridge through to the Phoenix Park, the O2 to Heuston. Ich hesse du/dich. 

Most every time I venture into thee, your framing skies open up and I am so soaked that I am beyond soaking. I’m more drenched than a sea-sponge. And I only ever journey into thy winding streets and bull-dozing pedestrians when I need to.

Today, sigh, I needed to. So Hub, Bear and I decided, against the threatening rain clouds, severely delayed train service and a teething Bear, ‘Sure why not! Sure let’s go on and get the birthday prezzies!’ “SHURE!!”

After finally reaching the previously described precincts, we got out, turned right onto Pearse and started trucking along toward… *shivers*…. O’Connell Bridge. I’m being awful here. It’s not that bad.. ish. Their Ink studios are good and there’s a Shuh and Arnotts and Smyths Toys etc. And it began to POUR. I don’t mean like normal Irish summer style, I mean some w*nker was standing up there on a perpetual cloud for a good hour just pouring a whopper cauldon of wet down upon us undeserving citizens of the Capital. Not cool, man.

In true fashion, sans umbrellas, because mine ALWAYS break, (I am serious, umbrellas do themselves injuries to get away from me) we soldiered on, got to Smyths.

I will say now, I hate shopping in Dublin in the rain in 16 degree heat. You know what I hate more? Shopping for birthday gifts in muggy Dublin with the official Grump mascot of the century. Grumpy old man? Pah. Loathe might be a better word.

Today we talked! Oh yes! And argued and philosophised and articulated and gesticulated and threw dripping arms up in the air over the kind of HELMET to bestow upon our independent ladies. (Destiny’s Child, begone from my sight.)

One hour and 15 minutes later- THAT IS A FULL DISNEY MOVIE IN LENGTH-  we HAD to settle for ‘decal-covered shit-fuckery of excuses for safety’, that there would be Hub’s eloquence. Not mine.

I agree though. Kids over 6 are smart enough not to let their heads hit the ground if they can help it. And yet the neck protector helmets only come in age over 6. Go Figure.

Anyhoo! Purchases made and 2 scooters, 2 helmets, 2 Chelsea dolls (Barbie’s baby sister, for ye uninitiated), one Batman Lego Xbox game for Jasmine and one box o’ many LalaLoopsy Mini dolls (which are very cute) for Red as well as cake decorating supplies for both Later, we realise it is 5.45 and bang on rush hour. SIGH.

If there’s little worse than Grumpy Old Man syndrome, it  most definitely is crowned by Laden Down Southsider with Hunger Issues and Sore feet-itis.

Decamp to Costa, Jervis. Cue very bad coffee stop and heavier rain. I actually like Costa, normally. The one I tend to frequent, (ie. wasting money on way overpriced caramel lattes and high chemical retro cookies) is local, we know everyone in there and they recognise us.

It was so bad, I am actually going to email Costa and complain. 3 day old carrot cake (at full price, no less) and a coffee order so utterly skewed, Bear could have done better.

Whinge over.

Aahahahahahahahahaha no it’s not!!!!!!

Anyhoo, eventually got home. I am still in my Jedi-robe that I put on after de-clothing myself of sopping garment collection. I also just had a Stupid Size Dominos order that I shall see upon my hips tomorrow but I feel better!

Prezzies purchased, giggles had, hair inadvertently washed and 2-read it TWO magazines of many expensive advertisement quality, (so they contain good-articled and highly priced clothes) and a new pair of shades in time for France.

Vive la Soleil!Image

I swear to… whatever I can without being

Aside

I swear to… whatever I can without being Offensive, I will try not moan too much tonight.

 

This afternoon, Grandma came with Aunt and took Red and Jasmine off our hands for a few days. The fews days are limited because Red’s birthday is on Saturday and the Other Side have circus tickets booked for them. By the time Grandma and Aunt eventually turned up and were on their way (a considerably long 10 minutes later), the walk Hub and I had planned on taking to a Mermaid Mascot Coffee House was a bit redundant because if we didn’t haul booty, it’d be closed. Anyhoo, haul booty we did and got there on time for me to purchase my Mocha Cookie Super Massive Black Hole style Unhealthy Frappuccino WITH WHIP and Crumbs!!! Hub, embarking on his health kick (I’m not being condescending) again, opted for OJ and almonds. It was only while in there, on my own as Hub and Bear went for a stroll in the last of the actual sun, that I realised; apart from the occasional call out to have me slow down to let him catch up with me (because I do beat a wicked pace) that we didn’t talk, like at all.

This seriously startled me because it’s alienating to not to talk to a spouse on what is essentially a date. Tag-Along is only 9 months old and so not really ‘in the way’. It also got me thinking; debating; mulling over..

I am a stay at home Momma. It’s what I do. For a long time, most probably discussed in previous posts (I don’t really remember), I had a very hard time reconciling myself with that. The constant frenzied, media fueled pressure to live up to Uber Mom appearances did absolutely nothing to help my serious issues and I did plunge into a desperate bollox-pit of dense fug and hate and shame and all sorts of stuff. Post Natal Depression. Very common, Very Ignored.

Anyhoo, I have lost a lot of myself in the last 5 years, like, a lot a lot. I used to be… I’m not sure how to describe pre-children Me. I was insatiably nerdy but got only really slightly above average grades. A serious commitment- phobe in terms of holding down a university job or completing university academic work that fell outside my prime interest zone, which is why I failed my first year. I loved/ love my friends though. Through my own fault, that circle has whittled down a tonne to only a very few and I do envy my extant few who are still talking to the whole, extended gang that I would sit drinking with and being generally rowdy with until half past Stupid on weekday mornings. God I sound awful! 

I love books. It’s a large factor of attraction between myself and Hub and I don’t even get to read them anymore. From January to May this year, I audiobooked all the Harry Potters, chronologically and it was fantastic! The housework, morning walk, pretty much any spare time that I didn’t have to listen for the kids time to have Stephen Fry’s dulcet tones in my ears. I might spend between 2 and 20 euro on books per month. They are stacking higher and higher on my bookshelves, only a few chapters read from each. This devastates me. 

I feel stupid. Like not embarrassed- stupid; I mean genuinely thick, less intelligent, dropping IQ points stupid. It’s why I started doing Harvard’s free online courses, to feel like Me again. I was going great, for 10 lectures and then something shifted and my time that I had previously allocated  is not free for Harvard anymore and I haven’t gone near it in 2 weeks.

I was doing Philosophy of Justice, intense, madly interesting stuff but now I’ve fallen out of it, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to successfully get back into it when I have the time in the morning (reallocated, finally).

Hub and I didn’t talk a whole lot on the way back either. Just the same stuff, tired conversation wherein we each know what the other is going to say and we give the same opinions and exclaim the same ways… We’ll roll out of it soon enough, Hub is (please gods) going to University this September to finally get where he wants and we need him to be. Once we’re independent of each other again (he’s off for the summer and isn’t allowed work) we’ll have new conversation! I look forward to that.

I don’t know how other Stay at Homes handle it. I want to be out and useful but at the same time, my mom wasn’t at home for me and my sister for a long time. There was a brief period but neither of us really remember it. I was a latch key kid though by the time my sister went to school, we had a neighbour-babysitter so she went there. 

I want to be home for my kids and yet educate myself and be social again.

I haven’t seen my best friend, Puff, in a year (or thereabouts) We don’t even talk that much, which is pretty crap but she is young (6 months younger than me!!!) and completed her education and despite some hiccups, has got her awesome career and is living the SaTC high life (without HBO amounts of ‘S’) and I am beyond happy for her. In a lot of ways it is hard for us (and others) to relate to each other anymore. Different worlds.

Ducky came home after 18 months in Korea and she’s practically got a private jet, she’s all over the place, travelling a tonne. She was teaching kids and exploring almost all of Asia and I do hate myself for being so jealous so much. Likewise, Lindt spent a lot of time in the land of watches and chocolate, teaching and exploring, and like Ducky, is making her way around, temping and working and adventuring and making me writhe with envy.(As I stalk the ‘thumbs up social network) All our circle are measurably successful and are or are getting where they want to be.

This is not as benign as I’d like my envy to be!!

I don’t resent my life, far from it. Despite the tedium, the very frequent monotony of up, cook, clean, cook, clean, cook, clean, bed, I love what I am doing right now. I’d love to be able to supplement it with something else but for the moment, after such a disgracefully long time, I actually love being a mom, being the centre of 3 universes and answering the multitudes of Mom!Mommy!Momma and Mumumum(Bear) being thrown at me everyday.

This was especially hammered home when we got in from walking and the phone was already ringing. I answered and heard a very upset Jasmine on the other end, very blubbery and upset.

She missed me, wanted to hear my voice and isn’t sure if she wants to have a mini-vacation (Tears For Me as I write this) Red is already asleep and Grandma is asking her to shush so as not to wake her and to say goodnight to Mommy but Jasmine starts crying all over again at this and so we spend a few more minutes on the phone just repeating the same stuff again and again to her, to relax her. That she can hold Red’s hand while she does to sleep if she wants, that she can come home first thing in the morning if still not happy. The sniffly sob-replies are so wrenching that I am half tempted to offer to come get her but Grandma cuts in and forces a goodnight and I am left with a dead line, a resentful bubble and bursting soul, reinforcing the fact that, though I don’t feel it usually, I am wanted. Past the popsicle requests and shouts for a mediator for domestic battles, I am needed outside all that. 

Only now, in the last 18 months am I finally realising how good it is to stay home.

Receipt

Something I read and something I saw in the past few hours spurred me on to this piece. An editorial of ‘breaking news’ on Babble about wedding gift acknowledgement and how my kids operate with Hub when I’m not around has really set off… not so much alarm bells as a radar on the look-out for BS.

This wedding gift one is a doozey.. seriously. http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/he-said-she-said/controversial-wedding-gift-sparks-text-war-and-ends-friendships/

It warrants psychoanalysis. The wedding receivers seem that far off the mark with what they expect to get and what they farmed out to the poor guy when he didn’t get it.

We’re half heartedly planning our wedding. I’m not really bothered by it but Hub is wildly more traditional (in the church, reception, first dance etc) more than likely from his uber traditional parents. I don’t need a ceremony and paper but I don’t mind doing it because Hub wants to, that’s all cool. During the thankless task of drawing up the guestlist, however, we have the mother of all stumbling blocks.

Our families DESPISE each other; loathing comes close.. so seating arrangements are hilarious in a decidedly non-funny way. His entire invite stack makes up maybe 10? 10 invites, 2 per because non of that end have kids and he has no intention of going into extended family because that is just how he rolls. So… 10.

I, on the other hand, can count a stack of invites well in excess of 70. I didn’t even think it would get that high. So that’s 160 people, of whom, the groom’s family will not sit anywhere near any of mine. Yes, we have friends to intersperse but it is so frustrating trying to not sit our friends miles away from each other just to cater for the fact that my mom can barely deign to look at his mom while his mom can very happily scream for a significant amount of hours on the fact that my parents aren’t divorced because they’re Catholic. Sigh.

Elopement, what? And I would! Heck, I have suggested the city registry so often with a pub to follow that I am even sick of it.

This finally brings me to my point on exchange and receipt.

My family, Mom’s side, dad’s side and both extended as well as the majority of my friends, think giving money, whether in cash or voucher form, ridiculously tacky. Well, voucher form less so. It’s the most major no-no across my entire sphere of blood relation. I think it’s tacky too but being semi broke, sometimes I would prefer it.

Hub’s family only gives money, like, exclusively. Santa is the only being who gives actual gifts. Which I think quite sad (in the sorrowful way), really. On my birthdays, I’d get maybe 4 or 5 big, brightly wrapped gifts. I don’t mean big literally, just in the ‘wow, pile o’ prezzies!’ kind of way. So I get to go through the process of opening and exclaiming and flicking through or whatever. My dad lives abroad, along with all his side so I do get the envelopes and birthday cards and they’re great!

But Hub, from his family anyway, up until a few years ago when I said it to his mom (and she promptly didn’t speak to me for 18 months) that money is worth so much less than the time spent, only got envelopes. Usually white, with not even an exceptional amount in and sometimes not even a card!

Again, I find this sad bordering on devastating. I do refuse to practice it in my own little family and still rarely do with my family at large. Hub didn’t really think of it the way I do until my first birthday while in our relationship and my family threw a party and there was a table literally loaded with gifts. Some in bags, others in boxes, others again in those fantastic mad-wrapped shapes, like when you try to wrap a ball and a book in the same paper. And Hub gave me roses (white ones, because he knew from the moment he met me that I didn’t like red!) and an envelope.

I have gone to a bucket of trouble to get gifts for his side and, disappointingly, Hub always turns them down. The few gifts I have managed to get through him have been more token, from the kids gifts. One that I got for his mom, she thanked me for and regifted back to me a few weeks later for Christmas. Sigh. I really dislike people like that. Not the regifting, but not keeping track. Unless she did it on purpose, which is entirely possible.

My kids have caught on, though, which is really cutting deep. It’s Red’s birthday soon, she’s going to be 4 and asked for a scooter and a baby-doll. That’s groovy, I told her to pick one, because in this house they get one toy and then practical stuff because of the bullshit amount of crap they come home with from my in-laws. Red chose the scooter. All cool. She then, it transpires, turned around and told my mother in law that Mommy won’t get her a doll or a camera or the new ‘Pink Shoes Barbie’.

I can deal with playing off, I did it as a kid; as a divorce kid it becomes a kind of lingo-currency. What bugs me is that Mother-in-law said to Hub, ‘Well, we’ll get her the scooter too since you’re not going to bother getting the things she wants.’ GGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Knife-twist in my rationale. What’s worse is that while we buy our kids good quality toys ON PRINCIPLE because I do not need cheap plastic crap falling to pieces at the slightest provocation, especially around a crawling, hoovering baby, That Side don’t. They’re all for the ‘working our way through Chinese factories of lesser quality and as a result quite ugly and dangerous toys.’

I am actually buying a back-up doll as well as the scooter because I know the doll she gets from them will be sub par. Now I sound awful but it harks back to what I mean by time-spent and QUALITY. Monetary quality or enjoyment quality or whatever. Invest and Reap or Throw and Scrape, it’s as simple as that.

Jesus. Sorry.

Ahem, to finish, I value the time spent choosing, deciding, humming and hawing, fist clenching and lip biting; deliberating over something being presented. I love it, even if, eventually, it’s nothing more than a bookmark and some sparkly penmanship on a card. I love it.

I do not love heartless money. Look at where it has brought us as an economy, society and culture.

I hope that my children appreciate rather than expect; genuinely adore instead of false-smile and blanks eyes at; that they thank heartily rather than offer a quick ‘Cheers’.

On that note, thank you all so much for following my posts and reading my ramblings. It does mean so so so so so much to me. It took me a long while to work up guts to put this thing out there so, you are all seriously appreciated!

Thank You; Merci; Danke Schon; Go Raibh Maith Agat and Arigato. *hug*Image

Choice

What is choice? 

OED; noun

  • an act of choosing between two or more possibilities:
  • the choice between good and evil

While I find the second point an interesting one, thank you Oxford, I will focus on the first for now.

I am pro-choice. As such I can choose Coke over Pepsi; I can choose to live in an Apartment or a  house (well, sort of)

I can also choose to be a vegetarian or an omnivore..

I could choose to be Buddhist or Shinto

I could choose to be a Nazi Socialist

I could have chosen to give a child that I initially didn’t want up for adoption. (I didn’t)

I could have chosen to end my life after my second child came along and we were really really really unprepared for it. (Obviously, I didn’t)

I can also choose what and who to vote for.

According to the Human Rights Charter, which the Irish constitution adheres to, my body is my own. Ergo, should I choose, what I do to, with or for my body is my choice.

You can’t prosecute me for my tattoos or piercings.

You can’t prosecute me for attempting to end my life.

You can’t prosecute me for giving sex freely to whomever wants it. (It’s only when money or goods change hands that they feel something has been sold)

Yet I cannot choose, in this country- Ireland- to not bring something to term. I cannot choose to end the enormous process of pregnancy while the cells involved are barely even a zygote. I cannot choose to not have my body distorted, my nutrition held to ransom and my hormones sent haywire because apparently, that is not my choice.

Do you give the cow you slaughter to provide the steak you eat and the leather you wear a choice?

Did you give your spouse a choice on what they decided to wear today?

Did you choose to assault the Irish economy into providing the paychecks for the people responsible for bringing this country to its’ knees; it’s collective forehead against the floor?

Did you choose to save the Anglo-Irish bank to protect personal investments?

Did you choose who cut your hair at the salon or barber?

Do you choose to have everyone who speaks against your decision silenced?

Do you choose to withdraw the freedom given to us by our constitution and the UN charter of Human Rights?

How about you lop off a leg without consulting me, there?

How about you tell the families of the deployed that you’re going to just leave them there with no contingency and no way to come home?

How about you tell that man over there that he has a kind of cyst, all hairy and unsightly and most definitely unwanted right on the shaft of his cock. It can be treated very easily but he has to go away to do it. Because that he wants to ‘mutilate’ his body is a shameful act.

How about you tell this girl who has been raped by her boyfriend that she must carry the child of her rapist to term. The boyfriend of maybe 5 years, both professionals or both just teenagers. Suddenly, one night, boyfriend turns on her because he hasn’t ‘gotten any’ in three weeks because girlfriend has been exhausted from studying or working or just life. So he rapes her, non consensual, against her will, full on ‘Rape’. And now she has to carry the baby of the man she thought she knew, trusted implicitly and maybe even spat in her face  because it is the moral thing to do and it is not her choice? 

Or what about a conscientious student or professional. Working or studying their asses off and one Friday evening, they meet with some friends, have a few drinks and fall into bed with a mate. Wakes up in the morning, not on contraceptive because she’s not a slut nor in a relationship and condoms don’t always occur to people in the heat of the moment. Should she now compromise the next 18 years of her life while the guy gets to walk away and continue on? If anyone here thinks ‘Well she shouldn’t have had sex then’, I commend you on you martyr spirit and demand, please, a tally of your life defining everything that you haven’t had a mishap with. Men have sex too, people, they aren’t bound to the repercussion of that sex for the next nine months.

Although not all of my points above are necessarily objective, they, I think, illustrate my point. It is MY CHOICE what to do with my body.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Abortion should be closely policed. After 10 weeks, that is officially a baby in there, fully formed and growing in there. After 10 weeks, yes I do believe that it isn’t the nicest thing to do but there is always adoption. Before 10 weeks, if you look at the issue as anything other than a bunch of cells and blood collected in your womb and forming into a congealed mass than you may not be able to reconcile abortion with yourself.

I had, what could be termed as an abortion, at 15.

My body had turned against me, somewhat, and a large congealed blood mass formed in my womb with no outlet. I developed a ‘tummy’, my family asked if I was pregnant. We went to the doctor, was I pregnant? No. It’s just period pain and swelling. My stomach got bigger and I put on 2 stone in weight. Another doctor, period pain and swelling. Another stone in weight. They came back, time and time again to whether I was pregnant. No. Big Fucking No and some more No. During all this, I wasn’t offered a scan because the pregnancy test came out negative.

7 months and 5 doctors later I collapsed in my hallway at home a few weeks before State exams. In the hospital it was discovered I had a Hematocolpos; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematocolpos

In the operating theatre, they drained 14 litres of blood, most of it ‘stale’, from my womb. This is 9 months after all this started happening. So, in effect, I had an abortion at 9 months. I was told off for not being more vigilant of my menstrual health.

Is your body your own? Apparently not in a country where you must carry a child to term against your will, emphasising the existence of a ‘baby mill’.

Pro-choice or Shut the Fuck Up. 

Unfairness of Infant Life

My oldest daughter, a classical Athenian if ever there was one, graduated from her class today. She is 5 in three weeks. We had an awards ceremony for the school today and the award givers proceeded through the class ranks, doling out laminated certificates of attendance and goody bags for all the winners.
Said award givers completely bypassed the 2 Junior classes. My Athena being in one of them. The junior’s teachers were surprised at the slight, the kids were appalled, verbally upset and rightfully so.
Why, in this pit of multiple holy hells, would you invite the parents of juniors and the juniors themselves to an awards ceremony where they don’t even feature?
That’s like “Hi Kids! Prezzie time!”(stab)
“Oh you don’t get anything because you don’t qualify as actual school!” (twist twist twist)

Cue agitated mommies galore and slightly indignant teachers too! I’m glad Athena’s teacher was a little pissed because I got her a really nice travel mug as her end of year gift (along with multiple fun size boxes of smarties from Red) and I kind of needed to feel it was worth it. It was a NICE MUG.

Schools suck. This particular school sucks. Teacher nice, bosses suck. Happily, both Red and Athena are changing into a newer, brighter, funner school! (read; convent) with no graffiti on the walls or white spots of gum carpeted throughout the yard.
Hopefully, as well, they’ll know how to run a more child friendly awards ceremony next year too!