Alarmed…but only slightly…

You know the way sometimes your kids embarrass you?

Or vice versa?

Or how sometimes you embarrass yourself?

Or they do?

And you sympathise with them. Although inside you’re laughing.

Only if it was really funny, right enough, and they’re not too heartbroken.

I broke those rules last night. So did my husband.

We’re bad people. Poor parents. Parents without appropriate levels of sympathy. Apparently.

My 22 year-old daughter has been getting on my wick since she moved back home. Twice. She’s untidy.

No, let me rephrase that. She’s a manky midden. And I’m sick of screaming in frustration every time I put my head round her door.

I don’t mind a bit of mess. You can’t have seven weans and not have a bit of mess.

But she’s more than messy. She grosses me out. Correction. Her room grosses me out.

And it’s not just me who says so. We, as a family, are unanimous in this. Everyone has their own room and is capable of keeping it reasonably tidy so it can be cleaned. Except Mary-Kate. Shovelling shite comes to mind.

And I ignore it. I do. At least, I try to. Everyone says that’s what you should do. I’ve experienced this before. But her levels of clattiness take on proportions that have to be seen to be believed.

I’d post a picture. But I can’t.

Because I spent all yesterday tidying, cleaning, moving furniture around to optimise space. It’s a thing I do. Quite a lot. Missed my vocation really. I could have been a room planner if such a thing exists.

I was up to my eyes in dirty washing, clean washing that hadn’t been put away and cat toys because she’s the cat-girl.

And I thought cats liked clean environments.

Apparently they don’t give a shit.

So, in between chasing cat and dog out of the room while I fumigated and picked up, there was a lot of French. Actually, there were lots of languages. I hadn’t realised how many languages I could swear in. It comes in handy in front of little ears. Fortunately, none of my kids speak, Greek, Gaelic, French, German or gibberish. Neither do I mostly. But I can get by in sweary words.

So, when I hobbled up to bed after making dinner to do a little reading – not blogs, a book, my bad –  and left my husband to empty the last wash of the day I was in a strange place.

Pissed off but satisfied. Ever been there?

About elevenish or so I heard the dulcet tones of said daughter falling through the door. I admit I was looking forward to giving her some verbals when I heard snippets that had my ear cocked in curiosity.

‘Oh, dad, I’m mortified! How could they? Why would they think that? Paramedics……slapping……’

This was too much. But I held on.

She stoated up the stairs as I knew she would. Thrust open my bedroom door where I’m all, ‘Wassup?’

This is where I held my parenting skills and a straight face.

The gist of it is.

Having stayed up until 5a.m. the night before when she sat up with pals in their flat watching ‘Orange Is The New Black’, having gone to work after about four hours of sleep, having had a few quaffs on her staff night out straight after work, she was, she assured me, shattered.

Being the sensible girl she is, she left the party early, got on a bus, set her phone alarm for fifteen minutes later, positioned her bag at the window of the bus and settled down for some quick shut eye while listening through her earphones to ‘some soothing music’.

Some time later…

…she was awakened by someone trying to put her on her back while she lashed out at them in self-defence.

Fear not!

It was a paramedic.

Quickly established, apparently, when she asked, ‘WTF!’

A couple of teenagers had decided that Mary-Kate was ‘out of it’, ‘probably on something’, ‘probably heroin’, ‘she’s mumbling’ ( is that a symptom?) and had reported this to the bus driver who, give him his due, had taken prompt action and called the emergency services.

The bus had been at a standstill for fifteen irate travellers’ minutes all reasonably fuming at being kept from their journey.

Upon questioning, and after gathering some semblance of lucidity after being wakened, Mary-Kate was able to establish that she had indeed ‘only been bloody sleeping’.

‘Was it normal,’ they wanted to know, ‘that you can’t be wakened easily?’

‘Duhh, ask my mum.’

Mary-Kate never knew, neither did I, that if you refuse help from the emergency services you have to speak to them on the phone and reassure them. Must be a liabilty thing. So she did.

‘I’m FINE! I was sleeping. I slept through my alarm. Jeez!’

As Mary-Kate did not call the emergency services herself on a false alarm she is not being billed for it.

But it’s good to know that random teenagers on a bus care enough to report their concerns. Although slightly worrying that they were out at all at that hour and  know so little of life that mumbling in your sleep constitutes heroin addiction.

Good to know too that had Mary-Kate been in need of intervention there was help so readily at hand.

Not so happy with one paragon of citizenship who was heard to bemoan the junkie culture, citing Mary-Kate as an example and telling her ‘to get awa’ hame tae yer mammy’ as Mary finally disembarked, mortified at her experience.

Me? Her daddy?

We were there for her. As we always are for all our kids.

But afterwards. In bed. We laughed.

Tainted slightly at the idea that services had been used unneccessarily, that some folk don’t know a sound sleep from a coma, that there are many who are unsympathetic to another’s plight – whatever form it takes – and that my darling, dirty daughter didn’t fully appreciate my efforts until I folded her into bed and she could sleep the sleep of the knackered worker/partier/wrongly-accused where she sprawled out, without a single item of clothing atop the duvet, saying, ‘Aw, mummmm’. And slept.


She’s slightly less mortified. A little miffed. Full of aggrieved – and perhaps justified – annoyance that ‘ye can’t even catch a bit a’ kip oan the bus noo withoot a full-scale investigation.’

This has never happened to me or her dad. The paramedics I mean. In our day, you just ended up at the bus station. And had the long walk home.

I slept like a log last night. Kids all in. Eventually. Crap room tidied. Laughed like a concerned parent whose worst imaginings have been relieved.

And I’m now on room patrol.

Her jaiket’s oan a shaky nail.

And you wonder why I have to keep this 54 year old body in shape. My youngest’s only eight.


First Meal of the Day

Up since five a.m. today exploring

others’ words.

Your dreams and hopes, fears and tears,

stirred into my coffee.

I take it black,


not bitter.

I drink it down in earnest

appreciation of the full flavour,

picked and gathered

from plants


around the globe.

Each bean picked

to give a mix


to my palate.

I inhale from leaves too.

First meal of the day.

Two drugs

with the words

makes three.

Nicotine and caffeine

coursing through


with words fed onto pages.

Sad words,

hopeful words,

words that speak of deepest feelings and thoughts.

They touch me.


swallowed and inhaled

with coffee

and cigarettes.

And appreciated.

Addictive manna,

nectar to my needs.



and soul connections.

I rinse my mug, stub out my cigarette, close my kindle and begin my day.

It’s almost seven now.

Two hours of addiction satisfied.

But they will invite me back

for lunch.

Ah’ll Minecraft Ye!

I was wakened about twenty minutes ago by a cry in the dark. I jumped out of bed and rushed next door to the room my two youngest share. There’s Anna sitting bolt upright in bed crying while Louise drags her duvet back up on to her bed. Apparently, Louise had fallen out of her top bunk onto Anna. Impossible? No. They have an ‘L’ arranged bunk bed, designed and built by their dad to maximise space and so that they weren’t too high. I hate high sleepers.

Anyway, Anna was crying because Louise had landed on her. I went to comfort her and noticed she was wearing a pair of headphones! Upon removing them from her I then realised they were attached to a wire attached to the new Christmas I-Pod Touch, purchased so that she could play Minecraft with her sister. Guilt was written all over her face. And I couldn’t even give her a proper row. Not because of the hour but because I still can’t speak! Frustration. The most I could squeak was, ‘Ah’ll Minecraft ye!’ It was a loudish squeak.

I have my suspicions that both Louise and Anna may have been playing Minecraft together. Along with the cry in the dark I thought I heard Anna say, ‘You’ve took all my money!’ Tell me, does money ‘change hands’ in Minecraft?

I’m sick of hearing about this game. Anna now has her I-Pod confiscated until tomorrow and I might have to take it from her every night because I’ve heard a few whispers late at night coming from next door that I think may mean they’ve been having late night Minecraft sessions since Christmas. But three o’clock in the morning! And that’s me wide awake now. Bloody Minecraft addiction.

And now I’m kind of laughing because I remember being caught by my dad doing the same with my sister. Only it was a board game then. 😉