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.



May Music, Day 24 – Wild Abandon

The seventies were notable for a few trends in music and style that now leave me shaking my head in wonder at what we, as teenagers, must have looked like to the adults of the time.

Twindaddy’s asking for his 24th question which song we remember dancing to with our best friend.

Going to the dancing was a very mixed experience. Some places favoured punk rock and the patrons embraced that with weird and wild piercings and multi-coloured hairdo’s of high jagged proportions.

That wasn’t me.

A few venues catered more to glam rock. ‘Poseurs’ strutted their stuff with every imaginable make-up and clothes combo, hair sprayed into full flamboyancy or left to hang moodily over one eye. Guys too.

Not my thing.

If you wanted soul music you could have that in abundance too at dedicated clubs.

I never did.

Glitz and disco glamour pervaded many places and spangly jumpsuits weaved their work on the dance floor.

Never owned one.

In and around the streets of Glasgow – as so many other places – a veritable Hallowe’en parade of styles could be found wending their ways to rock, pop, mod, punk, glam fests, all sporting the look that best suited their musical tastes.

I just liked dancing. As did my best friend. Weekends were for dancing and we tried out various places before opting for ones that catered to eclectic musical tastes.

With this in mind we could be found dancing to heavy rock, pop, punk or whatever. So long as it had a good bass or drum beat we were on the floor.

As for our style. We favoured a more arty, hippy look – long flowing skirts or dresses to go with the long flowing hair. I cringe now at the scarves or love beads wound around our necks and the scent of patchouli oil still lingers in my olfactory memories.

Our dancing then quite often reflected that look and the song I can see us both letting go to is ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush. All wild abandon. When questioned what we were on, our honest answer was Coke – as in Cola. We just didn’t seem to need any stimulants other than music and life.

My passport photo from that time reflected that look and I had to live with it for 10 years – long after I’d abandoned being a pretend hippy. Thank God, though, I hadn’t been a punk.

No Friend

I’m working my way through the 25 day music challenge set by Twindaddy and tomorrow’s question asked for a piece of music associated with a former friend. I could no more post the song I associate with this person than I wanted to think about her. Someone, in fact, has already posted the song. But she popped into my head because of the reflection given on what that question meant to me. This was no friend. Neither ‘former’ nor latterly, although I did believe so for a number of months when I was too stupid to know better. She hurt someone who is my best friend. She pretty much hurt everyone she came into contact with. This was a dangerous person to know. I’m posting this and hope the memories fade back to where they belong. In the past.

I’d all but forgotten her

and the rank taste of her lies,

the pouting lips,

vicious eyes,

vitriolic vomit spewed

on foes and friends alike,

smiling hands on hips,

her fetid spite,

getting her rocks off

with slanderous stones cast,

malevolent glee

in days past.

I’d almost forgotten

I’d ever known one

so vicious,

pond scum,

bottom feeder,

bred for cauldron’s pot.

I won’t remember.

Best I not.

May Music, Day 12 – ‘Teenagers scare the living shit out of me…..’

……Only they don’t.

Twindaddy at Stuphblog wants to know for day 12 of the 25 day music challenge what was the last song I heard.

Chemical Romance singing ‘Teenage’ was the last song playing in the car on the way home from work. One of the songs on a CD in the collection that my 16 year old daughter keeps there for her entertainment when she’s out with me or her dad.

We don’t get a choice. Well, except when it’s one I hate and I hit FF saying, ‘No way! That’s shite!’

I usually just press play and whatever she’s been listening to is what I end up listening to. I quite like this song. Even although the lyrics don’t speak for me.

Teenagers are pussycats. I’ve had enough of them to know. Plenty of them have passed through my house over the last umpteen years to know.

Some of them are a pain in the arse at times. But I know adults like that too. Lumping any group together and making a collective statement is never a great idea.

Sleep and Work Shenanigans

Dizzy with sleep, he wakes at two.

Breakfast and some irn bru

To chase the sandman from his eyes.

Then on the couch, a little lie

To gather strength to start the day

That’s almost done and gone away.

A shake or two, he’s feeling better,

Opens mail, for him, a letter.

A job, you say, to start at nine?

Oh God, you moan, well, that’s not fine,

Awaking with the birds at dawn,

Not something you can depend upon.

A night-shift would be better, true.

Teenage biorhythms grew

To such extent that day is night

And night is when your mind takes flight.

So, what’s the choice? There isn’t one.

Welcome to my world, my son.

Up in the morning, work all day,

Then off to bed, take time to pray.

Set alarm and don’t be late,

Bosses don’t appreciate

Sleepy headed, idle teens

Who float through day in slumber’s dreams.

A little while and you’ll adjust.

It’s called growing up and so you must

Arise and work and earn your way.

Just think, some effort, then they pay

A pound, a few, it’s not a lot

But that’s the way life chose the plot,

Work and sleep and play some too,

Work some more, to plan and do.

Such a message to take in.

Don’t put that letter in the bin!

You start it, when? Oh, late next week.

Well, off to bed, a shock needs sleep.

When later you are full awake,

Your mind’s had time to assimilate

The hardest fact that life will give;

You have to work to earn to live.

Teenage Demands


Money on your phone every month – a camera phone.

Membership to a gym.

Dropped off and picked up at every turn.

Friends to stay.

The traffic flows

It’s all one way

You want we give

You don’t pay

With words or thoughts

Or kindly deeds

You take the lot

We’re on our knees

To try to provide

As best we can.

Our efforts stink

You seem to say

With each ungrateful

Gesture or word

Or messy room.

The dishes pile up in the sink.

The clothes lie dropped where you will

Then you cry like a baby for your wants and needs.

Where are my clean clothes?

There’s nothing to eat in here.

You’re miserable

You’re mean

You’re a nag.

You, on the other hand, are a pleasure

To live with.

Like Harry’s Kevin

You are loathsome when your teenage tantrums

Display the most selfish aspects of your character.

The teenage displays of me, me, me

Are a disappointment and a rebuke

To everything we try to do.

Go work and visit the real world.

In the real world no one does everything for you

Or gives you things for nothing just because you exist

We’ve gone beyond providing for need

Now you’re expecting us to provide for greed.