Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Inspector Called...

Hello People. I am here with you courtesy of the Inland Revenue.  

I'm trying to do my annual tax return before they put in me in prison with hungry crocodiles or whatever they do these days but guess what? ONCE AGAIN I CAN'T LOG INTO THE BLOODY SYSTEM. Last year, such was the farce that ensued over my 'Unique Tax Reference Number' that I swore I would get it actually tattooed on my inner thigh.  I'd never be separated from it (well  unless I was the victim of even more horrible misfortune and lost the limb) and it would provide a unique and endlessly fun discussion point during foreplay.  'These numbers on your thigh, what is the  story?'.   I would smile mysteriously and hint at secret codes and passwords that could never be told.  Obviously I'd leave out the bit about it being for Tax Returns as that's not generally known to excite men.  Apart from perhaps Accountants.  I don't really want to seduce an Accountant.  Actually maybe I do. Maybe that's what I actually NEED to do?  Anyway basically I never got the tattoo but I did write down all the relevant information and lock it in a filing cabinet under the heading TAX.   


So this year I was conned into believing I could simply put in this information and be done in minutes.  


It does not recognise my password. The computer says no. I've reset the password and guess what? It does not recognise the new password that it sent.  Great.  It tells me to call the helpline.  The helpline that is shut on a Sunday.   


So I'm blogging. 

Last time I was here I was preparing for the Inspector to call and study my ways. Well she came, she saw and she ticked all the boxes and basically said 'you're awesome'.  Well she didn't quite say that but she smiled a lot and was really nice and said it in a roundabout kind of way which frankly I'm quite deeply moved by. I don't like make a big thing about myself - thus all this on-line self deprecation - but doing a good enough job matter hugely to me and I'm very proud at what I've managed.  Despite everything I've made a difference to people's lives. In a good way. And given them a good time along the way.

However - great big shining my halo aside - it's quite frankly a good job she came to that session and not the previous one.  

Let me summarise the farce of the first session: 

I raced to the hall after finishing my other job only to find...... it is FREEZING and I  mean freezing.  Call caretaker (the one in the stetson).  He turns up, shrugs his shoulders and tells me the boiler pilot light is out and is being fixed at 10am tomorrow.   I say something about that not really helping me now you mofo (but I say it really nicely as he  wields the power in that place).   He offers  me the somehow warm skittle alley. Yes - a skittle alley.  

It's about 6 foot wide and 60 foot long and quite dark and echoey.  It's basically, erm, an alley after all.  I decline.  I mean how is that meant to work? Everyone sits in a big long row like they're on the bus and I stand at the front conducting!?   ALL ABOARD, TICKETS PLEASE, HAS ANYONE SEEN MY CERVIX?  No. 

So he offers me the 'reading room' (I don't know why it is called this, nobody ever reads in it).   It's also freezing cold but it's very small so if we get a plug in heater we can make it slightly warm.   So I accept and cram a large number of people in a small space round a heater.  On the plus side it's all very conducive to group bonding.   On the negative side it's quite hard to find the reading room as it's hidden and while I'm helping a  couple find the toilets a couple of the new clients go astray and walk into the main hall where some kind of a Killer Self Defence for Big Hard Men with Shiny Heads and Steely Eyes is taking place.  This causes them fleeting panic as they wonder how the hell kicking the shit out of a guy in a dressing gown is conducive to getting a baby out of your body....... I have a lot of calming down to do.  

So problem one solved. On to the next one....

The next one being I've forgotten my pelvis.  Not MY actual pelvis - even I would have noticed the absence of my entire lower torso.   No  the model one  that is absolutely key to explaining how things work and why x y and z may help things along.  Shit.  No pelvis no demo.  I look around for things I could craft a substitute from but although I can do a lot with several dozen pint glasses, a pack of bendy straws, 24 custard creams and some tea bags - making a woman's pelvis isn't one of them.   This leaves me the option of drawing one.   Drawing. What what I thinking? I end up with a flipchart sheet with two oval slit on it and the words: 

This is the way in

This is the way out

I give the clients a marker pen and ask them how they think they could get it through the slits. The answer is rotate it (the pen is the baby's shoulders - obviously) but you can imagine the result.....

In hindsight this was not the most well thought out teaching activity.  

Once again though it was great for group bonding and there are worse ways to spend a Wednesday night than huddled round a heater with a group of strangers poking flip chart marker pens through slits whilst laughing hysterically.  

So problem two kind of solved (I eventually found my lost pelvis in the airing cupboard and did the proper demo on the next session - thus hopefully undoing any kind of emotional scaring caused by the 'Game of Slits').  

On to the third and final problem.  And oh god this is cringeworthy - even for me.  

OK - so I do this thing where you get loads of random props and you have to work out how they could be used to during early to labour to help you cope.  

One of the items is a hot water bottle.   

Whilst setting up I pulled out the hot water bottle and turned it over.  In the next 2 seconds time slowed down to almost stand still and the following thought pattern went through my head.....

ARRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHH there's a dead fish stuck on the back of my hot water bottle oh god but it can't possibly be a dead fish because where would a fish have come from and anyway it would stink ARGGGHHHHH but it's all grey and furry and flat ARRRRGGGHHHHHH oh my god it's a dead rat, a deceased and suppurating rodent is squashed flat  against my hot water bottle  dead and rotting and in my box ARRRGHHHH but why doesn't it stink and where the hell did it come from ARRRGGHHHHH I think I'm actually going to cry and be sick SOB.......WHAT THE F'CK?

 It's a..........



The last time I taught this activity was October.  Someone told me to add a banana to my box and that it was a good prompt to talk about eating small amounts to keep your body working at it's best.  So I added a banana to my box....... I clearly put the banana back in the box..... I put the box back in the shed at the bottom of my garden......And for 3 long months the banana went through every stage of decomposition until it resembled a sheet of grey fur actually embedded in the rubber of the hot water bottle.   

So, errr, obviously that little activity had to go by the wayside and the whole shebang had to go in the bin.  I mean nowhere in the self help skills for childbirth manual would it mention scaring yourself witless with  decomposed fruit that resemble a dead rodent.   

As I said, it's a damn good job the Inspector called at the next session where there were no problems whatsoever and the group were so well bonded they were laughing their heads off and chatting like old mates.    

Silver linings folks, silver linings.....

Sunday, 1 January 2012

An Inspector Calls


We made it folks - in one shape or another, here we are in 2012.

I  would like to say a big good luck and hope it's a good one for you to all my lovely followers who keep me going and make it appear that I'm not just sitting here randomly warbling into cyberspace but people actually get something from all of this.  Yay! 

Anyway I'd like to think I could now have a nice quiet week 'post festivities' and take the tinsel off my enormous bush, wrestle it out the front door and restore some kind of order (what do I mean 'restore' - I would actually be establishing order for the very first time, but it's nice to dream).  

But no. 

I have potentially the most stressful week of the year, right here, right now,  upon me. 

I have to do 3 different jobs  at once (other than parenting), one of which involves 12 hour shifts and one of  which involves taking 18 strangers into 'that' village hall and saying 'Hello, my name is Stickhead, I'm here to talk about vaginas and how you can help them stretch' (OK that's paraphrasing you get the drift) 'and then we can talk about how you are about to enter years of broken sleep, the smell of poo and having malted milks ground into your Egyptian cotton bed sheets.  Would anyone like a cup of tea and a fig roll?'.  

This was all a case of 'bad planning' (well no planning actually) and in  the middle  of it  all the kids go back to school (I don't think I've actually taken their PE kits, school bags etc out of the back of my car yet post break up for the holiday.  Sigh). 

This would all be bad enough but (and it's a big wide but) - every so often when you are teaching groups an assessor has to come round and watch you and mark you out of ten on various things and come up with a plan for you.  This involves quite a bit of prep  work and writing a 'reflective' piece blah blah blah.   So that's how I spent New Year's Day - waffling on about goals and aims and learning outcome and holistic approaches and how I 'meet my own needs' (oh it was so so tempting to run amok with the answer to that one). 

I kind of resent this.  I wanted to just write in big huge  bold type letter something like this: 

'Dear Inspector, 

I very much look forward to welcoming you to the crazy hall of doom.  Please do not alarmed by 'Mary' the keeper of the keys or the caretaker in the Stetson.  However if you see any very old people clutching packets of  Orange Clubs or similar please check that they are actually for their ridiculous raffle and haven't been stolen from my supplies. Not that I buy Orange Clubs.    I would also advise that you do not focus on the carpet for too long  as the almost fractal like orange brown and red pattern has been known to induce vomiting.  If any alarms go off, try not to shit yourself or scream.  Focus on your breathing.  

I know you want me to reflect deeply on  the last year of teaching but frankly it's a miracle I'm still  here and still doing this and you should just be grateful for that, because despite everything, I do a bloody good job.   

Of course nobody is perfect and not all of the less than ideal moments in the last year have been the fault of dodgy alarm systems, mad line dancers or the people that stole the lead off the roof leaving me to teach amongst a sea of buckets and a ghostly howl.  


I mean it wasn't ideal that time when I was talking to the group about their baby's adjustment to the world outside the womb.  I held the (fake) baby close, demonstrated the need for touch and nurturing.  I laid the baby carefully down on a soft blanket explaining how a baby couldn't fall off the floor so it was a safe place to leave the baby..... I stepped forward  to pick up a nappy..... I tripped over my own feet and put the heel of my boot directly through the (fake) babies face. 

I shouted 'SHIT', did a move not unlike when Roadrunner goes over a cliff edge and fell on my side with an 'oomph'.    

On the plus side the group laughed so long and so hard it probably gave them an endorphin rush for days.  

Then there was the time I spent the day bouncing about on a ball in black leggings and a tunic top with my legs wide open...... Got a few funny looks.....Got home and went for a wee..... On closer inspection realised that the 'leggings' were footless tights.  I was wearing white knickers with pink hearts on.  Oh dear lord.  I was torn between pretending it never happened or starting the next group with 'I am ever so sorry about last week and my knickers. I truly had no idea you were all staring at my gusset'.   But I was  advised just to leave it and pretend it never happened.  Wise words. 

More recently I have had issues with emailing groups from my iPhone and the darn autocorrect thing.  On one occasion it 'corrected' my name to 'Cocky'.  So  I said something like 'I can't wait to see you all on Sunday - yours Cocky'.  I noticed this just at the point it swooped out into the ether and I couldn't stop it.  I promptly sent another email to apologise and explain.  This time I noticed, just at the crucial 'it's too late now' moment that I was now renamed Bucky.  So Cocky or Bucky take your pick - I sound equally deranged either way.  

Even more cringe-worthy was the time I emailed someone to congratulate them on the birth of their twins.   'I'm so glad to hear that you and your tubs are doing so well' I jauntily replied.   



However you interpret that it's not great is it?  

But all the same, just tick the box and let me carry on hey?  Because you know without me, it just wouldn't be quite the same kind of education, would it? 


I mean Bucky
I mean, oh sod it, call me whatever you bleedin well like.  But maybe not Tubs.   Do you want a fig roll?