Saturday, 14 June 2008

In the nick of time

We are invited to a birthday party. This is great, because it is a pool party, and we haven't been swimming for ages, so I can tick socialisation and swimming, all in one go.

Going to the pool party which starts at 6.45 actually means forgetting all about it while pottering in the garden, losing track of time because the clock doesn't work, then realising at 6.20 that we are going to a pool party and it starts in 25 minutes.

Now comes the horror that is the realisation that we have no cards or presents, nor have prepared swimming gear. Worse, I have not fed the children since midday. Since they are now wading knee-deep in satsuma peel and have picked out the centre of the loaf again leaving the crust behind like a sloughed off skin, I deduce they are starving and need immediate carbohydrate. Without that, we will not get through the next hour without a major triplet tantrum. That three-way explosion, of course, will be perfectly timed to blast the pool apart just as everyone else is singing Happy Birthday to the happy children for whom the adoring mamma and pappa just paid a wheelbarrow load of cash to hire out a swimming pool, lifeguards and inflatable submarine.

There is only one solution. Run around the house with hands clamped to head shouting Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!

When that is done, jump in car, covered in soil and smelling of courgette fertilizer, and rocket on two wheels straight to Tesco while simultaneously shouting instructions to Dig about where the swimming costumes were last seen, last week in a pile somewhere over there. At Tesco, run through the present aisle, grab two gift bags and stuff them with sparkling glitter pens and drawing paper then run off to the Green and Black's chocolate department. I may be in an hour of need, but there is no way we are sinking to dog chocolate.

At the checkout, rip tags off goods and write happy birthday messages while checkout woman narrows eyes and stares. Hand over large quantities of cash. This is one problem solved by throwing money at it.

Drive home, screech to a halt outside the door, shout at children to get in, throw packet of fruit scones at them and drive off. Drive back to shout at Dig, who is still standing at the side of the road and who didn't get in quick enough. Shout. Drive off while Dig has one foot out of door and say it is all his fault because he should know what the time is and I told him there was a pool party on Wednesday and he should bloody well remember these things because I am covered in soil.

Arrive at pool party 10 minutes after start. Shoo children about, order Dig around and look at water. Need drink, large gin and tonic would do except there is no bar and glass is not allowed. Observe we are the only people I can see who are wandering about with presents in gift bags and lock presents in a locker. Then slump on bench, pick fight with swimming pool attendant over air humidity, take a deep breath, and relax.

There. Another successful arrival, which counts in the Grit book as better late than never.

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