Dear Dave

Wednesday 5 September 2007

One-dimensional eating habits

Dear Dave,

Thanks for the sympathy over all the things that aren't going entirely to plan just now. I know you have enough on your own plate to worry about at the moment. (Have you decided on any names!?) Sorry to hear Sam's acting up and refusing to eat anything which isn't long and thin. This does give you plenty of scope for nutrition, however - breadsticks, Cheestrings, carrots, chocolate fingers, crayons... There's a fairly long list of readily available foodstuffs and plenty of other things aren't too hard to cut into linear snacks. Obviously, you're going to be struggling with items like baked beans and peas and cake but I'm sure there must be ways round it. Mashing them up and squishing them together might work. Maybe not all at once but, you know, depends how much time you have...

Marie had a phase where she'd only eat doughnut-shaped food. This was much more awkward to accommodate. For a while she was made of Cheerios, Hula Hoops and Party Rings.

I should maybe just have given her the doughnuts and called her Homer.

Her Simpson-esque traits became even more apparent the other evening at the point I was getting her ready for bed. She was just annoyed and acting up about everything and I asked her if she was tired.

"No," she said, fighting her pyjamas as I tried to get them on her.

I wrestled one arm into her top. "Do you want to go to bed?"

"No!" she said, taking it off again.

"Are you sure?" I said, forcing the garment back over her head. "I think you need to lie down and get some sleep."

"NO!" she screamed and started to cry. She obviously and desperately needed some sleep but wasn't having any of it.

I was exasperated, frustrated and tired. I made the mistake of being sarcastic with a two-year-old. "What do you want to do then? Stay up all night and drink beer?"

She stopped. She looked at me. She jumped up and down excitedly. "Yes!"

"Er... I didn't really..."

"I not go to bed," she yelled, her body quivering with anticipation at the prospect of a six-pack, a sofa and a marathon of late night cable TV. "I not sleep. I drink beer!"

At which point Fraser and Lewis appeared from nowhere. "How come Marie's getting beer?" said Fraser.

"We want beer, too," said Lewis.

"Yes, can we have beer?" said Fraser.

Marie started running backwards and forwards, the length of the landing. "Want beeeeeeeeeeer! Want beeeeeeeeeer!" Then the boys joined in.

Needless to say, they didn't get any. But, by the time I'd finally got the whinging chancers off to bed, I did have a peculiar craving for a can of Tennents. Funny, that...

Anyway, as you've probably realised, I'm just avoiding talking about the stress in hand.

The mouse situation, at least, seems to be a little more under control now. I haven't actually seen any sign of one for a few days so it's possible they've gone away. Of course, I thought that with the ants, and you'll remember how that turned out. There's every chance that I've just managed to kill the stupid ones and that I'm using natural selection to breed a race of super rodents who will be able to avoid traps, open tins and steal the fridge. At the point they work out how to sell my stuff on ebay, I'm moving house.

The plumbing saga continues. Apparently out pipework is quite 'unusual'. (Translation: It was designed and implemented by a gibbon). The heating is now 88% fixed. Making it 100% fixed, however, may involve demolishing the bathroom.

As for Sarah... Well, things didn't go so well on Friday. LBO are laying people off left, right and centre. Branches are closing, work is being out-sourced, the final salary pension scheme is no more, services are facing the axe and the directors' bonuses have been linked to how much money they can lop off the operating budget. Not good.

Steve's still sitting pretty, as he predicted. Rob's department is gone but he's been shifted elsewhere. Technically, in terms of leadership and responsibility, it's a promotion. In terms of his annual salary, he's even had a pay rise. He was pretty pleased about that until I pointed out that the changes they've made to his holidays and working week mean his hourly rate has gone down. He's been sulking ever since.

Sarah has been made provisionally redundant. This means she has a couple of weeks to prepare and then she has to argue her case to be kept on with a special committee set up to give the impression that there has been some consultation with staff over all of this. It's already being called The Inquisition. Handily, each person will be interrogated by their manager and their manager's manager - i.e. the people instrumental in picking them for the chop in the first place. There will be an 'independent' member of senior management there from another division as well but I don't imagine that will be much comfort in most cases. Sarah's going to have to pull something pretty impressive out of the bag to make Steve and Scott perform a U-turn. (I'm thinking a bazooka would do it).

Ach, well, it isn't the first occasion something like this has happened and almost certainly won't be the last. We're coping as best we can. At least she isn't on maternity leave this time.

Yours in a woman's world,


PS Mmmmmmm... Doughnuts...

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