Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Office Christmas Party

You don't remember getting in, you can tell by the way your eyes are stuck together that you didn't remove your false lashes, let alone your make up, you are definitely going to spontaneously combust if you attempt to move and yet at the same time if you don't get a drink right now you are going to start sipping your nail varnish remover.  So far so bad.  And then.  And then you remember.  You are going to have to hand in your notice, move house and have plastic surgery. Yep, it's the morning after the Office Christmas Party. Dun Dun Dun (dramatic music, work with me here).  As a warning to you all I am going to share my most shameful Office Christmas Party story.  Christ, I am blushing already!!

Now as you would appreciate this sordid affair happened a very very long time ago, right back when I was 19.  1985 to be exact, yea yea laugh it up.  So starting at the very beginning I was doing a Youth Training Scheme - basically I worked 40 hrs a week for our Local Authority for the princely sum of £25 a week.  The benefit to me was that I gained "experience" (and then some, but not quite what the Government had in mind I suspect) and the benefit to them was, well manifold to be fair - cheap labour being the least of it.  My boss was a rather terrifying lady who when she liked you was your best mate and when she did not was the scariest fricken woman I have ever met.  She never really liked me.  At the time I really didn't understand why.  Now, I do.  A (as we shall call her cos I can't be arsed typing Annette continually) would have been in her mid to late 30's I think, she might even have been older, I never really bothered to think about it at the time.  One day about a week before the xmas party I was summoned to her office.  She was holding a black dress that had thin, widely spaced, straps from the shoulder down the sleeve - an early version of the much admired Liz Hurley safety pin number, but from Dorothy Perkins.  She asked me if I was wearing exactly the same dress to the office party and I confirmed that I was.  She then stared at my chest.  My beautiful, bountiful, super perky chest.  "And are you wearing a bra with it?" she demanded.  Had I been a smidge more savvy my response might have included the words "sexual harassment" but as it was I replied that it would be a crime to encumber such natural exuberance, or something similar.  (I really did have fab boobs back in the day!)  She sort of grunted at me and I considered myself dismissed.  It was only many many years later that I realised that in that moment I was the most hated woman ever.  Can you imagine being late 30's and frankly rather past your prime (she was, I'm not saying it goes with the territory) and knowing that you are going to front up at the office Christmas party in THE SAME DRESS as the 19yr old work experience girl with the fantastic tits?  I can actually feel her pain tbh!

This is not the worst of it.  So the fateful evening arrives, I have added a pair of silk french knickers, fishnet stockings and killer heels to the dress.  You know what, my mum was convinced I was a virgin til the day I married, reading back that sentence her naivety almost beggars belief doesn't it!!  A  is wearing a strapless bra that has squished what bust she has into an unattractive bolster shape and she is wearing pants, tights, pants on top to hold her tights up and some nice low heeled comfortable shoes (of course I have no idea about the pants/tights/pants combo but its highly likely).  I was single and ready to mingle.  A had brought her fiance.  You may have some idea where this is going round about now!  Sooooo having danced away to Saving All My Love For You, The Sun Always Shines on TV and The Power of Love, having drunk more malibu than anyone sane ever should I find myself being pressed into a dark corner for a long, and as I recall very very VERY nice snog by someone who was quite clearly thoroughly enjoying the experience, if you get my drift.  And when we came up for air my boss, his Fiancee was standing behind us with a face like thunder.  She'it.  Luckily I left the Country 6 months later although the two were unrelated!  (In my defence I suspect with hindsight that she probably did rather well out of it, as Tom Jones once said - I pumped up the tyres, but she got to ride the bike.)

So let that be a warning to you, Office Party's are inherently fraught with danger!  I can't be the only one though, surely?  I would LOVE  to hear your most shameful office party experience - are  you brave enough to share, oh and if you want to go anon please do!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Tree Friday

Since Emily and Tom were really little Christmas Tree Friday has been a big family tradition in our house.  Nineteen years since we had our first child and now our entire Christmas is chock full of strongly upheld family traditions to be honest.
 Christmas 2011-1

Back in the day daddy would load the car with 2 littles and a wodge of cash and the warning not to come home with anything too big and away they'd go the three of them giggling in their collusion.  I'd stay at home and vacuum the lounge ready for our new arrival, get the wrapped presents out of hiding and on our bed ready to be ceremoniously carried through and put under the tree and in charge of refreshments; a beer for daddy and hot chocolate for the littles.  Often an hour later they'd return with some behemoth of a tree lashed to the roof, bright red cheeks, runny noses and shiny eyes - and that was just daddy.  Then there'd be the song and dance of getting the ruddy great tree into the house followed by yet more vacuuming to get up the pine needles that someone was already crying about having stood on.  In the very early years Em and Tom were allowed to hand me the decorations and I would apply them to the tree, which would remain tastefully tinsel free.  I decided that each year the kids would be able to buy one bauble each so that by the time they were grown ups with kids of their own the tree would be decorated in baubles that had some history and meaning, I even planned to buy a note book and write down who picked which bauble and in which year, I bitterly regret not doing that now, how lovely would that have been?  That said the majority of the baubles are still the ones that they have picked over the years.  As the kids got older they were allowed to decorate the tree, so we had 37 baubles at 3' and 37 more at 2' and I had to go into the garage and swig sherry and scream into a pillow.  Then once they had gone to bed I'd "fix" the tree. Control freak.

Christmas 2011-7

Usually the tree would go up on the last Friday before Christmas, this year due to having a million and one things to do in the run up to Christmas we have decided that it has to be a week earlier.  It's such a big deal to Em that she has taken the day off!  This year Tom wont be going along to purchase the tree as he is in college and I have to stay here because we have guests due to arrive throughout the day so Steve and Em will go off for a bit of father daughter bonding and tree purchasing.  One of our other family traditions is that each year I would decorate the table for Christmas dinner with a different colour theme, always a secret that wasn't revealed until they all came through for dinner.  Some years this worked better than others.  One year I went for jewel colours on a white cloth, bought fantastic jewel toned napkins and crackers, filled little glass jars with colour glass dragees and scattered more glass dragees over the table.  In real life, by candlelight it was magical and very opulent looking.  On Boxing day when we sat down to watch our Christmas day video my beautiful scattered dragees looked exactly as if the table was swarming with cockroaches - not quite the look I had been going for!  Now that Em is grown up she joins in with the table planning and as we have decided on this years colour theme she is in charge of sourcing anything she can for the table today too whilst she is out with her dad.  Two years ago Christmas Tree Friday was a very drunken affair, Em and I did the tree along with a bottle of prosecco and moved onto the amaretto all the while singing carols at the top of our voices, Steve and Tom were delighted.  
 Christmas 2011-6
(the ultimate bokeh pic? apart from the fact that there is no focal point!)

Last year our Christmas was a very low key affair, we had hoped to be out of the guest house and in our new home for Christmas, until the purchasers pulled out on 6th December, I was beyond heart broken at the realisation that I wasn't finally going to live a normal life only sharing my home with my immediate family rather than a procession of strangers and that we would be working 7 days a week for several more years and we were going to a wedding in Ireland on Boxing Day so there didn't seem much point in spending a great deal of time decorating the house.  We did have Christmas Tree Friday and the tree looked beautiful but the joy was missing.  This year we have picked ourselves up, come to terms with staying at the guest house and are determined that this is going to be our best Christmas ever!

Christmas 2011-8
Thats better!

This post will get photos later this weekend, I'll tweet when I've added them!

 Christmas 2011-5

Friday, 2 December 2011

The shitest of weeks

Bloody hell am I glad to see the back of this week.  

I started off on a major high, Monday evening at Slimming World I got my 1 stone award, won slimmer of the week and slimmer of the month.  I was of course delighted even though that 1st stone is the first of at least several that I could do with losing! 

From there on it has all been down hill.  The company I work for is based in Kent, where we lived until 10 years ago.  Because I freelance when we moved up here from Kent I brought my work with me, lucky me.  I have made friends for life with some of the people that I work with and whilst I see some of them a couple of times a year there are others that I only ever see at out xmas part and I really really miss them.  The Christmas party last year didnt happen because of the snow and given the whole guest house sale falling through on 6th December and me thinking my life had ended I was in no mood to party anyway.  This year I was super excited about the party.  OH and I always make a real treat of it seeing as we get so little time off.  We set off at about 10am, take a bottle of fizz for the room and generally are in Kent by 2pm.  We have a bit of alone time, an absolute rarity, open our fizz and enjoy one anothers company, quick nap, long bath and then all the fun of getting dressed up and ready for a terrific night with our friends.  I love it.  

Spent Tuesday and Wednesday really looking forward to heading down to Kent on Friday.  On Weds eve had a fight with OH. Its not unusual tbh.  On Thursday morning he announced that he wasn't going to go to Kent to go to the party.  You can imagine how pissed off I was.  Instantly messaged Em to see if she had enough leave to be able to come with me, she messaged straight back that she would love to come - she knows most of the people I work with as they were friends outside work when we lived in Kent though most of them remember her as a 10 yr old not the gorgeous nearly 20 yr old she is now!  I was made up, quality time away with my girl, still get the whole hotel pampering thing without the threat of gratuitous sex, fantastic. 

And then.  Emily got up this morning and could barely breathe.  She has really severe asthma and things have taken a real turn for the worse this year, it was quickly apparent that instead of belting down the A1 we were going to be spending our day in A&E.  Initially it was really worrying, all her usual asthma symptoms were fine and there was some concern that the problem was with her heart, after some monitoring her heart was given the all clear, so then they decided to do chest x rays and blood test to check she didnt have a chest infection.  Chest x ray was fine, bloods not so much.  Em has crap veins.  The nurse tried her left elbow and got nowhere, the Dr came in and he decided that her veins were so awful that he would need to use a butterfly - a lovely comfortable name for a very long, very thin needle that goes in a very long way, nice work who ever came up with that one.  Initially he tried her wrist, but stopped when he still wasn't hitting a vein and she was pretty much in tears, he then said the only other option was her foot - agony.  I asked him if he would have another go this time on her other elbow, basically on the put it in and wiggle it about and hope to hit a vein approach, anything being better than having a needle put into your foot.  Em was a star and the Dr did his bit and although it took a while he managed to snag a vein and get the bloods he needed.  I think its safe to say that Em is now over her needle phobia.  So the xray and the bloods came back clear and they decided that quite possibly coughing from a recent cold had meant that Em had damaged some ligaments in her chest and these were causing the pain which was causing the rapid, shallow breathing.  So all's well that ends well, Em is home and although she is knackered and full of holes she is fine.  Thank god.  We came close to losing her when she was 11 and I NEVER want to go there again.

And I am sat at my desk typing this.  Right now even some gratuitous sex would be ok as an alternative. On the upside the rest of December really only can get better*.

*Why do I think I am going to regret typing that?


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