Failed…Sorry!

 

I’ve failed to write anything for such a long time now.

The reason…well……

My lovely husband got me a new computer for my birthday. It worked great. I started this blog, LaLaLa. Everything was seemingly normal in LadyQuist Land. However, the computer then asked me if I wanted to update to Windows 10. “Sure thing” I thought, who doesn’t want to be updated to the latest version of, well, anything? I can almost hear the wise technologically advanced human beings laughing at me. Now the computer in question will not log on to the damn internet. It’s slower then a commodore 64 and I have put it on time out. At present I am using my old computer which has been gathering dust in a cupboard. I do still fear the heat that it generates may cause finger tip burns. But I will persevere. Maybe having no finger prints will help when I become a criminal mastermind! A completely organic criminal mastermind, can’t be messing up because of crazy gadgets though. So more Cat woman than Lady Bond.

What’s been happening around here? My Mum came to visit for six weeks. Total delight having her here. She is such a lovely granny. Now that she has gone, Phoenix has been asking for her to either move here or for him to move into her house. I have noticed that many families around here have a granny annex in their garden. I think that when we come to buying a house we need to take this into consideration. It’ll probably be more of a shed in the garden then a lovely two bed apartment nestled between the fruit trees but I’m sure she won’t mind! Right?

We had our first American Halloween. People go all out. Streets get closed down and all the houses have amazing decorations. Huge houses that you can normally only see the tops of from outside their huge security fences open up and welcome all children and adults alike. Some people hire DJ’s to blast out tunes while the kids are going house to house collecting as many sweets as they possibly can fit into their bags.

Down the road there is a place called Boney Island. During the year it is just a normal house that a guy called Rick Polizzi owns. He was the animation producer on The Simpsons so already getting the thumbs up from me. The story goes that when his two daughters were young he couldn’t find anything that he thought was suitable for them. So he decided to create his own very special Halloween house. Now his kids are grown and he still keeps it going. We took a stroll down there one spooky school evening, not really knowing what to expect. I mean, it is just someone’s garden right! Well there is a four floor tree house, a water and light show to amaze all the young ones. Talking spiders that fall down to you from trees, singing plants, flying skeletons and candles that go out by the power of a young mind. Every inch of the garden is well thought out with the wicked and wonderful. It really was a Halloween dream come true. Apparently it gets 25,000 visitors every year now. Which is totally crazy. His wife must be a super tolerant lady. I mean could you imagine 25,000 people walking through your garden every October. To my disappointment the night after we went Dave Grohl was there. Totally for the best though as if I were there on the same day as him, I probably would have caused Jacob a fair bit of embarrassment.

Leaving the past behind and moving to the present…

This week the kids are off school. It’s Thanksgiving week. Having never had a Thanksgiving we don’t really know the protocol. Is everything closed? Is there a parade? Should we just be sitting in the house eating and giving thanks?

Luckily, one of the mums from Phoenix’s Kindergarten has come to the rescue and invited us to her family house in the hills. I guess this is what we will be giving thanks for. The open hearted people of L.A. The folks that are never too busy for a chat and the fact we have been here for less than a year and have met some people that we can call friends.

Maybe I can report back how this went if my computer doesn’t blow up!

Socks

Sometimes you have to take a big step back and really look at your life. What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Do you fail to see the little things that you should be grateful for because the daily grind starts working it’s magic cogs?

Yes. I’m thankful that I have a happy, healthy family. I’m thankful that we had a dream of moving a far and we followed it. I’m thankful that Jacob works his ass off so that I can spend everyday working my ass off looking after the kids rather than in some job I would resent. But those are the big things. What about the little daily things that make a smile appear or disappear.

Socks…I hate socks! Wearing them. Washing them. Pairing them. Having a constant flow of odd socks.

Since moving, we don’t really wear the devils mitten. No more having to deal with the evils of weak elastic. Making, what you thought in the house was a functioning sock turn into the one piece of clothing that is not just invading your foot arch but every corner of your brain. Step, by step.

Then there are toe seams, why…just why?! There are no words to explain my discontent for those nasty little toe crushing lines.

So, I’m grateful for sunshine, warmth, sandals and nail polish.

101 Fail.

I signed up, through WordPress, to do a blogger’s course. It’s called Bloggers101. The idea is that it will make you better at writing, better at giving the facts and engaging with people. I thought this would be a great idea, especially as I lack time management when it comes to getting things down on the page. Hence the reason that I have been neglecting the blog. They send you a small project to do everyday for two weeks. Giving you something to write and post about. Little by little, you get better and better. Sounds good, huh?!

I was sitting last night thinking it seems to be a long time since I signed up for that ‘101’ so I had a little look through my emails. Lo and behold in some unknown folder there was a week’s work of assignments.

Jeezy, I’m a week behind. Does this mean that I am out of it? Should I bother starting? When will I even have the time? All these other people have been enjoying seven whole days of forum discussions about their completed assignments and until that moment it was an unknown place to me.

Why would Gmail hide such emails from me? Why are they not just there, slap, bang in front of me? Why do they deem certain mail unimportant and put them in the naughty folder? Did I do this to myself? Have I failed to put some setting on or turn some setting off on my account? Have I done something to piss ‘them’ off, or has WordPress done something to piss ‘them’ off?

Either way, I feel like I am being punished by ‘them’. Maybe it is because I opened a Hotmail account all those years ago.

Medical Mayhem

It’s nearly three weeks into the ten week summer holiday and I’m sitting on my balcony, listening to the sound of kids across the street playing on their skateboards. Their trucks grinding along the side of the curb. The sun is beaming down on them. Honk of car horns from Ventura Boulevard. It all seems so very California. My lot are happily at zoo with Jacob. All except Summer. She has an ear infection which means spending the day with me in the house watching endless episodes of Jessie – that’s the reason I’m on the balcony!

I have a hundred and one things to do. Well a hundred and two if you include this blog (which I have been neglecting) I should really be making this time minus two children about getting ready for our shipment coming. Yip, our bloody stuff is in port. It is in the USA and within the next couple of weeks will be delivered to our home. By delivered I mean brought to the apartment block and if we live higher than the ground floor (which we do) we will be charged extra for it to be brought inside. I have decided that I would rather bribe all of our new, friendly, noisy, happy neighbours with beer than pay anymore to a company that has taken six months to get our stuff to us. So I will be knocking on their doors and asking for help.

Let me move on to Summer’s ear infection. Bear in mind that a couple of months ago I too had an ear infection. I was prescribed antibiotics, A 10 day treatment to the cost of $9. Now for the same antibiotics but in liquid form for Summer cost $40, down from $75 with some pharmacy discount. She also has a slightly red eye. Not like crazy pink eye or anything but the doc said she needed eye drops which would cost a whopping $300. I have opted out of this over prescribed expensive nonsense. I got all NHS on them and said “let’s just watch it for a couple of days and see what happens”. Sure enough within one day the eye had healed itself. Damn money making corporate doctors.

However, the doc did do a full medical on her, not just looking in her ear like they would in the UK. He also found that she has a little heart murmur. Which is pretty normal in growing children but also something that can be checked and monitored if it continues. This has never and would never be picked up on in England. Given that a our old GP in London would speak to us for a matter of seconds, then send us packing.

From doctors to dentists. My filling popped out, and I had to go get it fixed. I was recommended a place nearby, by a great neighbour.

I walk in to the surgery and fill out a mountain of paperwork. I am then taken to a room where I am given about 20 x-rays by a nurse. So that the actual dentist can just walk in and see everything. Personally, I think this is a bit over the top but given that everyone here has amazing pearly whites then I’m willing to go with it. I then wait for the dentist to comes in and she recommends a treatment plan. My new treatment plan looks like this –

Get crown fitted

Two wisdom teeth extractions.

An implant.

Braces

I explain that I just want a filling but they insist a crown is necessary and they can do it at a discounted cash price of $950…Eh, Bargain, right, emm!!!

I never thought that my teeth were that bad. Yeah, a little squint at the bottom and yes an implant would be great for the missing one at the back – I had a bad dentist when I was 18. He thought it is easier to take the offending tooth out that I broke while munching on a pork chop. Rather than actually repairing it. Total NHS asshole!

So, what do I do? I’ve have thought about getting all the procedures that she recommended. But I also believe that they were not really necessary. They are just aesthetics after all!

I seem to have mentioned the NHS a few times now. I guess there are pro’s and con’s to both systems. In the US, medical treatment is overpriced and the medicine has a higher markup percentage than a cup of tea in the UK. But they seem to go the extra mile here. I guess they have to, to be able to charge such bank busting prices. The jury is still out on which system I think is better. Maybe neither. Maybe a combination of both. Maybe nurses, doctors, dentists, (the list could go on) in the UK should be paid more – then they might give more of a shit. Maybe people’s taxes here in the US should go towards the American people and offer them free or affordable health care.

We can dream!!!

Quirk or Crazy!

Jacob always laughs at me and my craziness when it comes to my annoyance with certain words and phrases. I really do have to fight the urge not to punch someone in the face when they utter words I deem annoying. Jacob manages to work them into a conversation, and laughs, thinking he is super funny. Yip. Haha. Super. Super, funny dear husband!

Since he has been on tour, he has managed to work them into our whatsapp conversations. Even with 5,437 miles between us (yes, I googled that distance!) I am readying that hot poker.

I may regret announcing these words, as I know that most people I am close to really like to piss me off. Quirk or crazy? who knows. But it is surely entertaining to some folk. These “friends” will take great pleasure in saying them everytime we talk, meet or text.

Don’t judge me, just know, I may need help. I guess Los Angeles is a great place to be when in need of a good therapist.

Here are a few examples:

Touch base…’I’ll touch base with you later’. Really? Can you not just call me!

Espresso…when it is pronounced expresso…ugh, seriously people!

Douchebag…Why is someone a Vagina wash?

Buffer…’We have a buffer of cash, just in case’. Okay, I have no idea why this makes me want to put forks in people’s eyes. IT JUST DOES!

I think four is enough to begin with. I do also realise that I am slightly insane. I may end up a lonely little cat lady. I really can’t be the only one with these idiosyncracies. Ahh, the word idiosyncracy is making my eye twitch!

Jacob, come home and save me from myself!

De-loused

I’ve basically been neglecting this blog and any social networking for the past five weeks – my mum has been visiting. She is such a lovely lady and always comes to my rescue when Jacob is on tour. This time though, it was a five week visit. No quick train ride down to London from Fife anymore. Nope, a long 11 hours on a plane is needed. Mum, doesn’t like flying. So I appreciate that she has had to man up and get her ass on a plane just for me to get a hair cut and join a Pilates class…Thanks mum!

So, since I last picked up the laptop there has been an epidemic at school. One that, judging by the reaction of parents – it was as bad as Ebola outbreak. The dreaded infestation of lice.

One morning at drop off, I walked up to a group of mums looking highly freaked out.

“Everything okay?” I said. I got these replies….

“There’s lice in the class”

“Seven Children”

“Oh, no. What will we do?”

Being a sarcastic arse, I burst out laughing and said “oh, yeah, eeeek, nits. Whatever will we do. Call the Doctor!”

So I really thought their reactions were a joke. Turns out, it was not a joke and in fact they are crazy mofos about a wee scabby nit. I heard one mother shrieking  “oh, my gosh. It’s so unsanitary” While another spoke of their first ‘traumatizing’ experience with lice when their child was younger.

One lovely mum, removed anything and everything made of material from the class room to boil wash it. But there was a long stare and conversation about the carpet. What was to be done about it?

Nits to me, is a normal childhood problem. They are more of an annoyance than anything. If you treat them naturally, it takes forever and who wants to go around their whole family with that little nit comb hearing the screams of pain as you scrape it across each scalp in turn. But if you take the chemical route, well, you’re putting chemicals on your kid.

Some inventive people have found a great way to make some cash out of these freaked out parents. Salons with names like ‘The Magic Nit Pick’ and ‘Hairwizards’ are dotted around. Where people drive to with the whole family and pay $100 per person to get De-Loused. De-Loused at the Combatorium if you will. Yeah, yeah, I know I added a B for all those Mars Volta fans. Nearly bald fathers, sitting in chairs while the nit nurse is hysterically laughing, riding that gravy train.

I’m not really sure what to think of peoples’ reaction to these nasty nits. Am I too relaxed about it? Are they too uptight? Will I feel differently when I have to deal with them? Summer has the longest hair so I’m sure one day they will catch on. Lets hope I’m still that sarcastic cow when it does happen or that’ll be $500 out the window for all us Quists.

Out of touch

I’ve not read a trash mag for so many years. Today while doing a spot of shopping I decided to give one a go. Mainly because I read on the front cover that Chris Martin was getting back together with J Law. I didn’t even know they were gay. I stood wondering if Jude Law and Chris Martin would make a good couple…I guess I could see it. But I do wonder how Gwyneth took the news of her ex. Hey, If they are all happy then why the hell not, huh!

Okay. So, it turns out I am more out of touch than I thought.

Once I had unpacked my shopping and made my cup of tea. I sat my pop culture ignorant ass down and flicked through the pages of my new mag. I realised that I had heard of around 3% of the people on those shiny pages. And yip, J Law was indeed Jennifer Lawrence, Jude and Chris remain hetrosexual…I actually felt slightly deflated by this news. I know I had totally made it up in my own head but I also had them down as a pretty cute couple.

Really, when did I become so out of touch!

…I guess when the whole x-factor/big brother lifestyle come about and it made me puke a little. No one needed to actually have a talent. It was just a race to see who would have sex live on telly first. Yeah, some of them could sing or dance a little but ultimately the ones that win these programs are the ones that can be molded and abused by the powers that be. I didn’t really want to watch or hear about a bunch of performing monkeys.

Since moving to L.A the whole paparazzi thing freaks me out too. I know the celebs need those photographers and photographers need the celebs. Vicious circle and all that. But often, while walking home from Summer’s school we often see ‘the pap hiding behind cars with their big ass camera lenses trying to get a shot that will make them a few dollars. What freaks me out though is that they are watching a kids play area. They are trying to get the best shot of some celebrities kid. As you may be aware, I have no idea how the whole celebrity thing works but. Hey. Asshole.

Leave them kids alone!

Hysterical blindness

Silver has just discovered the mega tantrum. Yes. She is two and a half. But it has been pretty much plain sailing so far. Little tantrums here and there. Now…whoosh. There she goes. She screams with such ferocity that it makes my ears pop.

While trying to get ready for a rare night out, little lovely Silver decided that she was not going to go to bed. Or rather that she will go to bed, as long as it was on top of Phoenix while emptying her water cup on the pillow – Nope, not going to happen!

So the tantrum starts. First the ear splitting shriek then onto low gurning with every breath. Her little face was red and she swings from the bedroom door handle – both feet up, making the most of her childlike upper body strength.

What can I do when I look into my child’s eyes to calm her down and yet I don’t exist? She couldn’t see anymore. Hysterical blindness has set in.

Wait…Just, wait. I sit down on the bed, pick up my make-up bag and keep getting ready. The screaming subsides to groaning noises but with some coughs added in for good measure. Her throat is probably as dry as a popcorn fart.

After another five minutes. She walks across and sits her ass next to me. Smiles and says “Water, Mummy”. Then gets into bed and closes her eyes.

That’s it. She has forgotten all about it. She has moved on. Maybe she realised half way through screaming that she didn’t actually know why she was screaming. But added an extra couple of minutes of grunting, to give herself time to maybe remember,or just to make it look more effective.

I do sometimes wish that I could deal with my problems in this way. I bet I would feel so amazingly relaxed if I just swung from the door frame screaming and crying for ten minutes…then moved the hell on.

Spring Break

School is such a buzzkill. I know that in reality we can’t have an eternal Spring break and that actually I would probably go totally insane having all three kids with me all the time, but this week has been sort of magical. Even though Jacob has been missing for some of it, we totally made up for it at the weekend.

Our Easter week started with a bang. That bang being a friend (Rebecca) and her two kids arriving from London. Summer and Rebecca’s eldest were in the same class in London so they were super excited to see each other and talk about who was a bit naughty back in her old class and who was the funniest person ever.

Our apartment is not really the best for having seven people staying in it but we made it work. I now quite like the idea of having a wife or living in a commune. Seriously things just got done. We worked well around dinner, cleaned up after with such synchronicity that in next to no time we had all the kids in bed asleep and were sitting out on the balcony with a cocktail. Not once did I have to ask for anything to get done, it was just done. Beautiful!

We started the week with a trip to Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This is also my first trip to one of the local museums. Summer went here on a school trip a few weeks ago so she was really happy to show us around. In true London style we got on a couple of buses to make our way there. Not really sure why everyone uses their cars all the time here as it was super easy, although I’m sure it would be hell getting out to the beach on a bus…must google that!

The outside of the museum was pretty amazing, lots of room for the kids to run around. Inside the various buildings were photographs, paintings, sculptures…everything you would expect from a Museum of Art. It was not the most child friendly of museums, lots of marshalls around telling off the children for being too loud or fast. One fella said that art was not interactive and also not for children.. Not sure I agree with that one! However, they did have a children’s area where the kids could paint for a while and we could relax a little.

The next day we decided to go to Universal Studios. We had originally said we should go to Disney but it takes 15 min on the bus to Universal compared to a two hour drive to Disney, so it was kind of a no brainer with five kids in tow. We arrived at the park nice and early to make the most of the day. The older children wanted to go on all the rides, while the younger kids either couldn’t or wouldn’t. So Rebecca took the older kids while I took my young ones for a walk around. After a while of walking, Phoenix, Silver and I decided to take the studio tour. It could not be that frightening, right?! Hmm. Turns out that after 15 minutes of sitting on a train looking at various famous street sets you enter a dark tunnel. Then – in 4D – dinosaurs start attacking the train, spraying water and rocking the carriage back and forth. Phoenix and Silver both start screaming and shaking uncontrollably, fighting over who is going to be closest to me. I hung my head in shame for taking them on the tour…I could see the glares from the old biddies!

Next up was the famous animals show. I double checked with a steward that there was nothing remotely scary in this show. Apart from a few pigeons flying over head we were totally safe. Phoenix and Silver loved it, especially when one of the dogs from Beverly Hills Chihuahua came on stage. Oh, what a treat that was!!!

Then lunch and a run about in the water fountains and onto the next show, Waterworld. Seriously amazing. I love this stuff. Explosions and water flying everywhere. A crappy plot line. It’s so cheesy and fabulous…next time I’m going on my own and sitting in the splash area!

We caught a couple more shows and then it was time to head home with five tired kids –  and two even more tired Mums.

The rest for the week was filled up with kids arguing, winding each other up, then laughing and chatting. Kids are so amazing, I do wish I could wear my emotions on my sleeve the way they do.
Poor Jacob arrives home, tired and Jetlagged and I get him straight back into family life. Best way to get over the lag I say!

I had the weekend planned. It is Easter and we must find somewhere amazingly American to do an Easter egg hunt. Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark was going to be the place. So with a picnic packed we headed over to the land of oversized egg baskets. We hunted for sweetie filled eggs in a hay covered field and avoided the rather creepy looking Easter bunny. Really, what more could you want. Well, a little less sun, as being deep in the valley it was baking. We were baking. Being the pasty Brits we are (with the exception of Jacob) I was slightly fearful of us looking like “Brits on holiday” – you know, the lobster look. We did manage the whole day, taking a sun break in the hillbilly ranch style cafe and seeking trees to hide under. It was a perfect way to spend a family Saturday.

Easter Sunday arrived and we were going to a friend’s potluck lunch. I baked my Spanish Omelette just in time. The kids were all ready and off we went. Not really knowing what to expect as the friend (Tiffany) who invited us is really a new friend. Jacob and I actually met her the day before we got married in Vegas a couple of years ago. She was a gorgeous maitre d at the Paradise Cove in Malibu. She gave us her email and lots of advice on the different areas in L.A to live with kids. But on an actual day to day friendship level she is pretty new. Turning up at her house in North Hollywood for Easter Sunday was so fun. Her family and friends are just as amazing as she is. All gorgeous and welcoming. I felt like I had known some of them for years!

The Kids played outside. Summer playing catch, Phoenix running around with a boy his age trying out skateboards and Silver became the doorman for the day (or door person – don’t want to be sexist).

The Holidays are always so special, but this is our first one in Los Angeles so maybe that’s why it was extra special. Or maybe it was the friends visiting from the U.K or even the new friends making us feel welcome. What ever the magic factor was I don’t want it to end. Maybe I should home school. Maybe I should try unschooling, maybe I should go set that alarm.