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Friday, 4 May 2012

The Perils of eBay

My eBay love affair started a couple of years ago, when thinking that I would never have any more children due to lack of opportunity (a very sad few days). I decided to clear out and sell all my old baby equipment, to make a bit of cash before my girls birthdays.
I had a fair few things, and sold monitors, bottle warmers, safety gates, clothes, bedding, you name it. I even sold a buggie. Which led me on to selling more buggies, which I would purchase off eBay and then sell for a better price.
This didnt last long: I realised that people can be really unreasonable. They seem to think that everyone selling on eBay must be a webshop or business with brand new, well packaged items, wellI'm sorryguys, but thats not the case!
I'm very truthful in my descriptions, if something is wrong or has a scratch I will say. I always put from a pet free smoke free home, which is good to know, I know I always look for this. And, I have to say that the majority of buyers have been good, and Im currently on 100% feedback, and very pleased with that!
But there have been the odd few, who have had me fuming, steaming at the ears and breathing fire! Today, was one such case.
I'd found a couple of 'old' mobile phones. I say old because we dont use them, not because they are old. In fact they are less than a year old, but my kids couldnt get to grips with them, so they got abandoned. So I put them up for auction on ebay, and they both sold. One, absolutely fine, very happy, good feedback, thank you very much sir! The other? Don't get me started!

Well, it seems I have started.
The guy received the phone and immediately starts messaging me that it doesnt work. In a displeasing tone. Like hes been the centre of some scam. Well, for a start, I know full well it does work, it just hasnt been used in a while and needs charging for a while. And for a second, I feel am I the receiving end of one of those rogue bad ebayers, who are notorious for doing these sorts of things.
So, I tell the guy it does work and to try it again, and if it doesn't work, send it back to me.
I receive a message that he's sent the phone back. Ok, I thought, I'll check it . cos you never know, and you cant say anything til its been checked out really. So I plugged it in, and within 30 seconds it starts flashing. I leave it overnight and on Sunday morning it is working, absolutely fine like new. Now, I spent the majority of the week with my mum who was in hospital having major surgery, or thinking about her being in hospital, so I didnt give much thought to my eBay happenings, which I had previously explained to the buyer, so when I received a very rude message from him threatening me with an 'open case', I was furiously p!$$£d off, and sent him back a message telling him basically that people have lives to live, we dont all hang onto eBay every second of the day, and that I found him very rude and disrespectful. I too could launch a complaint athim because my item had nothing wrong with it.
Next day, message from said buyer, all apologies, calling me 'my friend' (I ain't your friend, and never will be!) and asking for a refund. So I try to issue the refund, but it doesnt work for some reason, so I explained it to him and asked for his bank details so I could transfer the money that way.I realise this may have sounded dodgy, but I do not have chequebook facility on my bank account, and wanted to be a good seller so what else could I do?
Today, I get back a very rude reply once again, saying (quote)
 you have two options 1. sort out the problem with paypal 2. I have sent you invoice so you can make payment that invoice. so pay my refund soon I cant wait anymore today is the last day for you.
Today is the last day for you?? What, am I gonna have a gun at my head,what are you threatening?!
So I check out this guys invoice, and he's charged me the item price, plus delivery (ok) and the return postage. Well, I'm not having that. If the item was faulty then yes, but its not, and im certainlynot paying this guywith his rudeness.
And then, somehow, paypaldoubles the refund Id have to pay back. No. I dont think so.
Just as Im aboutto replyto the guyagain about this 'mistake', a message comes through 'a case has been opened against you. this needs your immediate attention'. This, had me fuming, again!
So I looked at the case and you wanna see what this guy has put about me!

Details the buyer provided:
Problem: The item is not as described
The buyer has already contacted you through eBay Messages
The buyer paid on 23 Apr, 2012
The item is damaged
You have not responded to the buyer
You aren't working with the buyer to solve the problem
 the only things true about this are nos 2 and 3! And as an added thing he says Im wasting his time! Ha!
More fuming and more anger. I just wanna give this guy his poxy refund and be done, does he really think I want to be faffing about with him? Am I really gonna do a scam for fifteen quid and then keep contacting him to arrange refund if I was a scammer?!!! No, Im pretty sureascammer would do a runner!
So I clicked on the refund button, and ebay say ineed to refund £15.50 (the correct price) so I do it. And it goes through, finally. I am happy. But I know this guy will not be. I cant wait to leave him feedback. Needless to say my love affair is well and truly over (as a seller at least).
And Im sure there will be another rude message waiting for me tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bunnies Galore!!
So, how was your easter? Ours was very nice and chaotic as usual.
On the friday we took the kids (five of them, my four plus bf younger one) to see mirror mirror. We thought the kids would like it and in actual factwe wanted to see it aswell, so it was good for all, and most were very well behaved.
On sunday (egg day, as my Finnish friend calls it) we had an easter egg hunt.
For kids who dont believe in the easter bunny they were well getting into it!.
We had plastic hollow eggs filled with chocolate mini eggs, smarties eggs, egg sweets and stickers. they also hunted for cadburys creme eggs, so there was a good mix for all those who do and dont like chocolate!Then they got their big eggs and small treats. Usually they are very sensible with the opening of the eggs and make sure they can be wrapped up again after and make it spread out over a few weeks. Not this time! They opened everything in one go,and tipped it all out onto a plate each, plates piled high that chocolate buttons, minstrels, and aero balls were all dropping off with every movement. It wasnt a pretty sight (or was, depending on your thoughts of a chocolate fest). I felt sure there would be pandemonium. Fights over who ate whose, and 'you've taken mine!', 'mines all gone!' all filled my mind,and I was ready for it, but thanks to a few sainsburys bags and a permanent marker,and a gorgeous boyfriend of course, in actual fact they've all been really good and most of the chocolate is in fact gone already, and into the correct tummies to-boot.
Happy Easter everyone :-)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

You're Fired!
I'm just watching the end of the apprentice. All these high flying business minded people competing, battling for prime position with Lord Sugar.
Can you imagine what it would be like to apply to be a parent?
They'd be sat in a church hall or park or similar (instead of the boardroom) in jeans and t-shirts all looking knackered. Some might have painted sick on their shoulder, or made their hair more ruffled than usual.
Here's some of the things they would have to have in their CV and application to be a parent

1 the ability to stay awake all night (maximum two hours sleep), every night, for an infinite amount of years

2 to be an octopus. The problem with being a parent is that you still have to do the house work, and when there are children involved, the amount is multiplied X10.

                      3 so this mum is looking a bit too happy and perfect for reality, but it doesn't mask the fact that mums or dads in charge of the household have to have a business brain, or at least quickly grow one. Running a household is exactly like running a business.

      4  yes, it is a stomach of steel. Honestly the amount of horrible things I've had to clean up this week. Sick, poop (alot of both) wee, snot, dribble. Seriously, we deserve medals....

    5   entertainer! Yes, just this job requirement alone can take up 90% of your time. Entertainment has to be incorporated into everything. Nappy change time (keys), dinner time (planes, smiler faces), bedtime (lullabies). Anything from drawing a picture to making playdoh, making a den to building a post office (my job for the next few weekends)...

        6 every parent needs to be a gourmet chef, trying to shove as many different varieties of fruit,veg, meat, carbs etc as they can, to broaden their childs culinary horizons. So what is it, with this vast array of foods they have sampled, that the kids want for dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? Cheese and pasta...

     7 doctor, nurse and surgeon, in one go.

   8 Unfortunately I am this most of the time. Referee. Now that the kids are getting older I let them sort it out themselves, but I still find my assistance is needed on the majority of occasions.I must consider myself lucky to come out of it with only minor scrapes myself

9 Having to be the critic for everything. School plays - yes, you were the best shepherd, literary critic - yes your poem was the best, arts council - I will put your best pictures on my wall, Eve, go and change those clothes they don't 'go'

10 Ssssshhhhhh! Don't tell the kids...

                                                               11  You have to be like a military leader sometimes, to make sure four (or however many kids you have) little people manage to get up, dressed, eat, brush teeth, etc either getting ready for school or a day out, its not an easy feat

   12  Last but certainly not least, boundless energy!

Candidates for apprentice, you don't stand a chance. You're all fired!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Girls Night In
I cannot emphasise the importance of adult time. Be it with your partner, or friends, family, colleagues, whatever. But it must be time spent with another adult.
During the holidays my time is spent with my kids, 100% of the time. It is mentally exhausting.
No one to talk to, moan to, cry on, talk some sense with, to bring you back down to reality. To appreciate. No way of getting out all the stress and frustration. No one to get a hug from, (trust me, a childs hug is NOT the same as an adult one).
Once in a while a dvd night is called for, for a chat, catch up, and reality grounding. Well, actually, I'd say one is called for at least once a week, but what with jobs, universities, coursework, housework, other halves and children, it's kinda hit and miss. But it gets to the point where we HAVE to have one.This week the rules were broken and we had one on Sunday. Un-heard of!
Don't get me wrong, its not a party, its just the three of us, my two best girlfriends and I, and there's no alcohol, but we have fun and a laugh, and even though I turn back into a pumpkin each time, I've still had a ball by the end.
Here's our recipe for a girls night in....

                                                    1, slightly peculiar films....             

  European if possible, definitely with subtitles! We never go for a blockbuster, or what you'd consider 'normal' films. They go under the title 'new world' or 'other world cinema'. Other world is about right for some of them.

                                                       2, sweet popcorn....

but it has to be from Lidl. The best sweet popcorn around. In a blue bowl.

                                           3, cheese puffs

from tesco or sainsburys, but a complete must for our nights, more-so than the popcorn. In a pink bowl.

                                                                 4, some sweet treat

 a sweet treat either bought or baked, just to make it feel extra special. Can be cake, brownies, chocolate, or biscuits, we're not fussy....

                                                                            5, a nice cuppa...

                                                              or for some people....(!)... ;-P

but the rules are you must stay in the kitchen for the first half hour at least, chatting while I make a very slow cup.....

                                                                         6 the most important ingredients....US!

no, of course its not actually any of us in the pic, and actually I think we all do a good job of looking fabulous, but trust me, this is how we feel, every day.


 and a outpour of all the crap and stress we've each had to go through since the last dvd night....
Thanks girls!!! xxx

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Earplugs, Anyone??!!
Ergh, I have a headache, the kids are on full volume today! Wondering how other parents deal with the stress of everyday life? My two girls have spent 4 hours today doing a job that would have taken 45mins with one person. Why?!
I have huffed, and I've puffed, and I've pretty much exploded with crossness, frustration and disappointment.
And still we're not done.
The problem with my lot is that they simply do not care. I explain to them, if they get it done quickly, then they've got the rest of the day/holidays to play, watch TV, relax, etc. but its like talking to a brick wall. So I end up nagging, and eventually shouting. That's the other thing, too much shouting. I like a quiet life. But because the kids are so loud, either from being at each others throat or playing in high volume, that I end up shouting so they can hear me.
My son has been very good today, doing all I've asked him to do and more, helped with Lilly and the two of them played so nicely for a long time this morning. That's how it should be. I don't mind toys on the floor as long as its put away once played with. I don't mind dressing up as long as the clothes are put away and any dirty clothes put out for the wash. I do mind great big piles of paper, books, random toys all piled on top of the toy cupboard, with no sign of being moved. I do mind all kinds of rubbish bits of paper, old clementines, broken things, crumbs, an odd sock, a ponies head shoved under the sofa or hidden under a table, or behind a unit.That's not on.
I am past how to get this lot tidying, how can they not see how gross this is? They seem to think the crap fairy will come along and clean everything up while they are at school, but no fairy is coming, they make the mess, they clean it up again.
Any tips are very welcome, as its doing my head in and its only the second day of the holiday! I feel its going to be a long one....

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Supermarket Sweep
So, its the Easter holidays, and of course at some point it means taking the long and dangerous journey to sainsburys with a load of kids. Hyped up kids.
Now, I always get a big shop delivered from tesco, but there's always something I forget, they forget, dont have or don't sell. This week its porridge, chicks and knickers.
So after trudging up the hill (its pretty steep) with the kids playing 'wizards of waverly place' with sticks as wands in their boots, we make it to the post office, where the guy behind the counter very kindly tells me that I'm looking tired, and its only the first morning of the holidays.
Thanks Mr.
Great start to the day, way to give a girl some confidence.
We catch a bus and I am adamant that they children will be calm quiet and respectful of the other passengers. Is it me, or are there alot of noisy kids on public transport these days? It seems alot of my views and opinions are quite old fashioned, but I dont care. My kids will grow up to respect others. I cant understand parents who let their kids rule them.
However, as adamant as I may be, I end up threatening them with a Drs appointment to check out their ears, why all the shouting and loud voices?!
Finally at sainsburys, and the fun continues. I take the younger two to the toilet while the older two decide to play a silly game. I feel my frustration starting to build. (It's worth it though, because I found £1.50 in the cubicle!). We get the trolley, and deposit Lilly in the main section where she sits and behaves. We go and find her two packs of knickers which is usually the tough bit but actually was a sinch. Well, after I had actually located said knickers.
"Kids?!Can you look down these two aisles for packets of knickers for Lil?!"
They all run off.
In the wrong direction.
I finally found them hanging in a particular aisle which had been abandoned totally by shoppers.
A be-hatted head sticks round the corner. "Hi, Mummy!"
"Amy, what are you doing with that Easter bonnet?!"
"Wearing it?!"
I don't care, she does this to try to irritate me, and to gain attention, and I try hard to ignore it.
"Who wants to check out toys?"I call.
No answer. Great, I think, that'll save some time and trouble.
"Come on then, lets find these chicks!"
"Can we look at the toys?!" three different voices ask. I explain why the answer is no, and walk off before the barrage of complaints start.
"Ooh, Lil, the chicks will be down here" - I've spotted the Easter aisle.
We look.
There are no chicks.
Not one.
"Oh, I wish we'd come here before I decided what egg I'd like.." Evie starts, and I'm cross so I interrupt, though I know I shouldn't, "well, it wouldn't have made a difference,cos I still would have got them delivered by tesco,which don't sell these eggs." she starts to argue so I say it again, word for word.
This is something else I've started to do. I call a name five times or give an instruction or request, but it doesnt get acted upon, so I say it again, word for word, ignoring all else til its done. I think it may be starting to work.
The search continues.
"Dough-nups! Dough-nups!" Yes, Lilly has spotted the donuts, which she is into this week. I get them because actually she is being especially good and cute today. Even with the other three bickering and shrieking.
The cake ingredients are right nearby, but can I find any decent chocolate? No. I do manage to find beefburgers though, and my porridge around the corner, which I decide to make with apple juice to make apple flavour porridge (I loved apple milupa as a child, even as a teen when I was ill).
"Amy, here's a brush for the carpet"
"To scrub my puke out the floor?"
"Yes, Ame"
"I'm sorry Mummy"
"What for?"
"For sicking on your carpet in your room. It smells like sick now"
"I know, but its not your fault, dont have to be sorry."
"But I am sorry though"
"Ok, Ame. Thanks for the apology" See, they can be nice and sweet...
Then we go to look for hair cream to put in their hair when I'm 'styling' it. Amy keeps picking up blonde hair colouring, "when I am older I'm going to have yellow hair...". I cant find what I'm looking for, not even with Eve's 'help 'of chatting my ears off, or Robertos 'help' by standing right in front of what I'm looking for. I find something, but I think frizz-ease might be a little too strong for kids hair.
I give up, I'm coming to the end of my tether.
"Right! Lets go!"
A chorus of "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh" ensues. Do they really want to stay in sainsburys? Really?
We get to the till, and its as if the whole of the borough has attended this particular sainsburys at this particular time. Well, it is saturday, I reason to myself.
"Customer announcement, the store will be shutting in fifteen minutes, due to Crystal Palace playing at home today, please collect your last few items and pay at the tills"
No wonder.
I breathe a sigh of relief that I actually made it to the till and got behind a fairly empty trolley in front. Everyone else was stocking up for the month. Then my relief subsides, as I look at my children and see that Eve is looking thoroughly miserable and shouting the odds at the other two who are playing 'lets see who can hit each other around the head the most before they cry'. What a great game.
I put on my playground yelling voice; "Right, you lot!" customers start looking at me. I. Don't. Care.
"Get down the end, and split up. Face the wall, don't speak to each other, or move, or anything!" Eve stomps off, the others follow, a little less stompily. (Lilly is hiding in the trolley, sneaking sugar from the donut box). They know I've had enough. And actually, they behave while I'm at checkout. Usually, it is my most stressiest part, but today I think they knew not to push it. I packed and paid, and we left the shop, trying not to get run over by all the football fans.
We miss a bus, but one comes immediately after and we make it. Eve starts on Amy again so I put her away from everyone else.
But everyone helps carry the bags home down the hill, everyone is pleasant walking home, which makes a nice change. We get in and Eve goes off to her maths tutor. The rest of us spend the next three hours trying on summer clothes to see if they fit. Another stressful task with surprise dress up and catwalks and handbags, but it got done.
I know and am trying to learn to handle my stress better, and to channel it in a better way. I am trying to deal with arguements and bad behaviour in public places, without attracting the attention of all the shoppers. It'll come. Maybe when the youngest is 20yrs old. But it will come.
One thing's for sure, I will definitely have to go to sainsburys again this holiday.
Now, at the end of the day, the kids are watching 'the voice', Amy is facing away from the tv waiting to turn just like the judges, Eve under a blanket to do the same (too lazy to turn), Roberto on the computer,and Lilly snuggling on my lap, telling me off for singing and dancing. This is the best bit of the day with the kids. When there's no pressure, no stress, no arguements, just chilling and relaxing, everyone being able to be themselves and able to live with each other like this.
Now the next hurdle is bedtime....

Friday, 30 March 2012

Poor Lil
So, today was a very sad day for my 3 year old. We were sorting out the summer clothes (I say 'we', it was of course just me with Lil'-bud sat on the floor of my bedroom playing with a fairy and a yogurt maker). I have hidden among our 'not this season' clothes a green bag with a few items of baby clothes from when they were all tiny. I get to look in this bag twice a year, with the change of the seasons, and so the coinciding change of clothes.Lil decided to have a look in said bag, and found her swaddle blanket. She was very curious as to what this triangular piece of cloth could be and why mummy was acting so protective of it. I explained to her that it was used to keep her warm and snug as a new baby,and that it wouldnt 'fit' her anymore,so lets put it away.
"Can you show me, peez?" said Lil with her huge brown eyes.
I sigh, knowing this is not going to end well. "Ok,just quickly", and I start to put this triangle over her head just manage to wrap it around her body. Just.
"I a baby, now?" she asks in a pleading way.
"No darling, you're a big girl" (she's into being a big girl at the moment), "but you will always be my baby".
She scowls. She grunts. She is NOT happy.
"Come on,shall I make you a jam sandwich?"
"Okay" and she speeds downstairs, still clinging to the swaddle blanket.
As I start to load the washing machine(cos I'm random like that. I say I'll make a sandwich and then go and sort the washing for half hour) I hear whimpering. Lilly walks slowly into the kitchen carrying  a photo I had taken of her when she was a year old.
"What's the matter Lil?" But she starts bawling, tears streamimg down  her face.
"I want to be a baby"
"Like in the picture?"
"But that is you.You've been a baby already" of course that's the worse thing I could possibly say. Wailing and crying continue, she wants picking up and I proceed to rock her and make sandwiches while trying to cheer her up. Every time the damn blanket falls off its like the world has come to an end.
I have never seen my youngest baby in so much pain. That idea that time has gone and it wont come back no matter what. And its strange because I was thinking the exact same thing the night previous,  (between being woken by Lilly and woken by Amy), how she's growing so fast and what will I do when there are no more babies left to carry and cuddle and look after? It nearly made me cry, there's nothing I could say or do. As aparent, you feel the pain your baby feels, not so much the physical, but the emotional pain for sure. I'd never had to feel it with Lilly.
As I settled her down to eat her lunch, I looked out the window,and the road is incredibly busy. Then it clicks.
"OH NO QUICK! LIL! WE'VE GOTTA GO! SCHOOL BREAKS UP EARLY TODAY!" Yes, I'd momentarily forgotten the 2.15 break up for Easter.
But that was it, everything was back to normal. I had to shove Lils lunch into her lunchbag stuff her bag on her back (they were going to a friends house after school) and race out the front door up to school.
She took the blanket with her, but from that moment on totally forgot about the blanket and being a baby. She came home, and all she's talked about is purple broccoli, happy as anything.
So I guess I have learned that kids are fickle, easily distracted and can be quite emotional, and that I'm just too soft sometimes.
But then I did know that anyway. She is child no 4.

This Is Me
So, for my first post, I guess I'll tell you a bit about myself and my family and my life which is chaos! I'm a 30 yr old single mum of four fantastic but very crazy children. I have Evie who's nearly 10, Roberto (don't blame me!) 8, Amy (dying to be Aimee) 6, and little Lilly,3. We live in south London, a small nice bit surrounded by not very nice 'stinky' areas.
I have a boyfriend (who is amazing) and he has two girls of his own (who are lovely), so we are a big family. They live down by the coast.
I am currently rebuilding my life, not an easy feat but I'm determined! Life improvements include studying science with the open university, doing a childminding course, learning to drive (nearly there!), and experiencing new things, one step at a time!
I am cleaner, bed maker, tooth fairy, arts council, clothes coordinator, entertainer, cook, business woman, referee, night watch woman, gardener, literary critic, school play critic and military leader among many other things!
I hope you will all join me on my journey, day to day. The huge events will be fab, but its the small things everyday that make life what it is and worthwhile, and worth sharing. I'm looking forward to making friends and hopefully at some point in making a difference too.
Love to all
Emma x