Even before we got to the hotel things fell apart. Come on now… did you *honestly* expect anything else? Do things ever go smoothly for me?
The wife went to work… the kids had to go to guitar and singing… and the UK clan (who were going to babysit the youngest for us) went to Sydney for the afternoon. Kids finished their lessons at 4:30 p.m…. the wife was expecting to arrive at the train station at 5:45 p.m…. the UK clan were lord knows where… and the dinner was slated for a 6:00 p.m. start.
At 5:45 p.m. we were still running around like headless chickens… in my case after a shave so close that it was almost literal! No sign of the UK clan. We get a phone call that tells us the UK people are lost about 30 mins away. The wife rings to say she’ll be at the station in 10 mins and can I make a start… or shall she stay on and meet me at the *next* station though she might not be there until 6:30 p.m.
I get the daughter to check with her friend that the start *is* 6:00 p.m. not 6:30 p.m. in the vain hope I had the times wrong.
Of course that was far too much to hope for… 6:00 p.m. is when dinner was due to be served.
Oh joy – it’s already 5:45 p.m. and we are only just exiting the house to go get the wife from the train… which is a 20 minute journey under optimum conditions. This being the ‘rush hour’ means these are *not* ‘optimum conditions’.
Panic sets in. This is *the* most important night of my daughters school life so far and I’m rapidly approaching the level of ‘blown it’. In desperation I chuck *both* kids in the car intending that we collect the wife, start back towards the hotel where the function is to be held… and on the way we would ring a friend to ask *them* to babysit the youngest so we can dump her and carry on to the dinner.
Naturally… we get no answer. The entire family has gone out somewhere. Can I find her *mobile* number? Well no… because my phone decided right *now* at the most inopportune moment possible it would not allow me to see *any* contacts below ‘A’. Since the friends surname is Azzapardi you’d think we’d have been ok – yes? Bzzz… wrong. I’d stored it under her *Christian* name.
By now I’m almost doing a ‘John Cleese’ and yelling at anything animate or inanimate in frustration. That helps immensely as you’ll imagine.
I collect the wife… she also rings. Still no answer. We are now forced to go back home… because of course, in the interim the UK clan has arrived home, called me, and asked if would we be coming back to drop the little one off. I’m in a foul mood… so I say no we will not… we’re too far away now for that and ring off. You notice the slight mistake I made? We had nowhere to take the youngest *except* back home so muttering imprecations and curses under my breath… we set off on the 20 minute journey back to the house.
At 6:30 p.m. we eventually arrive back at the homestead (*already* 30 mins late) and drop off the youngest. Within seconds we are at last heading off towards the dinner.
Surely nothing else could go wrong?
Well ok, actually nothing else did go wrong; we found the hotel, raced into the car park… up the stairs… located the room and checked our places on the seating plan. We’ve arrived… an hour late.
Being an *hour* late, of course means that *everyone* else (parents, children and staff… ) has already been seated.
We look for our table.
As you’d expect, from someone who’s life is played out like a sit-com, we are seated way over to the right… at the far end of the room diagonally across, and as long a distance as possible from where we enter.
We skulk across trying to pretend we’re not there… which is *not* easy when you are wearing a bright red jacket… as I was.
Also, of course, I’m still 120 kilos and trust me it is *not* easy to skulk when you weigh 120 kilos… and are wearing a bright red jacket. Why did I wear it? Well the invitation said clothes should be ‘smart casual’ and this is all I could fit into. Buy more?? Are you mad?? More on that later.
Talking of ‘more later’, as you’ll guess this is just a short overview of the calamities that befell us before we even set foot in the hotel. You might *also* guess… bearing in mind who’s blog you’re reading… that bad as this appears… from here on in it could only get worse. In fact this was almost the high point of the evening!!
We will now take a short intermission – Stage 2 of the disaster epic will follow shortly.