Monday, April 26, 2010

Time to Hide in the Shed Again

Photograph copyright: Shrinky

Yeah, okay this is a wee bit of a cheat, since I've resurrected it up from my old blog, but as my youngest daughter is about to make me sit through all of this all over again in just a couple of months, I thought it might serve to remind me to try to behave myself better this time around.

I usually make a point of always keeping my head well below the parapet when it comes to involving myself overly-much in the day to day business of my kids respective schools - it's kinda necessary, considering that up until recently, each of my four all attended separate ones. (Yes, it is a bit daft I know, but there are good reasons, believe me.) Nowadays, it's only three schools that I have to juggle but this still spreads me thin. Extra curricular activities, parents nights and sporting events, keep me on my toes, especially as I am on my own most of the time. Life is full enough, without the PTA die-hards constantly chasing me.

I know they do fine works 'in all, but jeez - get a life! (Or, at the very least stop guilt-tripping mine.) In an effort to throw these (mostly, but not always) fine ladies off my back, I've agreed to cover various events , photographically speaking, donating the sales proceeds directly back to the school in question. Most of the time I enjoy it and as my kids get a kick out of it too everyone wins, right? What's the problem, I hear you ask?

That socially incompetent gene swimming through my veins, is all. I always, always, always, do or say something which I really, truly and honestly don't set out to do or say, but like some nutter on a psychiatric day pass, I go right on in and do it anyway, showing myself up for the total complete and utter prat which I most obviously am.

Have you any idea how snooty some parents are? They get all humour extracted the moment school fees are exchanged. Still, I have to confess even I excelled myself at the school-leavers chapel service. As ever, it was a genuine mistake, but I kinda doubt the other mother saw it that way.

Let me explain the set up to you, my eldest daughter's year were bidding farewell to junior school and preparing to move up to College, (which isn't really a college, at all, 'though it still likes to call itself that). This is a big thing around these parts. The service is held in a grand cathedral-like chapel situated inside the school grounds. Very pucker, it is. No less than the Bishop of Sodor, Principal of the senior school, the Governor of the island (and his wife), plus the entire school, and all of the parents are in attendance. Naturally, such an auspicious occasion warrants full video coverage, too.

It started quite well I thought. I slipped in to a back pew, since I was still clad in my tatty jeans. I hadn't realised this was a dress-up occasion, but no worries, no one was likely to see me anyway, were they? The sermon and the hymns were cheerfully uplifting, and there was a collective feeling of paternal pride and touching sentiment to the occasion.

It worked down to the speeches, and individual thank-yous, to where the head comes forward and recites her bit. You know the kind of thing, general acknowledgements and bouquets awarded to all the committee ladies who've broken their backs ceaselessly fundraising and organising events. Well deserved too, no doubts about it, pats on the head were well overdue.

Halfway through this presentation the Head suddenly lifts her arm, pointing in my direction, and with a growing sense of unease I hear her say, there is someone sitting way at the backwho also deserves a mention for all the hard work she's contributed towards the photographs and videos for the school yearbook. (Who, me? I Didn't even realise any of my pic's had been selected, never mind turned in to a slide show.) Yes, come on down, Mrs. Shrinky, applause all round.

I regretted sitting so far back, as it was a long walk down the aisle, with everyone's attention fixed squarely on my scruffy jeans, but I finally reached the front of chapel and went to accept my flowers. I thought there was something a little off when I glimpsed the look of horror on the Principals face, but being a tad slow I just didn't know what. The other odd thing was she gave them to the woman who'd just sprung up behind me. I STILL didn't click, thinking, oh - she must be the one who wants to give them to me, perhaps it's from her department? So I reached to take them from her, but she snatched them back again!

Very odd.

She gave me a steely glare. Confused, I went to take them back again. She held firm. She spun on her heel and marched up the aisle, with me trailing along still hanging on to the other side of the bouquet. It was around this moment that the penny finally dropped.

"Are you also called Mrs. Shrinky?" I whispered.

"Blinky!" she hissed back, and slid in to the pew next to mine.

I apologised later, profusely. I didn't mean to mug her for her flowers, did I? Certainly not on camera with the entire school as witness. Apparently, she had sorted through an entire library of photographs to compile the year-book. It was just a pure mis-understanding, is all. Anyways, she was less than charitable on the forgiveness front, I can tell you. A curt nod and her exiting back was all she gave.

But the most humiliating experience was yet to come. "And, finally -" the Head announces, "Mrs. Shrinky -"

I just wanted to die. I took the walk of shame for the second time, wondering where she had managed to scrape up that extra bottle of champagne, as I tried to appear grateful.


SJ said...

Worth a second reading with the changed names. Now watch as I laugh derisively at you.

quilly said...

Public humiliation ... nothing quite like it, is there? I am glad you resurrected this, else I may never had enjoyed the laugh.

pat houseworth said...

"Socially Imcompetent Genes"

I know where you come from....been there, still there.


Anonymous said...

Did you take the walk of shame while barefoot?

Mushy said...

A blast from the past!

San said...

Oh Shrinky, don't get me started on humorless PTA ladies. One of my darkest days was spent sifting through piles and piles of donated clothing for a rummage sale organized by these sad ones. People had actually donated underwear, so I can understand the somber mood in that regard. But when I went to buy something in advance as a reward for my work--no, not a pair of discarded panties--a small amplifier, actually, and at a whale of a good price--they looked like I was being impulsive and selfish. What a misdirection in goals--I mean, my money had to have been as good as the that of the throngs who would show up the next morning.

Tell Ms. Blinky to stop shopping for underwear at rummage sales. She has a bee up her arse.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Don't be dismayed in the least! Honey, every one of us has taken "that walk" at one point or another! You're just more honest than most of us.:)

"like some nutter on a psychiatric day pass, I go right on in and do it anyway, showing myself up for the total complete and utter prat which I most obviously am."
Ah Yes! Life is so pleasant at times, isn't it?:)

Anonymous said...

aaah a fellow member of the put thy foot in thy mouth club as well as the ok how can I humiliate myself this time can sit next to me at the meetings...:))))

Momma said...

We must have been separated at birth. This is SO like something I would do.

I'm so glad to know you didn't actually die of embarrassment. :-)

Peace - D

CrazyCath said...

Aw Shrinky we have the same genes! (and probably jeans too!)

Tell them to get a life. I'd like to see THEM juggle 3 schools and 4 kids alone! It makes them feel important. And you have to feel sorry for them. I mean, that's all the recognition they'll ever get.

And what have you got? WORLD WIDE recognition for being such a great writer! Keep on girl keep on!

SpongyBones said...

LOL I love this! When I read it the first time, I had to go back again and laugh all over! Love the tags to by the way! Glad you pulled it and reposted it! Glad you can walk that walk with that head held high!

Alex L said...

I bet your kids were happy about that.

Shrinky said...

sj, you're all heart!

Shrinky said...

Ah quilly, 'tis fortunate I have little pride left to lose.

Shrinky said...


I can never believe that of you.

Shrinky said...


I may be bad, but even I am not that bad (hmph).

Shrinky said...

I know mushy,


Shrinky said...

(Tee-hee) San,

You know EXACTLY where I'm coming from.

Recycled underwear??? Ugh, nasty.

Shrinky said...


It's so good to know I'm not alone. x

Shrinky said...


I'll be looking for 'ya (don't let me down now)!

Shrinky said...


I actually think I got away with it with my youngest (sadly not so with my eldset daughter) they were both witness to this. Later, little Abby was delighted, "Mum, you were the only one there to go up twice, how cool!"

Shrinky said...

Ah Cath,

You always know exactly how to say the right thing! Consider yourself hugged girl. x

Shrinky said...

Hey spongy, I'm so glad you've found your way over here, how are you my friend? I'm popping over to catch up as I type..

Shrinky said...

Hey spongy, I'm so glad you've found your way over here, how are you my friend? I'm popping over to catch up as I type..

Shrinky said...


My kids already know my sole mission in life is to embarrass the hell out of them at every given opportunity.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John-Michael said...

You just presented a tale that bears out the unfliching truth in one of my life's 'pivotal' quotation favorites.

"We has met de enemy ... an' de is us!"

I do love you, Precious Lady!

Suldog said...

Oh, my God, that is so painful to read. Very funny, but still painful. And you still live there? You're brave.

Doug said...

Hi Carol,
Nice to see you back though granted
I'm very late to comment. Lovely
story that deserved a reprint.

Doug : )

the mother of this lot said...

And how long did your daughter not speak to you for?

Shrinky said...


I have scored so many own-goals I should be used to the humiliation by now (shrug).

Shrinky said...

Thanks Suldog,

I can't move, I've already been run out of everywhere else..

Shrinky said...

Hey Doug,

Long time no see, how are you my friend? I must pop over and catch up..

Shrinky said...

mother of this lot,

I'm still bribing her for forgiveness, believe me!

dawn said...

You are too funny, I would have laughed my a-s off. I was the PA pres but when I started working full time I had to stop besides the fact that the politics were killing me and it is political here. Thats why I stick to sports , can't be snooty there. Great Story!!!

david mcmahon said...

Deja vu - but it's always a pleasure to read your work.

mrsnesbitt said...

PTA's eh!
Phew! I have come all over funny just reading this...or was it that curry last night!

Great account!