30 September 2008

A Night Of Trivia

"The question that we all hate having to answer was about to be asked. "do you think these earrings go with my outfit?".....The quiz master then said "yes, but what number is he?" I was stumped. I meekly answered "two, three, four..."

In the past couple of weeks both No Worries and I have attended two trivia nights for our daughters schools. The idea behind them was to raise much needed money for these learning establishments.

Trivia nights are great and as I am a trivia fan I couldn't wait for the night to come around. I was like a child waiting for Christmas Day to arrive. To me trivia is a lot of fun. Whilst, I don't go pouring over facts and figures I do tend to remember a lot of useless facts. I don't know why, but I do.

Anyway, the first trivia night was for our eldest daughter and was a great success. Our team (of mums and dads) came second and we were just pipped at the post. Having said that, it was all a lot of fun and for a good cause. I even won two silent auctions - though why I bid on a Tupperware container and cup is beyond me now I think of it!

The second trivia night was the following weekend. We had to be at the venue at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. What we needed to do was to drop off our daughters with a family friend and then head to the venue. My job was to cook dinner and generally get the girls ready. My wife would be coming back from a jewellery party and would get some of the silent auction prizes ready. All pretty simple really.

The day was going according to plan - I got the girls ready, cooked them dinner and started getting ready myself. The clock on the wall showed it was 6.15pm. Plenty of time to make the trivia night and, hopefully, have a pre-quiz beer or two. The only thing I hadn't factored in was the No Worries factor. No Worries was in the bedroom getting herself ready for the big night. I went upstairs and gave her a quick "hi, we need to go soon if we want to make the start of the quiz". No Worries responded "okay". I wasn't so sure.

Next the thing that all guys dread happened. The question that we all hate having to answer was about to be asked. "do you think these earrings go with my outfit?" Now in circumstances like this the guy is in a no win situation. No Worries was wearing a black outfit so I assumed that anything would go with it. "erm, yeah...they go well" was my tentative reply. No Worries picked up on my apprehension. She responded with "aha, you don't like them!".

No worries then preceded to try on another 3 pairs of earrings before she was satisfied. Then she started to put together some jewellery for the silent auctions. By now the clock was saying 7pm! I reminded my wife that we needed to go asap otherwise we would miss the start of the quiz! I was starting to get frantic. I did not want to miss any questions.

Finally at 7.10pm we left the house. I had to drop off No Worries at the venue first before driving the girls to our family friend. After dropping my wife off I decided to take a number of back routes to get to our friends house. I got to the house with 10 minutes to go to the start of the trivia. I quickly farewelled the girls, gave our 'babysitters' some home made chocolate crackles (made by myself) and sprinted back to the car. Then it was Lewis Hamilton impression time to get to the trivia on time.

I parked the car and ran into the venue and made my way upstairs to the trivia room. The first question had been asked - it was a musical question (one of my fave subjects). I made my way to my table and could see that they didn't know the answer. This was my moment! I sat down and told the team the answer ('King of Wishful Thinking' by Go West). I knew then that I was going to have a good night!

Despite my best efforts (and the teams) we came second again! I was chosen during the quiz to represent the table and answer a 'who am I' question. I was the first to answer it. The answer was Pope Benedict (the current head honcho of the Catholic Church). The quiz master then said "yes, but what number is he?" I was stumped. I meekly answered "two, three, four..." The quiz master said "sorry, I cannot give you the points!" I was shattered. However, I guessed the second 'who am I' question correctly!

Overall, the night was great. A few beers and finger food certainly helped it to be a success! No Worries, resplendent in her 4th different pair of earrings, even won a door prize! She was very happy about this. I was too - as there was not any Tupperware on offer in the silent auctions!

19 September 2008

I Have A Dream - Ebbsfleet Style

"For whatever reason my sleep state then made out that I was a David Beckham like superstar. The only thing missing was his skill, the tattoos and his bank balance!...Sure enough, there they were next to my boots on the passenger seat seemingly grinning at me like a Cheshire Cat

I recently had a dream. Now that is not unusual, you might say, but for me I seem to have them very infrequently. Maybe I actually dream more than I realise but when the alarm goes off most mornings my main thoughts are on waking up and getting ready for the day.

As some of you would know I am one of 31,000 co-owners of Ebbsfleet United Football Club in England (if you trawl through my blog site you will find some blogs about 'the Fleet' and the MYFC setup). Anyway, for whatever reason my dream revolved around this fine football club.

In this dream I was a member of the coaching staff and also a registered player. From what I could recall I was working as the second in command to Liam Daish the head coach. Our next game was going to be a cup game against my home town. Naturally, I suggested to Liam that I actually play in this game for nostalgia reasons. Liam responded quite tersely "if we are 4-0 up then I will give you your 15 minutes of fame"

I was over the moon. The fact that Ebbsfleet were streets ahead of my home town team meant that there was every chance of me playing. For whatever reason my sleep state then made out that I was a David Beckham like superstar. The only thing missing was his skill, the tattoos and his bank balance! Also, my sister could bend the ball like Beckham much better than myself (and she is not really into football (aka soccer for the Aussies and Americans).

Before I knew it the dream had fast forwarded and it was the day of the game. I was excited and nervous. I checked my kit bag and re-checked it probably a hundred times or more. I drove to the ground in time to give a pep talk to the players and to get ready for my cameo appearance.

The game started and it was all going to plan. Ebbsfleet were totally on top and went in at half time 2-0 to the good. Liam and I were happy. We told the players to carry on playing like they were and more goals would come. For whatever reason it appeared the players listened to us as halfway through the second half we were 4-0 up!

Liam turned to myself and uttered those immortal words "why have you got chewing gum stuck in your hair?" I was mortified. How long had it been there? I frantically started to claw at my hair only to see Liam laughing his head off. "tricked you! go on, get changed. Remember, if you play well England might call you up for their next game - not!"

I rushed off to the changing room to get ready. I opened my kit bag and looked for my boots. Where were they? For whatever reason they had disappeared. By now my heart was pounding. Where had I put them? Then I had an idea. I'll put a message out over the ground speaker system and see if anyone has a pair I can borrow. So I sprinted off to the media room to deliver my urgent request.

Sure enough, one of the fans had a spare pair of boots (it's amazing how things like this happen in dreams). I quickly put them on and ran to the side of the pitch. Ten minutes to go until the final whistle. As I was about to go onto the field the assistant referee grabbed me. "sorry, unless you have shin pads on you are not going to play".

I ran back to the dressing room. Where were my shin pads? I searched everywhere and remembered that they were in my car. So I ran to the back of the ground where my car was parked. Sure enough, there they were next to my boots on the passenger seat seemingly grinning at me like a Cheshire Cat! I grabbed the pads and went back to the sidelines. Liam saw me and said "where have you been? the games almost over now. You had better get on asap".

The assistant referee motioned to the referee and I was beckoned on to the field of play. Before I had reached the halfway line the referee blew the full time whistle. I had been on the pitch for about 15 seconds!! I walked slowly off the pitch feeling dejected. A few of the fans sarcastically called out "great game" to myself.

I congratulated the team on a great performance and quickly made my exit. All I wanted to do was go home and drown my sorrows. As I was leaving I remembered that I hadn't picked up a programme of the game. I made my way to the programme shop and managed to get the last copy. I searched for my name in the team line up - at least I would have this as a memento of the day. Alas, the programme stated 'substitutes to be announced'. Now there would be no record my participation!!

I drove home and started laughing at the days events. Maybe I didn't get to take part in the game, but at least my team won and were through to the next round!

13 September 2008

A Quiet Afternoon Tea Party

"Two loaves? What are we doing? feeding the population of Australia or 30 kindergarten children??...It looked like a case of organised chaos (which it was)"

A couple of weeks ago No Worries and I decided to have a party for our eldest daughter who was turning 6. We decided to have the party (aka afternoon tea) after school. The idea was to invite her friends over for an afternoon tea.

To ensure a successful afternoon was had by all No Worries and I, in true military fashion, got out the white board, donned our flak jackets and worked out a plan of attack for the party. Initially discussions were around what food should be on offer for our hungry guests. We decided on cooking most of the food ourselves. I got the gourmet pizza cooking rights as well as the honour of making chocolate crackles (being a chocoholic I readily volunteered for this). No worries would take care of the fairy bread, pancakes, salad and all the other yummies.

As the party was on a Monday we decided to do a lot of the preparation on the weekend. I had lotsa fun making the chocolate crackles and have to admit I probably overdid the tasting sessions! The pizzas were made on the Sunday and cooked gourmet style on the barbecue (note - my pizzas are reaching legendary status and I can hire out my services for a small fee of course! - or a beer or two).

Before you could spell Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob wllllantysiliogogogoch it was Monday. The birthday girl was dropped off at school and was really excited about the afternoon festivities. Meanwhile, No Worries and I headed to a cafe for a coffee and a recap of our plan of attack.

I was a bit concerned that we would not have enough time to get everything done. After all, I still had to blow up the jumping castle. A feat that would normally take an hour or so. Naturally my wife muttered those famous words of hers. "No worries" said she. "It will all work out in the end!" Deep down I was not that confident.

We headed to the local shopping centre and got some party plates, cups and cutlery. At another store that we visited I noticed some jalapeno flavoured crisps. These were swiftly purchased by yours truly (and lovingly devoured during the day). The it was back home to get things ready for the party. The time was now 10.20am and were were on time as per our well thought out plan.

I was feeling good by now. All I had to do was pump up the jumping castle and I would be able to take it easy up to the start of the festivities. I got the jumping castle out of the garage and put it in the backyard. I then went back to the garage to find the air pump. It was not there. I searched frantically but couldn't find it. I called out to the wife. No Worries came into the garage and helped look for it. After 15 minutes it still hadn't been located.

No Worries then came up with an ingenious idea. "No worries. Can't you blow it up manually yourself?" I promptly pointed out that, given the size of the castle, it would probably put me in the intensive ward of the local hospital if I blew it up all by myself. The watch now said 11.05am. Time was getting away from me. I would have to buy a new pump.

I got into the car and started driving to the local shops. Fortunately, the traffic was very light so there were no need for any Lewis Hamilton impersonations. I parked the car and sprinted (gazelle style) to the appropriate shop. When I got there I couldn't find any air pumps. Obviously they had moved them. I also couldn't find a shop assistant to ask either. So after frantically wandering around the store for what seemed ages I found them.

I purchased the pump and started making my way to the car. Then my mobile phone rang. It was No Worries. She wanted me to buy two more loaves of bread so that she could make lots more fairy bread. Two loaves? What are we doing? feeding the population of Australia or 30 kindergarten children?? Anyway, in case we were feeding the whole country I bought the two loaves.

Once back home I started pumping up the jumping castle. It was inflating like a treat. Meanwhile, No Worries was having a few issues with the jelly. It wasn't setting properly. In fact it wasn't setting at all due to my wife adding too much water to the crystals.

The castle was now fully inflated and looked good. It was then that I noticed it was starting to deflate slowly. "Oh no" I cried out. How was I going to find the leak,and more importantly fix it in time before the party? No Worries soothed my nerves with her commentary. "No worries, it'll be okay" . I decided that as it was a slow leak I would re-pump it up just prior to the guests arriving.

Before we knew it the time had come. I drove to my youngest daughter's school and picked her up and then collected the birthday girl. I drove home and then took my youngest daughter to the cake shop to pick up the birthday cake. I was gone literally 20 minutes and arrived home looking forward to a great afternoon. When I walked into our house my eyes literally popped out of my head.

It seemed as if the whole population of Sydney had turned up! It looked like a case of organised chaos (which it was). The jumping castle was a mass of writhing school children and I was worried about how long it would remain inflated. I didn't need to worry too much as the castle was deflating very quickly!

I then decided to not worry about anything and enjoy the moment, and the chocolate crackles! The afternoon passed into early evening and the majority of children were still on a sugar high. Then, within a blink of an eye, everyone left and quietness befell our house. It seemed that everyone had had a great time, especially the birthday girl.

After our daughters were in bed, No Worries and I continued cleaning up. By the time we finished it was 11pm. We were both tired. It was then that I had an idea. "Next year, let's have the birthday party at McDonald's!" I said to my wife. Her response was a very tired "no worries".

05 September 2008

Tales of 'No Worries'

"It was only about 30 seconds later when she realised she was in the wrong car!... Immediately the clerk informed her that she was four years too early!"

Regular readers will know that on occasions my blog mentions my wife who has been nicknamed "No Worries". This moniker was chosen by my wife and it perfectly sums her up. This week, while I was recovering from our eldest daughters' birthday party, No Worries suggested that I write a blog about her. My initial thought was "nah" and then I thought "maybe it is a good idea" as I drank another beer. So here are some stories about the one and, thankfully, only No Worries.

In brief, No Worries is a what can loosely be labelled 'scatterbrained'. She always seems to have her mind on about 10 different things at any one time. She says its called 'multi-skilling' but I am not sure if that is the correct wording! As such she is always misplacing things. Almost everyday No Worries will say things like "do you know where I have put my mobile phone?"

You can substitute 'mobile phone' for 'wallet', 'sunglasses' or any other object really. On occasions she misplaces her sunglasses only to find they are already on her head! Her wallet is now well travelled and is sometimes 'left' at homes of our friends or even, on two occasions, a business centre. No Worries response to this is normally "no worries, I will collect it in 2 weeks time".

Some classic, and hilarious moments it must be said, include No Worries (who is of Indian background) losing a boarding pass for a flight from London to Paris. This happened just after 9-11 and my wife had to remain on the tarmac outside the plane until security clearance could be given for her to board the plane. Hence the flight was temporarily delayed. As she entered the plane there were a few stern looks in her direction from the other passengers.

Then there was the occasion when No Worries had been out with some of her cousins on a Saturday night. As they entered the car park to go home No Worries made her way to what she thought was the correct car, and sat in the back of it and put her seat belt on. It was only about 30 seconds later when she realised she was in the wrong car! The occupants were initially worried that someone was going to take them hostage. I am sure No Worries left the car saying something like "oops, sorry. No worries!".

Even last week there was another incident. Last year No Worries forgot to renew her driver's licence until after the expiry date. This year she realised that the date had passed again. So she went to the Motor Registry, waited 30 minutes and filled out a form to renew the Licence. No Worries made her way to the counter and handed the form to the clerk. Immediately the clerk informed her that she was four years too early! To save her coming in every 12 months, No Worries had taken out a 5 year driver's licence last year!

There are many more tales like this including the time she got locked in our house (at the time - courtesy of our 15 month old daughter). I received a phone call at work informing me of this event! I remember my wife saying "no worries, you can unlock the front door when you come home"

Most incidents involve leaving things behind. Fortunately No Worries has always brought our daughters home!

So there it is. A few tales of the one and only No Worries - my soul mate but most definitely scatterbrained!!

No Worries has just come home from a function and had some news for me. She has left her reading book (Personality Plus by Florence Littauer) at the hotel where the function was being held. Naturally her response was "no worries, I can purchase another copy". What more can I say....