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The party arrangements are gathering pace. Wheels are in motion. We've started moving rubbish from rubbish filled rooms around the the house into emptier rooms in preparation.

A couple of things are worrying me:

1. The shopping centre lighting guy came over, an old Asian chap wearing baseball cap and sneaker's with a young guy who could have been his grandson. They were quite sweet but worried me when they started talking power supplies and started poking around in the kitchen fuse box. They also mooted the idea of red fairy lights for valentines. I'm ashamed to say, I balked. Wondered if guests would feel they were entering some sort of red light district?!

2. parking. This always worries me.

3. We plan to do the music DIY. My husband is working on his ipod play list as we speak, but has yet to buy more speaker cable or test out the dodgy amp that we vaguely remember fixing but can't be sure. We also have concerns about breaking 'excessive noise and vibration' NEMA laws which may solicit an unwanted visit by police mid flow.

4. Will there be dancing, if so where? You just can't force dancing - but it would be nice.

5. Am increasingly unable to make eye contact with various people who have not been invited. The school car park is a veritable mine field.

6. Costs spiralling out of control - now that we've got somebody to come in and do bar and bitings. I panicked that my ham and cheese would just not cut it.

7. We didn't invite our neighbours.

I also kind of messed up 'the actual birthday'. Somehow yesterday was stressful. My husband came home from work while I was making kids supper - never good timing - especially as for some bizarre reason I had decided on chicken pie with pastry (why??).
'No cake until after the kids have eaten' I snapped, so my husband sloped off for a snooze on the veranda sofa. Just has his eyes were closing my eldest nagged him about her science homework, hoping that in a weak moment he would give her examples of five things that dissolve in water off pat. Instead he got cross and shouted.

To top it off, the kids all rowed about lighting the birthday candles and picking chocolate drops off the cake so I bopped them all on the head crossly. The youngest burst into tears. We then had a snivelling rendition of 'happy birthday' after I'd coaxed my husband back to the dining table. He only got three rather lame presents as I'd given all the UK things saved up from the summer sales to him for Christmas. Of the birthday presents; he knew what two of them were and one of them had to go back to the shop to be changed.

'Please never be 40 again,' I said. 'It's all too much.' He looked downcast but I went on.. 'And not in February when we are always skint, and not in Kenya where there's nothing to buy you...'

As a tonic, we went out for dinner and ate & drank too much horrid house wine. After dropping the kids at the bus at 6.45am this morning, we went back to sleep for an hour. Things can only get better.


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