The names have been changed to protect the innocent

>> Monday, 11 January 2010

Potty Mummy's sister here again. This evening I had a choice between topping up the hot water bottle that is the comforting task of updating PM's blog, OR jumping about in my (now too small) sports bra to Hannah Waterman's new fitness DVD. So, here I am.

Potty Mummy is fine, busy visiting the Moscow IKEA and discovering the delights of the Russian underground system. I don't mean that she's getting in touch with the dark underworld of a Muscovite crime network, I mean she's been on the metro. She hopes to be back on line by the end of the week.

So, back to the post. I forgot to mention a couple of incidents from the Christmas period which reminded me what it's like to be divorced. My son's father and I split about ten years ago now (a relief for both of us, I think) and I married my lovely new husband five years ago.

Incident Number One
My son had a major part in the school production of The Sound of Music. He invited his dad along to the performance. And his dad brought along his mother. She's slightly deaf and he's not one to pretty up his opinions to spare feelings, even those of children.

So I had the pleasure of spending the evening sitting on a small, hard school chair, in the dream company of my parents, husband, ex husband and ex mother in law. Ex Husband whispered expletives in my ear every few minutes. Ex Mother-In-Law shouted her opinions in the quiet moments, when the orchestra rested. Question - how many Exes does it take to enjoy a school orchestra tuning up for three hours? Answers on a postcard, please.

Incident Number Two
Before I remarried, I'd changed my name by deed poll back to my maiden name. I couldn't bring myself to change it when I married again. I suppose I should think about it now - after five years together, it looks like it might work out.

Anyway, this has all resulted in three different surnames for our little family. It's never been a problem for me, but appeared to be a problem for Canadian passport control officer when we arrived at Montreal airport for our ski trip before Christmas.

He couldn't accept that my son lived with us, despite the letter from my ex-husband granting me permission to take my child on holiday (don't get me started on that one), the copy of my son's birth certificate and a copy of my latest marriage certificate (Liz Taylor has nothing on me).

Silly me, I'd forgotten the copy of my decree nisi, the copy of my name change by deed poll, my last will and testament and that recipe for peanut butter brownies. After making me sweat for a few moments, he took my son to one side and questioned him about visiting his father, living with me and so on. Fortunately, my son didn't get flustered, answered correctly and we were granted the pleasure of continuing our holiday.

The same thing happened on our return, at Heathrow airport. Seven hours of flight socks and listening to Swiss Family Chav witter on behind us had made me a little grumpy. I think that the British passport official could see that he shouldn't mess with a woman with swollen calves and maple syrup cookie crumbs caught in her cleavage, so waved us through after asking a few half hearted questions.

I've been advised that, in future, I should have a permission letter from my ex husband, witnessed by a solicitor. The thought of going through that rigmarole makes me reach for another peanut butter and maple syrup brownie.


Carol R 12 January 2010 at 00:35  

Your 'holiday' story reminded me of the time we went to the South of France taking our son but leaving our daughter - her choice not ours -at home with my sister. This was at a time when the children were on our passports. We decided to drive from France into Italy and at Passport Control they kept asking where our daughter was! We couldn't make them understand she was not travelling with us. I have no idea what they thought we had done with her but they eventually let us through and luckily we had no problem on the return journey!

Anonymous,  12 January 2010 at 00:36  

I just don't understand why they make the chairs at school so uncomfortable for starters... I can only imagine the additional amount of pain you felt sitting there for what must have seemed liked an eternity!

Nicola 12 January 2010 at 03:33  

You are so funny! Why do you not have your own blog??

Pass on my love to PM - you are doing such a great job in her absence.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy 12 January 2010 at 07:02  

You should definitely start your own blog when Potty Mummy is back on line.

We had to have a notarised letter from my husband when saying that I could take the boys out of the EU when I was repsonsible for bringing them to Bosnia. We're married and all have the same surname. I guess I can see the point, but one more admin task to add to the faff.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... 12 January 2010 at 12:22  

You do have a blog! Isn't it Footballer's knees?
Great stuff - another laugh for me this morning, thanks!

Footballers Knees 12 January 2010 at 13:18  

(AKA PM's sis)

Hi Carol and Fraught Mummy - your stories are scary, I really need to pay more attention and plan ahead when travelling. Or change my name back to that of my ex. The stuff of nightmares. No, really, that is the stuff of my nightmares!

Alyssa - it was painful. Reminds me of the time I spent an entire Christmas Day in the small living room of my ex mother-in-law, sitting on the same emergency chair. When I got up to say goodbye, I'd loss the circulation to my legs and fell flat on my face. An no-one said a thing!

Nicola and Trish - yes, I do have my own blog but am ashamed to write that I haven't updated it since I started a new job in September. But have been encouraged by your lovely and funny comments so will sort that out.

planb 12 January 2010 at 19:43  

Hello there-

First can I second the comments about looking forward to your own blog (and now I know where you are I'll be stalking you...)
Second, hope PM's been enjoying the Moscow metro 'cos it's fab (and anyone who thinks I'm loopy hasn't seen the marble, stained glass, statues and trains that ALWAYS arrive within 2 minutes of the previous one)
And third, given I live not far from PM's old place, if you need a convenient solicitor, give me a shout next time...

Iota 12 January 2010 at 20:17  

Yikes. That travel stuff sounds horrendous. As does the orchestra tuning up with exes.

You disappoint me that Potski Mumski (Potska Mumska?) hasn't yet made contact with the dark underworld of a Muxcovite crime network. Why's it taking her so long?

Footballers Knees 12 January 2010 at 20:27  

Iota, she had trouble smuggling the product through customs. She had to ditch the hollowed out Power Rangers Jungle Fury Megazord in the ladies loo just outside Baggage Claim, following a nasty incident with the sniffer dogs and a Lego fire hose.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings 12 January 2010 at 23:40  

Sometimes current in-laws are just as big of a pain as the exes, I see. You're doing a good job manning the blog. I've been enjoying your posts. I missed the intro by you, you have a blog too?

Footballers Knees 13 January 2010 at 07:48  

Hi Lisa, thanks for your coment, yes, just restarted it - Footballers Knees.

Anonymous,  13 January 2010 at 07:59  

How utterly ridiculous! I'm sure half the time they do it just for the amusment of winding you up.

Jo Beaufoix 13 January 2010 at 23:56  

Awww great post PM's sister. So glad to hear she's doing ok. Photos of her in that fur coat would be fabulous.

And, seeing as she's not really all that busy at all, (she's only left the country, no big), I have tagged her. I mean it's only fair that when I return to my home after a ceiling collapse on Jan 2nd, to find a lovely tag from said Potski Mumski, (Iota you made me snort), that I return the favour. Because I am kind and lovely like that.

Big kisses Potty Mummy. Thinking of you.

Jo Beaufoix 13 January 2010 at 23:56  

So that was a tag in amidst all that waffle ok?

Fab writing Pm's sis.

Muddling Along Mummy 15 January 2010 at 15:48  

And that sounds like another good reason to not leave the country on holiday for a long time to come

Glad to hear potski mumski is getting on well over there

Sparx 25 January 2010 at 22:37  

Have thoroughly enjoyed your stand-in posts - and Canadian passport control are notorious. I never travel with my son into Canada if my husband's not with me without our marriage certificate, my son's birth certificate and a letter... it's a drag!

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