We are still without wi-fi connection after switching providers. I have been in extensive phone calls with the new provider after they failed to order the router for reasons unknown. It arrived eventually on Thursday. Hurray. Except…after a two-hour conversation, supported ably by only son, we discovered that we had been sent a faulty router so they had to order another. Which, as I now know, takes 3-5 days and cannot be expedited as it is subcontracted to another company. I have had data added to my phone in compensation. Which would be great, but I need a computer to work on. I cannot write articles on my phone. So I have spent the last week pressed against the wall next to our neighbours who have kindly let me log on to their internet for the purposes of work.
This works fine, but it means no-one else in the house has wi-fi access because I promised I’d only use it for work.
This is slightly tricky for the purposes of homework and communication with friends/Spain. For instance, my partner has been wandering around in a daze because he has been disconnected from Spanish radio and blaming me because I only went into the provider’s shop to get my mobile phone fixed and came away with a broadband and landline deal due to being trapped there for several hours and being ground down by relentless salesmanship.
Daughter two informed me on Friday that her best friend who has moved schools was going to be at a certain sleepover on Saturday and that she would dearly like to go. “What’s the address?” I asked. “Don’t know,” said daughter two, adding, for good measure, that she knew which town it was in.
“Can you find out?” I inquired. “There’s no wi-fi,” came the response. The older kids are on pay as you go so no wifi no communication. Now, I have the home number of at least one of the friends attending said sleepover, but daughter two refused to ring the landline. Apparently communication via landline is now verboten among teenagers. “We only communicate via the snapchat group, mum,” she said. “DO NOT ring my friend. I will be shamed for life.” This is apparently more of an issue than not turning up at a sleepover.
What could we do? I remembered that when we switched provider they threw in a gadget you can use in the car that provides mobile wi-fi. So at 8pm on Friday night I took daughter two out for a spin. She snapchatted her friend. “Has she replied yet?” I said as we circled the area endlessly. Nada. All her friends had gone into airplane mode. Then I remembered that daughter two’s best friend was on my phone which is on a contract. Daughter two texted her. “Are you going tomorrow and when and where is it?” she inquired. Time passed. Daughter two’s friend replied late. “Yes, I’m going at 8. See you there xxxxxxxxxx.” But where?
On Saturday morning I decided to text her friend. Eventually we got an address. I was told that I could only drop off and under no circumstances was I allowed to approach the house of her friend.
Daughter one, meanwhile, has been incommunicado for weeks as she swapped phones to a dodgy phone her cousin from Spain provided. It had something wrong with the battery, but, despite being fixed, it has since died. Daughter one has had no online contact with her friends for weeks and she’s quite enjoying it. Instead she is listening to music, reading philosophy books and have long conversations about politics with her parents while at the same time disparaging said parents [particularly her mother] for “always talking about politics”.
It’s a bit difficult to have talks about political philosophy in our house because every five minutes you are interrupted by people screaming “you’re a poo poo” and the like. Meanwhile, only son has declared himself almost an adult now that he is year two and taken to inviting all and sundry for a sleepover. Thwarted by his mother, he has invited himself to his gran’s and has already packed about six bags in preparation – one for pants, one for tops, one for jigsaws, etc. Given that he still wakes up most nights and comes into our room where he lies on top of me, elbows me and generally batters me while declaring his undying love, I’m not sure my mum is sufficiently prepared. Fortunately, with the wi-fi down he has been unable to engage in the type of extensive sleepover planning that daughter three has made into an art form.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.