My Brain is a mixed bag

It really has been a very varied week this week, and I seem to have a thousand thought streams coursing through my brain.

Louise finally came home on Monday, and despite not having anything as handy as a diagnosis, she is much better, and is slowly getting herself back to normal.  Thanks for all the concern, best wishes and messages.

The over riding theme of the week has been time, and a lack of it to be honest.  I have oft tweeted recently about the appalling state of the roads on my joyful commutes to and from work, and this seemed to reach a peak of crapness this week.  Not only are the roads between my house and work being used as a traffic cone showcase, when I do find a stretch of road free from obstacles, I appear to be driving behind cars that don’t posses a fourth gear, and cannot travel over 25 mph.

My usual sunny dispostion was stretched beyond breaking on Tuesday (I think), as a long and tortuous drive home ended with me picking the girls up from my Mum’s, having to call at the shop for baking ingredients for Rebecca’s Home Economics lesson the next day (she prepped in plenty of time as usual), only to find the supermarket had no caster sugar, so we had to then drive to other retail establishments to procure some.

Reading that back it doesn’t quite capture the absolutely valid reasons for my stress levels.  Anyway, I’d had a tough day, and crap journey and just wanted to get home.  All this faff meant it was after 7pm when I did, and my sense of humour and good nature expired at around 6.15pm.

I should add that Rebecca was then inconsiderately ill for the rest of the week, didn’t go to school, and therefore didn’t need the bleeding ingredients after all.

This leads nicely onto the next theme of the week.  Homework.

Not mine of course, but the work given to the girls from school.  It does seem to me that there is a expectation that parent’s won’t just have to ensure that homework is completed, no, they have to take an active, and often leading role in it.  This week, I have tackled –

  • The Great Fire of London (not literally)
  • The Nitrate Cycle
  • Percentages
  • Made a time capsule from the 1660’s
  • Built a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a shoe box (I kid you not)
Nitrogen Cycle
Not a Raleigh Cycle..a Nitrate one.

Now, I’m sure the girls are not at prodigy levels, and neither are they dullards, but looking at the tasks set, there really is no way they could get this stuff done unaided.  I work hard enough at my own job, thank you very much, without having to come home and tackle any of the above.

Of course none of this is helped by the girl’s uncanny knack of leaving every peice of work until the last possible moment.  Those of you that know me at all, will perhaps realise that I like things to be planned and organised as much as possible.  Examples of this are not allowing responsible grown ups in our travel party to keep hold of their own passports and/or theme park tickets, as I KNOW they will lose them.

Therefore this last minute Larry approach doesn’t do for my stress levels.

Next on the list this week…..we watched District 9 one night.  I think it was Wednesday.

I had heard quite a bit of buzz about this film, but wasn’t sure of it’s contents.  It really was excellent.  I would describe it as….

Unusual, original, touching, thought provoking, entertaining, relatively action packed and enjoyable.  Jonathan Ross has nothing on me!! (Apart from a few million quid).

District 9
An Alien Concept

Courtesy of another seamless link, Jonathan Ross leads me nicely onto the next topic buzzing through my head.  It won’t surprise many readers drawn here via a Disney web site to know that the topic is Florida. (Ross is a big fan, and regular visitor).  First it is important for me to point out that there is absolutely no chance of us affording a trip this year, however, this does not stop me pining for one.

Having had a trip to plan every year (once I had two) for, more or less the past decade, I am going through a sort of grieving process at my loss.  Louise isn’t helping.  Having not had the best start to the year, she is in “I need a holiday” mode, and she was in fact responsibe for me spending large chunks of the week, (absolutely not when I should have been working) checking flights, hotels, villas and all things Florida.

You see how Louise needing a holiday instantly prompts Florida research.  There was no requirement for a discussion around destination.  That ship has sailed…about a decade ago.  Alas, said research only confirmed my thinking that a trip will be beyond us.  Damn that Atlantic that we need to fly over.  Flights are just not findable for the £7.50 my budget will allow.

Still, we shall not write things off completely at this stage.  The event for which such a holiday would take place is a siginificant birthday for me, and that is in August.  So many weeks exist between then and now, where a lottery win could appear, or maybe some kind benefactor (maybe a Mr J Ross?) who maybe stumbles across this rambling and sends me a nice chunky cheque as gratitude for passing a few minutes of their lives in fine fashion.

So a busy week then, and I even managed to go to the gym three times!  A record for recent times, and my waistline is a constant reminder.

However the most stressful part of the past two weeks has not been coping with the house and kids alone whilst Louise was busy being ill, it was keeping Louise’s bloody Cafe World going on Facebook!!  A sign of the times.

Now, which flight web site have I not checked yet?

Till the next time……

Blinked and missed the week.

Having been a single parent all week, I can’t believe how busy I’ve been, and therefore how quickly time has flown since last weekend.

Louise is still in hospital, waiting for anything like a decent diagnosis, and is pretty fed up.  My car knows the route to the hospital without any assistance from me, and the days seem to fly by in a dizzying routine of work, visiting, eating crap, and collapsing into bed.

Work was nothing notable, although I did have a very interesting meeting with a lady called Suw (yes it really is spelt like that), to discuss the phenom….phunom….new thing that is social media and how we should be using it as a company to communicate with our customers.  Few things work related capture my interest these days, but this meeting was one of them.  The fact that things such as social media consultants exist blows my mind, and it echoes what the headmaster said at the girl’s school recently.  Apparently 40% of the pupils now in school will do jobs that don’t exist yet!!

George Michael is gay??? Really???

I believe that, as when I was at school, and Grange Hill was on TV, Wham in the charts and you could buy cans of Quattro, the idea of having a job that involved managing web sites would have been crazy, mainly as no-one would have known what a web site was!!  Anyway, that is what has happened to me, so goodness knows what the girls will do for a living.

Having just made myself sound about 206 years old, I should point out how young, credible and hip I am by telling you that I managed to actually purchase an item of clothing for Rebecca today, without her being there, that she likes and is willing to wear.  Fo Schnizel…as the young folk tend to say.

Forgive the brief nature of this entry, but my brain is frazzeled, my body weak, and I need to consume some mindless TV and/or play copious amounts of mindless X-Box games in an attempt to relax and unwind.

I shall hopefully post again during the week with news of Louise’s return home.  Fingers crossed.

Till the next time……

A&E and a few other vowels.

Louise is in hospital.

As we speak (well technically, we are not speaking, unless of course you are speaking whilst reading this, which is impressive muti tasking, and pretty unlikely, but I think you know what I mean) Louise is on ward F5 of the Royal Bolton Hospital.  I have no idea what makes a hospital Royal though, as I certainly don’t think any royalty have graced it.

Anyone who has known Louise for a period of time will know that this set of circumstances isn’t the most unusual in the world.  Indeed our annual passholder car park pass is again coming in handy, and it is always nice to be greeted by your first name and a wave as you enter A&E.  She has had a plethora (that in itself isn’t an illness) of ailments and operations over the years, and we are very well rehearsed at the trip to A&E scenario.

Friday saw another one.  I was at work, and Louise sent me a text that she was on her way to A&E having spent Thursday night in incredible pain.  As routine as this type of thing is, I was still less than happy that she had driven herself there.  Anyway, I left work and made my way to A&E, where we began the well known routine.

Step 1.

Try to explain to the thirteen year old doctor a forty year history of operations and procedures, guessing at dates, and wishing we’d written all this down.

Step 2.


Step 3.

Finally, Louise gets some proper pain relief and colour returns to cheeks.

Step 4.


Step 5.

Blood tests and Xray.

Step 6.


Usually once the pain is managed and they can’t find any real reason for it, Louise is sent home, and wished well until the next time.  However this time she was admitted, as sometimes happens, for tests and stuff.

That was Friday.  Sunday morning has arrived and there has been little action to be honest, and the promised scans etc look like taking place tomorrow.

Rebecca at Hospital
Fringe with iPod

We visited last night, and took Louise the essentials.  Not Lucozade and flowers.  More like Clarins face wash, moistureiser and two Toffee Crisps.  Louise hadn’t eaten since mid Friday.

As this is week 2 of her Weight Watchers campaign (losing a healthy four pounds in Week 1) this nil by mouth apart from two toffee crisps should see further impressive results!

The girls took their own essentials, however Emily forgot her iPod earphones so they had to share.  We all have to make sacrifices at times like these I suppose.  The girls lasted a full ten minutes at bedside before becoming too loud and annoying for a very tired and morphine filled Louise so they were despatched to the shop for their own safety.  I lasted about an hour before I had the same effect, and was sent home.

So we’ll have to wait and see just how long Louise will be in, and in the mean time I am becoming a black belt at the washing machine, and will be ironing and stuff later.  Not that I don’t do this stuff normally of course!!

Add in the fact that I have to do the “big shop” too, and I could play the woe is me card.  However, it could be worse, I could be the one lay in hospital next to some less than dazzling company, from, (allow me to be a snob for a second) less celubrious areas of town, not knowing what is causing all this pain, and wondering what will happen next.

Plus how rubbish must it be to be in hospital at the same place you go to work everyday!!  Anyway, at least it means Louise’s boss can easily make sure she really is ill and not swinging lead or any other heavy metal.

Emily at Hospital
Other fringe with iPod

So as Sunday morning drifts into Sunday afternoon it is time to get the girls out of bed, unload the washer, load the dryer, hand out random chores to the girls, make sure they are doing that homework they have said they were doing all last week, then go to the supermarket, come home, put shopping away, make the girls some tea, have a row as they haven’t done that homework still, then go and visit Louise, and try not to get on her nerves too much, and come home.

Plus somewhere in all of that I have several hours of XBox to fit in.  I really don’t know how I shall!!

It’s not about nappies anymore…

There are certain times in a parent’s life when you see a definite shift in your relationship with your kids.

You know the sort of thing…when your twelve year old daughter gets pregnant and runs away with a forty three year old circus hand from Wakefield.  Thankfully, (touches wood, and I don’t mean anything smutty here) we haven’t come close to anything of such magnitude, but still this week a less shocking wake up call caught me off guard.

I have talked previously about Emily’s boyfriend, and my extreme regret that I did not hate him.  Well, sadly this relationship came to an end this week, and I had to endure the sight of Emily’s upset, knowing that no amount of kind words, tea and sympathy would make any difference.  There are no pills for a broken heart!  This sort of event has really snuck up on me, as in my mind Emily is still a little girl.  I appreciate that most fourteen year olds have a drug habit, mixed race child and a council house these days, but Emily is (perhaps in my rose tinted view) still a young fourteen year old.

So landmark events like a break up can bring home the reality that –

a) I am getting old

b) The girls are too, and are developing their own lives.

However, other very small things can also hit home too.  On Thursday the girls went to Manchester, on the train, on their own, straight from school.  Not a life changer, I admit, and indeed they have been before under their own steam, but I don’t know why but this sort of cemented the fact that they are quite capable of reading a time table, and not falling beneath a train!!

All Time Low
They wore more at the signing

Anyway, they went to attend a signing at a record shop.  They met All Time Low and The Blackout.  As some sort of weird contradiction, I have indeed heard of both of these, and can even claim to have some ATL (see, I talk in abbreviations I am so hip) on my iPod.  As I was driving home from work on Thursday I sent them both a text to

a) make sure they were still alive

b) see how they were getting on

Rebecca called me back.  Well, I think it was Rebecca, as that is the name my phone showed me.  The voice on the other end was somewhat drowned out by a thousand pubescent girls screaming random names.  Rebecca herself spoke to me in a voice so high one of my ear drums burst.  Just as I thought she could not get any higher she moved up a gear, in both pitch and volume, I think, telling me something about (insert name of ATL lead singer) saying “Hi” and telling her he liked her T Shirt.

Emily, being all cool, replied to my text in abbreviations I’m not sure I fully understood to tell me she had met The Blackout and they had all signed her schoolbag.  I am writing to their management to request a full reimbursement!!!

Anyway, back to the small event….you remember???

After picking them up at the train station (and dropping their friend off, why is it always us who do all the running round???) I stopped at the local chip shop so they could get a healthy and nutricious meal.  On auto pilot I park up and start to get out of the car.  At the same time they did the same, and look at me in a  ‘We are quite capable of getting our own chips” way.

So they did, and as I watched them cross the road, and walk to the shop I realised

a) just how tall they are getting

b) that I almost didn’t recognise them with their masses of hair, fringe and that loping teenager walk.

So after realising that my worth to them is diminishing with every day, and planning just when to get my mid life crisis sports car delivered, I consoled myself with the fact that twenty four hours earlier I had sat on Emily’s bed, with her hugging me tightly whilst the tears flowed.  Emily was also quite upset about her break up, and I didn’t cry for too long!!!

So maybe my usefulness is just changing.  No longer do I need to change nappies full of brightly coloured nuclear waste, and wander zombie like into the kitchen, in just my underwear, at some silly hour to warm a bottle of milk.  However, I do run a decent taxi service, can (almost) fund their dizzying social life, and every now and again be a shoulder to cry on when disaster strikes.

So I’ll keep doing that until I have to remortgage the house to fund their weddings (in Florida….it is my only condition), and hunt down and destroy any other spotty little herbert who thinks he has the right to break either of their hearts.  Frankly, there isn’t a boy in existence worthy of either, so good luck trying lads.  I’ll be watching.

Till the next time……