Trussed up like a chicken

I’m off work today.  This is because yesterday I underwent a touch of surgery.  Nothing major, well, major enough to need a general anaesthetic, and a few frayed nerves, but I’m up and about today, if a little gingerly, with more dressings than Paul Newman.

The day started early, and not without nerves.  Upon arrival, insult was added to potential injury when I was instructed to put on my gown, which is understandable, but what are the medical benefits of paper underwear?  I think they are just used as a source of comedy whilst you are asleep.  They certainly are not built for comfort I can tell you.

It has to be one of the oddest sensations and experiences in life to be put under.  Some stranger wanders up, sticks a needle in your hand and talks to you like some sort of begowned Paul McKenna.  However, this was not to be the only odd conversation of the day.  As the theatre nurse came to collect me, we walked down to theatre, and she struck up a conversation no doubt intended to put me at ease.  Of course this started with the weather, but then turned into a very bizarre (one sided) conversation about her recently acquired paddling pool for her kids.  This went on for a good ten minutes, lasting all the way until I got onto the slab.

I now know the relative benefits of your solid framed affair compared to the traditional blow up model.  This is amazing really as my mind was obviously elsewhere, as we were sat in a little room just outside theatre, and I could see and hear stuff going on next door that was quite distracting.

Anyway, back to my drifting off.  I’m sure they have a standard script for these occasions, as he gave me all the usual warnings about feeling a small prick in my hand (which I thought was a little forward as we had only just met) and then that I might feel some cold in my hand.  Then as I started to feel a strange tingling all over, he was telling me all about some lovely warm beach I was on, and that the oxygen mask on my face was really a scuba mask, and I was drifting along looking at fish and stuff……

That is where I left that conversation, as the next thing I knew my name was being called out by some nurse who was all blurry.  Mighty relieved to be awake again, a quick squirt of pain killers and a bumpy trip back to my room brought things to an end.  Within an hour or two I was fairly normal again, enjoying my lunch and having my dressings done, however, not at the same time.  How I am looking forward to having them all removed, as they made a great job of attaching some sticky tape to every hair on my body!!

I was allowed home around 4.30pm, and enjoyed every pot hole on the endless drive home (Louise was driving not me!!).  I then ate the largest McDonald’s known to man as I was starving.

So I have a few weeks of being trussed up whilst stuff heals, but I am told I should be fine to go to work on Monday.  Hmm, we’ll see!!

Luckily I managed to get this done before my new job starts, and of course before our holiday.

Having time on my hands at the moment, I stumbled across something that really made me think on the internet.  No, nothing like that!!!  One of Rebecca’s friends had posted some old photos, and it seems that we officially had the cutest child in the universe.  Well we had two, but I only have photographic proof of one at my disposal for this post.

It is strange that this feels like just yesterday, but on the other hand seems like a lifetime ago.

Rebecca at Infant School

Cuteness v1

Rebecca at Infant School

Cuteness v2

So if any of you have children around this age, not too long from now you will wake up and find out that they have turned into something like the photo at the foot of this post.

Rebecca Now

Ok, she's still cute!

Right, I’m off to make the most of not being able to do anything, although I think I can manage to manipulate the Xbox controller!!

Till the next time…..

Raawwwwkkk and Roolllll…..Man!

A pretty uneventful week in the Williams household to be honest so I expect this to be a brief.

England Fans

They're Coming Home, they're coming home....

First, I should comment on the football.  After the glorious anti climax of the first game, the entire nation was built up to expect some sort of cricket score against the Algerians.  Well, I can safely say that the game was probably the worst performance by an England side in my memory.  I have no idea what was going on, but there were footballers there who looked like average Sunday league players, after a particularly heavy Saturday night.

Louise has taken to watching the England games with me.  This is not conducive to matrimonial harmony, as when my team is not doing well I become mono syllabic and grumpy.  Louise famously came into the front room during the 2005 Champions League penalty shoot out, with me on my knees, two feet from the TV, praying. She wanted to ask me to do something like feed the cat or something equally important before I came up to bed.

My less than pleasant response meant I enjoyed tongue and cold shoulder for the next few days.  The enormity of those occasions are understandably lost on those that do not “get” football.

On Friday, I was quite upset and angry about the whole thing.  The sheer audacity of the England players to perform so badly was shocking.  The enjoyment of these major tournaments is based upon having the odd win, or at this stage, I’d settle for a goal or two to celebrate.

I suspect though, as usual, having disappointed so well, they will pull it out of the bag in the last game and get through.  Although, after Friday’s game, I am struggling to see how that would be possible for the same players to be less crap!

Enough football (until we win a game anyway).

Saturday night saw us attending a 40th birthday party for a friend of mine.  I have known him from school, and we started our first band together at the age of sixteen, and continued to be local pop stars well into our twenties, until jobs, families and hair lines started to become bigger (or smaller for the latter) parts of our lives.

We’ve only seen each other a few times over the past ten years, and always finish these occasions with promises of more regular outings, so it was lovely to meet up again, along with other members of various bands from our history.  An evening was spent remembering all the toilets we played, some of the weirder band members we accumulated through the years, and if I’m honest more than a small urge to dust off the black leather trousers and rock some ear-splitting riffs.  For those not in the know that means play some music together.

I doubt it will happen to be honest, as we all have lives full of work, families and a lack of motivation to cart a load of gear to a cold rehearsal room on a Sunday morning, but you never know.

Pop Band

We looked just like this....honest!

I took along some vouchers for Simon’s present, but I also stumbled across an old band photo in a drawer, so I framed it and took that along.  We all had our best moody pop star stares on, and more crucially full heads of hair.  None of that stopped us looking ridiculous of course, but we were enjoying ourselves.

Luckily for you I don’t have an electronic copy of this (or any other photo) as all this was well before digital cameras, but just use your imagination to conjure up the image of five young blokes all in black, with mood lighting and sexy scowls.

It was very easy to get back into the old routine with everyone.  Playing in a band does bring you together differently than other friendships, and had there been a collection of instruments strewn around the room, plugged in, tuned and sound-checked (just like there always is on Glee, Fame etc) we may well have performed a few of the old classics.  Sadly there were not so we had to sit and listen to some ex Red Rose Radio DJ pump out everything from Chain Reaction to the inevitable sixties medley.  Rest assured I did not endanger the dance floor, other than to wander over and say good-bye to Simon and his wife at the end of the night.

This time we really should get together before Simon’s 50th!!

Apologies for the brevity today.  I shall promise to blog again before the week is out, you have been warned.

Till the next time…..

Bingo, Balls and Bloody Tesco.

Have I mentioned that I’m working my notice?  Maybe once or twice.

Now of course this has not affected the level of professionalism, dedication and commitment I exude at all times….much.  Well it has a bit, and this was demonstrated on Thursday when I attended a meeting in Sheffield.  Firstly, I was quite impressed with myself that I could motivate myself to go, and not delegate it to someone who gives a sh…I mean one of my guys who would benefit from the learning and development opportunity.

You see, there we have an example of the first thrust of this here blog post.  Corporate bull$hit.  Please do pardon my French but it is called for I feel.  The business world it seems is littered with people who have been brainwashed into using it, or even more scarily, actually use this stuff and believe it.

Looking back at my notes from this meeting, it seems I didn’t make a great deal of them, as I got bored relatively early on, which in any other circumstances would have been risky, as the attendees where chock full of cheese.  We had to do that cringeworthy round the table introduce yourself thing, which inevitably turns into a battle of the job title.

There were a couple of MDs (one of them mine), many Heads of (yep, regrettably I had to cough to one of those), and many other job titles that I still don’t know what they mean.  Most like I, just said our name, job title and company, but there is always the odd one or two who launch into a ten minute monologue on their responsibilities, experience and how they were a prefect at school.  You see now why I was bored so early on?

So rather than watch the powerpoint slides I started to capture all the bull$hit bingo terms that I heard.  There were many of the common ones that I hear all the time….

Model, best fit, and my personal favourite, synergy!  One of the guys was obviously a serial meeting attendee, and revelled in the concept, insisting on capturing the “Expectations” of the meeting before we started.  My contribution of “Finishing early enough so the M62 isn’t the bag of spanners it is at rush hour” didn’t make it to the flip chart though.

I see one entry on my notes underlined and ringed a few times.  It is a new entry in my dictionary of dreariness.  Are you ready?

Glide Path.  Yep, you read that right.  What the bloody hell does glide path mean?  I know what he wants it to mean, but why not just say it??  It was right up there with another classic, Helicopter View.

Reginald Perrin

Is that you CJ?

In terms of popularity, there was no competition, it was the term “piece”.  In nearly every sentence you heard it.  How?  Like this.  How do we tackle the “insert any topic here” piece?  Have we thought about the “insert any topic here” piece?  To me this is like someone dragging their nails down a blackboard.

It was like living in an episode of The Office or Reginald Perrin (for the older readers).  I do feel like I don’t belong in this universe of Austin Reed open necked shirt wearing, ego waving, sanctimony, but alas I must as I have a mortgage, kids and an addiction to expensive holidays.

So we move onto the end of the week, and the World Cup started.  We are “beaming” matches throughout the office for all staff to enjoy.  Beaming may be over egging the technology, but it sounds impressive when explaining this to people.  In truth, we have scattered a few tellys, and a couple of projectors around the place, securing the best stuff for the area close to my desk of course.  There is no point in managing the IT department if you don’t get any perks is there?

So on Friday we watched the opening game, (whilst obviously working a full speed as well).  A good game, and it whetted the appetite nicely for our opening game last night.  After the usual over the top build up by the media, the millions spent on advertising cheap beer and crisps by the supermarkets, the country wakes up this morning to a massive hangover, and a sense of deflation.  Only a 6-0 win would have matched the expectations of the nation, and 1-1 draw leaves everyone feeling a little let down.

You can never enjoy watching England to be honest.  However I thought there were a lot of positives, and I’m sure we will get better as we go.  Frankly the next two games should be formalities and should give us some confidence for the next phase.

Now, what would one of these be without a bit of a rant?  Luckily it just so happens I have one.  Saturday afternoon saw us at Tesco, against my better judgement.  I had done the “big shop” late on Friday night at our local 24 hour Asda, and it was a dream.  It was basically me and a load of people with the munchies or who had run out of beer, and it was great to hold up about twenty people with just two items whilst I checked out a full shop!

Anyway, back to Tesco.  We needed ” a few bits” which is female talk for stuff we could do without, but absolutely won’t.  We had a hand basket, and all the checkouts were crammed full of England tops buying cheap beer and crisps, so we went to one of those self-serve things.

Tesco Self Serve

Amen!

My God, what an abomination.  It took us about twenty minutes to check out a dozen items.  The assistant patrolling the area may have well have just done the whole lot for us as she was over every other item, entering her password.  It took her a while to believe that I was over 25 for the alcohol purchase, but other than that we couldn’t find Lemons on the alphabetic list of fruits (so that went in the bag for free), and nearly every other item became an “unexpected item in the bagging area” or just wouldn’t scan.

Technology at its best!  I left with high blood pressure, a desire to never darken Tesco’s door again, and a free lemon!  So, I’d call that a result.

Till the next time…..

June so soon?

I just need to point out that our fridge has broken.  I appreciate the nine o’clock news will not be troubled by this news but it has really naffed me off.

It isn’t even the main function of the fridge which has broken.  It simply will not dispense water from the fancy water dispenser thing in the door.  After a bit of Googling on the subject the water tank may be frozen.  I’ve turned up the temperature a bit and we’ll see what happens.

The reason this irks me is that there seems these days to be a constant stream of stuff breaking.  A symptom I suppose of having so many gadgets and gizmos (I have them aplenty as my favourite Mermaid might say).  Last week it was Rebecca’s netbook, before that Louise’s car, and next week it will be something else….so just to set the lovely jolly tone for this post, I am not in the finest of moods.

I do of course appreciate that there are many things worse than these minor incidents, but I reserve the right to be in a strop.  OK?

Breathe!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am in milestone mode, and the arrival of June is another on the road to our holidays.

I know the start of June isn’t officially the start of summer, but in my mind it is, as traditional summer stuff happens in June, like Wimbledon, the World Cup, and this year the paying of the balance on our villa.  See, so that last one proves that we are close now….right??  S’funny how usually the thought of dumping hundreds of pounds fills me with dread, (especially on netbooks, cars and fridges) but the cheque sent off today was written with a smile on my face, but looking back, a pen would have made things a whole lot easier.

Of course my notice period rumbles on endlessly, and this in no way meant that last week I spent most of it on the internet watching news events unfold, like the World Cup Squad “announcement” (I’ll come back to this in a minute), Rafa Benitez leaving Liverpool, and Rio Ferdinand getting injured.

For all of these, I think they all showed that the way in which news is relayed is changing (or perhaps has already changed) forever.  Yes, for years the web has been a source of news from official sources, and most people would go to the BBC site for “official news”, but the advent of Twitter is the real change agent here.

News breaks on Twitter first now, and you can find out things much more quickly there than via any official news channel.  To be honest, this will now be the way in which the official sources are getting first wind of news breaking.  With an application like Tweetdeck, as soon as you are vaguely aware of an event, you can create a search column based on any term (I created a “Ferdinand” one and within seconds I had unofficial news of his injury, and that he would miss the World Cup, hours before it was official) and watch people, often on the spot, report on an event.

This meant that the “announcement” of the squad for the World Cup was actually a stream of tweets spread over the day, meaning that by the time the FA posted any sort of official announcement everyone knew the outcome.  Even the unfortunate footballers left out, like Darren Bent, tweeted how gutted he was about three hours before it was official.  It does amaze me how this isn’t thought of by bodies like the FA.  This new fandangled internet thing has changed how stuff works, and they can’t send some bloke out in a blazer with a piece of paper to read stuff out anymore.

I do find this stuff interesting, which is odd, as really I have become familiar with it (or had to) due to the nature of my job, and it is very unlike me to like anything connected with my job.  It will still be relevant to my new one too, probably more so, as that is much more closely connected to how people use the internet on mobile devices, and twitter, specifically to report stuff as it happens, is one of the major ways in which people do and will use their mobile.  It may not be Twitter specifically, but how many of us update Facebook on the move?  This is just news for our friends and connections rather then being about some overpaid fop tweaking a knee.

I know those following me on Twitter will be endlessly enthralled with news on lawn mowing, my tea and where I am dropping the girls off today.

Anyway, I digress…I’m not sure from what, but it felt like I did.

As we creep ever closer to departure, the sacrifice scale increases.  What do I mean?  Well, there are times when at weekend we would like nothing more than to go out for a meal or three, buy this or that, but with dollars to acquire, and the worst exchange rate in the history of the world ever (OK, perhaps I exaggerate) we have to hunker down, and have a few boring weekends.  Even I, with my blind obsession for WDW feel this pain, and it can get quite frustrating.  Ultimately though it is worth it, well it is when we are there.  When we are tied to the couch enduring some bloke cut wood on Britain’s Got Talent I could quite easily give away a large sum of cash just for someone to make it stop.

Annie Hard Knock Life

Just put the dish IN the dishwasher.....

The girls have no issue in not doing a lot.  In fact, if it were an Olympic event I would enter them both.  We have recently decided that the handouts of seemingly unending cash is to stop, and they shall earn some spends each week.  I’m not saying they are on their hands and knees singing Hard Knock Life, but little things like keeping their rooms recognisable as a room, a bit of hoovering and perhaps even managing to get the odd dish into the dishwasher rather than just leaving it either wherever it fell, or at best on the kitchen worktop, will make the house a happier place.

In this way they can fund their trips to Manchester, where they congregate with other Emo types, and stalk boys.  We’ve already had our first “upset” over them both liking the same boy, but it didn’t last long, and to their credit they agreed that being sisters was more important, and they moved on.  Emily has decided that she doesn’t want a boyfriend at the moment, and has recently turned down one boy, which quite upset Louise and I as we think he is great!  He is now going out with one of Emily’s friends instead…how fickle these boys are!!

Rebecca

Mirror, mirror on the wall.....

Rebecca on the other hand definitely does want a boyfriend, and seems to have a different one each week, but most of them are mainly over Facebook.

She changes her status one way or another, for one boy or another, most times not even having actually been “out” with them.  Bless her, she is finding her feet, and is ever so slightly conscious of her looks at the moment so we have to walk on egg shells most of the time.

At the risk of sounding like a biased Dad, if only she knew how beautiful she was…..same goes for Emily who has so little confidence in how she looks it is scary.

On another totally unrelated topic (why change the habit of a blog-time), it is looking like we will have three Dibb meets whilst in the US.  Now, again, this is a sign of how life has been changed by the internet.  Even when the internet was established in our lives the prospect of meeting people from off of the internet would have been a bit odd.

Through a mutual love of WDW we have met some lovely people, and we are pleased to call them friends now (not sure what they call us though).  Our three meets this year consist of two regulars, Jakki (TinkTatoo) and her family, and Margaret (gala) and two of her kids.

Jakki is leaving Florida on our first day, so we have a very limited window of opportunity.  We’ve arranged to meet at the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom.  We shall try not to gloat too much at their impending departure, but to be honest, they will have been in the US for about six months anyway, so my sympathy will be limited!!

Margaret happens to be staying at the Hard Rock Hotel on the same night, so we’ve arranged to meet at the pool bar for cocktails.  There is nothing in the theory I can see you formulating that these meets are taking place around cakes and cocktails.  They are simply the most convenient locations available!!

I’ve also got a yet to be fully arranged arrangement to meet up with Andy (Woody) as he is staying at the Beach Club at the same time as us.  Again, I suspect this will be alcohol based.  Having met Andy several times already (virtually) whilst playing Call of Duty on the Xbox, I’ll just have to look out for the bloke in the army uniform, fully armed, shooting at people.

Having also struck up a now fairly long lasting friendship with Mike Jones, and latterly his wife Amanda, based on a web site, I come back to my theme of stuff changing how we live our lives.  It could very well be the case that my girls meet their future partners courtesy of the internet, and for their generation, any stigma we may or may not have about that will have long gone.  They spend half their waking lives on the thing so the odds of a relationship starting there is pretty good.  Don’t worry we’ve had the “conversation” about nasty folks etc……

This brings me to a parting thought, on this topic of change, that I don’t think I’ve shared with you yet, but I may have so apologies if so, but it is very relevant here.  The headmaster at the girls’ school said that around 40% of the pupils now at school will do a job that hasn’t yet been invented.

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned that already, but hey ho, you are not paying to read this drivel!!

In life only change is constant.  Someone clever said that, and it wasn’t me.  My favourite piece of wisdom, that I really did invent is, In the great block of flats of life, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  Think about it.

Till the next time…..