My Dog’s Anal Glands are Expensive. (No really!)

I need a holiday.  Really, I am exhausted.

This isn’t helped in any way by our house going up for sale, so as well as having to prepare for the important stuff, such as our trip, but I’m also having to cosmetically enhance the house to fool some idiot into thinking we’ve done loads of work on it rather than hand over all our renovation budget to the board of Disney.

A house has gone on the market down the road which Louise tells me we like and, therefore we are to see if we can off load our current one to secure it.

As you might expect last week at work did not fly by, but somehow the weekend arrived, with a slight sense of foreboding as I had an inkling of the amount of stuff we had to get done.

The weekend started with the revelation that the cheap as chips suitcase we’ve been using for a decade will not survive another trip.  Really, is nothing built to last these days??  Indignant at having to spend money after only ten short years of dragging our current case across the Atlantic, the first task of the weekend was to secure new luggage.  We also had a very brief discussion about buying a new rucksack.  Louise pointed out one that would be suitable, and I reacted like she had suggested I lopped off my left arm.  Ryan is getting on and he needs some work but if that were the criteria for being replaced I would have been gone long ago.

A case of bad taste?

We left the girls at home getting ready to go out with their friends, (which worryingly takes forever these days…there will be trouble on holiday if I am denied early startiness) and Louise and I scoured at least two shops to find something suitable.  There wasn’t a great deal of choice if I’m honest, but the main criteria being, it is cheap, and it is well proportioned (hey, that sounds like me), we soon settled on the flowery affair you can see in the picture.

Size wise it fits the bill as either of the girls could get in it, which in hindsight could have saved me the cost of one flight!!

For the second time in recent history I then ventured to the Trafford Centre on a Saturday, as Louise “had no clothes at all” for the holiday.  I needed a couple of things too, and as I needed Louise along to let me know if I liked stuff, it was two birds with one stone.

Weird Bug
About to be blown off....

As we got in the car to leave I spotted something on the roof the likes of which I have never seen before in this country.  As the photo shows, it is half dung beetle, half fly, and after snapping a quick photo I was glad to get into the car, floor the accelerator and see it be blown off in my rearview mirror, and that isn’t something you see every day, unless you go looking for it on the internet.

First things first, we had lunch.  Then we started the tour of every women’s clothing shop in there.  The day was full of ups and downs, with lows as “nothing looks right”, and then moments of elation as a triumphant Louise emerges from a changing room, garments aloft, wielding here switch card like a samurai sword.

I got some new trainers.  The whiteness of these new trainers you cannot begin to perceive.  They come with several sets of dark glasses to be handed out to passers-by.  They announce the fact that I have just purchased them like the brightest beacon on the darkest night.  Did I mention that they are white?

I also got some brown sandals.  Now, as I told the girls this on our return home, their faces reflected the horror that phrase could mean.  However, trust me they look very suave and sophisticated.  I like them because Louise said so, and she also said they are good as they hide most of my horrid feet from view.

Our return from shopping saw me go to the gym and the supermarket as is becoming my Saturday routine, and Louise, not yet fed up with retail establishments ventured out again to the Middlebrook retail park, next to the Reebok stadium, even though a match was in full flow.  She has no fear, having braved the Trafford Centre, she now struck out solo to face the traffic chaos that is the end of a match at the Reebok.

She returned with that holiday essential, a new phone!  Yes, that’s right, with mere hours to go until departure, she felt the need to replace our perfectly good phone.  I didn’t really pursue that for personal safety reasons, and she did seem to have bought enough clothes for the entire Magic Kingdom crowd, so I’m guessing she’s sorted now.

Jim Carrey
Bum Steer

Now, a word of warning.  If you, like us, enjoy settling down as a family to watch a film, then don’t whatever you do, do so with one called “I Love You Phillip Morris”.

We are big Jim Carrey fans, so we were looking forward to watching this one, and the 15 certificate told us it was fairly sure to be OK for the girls, with perhaps a little swearing, which is nothing they won’t have heard anytime that I’m doing DIY.

I won’t go into details here, but the “bottom” line is that the girls quickly made their excuses and averted their eyes in a few “love scenes” as I quickly scrabbled around trying to find the fast forward button.

Don’t get me wrong, the film is very good, just not a family one!

Then, the day of rest dawned.  Louise had been up for a while, making lists!  I knew immediately I was in trouble.  So today I have –

  • Hung a picture (minimum swearing)
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Dropped the girls off somewhere
  • Popped in to see my Mum
  • Resealed the bath
  • Hung a mirror (maximum swearing)
  • Made tea (putting that pizza in the oven was a tough one).

Louise was last seen in our bedroom somewhere under a pile of clothes.  I think I got the better deal to be honest.  Rebecca has just done the “try on” of stuff in her drawers and selected the garments that will make the Atlantic crossing, and Emily is now upstairs doing the same.  I suspect they will both return with more than they left with!

So we move into the last few days, and for once I am having to work right up until the day we go, as having just started at the new place, I have very few holidays to take.  So Louise is off Wednesday and Thursday to get stuff ready, and I shall appear on Thursday evening just in time to sit on the case, zip it up, and then unzip it again on Friday morning to force all the last-minute hair apparatus in.  I suppose I could leave my GHDs behind??

Emily’s idea of getting ready for holiday is to try on three T-shirts and then ask which take away we are having on Thursday evening.  For the record she wants a curry.

As I type I can hear a conversation upstairs centring around knickers, and thankfully the verdict is she has enough.  This is good news as this morning Louise took Henry to the vets.  The amount of money exchanged there was on a par with the holiday budget, so if we haven’t got something now we’re doing without.  Henry is fine by the way, apart from an infected ear, and issues around his anal glands.

Apparently, after a quick root around up there, and the appearance of some cottage cheese like substance from his glands, Louise almost lost her breakfast, and don’t forget Louise has worked in Operating theatres, and sees old lady boobs all day every day.

He seems much happier in himself now, and when Louise came home and described the procedures done by the vet, I sort of understood the amount of cash charged.

Anyway, he’s ready for his holidays in Yorkshire now, but the instructions for the giving of medication is longer than this here post, so the best of luck to Steve and Di, his carers whilst we are pet free.

So come on Friday, hurry yourself along.  I only hope the trip is a magical one, and gives a good return for the sheer amount of hours that have gone into it’s making.  For the record here are some of the milestones I am looking forward to –

  • The airport
  • Arriving at the villa
  • The first “big shop” at the supermarket (cake, beer, crisps with perhaps some fruit)
  • The walk up Main Street on our first morning
  • Food, all of it.
  • Hard Rock Hotel
  • Harry Potter stuff
  • Daytona
  • The Beach Club
  • and I even don’t really mind turning forty!

I will say goodbye for now, as I doubt I will blog whilst overseas.  I may manage the odd tweet/facebook as the girls will have their laptops with them, and I shall see you all back here in early September for more tales of household chores, shopping and my dog’s backside.  How could you resist?

Till the next time…..

Hurry up and wait.

I’m knackered.

The weekend has been less than restful, and it is only now that I have planted my backside on the couch, found an episode of Two and a Half Men I have only seen about twelve times, and commenced the me time.

Yesterday saw me tackle a task that has been festering at the back of my mind for months.  I threw the back seats down in the car, ready for the trek to the tip,  took a deep breath, and ventured into the garage.  Someone once said that it is crazy that we leave thousands of pounds worth of car on the drive, and stuff the garage full of worthless crap.  We had indeed, and it took many, many hours to get to a stage where you can now walk through the garage without striding over stuff.

To put the level of work into context, in one box we found the photo from the twelve week scan of Rebecca!  Rebecca is 13 years old.

So with two trips to the local tip, we said goodbye to stuff we had kept for years, under the illusion that we would need it someday.  Sod’s law says that we will next week.

The afternoon, as last week, was spent at the gym, and then Asda.  I truly am living the dream.

This morning saw me wrestle with the downstairs loo.  By that I mean that Louise had started to decorate it this week, and it was therefore my job to finish it.  The room, as you might imagine, is small, so why is it then that it took me bloody hours, and it still isn’t finished.  I ran out of wall paper just before I ran out of patience.  There are so many nooks and crannies in there that not one piece of paper went on in one piece.  The complexity of wallpapering is directly related to the level of bad language.

Pleased to have a reason to stop, I did.

So, that explains my opening sentence!

Keep going....

This week saw me produce a pre trip report, which was perhaps a little premature, but hey, such is the story of my life.  I’m not a big pre trip writer, and have only done one a couple of times, as I’m never really sure what to put in there.  Anyway, with my countdown racing to a conclusion, I felt obliged.

As a result of posting this, there may be a few new readers here at so welcome to you if that is the case.

I don’t know if anyone else feels like this, but when we get as close as this to a trip, I try to tell myself to enjoy having a countdown, and in some way, fear the holiday racing past all too quickly, and then I’m sat back here staring a bleak winter in the face, wondering when the next trip will be possible.

So for now, it seems I can think of nothing else than the upcoming trip.  I am looking forward to so many things it would be difficult to list them all.  These things are not necessarily the big events either, it is also the silly things.  For me, the sheer joy of the morning of the outward journey is pure magic.  For once, no-one minds getting up at silly o’clock, and the drive to the airport is a jolly affair.  Even the hours spent at the airport are special, and somehow I don’t mind paying over the odds for an average breakfast, and if the girls are looking to get anything bought for them, this is a good time to get me!

I don’t think Louise enjoys this as much though, as her fear of flying is pretty bad.  I wouldn’t say that I enjoy the flight, but mainly due to an over eagerness to get to the front of the car hire queue.  Louise however, is genuinely afraid of the entire thing.  I suppose it shows how much she enjoys the holiday that she puts herself through it every year.

Seat plan
Two by Two

This year, I’ve booked seats right at the back of the plane, based on the assumption that if we hit any mountains then we’ll be OK, as you never hear of any planes reversing into these things.  The layout of the plane is typically 3-3-3, but right at the back it narrows to 2-3-2.  This means we don’t have to worry about one of us (me of course) having to sit with another family, and we can just concentrate on annoying each other.

In years gone by one of the grown ups (yes, that includes me) would have sat with one of the girls, as we would have had Polly Pockets to dress, and food to cut up, but these days the girls can sit together, share iPods, films and their opinions on any boy unfortunate enough to wander by.

The films on board look pretty good, with the latest Shrek, Iron Man 2, Valentine’s Day and a few others I can’t remember available so these should pass a few hours.  For me, the worst part of the flight is just after the food, drinks and duty free have been around, and things settle down.  It is at that point that I realise that we still have about six hours left, and the girls start asking me how long to go!

The big kid in me just wants to get there, beat everyone though immigration, be the first to get the car, and be free of the airport and en route to the villa.  I will remind myself now, to savour every moment, even those that I find boring and frustrating, as they are all better than being back at work!!

I don’t usually deal with queues and people particularly well.  You may wonder then why I continue to go to the one place on earth guaranteed to inflict both on me.  I can’t answer that really, but I do know that this peaks on the outward journey, with a multitude of tuts heard at every stage, from the check in desk to the restaurant we have breakfast in.  I promise to restrict my Meldrew-esque moments to a minimum Louise!!

Oh yes, I just remembered.  A historic event happened yesterday.  You may remember in a previous post my disdain at Louise’s suggestion that I may need some new shorts.  I made the point that I only wear them for two weeks every year, so in effect, regardless of the fact that they are older than the kids, they are almost brand new.

Anyway, I bought some new ones!  They should see me right till my 50th now!

I’m waffling now, so I should stop.  My excitement is over-riding my ability to edit myself.  If you think this post has been a winding piece of nonsense, lurching from one thought to another, all holiday related, just wait until next weekend, when it will be my last blog post pre holiday.

I’m not sure yet if I will be tweeting from Florida, I need to ask the IT chaps at work if my phone tariff will inflict thousand of pounds worth of data charges by taking it to the US.  In a way I hope it does, as it will mean two weeks away from email.  On the other hand, I could do with my phone to act as sat nav, mobile internet look up, and tweeter whilst away.

I really will stop now.  Till the next time…..

All presents and correct.

The week began with Emily’s actual birthday.  Being a Monday, and Louise and I having to go to work we had to wake her at some silly time to bestow pressies upon her.  This, on a school day is dicey, but to do it in school holidays is something that only the bravest souls should attempt.  We did offer her the option of having her presents on Sunday evening, but bless her, she felt this wouldn’t be quite right.

iPod Pig
Pigging Loud

It was probably the lure of presents which meant that she was awake, and amazingly smiling quite quickly and with minimum physical harm to either parent.  We were not stupid or ambitious enough to actually assume she would get out of bed, so we did the deed in her bedroom and she was delighted with the gifts on offer.

From Nana, Grandad and Auntie and Uncle, a pig that you can stick your iPod into.  Folk have been arrested for less, but it seems this is OK to do.  It isn’t very big, but seems to have the audio output equivalent an Iron Maiden gig.  In fact that would be preferrable to some of the shouty nonsense that has been pouring out of it this week.

Most of the girl’s music is at worst tolerable, and some quite enjoyable, but at the other extreme, is the shouty nonsense with a bloke using some sort of ridiculous deep gutteral noise to spout lyrics that no-one can actually make out.  Yes, yes I know I now sound like every Dad in history, but I refute that claim.  Where music is concerned I am fairly discerning, having almost been a pop star and everything, and I’m sorry but this stuff really is just noise.

Emily’s other main present from good old Mum & Dad was a camera.  She’d asked for this a while ago, and in line with all good Dad traditions, I had told her she had no chance as they were too expensive, so she was nicely surprised upon ripping the wrappings off.

GE Camera
Sharp Shooter

She fancies getting into photography, which ties in with her overall interest in all things media, film and stuff.  Having looked at proper SLRs, chuckled at the price and moved on we got her what I believe is called a Bridge camera.  As the name suggests a sort of half way house between the usual point and shoot and those proper cameras where you need to know what you are doing.

As someone who is firmly in the point and shoot, leave it on automatic setting camp, I really hope she does get into photography enough to know her ISO from her elbow, then she can teach me.  What it also means, is that this year we should have two lots of photos from our holiday.  I suspect Emily’s collection will be quite select, as the “effort” of actually carrying it around will all be a bit too much…unless of course good old Dad shoves it into the never-ending rucksack.

The girls have been off this week as the holidays are now in full swing, which has meant getting to work has been a whole load easier.  No teenagers to get out bed, no lunches to make, and the traffic on the roads has been a delight.  Work itself is making a little more sense every day, and I feel like I made the odd positive contribution every now and again too.

So the week really passed without too much to note.  Saturday saw the girls and I strike out to the forbidden land that is the Trafford Centre on a Saturday.  My declaration that we had to be out of the house by 9.30am crashed and burned on the rocks of showers, hair dryers and hair straighteners.  I must learn to get ready quicker!  Anyway, we got there pre lunch, and the main job was to get Rebecca some shorts.  Gone are the days of buying a multi pack of multi coloured shorts, possibly with flowers on from Adams.  Back then, the girls would more or less wear whatever you put on them.  My how things have changed, and we spent hours, scouring every clothes shop in the Trafford Centre for shorts….denim shorts.

Can I just say what an absolute nonsense female clothes shopping is.  Items are not grouped together in one part of the store, so you might find a pair of shorts near the door, and several others tucked away in some dark corner.  Then even when you do find them, the game of trying to identify what bloody size each garment is starts.  These labels are not displayed obviously on the outside of the clothes, or on some large clear label, or even better hung around the top of the hanger.  No this crucial information is hidden inside the shorts, on a label the size of a pin head, in a foreign language.  So this means I have to root around in women’s shorts getting all hot and sweaty (so many jokes, so little time), as the girls will not exert that level of effort, as it may impinge on their job of looking cool.

Then, I had to summon the crash team to revive me when I saw that the price for a piece of denim, stitched into the shape of shorts started, yes, started at £20.  I won’t continue the rant here, but we dropped a bunch of cash just to ensure Rebecca didn’t have to spend the fortnight in her swimsuit.  Of course the expense was added to with lunch, the obligatory Starbucks, and a couple of T Shirts for Emily, as the sulk factor for having being dragged to the Trafford Centre, and not being bought anything reached serious levels after a few hours.  Rebecca also secured herself a new pair of black converse as her old ones were literally falling apart.  She does wear them as her school shoes, so Dad logic says, yes you can have a pair for the holidays, and then they will do nicely for the new term when you get back!  Result.

Toy Story 3
Toys with your affections

The rest of Saturday was spent by me at the gym, taking a few ounces off in readiness for the calorie onslaught that will ensue in the US, then we went to see Toy Story 3 in 3D.  It was up to the usual high standards, and Emily cried all over again.   I say again, as of course she and Rebecca watched it last weekend for her birthday do.

Perhaps the theme of growing up and moving on struck a chord with Emily, as at 15, she has a drawer full of toys she just won’t part with.  As soon as her back is turned, I am due an eBay bonanza.

Man Vs Food
How I wish I had this guy's job!

Over the weekend I have also watched the episodes of Man vs Food that I had sky plussed on Friday.  It is on one of those high numbered channels on Sky that you rarely stumble to, but believe me it is well worth it.

The premise is that Adam Richman travels the US visiting eateries, and taking on various eating challenges.  Some are truly ridiculous, and one episode stood out for that very reason.  I can eat, but this meant taking down a 2lb sandwich, and 6lb milkshake in one hour.  I won’t spoil it by telling you whether he did or not!!

If you haven’t seen the show have a look for it on Friday nights, aroundabout Channel 249 or 250 I think…or of course You Tube is your friend.

One last thing to point out, is that I have started to use Four Square.  I can’t really tell you what it is, but it is a new social networking thing, so I thought I’d give it a go.  I only mention it as it posts updates as to my location from time to time, so when you see them on Twitter or Facebook, it might explain why I am posting trivia about being at Asda!!  Not that me posting trivia is anything new to anybody.

Till the next time…..