Now then, where were we?

So I’ve been droning about work woes now for about five or six weeks, and like one of those attention seeking folk on social networking sites, I’ve been doing the equivalent of posting one of those obtuse woe is me status updates hoping lots of folk will ask what is going on.

I apologise.

Last week was a biggie in lots of ways, and I can’t believe so much happened.  However, it was the culmination of many, many weeks of hard slog, worry, tears and desperation.

About six weeks ago, through no fault of my own (I think) I found myself having to find myself a new job.  I understand that I am no doubt one of many in this situation right now.  The story behind this coming to be is complex and not routine, but not worth repeating here, but it was very scary, especially when you are just about to move house, and have an expensive holiday to go on!

It felt like I’d jumped off a tall building and I could see financial disaster rushing towards me like the ground rising to meet me.  Scary stuff.  So for the past few weeks I have been working very hard trying to rectify that situation.  I have interviewed until I am sick of talking about myself.  During that time, I cannot claim to have coped in the best way, and I have been a bit of a nob to live with.  Louise deserves a medal, and the extended family have helped, worried and supported impressively.

Mood swings, depression, loss of confidence, anger, hopelessness and a bit more anger were just a few of the emotions that I swept through most days.  At the risk of glossing over these weeks and not giving them the soul crushing respect they deserve here, I will cut to the chase and say that last Monday saw me receive an offer for a job with a great company that will also allow us to continue to pay the bills, move house and of course most importantly still go on holiday.  It is all about priorities.

I knew last Sunday that an offer would be coming but I didn’t know the details of the package, and when that email arrived in all its acceptable glory, the relief felt was immense.  All the pressures and worries of the last six weeks were released, and it is hard to describe how that felt.

So with that in the bag, we then had the small matter of moving house to contend with, as of course after months of delay and faff, it conspired that the moving date fell in the same week as the job thing getting resolved.

The stress of moving house and all the crap that always comes with that, when added to the job thing have made for what have been the most stressful few weeks of my life.  I know I haven’t yet had to contend (thank God) with any real problems that affect a loved ones health or even worse, but indulge me, it’s been crap!

So as we entered the home strait of the house move, everything seemed to be sorted for last Friday, until that is, we got to last Wednesday evening.  The details aren’t worth repeating but someone in the chain had a crap bank and/or solicitor, and they were very doubtful that they could process all the stuff in time for Friday.  This nonsense carried on until 4.45pm on Thursday, when we finally got word from our solicitor (who was bloody marvellous throughout) that we were on for the following day after all.

To accommodate that moving date for the benefit of the whole chain, we had agreed to a day when Louise would be at University, doing something she could not miss, so I would be supervising alone.  A worry to anyone sane!

girls old house
One last time at *that* door
girls old house oli
and with added Oli

Then, after what had been a full week of hard slog, packing, tipping and sorting our stuff the day of the move dawned and turned out to be the wettest day of the year.  We got absolutely drenched as we began early in the morning, and stayed that way until late into the day at the new house.

We had help of course from all the parents, and we ended the day in the house, with beds to sleep in, and three very stressed and unhappy cats!!  Just to add some spice to the day, our friends at Nat West decided to pull a plug out in a server room somewhere, and bring the financial system to a grinding halt.  This meant that no monies could be moved on moving day, and this posed the risk of us having to leave the furniture in the van over the weekend and wait until Monday to move in.

Thankfully, our solicitor worked some actual magic and used something called a Licence (I have no idea) to enable the whole chain to move, and fingers crossed all the money stuff will happen tomorrow.

We have of course spent the weekend unpacking and sorting the new house, fixing broken stuff we didn’t know about and buying new stuff.  Today, my Dad and I have also knocked down a wall in the loft, which will create a huge bedroom for Emily.  Whilst we do that Emily is sleeping at my Mum and Dad’s house, but this isn’t too bad, as we have moved next door to them!

Just to cap off a quiet weekend, we went out yesterday and changed Louise’s car!!  We’d been meaning to for a while, but an upcoming tax disc requirement, and the enormous running costs of her current car made us actually go out and get a more economical model, befitting her new status of student!  She is getting a Peugeot 107.  It is only two years old, so a lot younger than her current car, costs £20 per year to tax, and does about 60 mpg, compared to the 26mpg she is currently enjoying!

So it’s been a bit full on recently, and a period of time that I do not wish to repeat at any point in the future.

Just before all this kicked off I was just beginning to enjoy planning the holiday, having picked out some new eateries to try and deciding to take my Mum and Dad to the baseball etc.  All of that has been very much on the back burner for obvious reasons, and it has only been since Monday that we knew we would be able to go on holiday after all.

I intend now to get back into full planning mode now that house and job are done.  I have ESTAs to do, baseball tickets to buy, theme park tickets to research, and all the usual fun of the fair associated with the last few weeks before one of our adventures. Bring it on!

So for the downbeat nature of my recent bloggage I apologise.  I have also been pretty absent from other social media outlets, but have made somewhat of a comeback this weekend when time allowed.  To say I feel better is the biggest understatement since Jimmy Carr said he’s made an error of judgement.

The next few weeks sees me start my new job on Tuesday, so that will worry and occupy me a little more than just turning up for work as normal, but I am glad to have that problem believe me.  Between that and the work associated with doing Emily’s bedroom and other new house stuff, I hereby dedicate all other available time to Disney planning, sarcastic tweeting and inane Facebookery.  You have my word.  Countdown wise we are at 55 days.  Good grief I have much ground to make up!


Till the next time…..

Achy Breaky Body

There’s a reason that I don’t do a job that involves manual labour.  Well, there may be a few reasons, but the main one is that I’d be dead by Wednesday of the first week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put a hell of a shift in this weekend moving stuff and boxes, and more stuff, and oh, so that’s where that went to.  Two full days of non stop manual labour and my body is literally rebelling.  At around lunch time today still with endless amounts to move, my system started to go into shutdown mode.  I finally understood the phrase being out on your feet.

To stave off these feelings I have of course been shoving as many calories down my throat as I’ve been able to, starting this morning with a traditional Father’s Day breakfast.

I had to wait a little while, as I was up at 6.30.  Oli checked to see if I was awake at that time by jabbing his huge wet nose into my forehead a dozen times, and by that time, yes, I was awake.  I stumbled out of the bedroom into the hall (don’t forget, we are in the ex-garage downstairs) and saw what looked like a scene from Alien.

After a hard day’s work yesterday, my Mum & Dad treated us all to a massive Chinese takeaway at their house, mainly as we were too weak to even open the fridge.  On the menu were spare ribs, and Oli partook in about two dozen too many, and this led to him revisiting them all over the floor.  Just as I was finishing the mop up operation, Louise wandered in saying she’d do it and I should go to bed.  Yep, that’s right, just as I was finishing!!

Once awake, the brain was whirring, and sleep was long since gone.  I was up comparing car insurance by 7am!  Some hours later, the girls made it downstairs with their eyes almost fully open, and wished me a Happy Father’s Day, and thrust a Cinderella gift bag at me.  Inside were a card, and my present, a T-shirt, with the phrase Grouch Potato on it.  I didn’t even think to object.  After a few more minutes of banging and clattering, I was presented with a breakfast fit for a King.  Waffles, squirty cream and strawberries.  No full English, as I used to get when they were too young to do it themselves and Louise would do the honours.  Left to their own devices, operating the microwave and the can of cream is the full extent of their culinary skills.

It was delicious though.  With the festivities over, work once again began, with us shifting endless boxes from our current house to the new one.  We don’t exchange until this coming Friday, but as I’ve mentioned, we’re buying from family so this means we’ve been allowed access early to dump all the crap from the shed into our new cellar.  If this deal falls through now, I’m afraid it is staying right there and can be sold to the next buyer as a feature!

moving man
Not actually me.

Louise isn’t able to get out of Uni on Friday on our moving day, so she will not be around for most of the day.  I wasn’t quick enough to think of a similar excuse so it looks like I’ll be in charge.  Anything could happen.

So ten years, almost to the day, are drawing to an end at our current address.  With the way this whole move has gone, should Louise suggest moving again anytime this millenia, she will encounter the full extent of my wrath.  Then we’ll more than likely just move again!

In other news earlier in the week, I have been out and about a bit visiting all four corners of the British Isles…well Nottingham, Knutsford and Liverpool…geography wasn’t my strongest subject.  These work related travels are showing signs of bearing some worthwhile fruits, and I hope to be in a much better place in that regard pretty soon.  I do not wish to jinx this as I said last week, so until you hear some fat woman singing, I shall remain the elusive, charismatic, handsome enigma that I am.

Oh yes, I have also had a cold!! I suspect my body has been fooled into thinking this is November by the lovely weather we’ve been enduring.  There is less moistness on the front row of a One Direction concert.

wdw programme
Programme not program!

This week has also brought some discussion with Emily on her plans after college.  She isn’t too interested in University, despite her predicted grades being pretty pleasing, and so she has it seems been researching and plotting her course.  She is going to apply for Disney’s Cultural Representative Programme, which is a 12 month placement working in WDW.       This sounds great, and so we’ll be working on that with her until November when the application process opens.  If anyone has done it, or know someone who has, Emily would love any advice or insight you might have on the application and interview process.

So, progress on a few fronts.  I have an empty shed, some boxes already in the new house, a sniff of something like good news with my “issues” at work, and an ache in every muscle in my work addled body.

Now, I must return to the calorie consumption before I wither away into nothingness.  If things pan out as I hope in the coming days, next week shall be a return to full blown WDW planning.  You have been warned.

Till the next time…..

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Time, they say, is a cruel mistress, a double-edged sword, a swirling maelstrom of contradictions, a thing that can feel the opposite at the same time.  OK, I made the last couple up, but time is a strange thing.  Not as an abstract concept, but more of a thing that can feel to pass so slowly, and yet in the blink of an eye all at the same time.

For example.

The last few weeks have edged along at a pace not seen since I last tried to run anywhere.  With “issues” to resolve, the pace at which the world responds to my efforts to do so has been painful to say the least.  I look into next week and see half a chance of finally sorting stuff out from a work perspective, and also with more than a mild feeling of trepidation that it will somehow be ripped from my grasp at the last moment, and I’ll have to wait yet more time to feel some sort of relief.

On the other hand, time on a grander scale seems to flash before my eyes as if it were nothing but a few seconds.  Two things this week have made think this way.

Firstly, Rebecca has entered the workforce.  It is, in the scheme of things, in a small way, but nevertheless, on Saturday she emerged from work beaming from ear to ear clutching the first £16 she had ever earned and feeling like a millionaire.  She has got herself a Saturday job in a hairdressers.  Said hairdressers is owned by my cousin, and she spent her first day at work shampooing, brewing up and cleaning the loos, thankfully not concurrently.

She seemed to enjoy herself, and was to be seen constantly looking at the sparkly money in her purse for the rest of the day.  But never mind that, how did it come to pass that my little girl became old enough to go into the working world?

This thought had been reinforced by the second point I am making, which is that we are in the process of clearing out all of our cupboards and drawers of all the accumulated pap that we have shoved into drawers and cupboards since we moved in ten years ago.  Much of what we are finding is photographic evidence that I used to have hair, Louise once had a really bad bubble perm and the kids grew up sometime in the last ten minutes to be nearly adults.

Packet after packet of photos bring back to life different stages of our lives, and along with that wistful smile that memories bring (or is it wind?), it has reminded me that I seem to have blinked and missed a decade or so.

I haven’t of course, I was just busy in that decade working hard, and planning for some big thing that never seems to arrive or happen.  At the risk of getting too clawingly sentimental, smelling a rose or two along the way sounds like a plan, until life happens, and the roses whizz by the car window as you drop the girls off at another party or school event for which we are always late, and having a row as we have had to do something at the last-minute as the girls failed to mention that they needed those ingredients, that T-shirt or their PE kit.

Such is life I suppose.  So now I share my house with two almost adult girls who still call me Dad, and when the need arises still rely on me to sort stuff out, but they certainly won’t be going on my shoulders anytime soon, and won’t be needing me to put that stupidly small dress onto their Polly Pocket for the sixth time this hour.

Time is relative.  Immediate issues that need addressing, like my current ones, feel like you are wading through a swamp with lead boots on, and no matter how hard you try, time drags on.  A bit like watching your countdown tick by till your next holiday.

The big picture stuff, which sees you changing nappies one day, and having yours changed the next is something akin to how you find yourself sat on the tarmac in Orlando waiting to head back to greyness and crap weather seemingly about seventeen minutes after landing there in the first place.

Ah well, my latter point proves that I shall no doubt look back on the dark times in the right now, as a small pot hole on the outside lane of life’s motorway when I look back on photos of us now, and remember what was going on.  Then I’ll ask one of the girls to take me to toilet again, and soil myself just before we get there out of spite.

So as you may guess, I am still somewhat in limbo, as my maudlin ramblings above may suggest.  Progress is slow, and very distracting, but as mentioned earlier, next week suggests that (to quote Lilly Allen) there may be a tunnel with some light at the end, or something like that.  I hope so, as these last few weeks are not ones that I wish to repeat at any time in the future.

Forgive me again for the elusive nature of this here post but I strongly believe that jumping any guns here would jinx the small amount of progress made so far, so, you shall have to return to later bloggings to be bored to tears by the full story, and be very let down by its mundane nature…so it’ll be like every other week’s blog then!

In other news, Oli continues to become fluffy again after his hair cut when it was back in the spring (or was that summer).  He is a cutie.

Oli nose
Oli nose best

We also went to the cinema today for the first time in ages.  Men in Black III was the film of choice, and we enjoyed it.  There were no great surprises, but I wasn’t expecting any, just a good entertaining family film, and that was what we got.  The real surprise of the trip was that for some reason I did not get any Pick n Mix, and instead got a small (yes, I said a small!) popcorn instead.

I tell you, all this stress and bother is causing me some obvious issues.  Fingers crossed that this time next week I can tell you of some resolution and a return to normality, not some crazy world where I order a small of anything.  Madness!

Till the next time……




Bubble wrap, boxes and far too many boats!

We’re packing.  Alas not for a holiday, but for the move.

With ten years having elapsed the amount of absolute junk we have accumulated is staggering.  This is despite having to jettison a load when we did the garage conversion last year.  Bubble wrap has been acquired, boxes purloined, and every room bears the scars of the battleground that is Williams v Junk.

Pop it!

It is amazing what you find in these circumstances though.  The girls have today remembered that they own (amongst a million other long forgotten objects retrieved from under a bed or drawer) a Gameboy and a Nintendo DS, with a vast library of games.  These now sit on eBay hoping for a bid or three.

This afternoon Louise and I ventured into the dark expanse of horror that is…..THE LOFT!  It was strewed with bin bags full of summer clothes, photos (remember when you used to get them printed?), and a vast array of games consoles from across the past decade or two.  Those along with two PCs, with monitors large enough to house a small family have been wrestled down from the roof space and taken along to the tip.  I am such good terms with high vis vest man at the tip that I think I’m going to be best man at his wedding.

Before tipping said PCs, I gently (ahem) removed the hard drives from them just to make sure that no-one got their hands on the porn, I mean personal data held upon them.  I then employed a team of six bodybuilders to help me carry each of the HUUUGGEE PC monitors bought in the 90’s, into the mondeo.  The audible groan from the trusty Ford could be heard for miles.

Our spare room is now just a giant pile of bin bags and guff that we need to sort through.  That is our long weekend spoken for then.

Still it could have been worse, I could have had to watch a thousand boats go down a river in the pissing rain and cold.  I caught a few minutes of this debacle on the BBC today and it was, pardon my french, piss poor.  The fact that five hours of telly was devoted to it is mind blowing.  I salute those having to commentate on it.  Next week they are to make paint drying sound exciting.

I can’t have been the only person to wish that they had employed one of the Disney guys to organise this boats floating past a queen thing.  I mean, have they not seen Fantasmic?  It certainly would have made the whole thing more bearable for her Maj and those unfortunate enough to have made the journey to witness it to.  Imagine the profit from the sale of ponchos too!

Exciting much?
That’s more like it

I hope you all enjoy your extra two days off.  Personally, I could do without them.  I know that sounds silly, but at some point in the near future I’ll tell you why.  I am still working through “work issues”, and if you aren’t bored of them yet, I sure am.  Hopefully, very soon I shall emerge from the darkness and into the proverbial light, and get back to blog’s full of Disney planning and ludicrous innuendo.

Till the next time…..