Snot and success in unequal measure

I know that I may have mentioned my illness in semi-jocular stati this week, but bloody hell I have been rough.  The standard cold symptoms randomly brought their great mates heart burn and muscular aches, and just as I was hopeful of waving the bugger off over this weekend it has thrown one hell of a farewell party. Over the past two days I have experienced pain unlike any other.  I’d call it a headache, but it isn’t really.  It is more eye ache!

A searing pressure like pain right in the middle of my eyeballs.  It hurt…like proper big boy pain, and I don’t like it.  As you know I handle pain and illness well so you really wouldn’t have known had you been here.

Today has been a slight improvement with no such repeat of that, and apart from feeling like I have been battered with a big stick, there are signs of recovery.  I have done nothing today which has really helped.  Well, I took Oli out, and had the intention of cutting my toenails, but I haven’t managed that yet!

Being below par has been really frustrating.  I had a heavy week at work, with stuff going on that couldn’t be interrupted by illness so I took my germs to Marlow for two days.  What joy I felt in my deluxe suite in which I stay, wrapped in a blanket hugging the lukewarm radiator watching crap football.  Who says executive travel isn’t glamorous?  By the time I got to Friday I was no good to anyone and crawled home mid afternoon and went straight to bed for a bit.

Still, a productive week, with a key supplier decided upon for a very important project and a key person, with actual technical skills rather than my invented ones, recruited to help me do it.  Snot and success in unequal measure….there was much more snot!

So let’s put all that illness behind us (I hope).  Some regular sleep and less snot will help so fingers crossed.

Affairs of the teenage heart have been in play this week too, with some “stuff” going with Rebecca and her friend who is a boy.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now, there is nothing harder than watching one of them going through pain and not jumping right in the middle and knocking heads together or off altogether.

I am biting my metaphorical tongue, and hoping it all gets sorted out without too much upset, and the need for me to remove limbs.

Talking about removing limbs, Oli also came pretty close to losing a couple whilst I was away.  It seems that he left a large and damp message all over our bed, and those of you who sees Louise’s facebook updates will have appreciated her slight displeasure at this.

Thursday saw me travelling about in London, and whilst doing so coordinating my parents and a cleaning company to all work together before we got home to make sure we had something clean to sleep on.

My Dad sorted the duvet to the launderette, and Chem Dry turned up to sort the mattress.  Apparently they do a lot of work for hotels, so are used to similar work but I suspect for different fluids!

There are lots of theories about why Oli would do this, as he is superb at doing his stuff only where he should, always has been, so we are a bit baffled.  I wonder if it is connected to me being away, and him marking his territory in some way, but to be safe he isn’t going upstairs again anytime soon.

Just to remind us not to kill him here he is looking cute and lovable.

Oli cute

By the time we did get home on Thursday we were mostly sorted, and even had time to nip to my brother’s for a drink and pie celebration of his birthday.  I had soft drinks and lots of pie, as you need to feed a cold of course.

The other bit of news to share with you this week will hopefully be in the happy to hear category.  After the bitter disappointment in the summer for my Mum & Dad who had to cancel their trip to Florida with us with days to go, they are now booked to go just after Christmas.  Alas, we are not playing host, rather my brother and his family.  The party will be a huge one, nine in total, with his two elder children each taking their partner, so I think they have hired a coach to get them around.  Good luck with that!!

All Aboard!

So I am offering some tips, mainly on where to find a donut burger, which my brother is slightly more interested in that my sister-in-law who I’m guessing won’t be partaking.

So here’s to a week of better health as we hurtle towards December.  Someone might want to tell the telly that it isn’t December yet, cos if I see another version of the same advert from a bloody supermarket in November I might go and wee on their bed.

Why have they all gone for the same advert this year?  A stressed mum being the xmas hero.  I have no beef (or turkey) with the idea, but once you’ve seen it 48 times before December starts a dirty protest is the only solution.  Maybe Oli was ahead of me there?

Till the next time….

Sick and tired

This shall be briefer than a Helen Flanagan bush tucker trial.  I am sick and tired.  Not a reference to another impending rant but a genuine reference to my physical being.  What I thought was just dog tiredness for the past week or so has turned into the lurgy.  Whether the tiredness was a first sign of the illness or the tiredness allowed it to possess my body I don’t know and it matters not.  I am male and ill….pity me!

The girls have had it for a week and just as they started to recover both Louise and I have inherited whatever they had.  It gripped me on Friday and I spent a day at work in my dressing gown.  This was for a pajama based day in aid of Children In Need but it felt quite apt.  If only I had worn something underneath it, I may have attracted fewer strange looks, and less of a breeze that may have made matters worse.

So allow me to battle the throat, the sniffles the hot and cold sweats and weirdly horrific heartburn, and I shall return to you next week, plague free and back on form.

For now, I shall retreat to my bed, chair or whatever position of self-pity suits me best, and try my best not to infect you via this bloggage.  Alas, I have a busy and travel full week ahead.  Deep joy.


Till the next time……

The Disney Do is Done.

So it’s only taken the two months, but yesterday saw the 2012 trip report finally put to bed.  During those two months, it has at times felt like a millstone around my neck.  With the new job and new house it has had to take its place behind those two things.  However, literally as I put the last full stop on the last sentence, it made me a little sad.

As ever finishing these reports absolutely puts the holiday to bed, and that is sad of course.  Naturally a holiday forever sits in our memories adding interest to our nostalgia assets for years to come, and it does seem that a holiday just had can take a few months or years to be fully appreciated.

As well as those thoughts, I of course always regret having dashed several days off in a hurry, and wish I could go back and do them again without time being against me.

I mentioned in the final thoughts of the final day that this trip report may be the last one, and I’m sure that was greeted with scorn and derision, as of course for a decade now we’ve not been going next year.  This year’s threat seems to be the closest I can remember to becoming a reality though.  Even with unlimited funds I highly doubt Louise could be tempted to do another WDW based trip.

I agree to a certain extent.  Naturally should someone shove four plane tickets in my hand and point me in a Trans-Atlantic direction I would gladly go and do WDW all over again.  However, we are being drawn to other spots in the US.  Should we be blessed with a lottery win I would whisk the family away on a Stephen Fry style tour of all the states, taking in the diverse nature of the various parts of the US.

Back in reality I suspect as and when funds become available we’ll do the West Coast thing next.  So expect that trip report any time in the next decade.

Away from holidays and their associated reports I have been unable to avoid DIY this weekend.  Parts of the kitchen need decorating.  The previous residents had an unhealthy obsession with sauna style wood panelling, and I am attempting to turn it white.  Two coats in, plus the assistance of my Dad and there is still no real sign of an end game.

The decorating is an evil necessity as we are to host the family for Christmas this year.  So that totals twelve folks.  Louise made this kind and generous offer at the wrong end of a bottle of red, and despite the fact we can seat six for dinner at a push with some emergency chairs, twelve it is.  Add in a four stone sheep dog and our house should be an adventure come the big day!

Once I have finished painting the sponge like walls there is also some wallpapering to do, and the dreaded glossing.

On a different note you may remember me bemoaning a journey home from Marlow on a Friday afternoon?  You may also recall me swearing an oath never to leave myself in that situation again?

So on Friday I had to drive home from Marlow.  It was pretty much unavoidable.  I left a little earlier but it did little to ease the pain.  The M6 was gruesome and the M40 joined in too, not wanting to be left out.  I crawled out of the car some five or so hours later, defeated by some bitumen or should that be bitch-umen.

I will make no similar vow that such a thing won’t happen again, but I’ll try really hard not to make the mistake again, and if I do, definitely not to moan about it again here.

M6 toll
It certainly took it

I don’t think I’ve done a family update for a bit so you can have one.

Last week saw me attend Rebecca’s Parent’s Evening.  Despite the fact that appointments are booked every time, they are then systematically ignored by everyone, and it is just a case of grab a teacher your child recognises as soon as the seats at their desk become free.

She is doing OK.  She could pass the whole lot at GCSE, but the recurring theme is she needs to apply a little more effort.  I tried my best at motivational speaking as we walked home again afterwards.  I suspect it will have little effect as Rebecca was just too cold to listen to me.  This was because she didn’t listen to me earlier when I told her she’d need her big coat on as it was really cold even though it is only a five-minute walk.  The trials of fatherhood.

She also has the distraction of her Tom.  If Tom tells her she needs a coat it would be accepted without question!  You can but advise and guide, as they don’t listen much anyway.

Emily is progressing well with her driving, being told by her instructor to concentrate on her theory now as she needs to get that sorted and passed as by that time she should be ready for her test.  It really does feel odd watching her drive off in a car for her lessons.  This week was the wonders of the roundabout.  After being extremely nervy to begin with she seems to have found her confidence now, and is enjoying her lessons.

In her spare time she has taken to sheep dog fancy dress!

Nurse Oli
Nurse Oli
Oli Bra
Roger Wilco!

Louise finished her first placement in a hospital on Friday much to her relief.  It has been hard work, fitting in shifts and coursework as well of course as the grueling work of a nurse on a hospital ward.  Some of the tales she tells of tubes, puss, vile body parts and in some cases viler patients confirm my conviction that I absolutely could not do that job.   She is back to the less intense University elements of her course now until January.

Onto the wider family, and my Dad is still wrestling with the insurance company over his non-holiday with us.  I am not one to suggest that these insurance companies use delaying tactics, but they have written back (by snail mail) half a dozen times to request extra and different snippets of information that they could have requested on the original claim form.  Some of their clients might just give it up as the effort is too big, but they are fighting a losing battle with my Dad.

His persistence is only equaled by his retired free time, so they may as well just write the cheque and have done with it.  We are also keeping him nice and busy with our DIY requirements.  He’s in the middle of a project to un-damp our cellar which should keep him going for the next few weeks!

Mum is doing better.  She’s had a couple of relapses into pain, but generally she’s doing OK.  She saw a consultant last week who seems to have settled on a  diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which was pretty much what we all thought before the dozens of tests and weeks of pain.  Anyway, she’s on the relevant medication now, and we’ll see how that goes.

So that’s it I think.  I had considered another vitriolic rant about the ways of the world, but thought better of it.  The ending of the last/latest trip report is worthy of a mention both in appreciation of the time and effort spent on it and as a nod of respect to what could be the last of its kind.  What do you mean you don’t believe me????

Till the next time…..

Perspective, Patience and Parents

I have a fairly well-developed persecution complex. It appears to be a disease of the middle-aged man. Real or not, at times everyone feels that they are getting not just the shitty end of the stick, but the other end is being poked somewhere unpleasant too.

Such was my thinking on late Friday afternoon. There I was minding my own business, when I got the phone call that every man dreads.

It wasn’t that one of my daughters was pregnant (although in ten years this is more likely to be good news than bad, but at 17 and 15, I think not), it wasn’t that Louise had dumped all my belongings on the front lawn either. This is mainly because we don’t have a front lawn. This was uppermost in my selection criteria of any new house…..

“Yes Phil and/or Kirstie, we are looking for a seventeen bedroom period property with eighteen acres of land, with our own water-mill and miniature village on the back patio where we shall sit and watch herds of Wildebeest sweep majestically through the Home Counties with our children Saffron and Hercules. Our budget is tight at only 25.4 million pounds”…said me never.

Location x 3

No, our new house is modest but it has no grass and this is something I wake up thankful for every day.

Anyway, I digress, this dreaded call wasn’t any of that. It was that….


Quite what I could do about it from twenty miles away I don’t know, but the girls had done the correct thing and gone next door for Grandad. I put the phone down thinking he may well sort it by the time I got home.

Nope. In fact I got another call from Dad, which turned into one of those conversations that you could never have imagined having.

Dad: “There is water coming out of your Sky box!”

Me: “Sorry, I could have sworn you said there was water coming out of the Sky box”.

It turns out that is indeed what he did say. Fast forward to my arrival home, and the TV and its plethora of boxes and gadgets are all over the front room soon to be joined by my will to live.

To cut a very long and painful story short, we discovered that the aerial cable coming in from outside was pumping water into our Sky box, which was now forlornly lying on the carpet looking damp and unlikely to ever work again.

This water was coming in via a circuitous route involving the cellar, which was as a result nice and damp too. So back to my point?

I had a right sulk on. In the full glaring horror of a post holiday cash shortage, with Christmas looming, once again, just as I could see us getting back to some sort of financial normality, shit happens. It was quite an epic sulk, and I could quite easily have torched the bloody house at that point and put in an insurance claim. Staring down the barrel of a new sky box, new cabling and who knows what else to sort out the cellar, I had a right hissy fit.

I was so upset that I almost didn’t eat my tea. THAT is how upset I was.

So with the Sky box down we watched a DVD on Friday night, The Black Knight, which was again awesome, and then went to bed, taking my bottom lip with me.

Saturday dawned and taught me (again) a lesson in perspective, patience and parents. After drying out the Sky box, I tried to connect it all up again (minus the water-bearing aerial cable of course) and it all worked. The scenes of jubilation were epic. It was like the Ewok party in the Return of The Jedi with even Emily raising an eyebrow in appreciation, her Dad being suddenly useful.

So we don’t need a new Sky box after all. Kerching.

My Dad then returned from golf and popped in with a plan to sort the cellar, and with news of a chap he golfs with arriving on Monday to sort out our aerial issues.

Having stared down the desolate barrel of a weekend without Sky, huge bills and a leaky house, come Saturday afternoon, Sky was restored, and the rest didn’t look so daunting.

So the moral of the tale is…

I am absolutely correct in my persecution complex. Life is just a series of obstacles and hurdles, most of which trip me up and see me sprawl across the running track of life. The thing is, it is probably the same for everyone else too.

That’s me, but with more lycra.

Much as I put my girl’s worlds back together again on a regular basis, when they fall out with friends, lose a boyfriend or have coursework traumas, so in the circle of life does my Dad (and/or Mum) for me. The fact that he spent his entire working life in the building trade, and there is not a trade that is not represented now by a member of his golf club, means that these house related things are small beer for him.

The fact that I lose all perspective and patience from time to time is just how I am made. Louise knows this, recognises the signs and handles me in the way in which I need handling. That is to be left alone until the sulk passes, with some consoling words thrown in which pretty much fall on deaf ears despite her best efforts.

I’m an introverted drama queen, which is a pretty bad combination. Whether my Dad is picking me up after falling off a swing (not for some years now I admit), or from the precipice of a house related trauma, he’s probably used to it by now.

I shall try better to remember, appreciate and deploy the three Ps of which I write in future!

But for God’s sake who has ever heard of water being pumped into your Sky box by your aerial? (Not a euphemism!)

Till the next time….