N N N N N Nineteen.

It has been a birthday week in the Williams household this week, with Emily turning nineteen. Of course, now she is over eighteen, all presents, gifts and cash must stop, as those are the rules. Well, that’s what we’re telling her anyway.

Whatever we did this week, we could not live up to what happened this time last year, with (even if I say so myself) a perfectly executed reveal of her 18th birthday present, a trip to WDW. This year was a much more low-key affair, especially as Rebecca is still overseas on holiday in Turkey. The day was spent by Emily with her best friend Meg, and her boyfriend Joe, doing what I believe the youth of today call “hanging out”. When I do that, it is usually due to the age of my underwear.

Present wise, she had to settle for cash, some perfume and this addition to her newly acquired laptop.

macbook snow white

Emily and Joe went out for a meal and Louise baked her a cheesecake, her favourite cake in the whole of the world, but of course this did not remove the requirement for the standard Disney birthday cake too.

disney cake

 

She was more excited by this than most nineteen year olds may have been, but then, I suppose you know that by now?

Rebecca’s having a lot of fun on holiday, with days at water parks, and a go at scuba diving.

rebecca scuba 1

rebecca scuba 2

rebecca and tom water park

She’s due back home on Thursday and we will of course be delighted and relieved for her to be so. She has had a really good time, however, she did say “It isn’t America.” Years of training are not forgotten in two weeks in Turkey it would seem.

It is some form of miracle that I have got so far into a blog post without whining about my lack of America. I will admit that there have been actual conversations this week between Louise and I about a trip next year. To be honest, we both sort of knew one would be on the cards if and when Emily is called over to WDW for her programme. I won’t go into the details of the lengthy five-minute discussion, but all I will say is that the words “well, we just have to go next year” came from Louise’s mouth.

The biggest shock to you from that conversation was that I was the one advising caution, and not leaping immediately onto the nearest flight website, to rape and pillage the closest credit card. I have to admit though, even the merest, slim, outside chance of a trip has a positive effect. I read an article this week entitled something like Ten Things You Can Do Right Now To Be Happier. As soon as I saw that number one wasn’t fly to Florida, my hopes were lowered, but I persevered through all the boring obvious stuff like sleep more, work less, move closer to work to shorten your commute and finally got to a point I definitely agreed with.

There was actual scientific proof, it said, that even planning a holiday can relieve stress and increase happiness. Even if you don’t actually take the trip, the benefits are still real. The very small chance of a return home has kicked off some very low-level butterflies of anticipation, which have been greatly missed. The thought of seeing places such as Vero Beach, the Boardwalk and Applebees again are proving to be a mild anti-depressant. Yes, I know I’m strange.

So now I need to go and sit on Kayak for a bit to help my mood. I actually have already found suitable flights, so I’m just going to stare at the website for a bit. Then, I might look at endless villas for a few hours, making a detailed spread sheet comparing features, attributes and costs in a complex pivot table to arrive at the best choice. If we actually really decide we are going, then I may not survive the excitement.

Time for more cheesecake!

Till the next time…..

Don’t Care How, I Want It Now!

As the world continues its journey to hell in a handcart, in my own little universe, Rebecca left us for two weeks for her holiday. She has been very excited about her trip for a long time, and has been counting down the days for the past couple of weeks. Quite right too, as she was off to what looks like a lovely place, with outstanding weather. However, it was noticeable that as we got in the final few hours of her preparation it started to dawn on her what was happening. All of her teenage know-it-all bravado evaporated in a panic about airport security and flying without us.

She was honest enough to admit that she was feeling nervous about flying without Louise and I. Her apprehension continued to build as I drove her and her boyfriend to the airport on Thursday. She was unusually quiet on that half hour journey, and by the time I had pulled up and relieved the car of their cases her quivering bottom lip was a tell-tale sign of her true feelings.

One extra-large hug later, and half of her makeup all over my T-shirt, she seemed better, and waved happily as I drove away. Are there many worse feelings than waving your child off to a flight you won’t be on? I’m sure there are lots but I couldn’t think of any on the drive home. I certainly couldn’t think of any when a few short hours into her flight the news came in of the tragic fate of flight MH17 over East Ukraine. In the following minutes I was really wishing I had studied harder in Geography at school as I couldn’t tell you how far Turkey was from there, and that was a cause for concern.

A little googling told me it was a fair distance, but frankly, not far enough, and with a bit more browsing I was literally watching her flight make its way across Europe and down to Turkey. It may have been one of the longest ninety minutes or so that I can remember. To see the flight show as arrived was a delight, and I knew I could tone the worrying down a little, for two weeks at least until she flies back!

Safely arrived, she is now having a ball in 40 degree heat, and treating us to envy inducing photos like this.

Rebecca is the one without the beard.

Rebecca is the one without the beard.

They are staying at Tom’s parents place near Bodrum (I think), and it looks delightful.

The customary hot dog shot

The customary hot dog shot

All of this of course is doing nothing for those of the Williams clan that are left behind. You may have picked up on my subtle hints in the last few weeks that the lack of holiday blues have kicked in. I don’t like to talk about it too much so you may not be aware! I shall not lie to you, there has been a modicum of flight searching this weekend, but very much for 2015. I shall also not lie to you about the fact that right now we have no means to pay for such a thing, but hey, that’s never stopped us before.

Much depends on our plans moving forward, not least what Emily ends up doing with her place on the programme. No sign of a date yet, so we wait, and we’ll see. Also, these days, any trip “home” will need to probably accommodate one or more of these here boyfriends both of the girls seem to have acquired. That will make for a larger touring party, unavoidable complications and a compromise or two. Such is life and its ever-changing ways. The girls are absolutely building and living their own lives these days, which of course, as Tim Rice said, is all part of the circle of life. I have no great desire to stop them from doing so, as going back to sleepless nights, nuclear nappies and doing all of their homework from school is not something I really pine for.

So we shall see what happens to our 2015 plans. We all desperately want, and in some cases, need to go, but having been so often we can’t be too greedy. No, balls to that, I am greedy and I NEED to go. I am the Veruca Salt of Florida holidays.

Just book the sodding flights Willy!

Yep, I don’t care how, I want it now.

I wish you all a lovely week to come, especially those teachers out there facing a horrendous six or so weeks away from work. Frankly I pity you. I don’t know how I would cope with such a hardship. Sigh.

Till the next time……

 

Bikinis and Belly Aching.

Later this week, on Thursday, Rebecca goes on holiday. She is off to Turkey with her boyfriend and his family for a couple of weeks. So the house is filling up with the tell-tale signs of an impending journey abroad. Summer clothes hang freshly ironed around the house, bikini shopping has happened, and excitement levels grow. None of that of course applies to me, aside from the bikini shopping. You can never have too many of those.

It isn't polka dot...

It isn’t polka dot…and yes, that’s her new phone!

The horrific realisation that we are actually not going to have a holiday this year has hit Louise and I like the proverbial tonne of bricks. I’m sure Emily is feeling it too. I know this as she keeps shoving videos and photos of the new stuff at Disney and Universal under my nose and demanding to know why we aren’t going! She of course should be going anyway, once her date comes through for her programme, and she is also distracted with her recently acquired new boyfriend. Joe is his name, and he of course will never be good enough for her. That is nothing against Joe. I’ve met him, he’s nice, but that statement about not being good enough applies to every male drawing breath on the planet so he shouldn’t take offence.

So there is a fairly high level of sulkage going on in our house at the moment. At work, the holiday season has started, and for the next four of five weeks, somebody from my team is away somewhere nice, and I am not. I am wishing them lovely times through gritted teeth.

For me, endless weeks of work stretch out like untouched very monotonous snow. That Groundhog Day, hamster on the wheel feeling is hard to escape. Sure, I’ll have some time off, probably in August to coincide with Louise’s holidays from University, but it just won’t be the same. Not being at work is nice of course, and I’d rather be at home than working, but there’s a real sense of bereavement at the loss of our annual injection of fun, luxury and incredible amounts of food.

Now, I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of things, these are not real problems. God forbid that we actually have something serious to deal with, but it does little to lessen the blow. There is always someone better and worse off than yourself, and whilst recognising that, I reserve the right to have a massive cob on until I have a new countdown to gloat over.

In slightly more upbeat news, Emily took delivery of her shiny new laptop this week. She has long coveted and craved a Macbook, and having been working for some months now, she has saved enough to get herself one. I have to admit that it is a thing of beauty. One thing it has finally enabled us to do is to start the long process of uploading and editing over ten years worth of Florida videos. We tried a little while ago, using my brother’s Mac, but came upon some technical issues and Emily gave up. After some tricky research regarding the required cableage to connect our aged camcorder to this brand new piece of technology, we ordered the doings we needed and yesterday started to upload the first lot.

For some reason 2008 was the first one uploaded, mainly as that was the one in the camcorder at the time. This was the year we went for Emily’s birthday. I think she turned 14. She’s 19 in two weeks time! I think the tapes go back to 2004, so this all might take some time, but finally, finally, we hope to get them all edited down and up onto YouTube sooner rather than later. Hey, this could enable you all to buy the trip report books and then indulge in a multi-media extravaganza by watching the relevant videos too. It’s like we are living in the future! Having watched 2008 last night as it uploaded the main thing that struck me was just how uncomfortable we, no I, am on camera, how much the girls have changed and how much my Dad loves being on camera.

It also made me realise how much I miss Vero Beach. We have had some of our loveliest and best times there over the years. It is a special place, nestled close to lots of other special places…to us anyway.

So I am very aware that this post has sounded full of self-pity. That is because it is full of self-pity. There will come a time when we return to our true home, and when I do, you will be praying for posts like these when I bleat a bit about not going, as the amount of gloating, over planning and smug countdowning I shall be doing will be more unbearable than what you have just read. No, believe me it will, no matter how unlikely you may think that is.

I’m off now to ready myself for another joyous week at work.

Till the next time……

 

Not a Week for the Weak.

So how’s your week been? Mine? Well it has been an exercise in bouncing from one disaster to another. That’s right, after last week’s break from my usual litany of moanage, the angry gods of shite came down upon me with mighty vengeance.

Let me talk you through it so you can all pity me, in almost equal measures to the amount I pity myself.

Firstly, last Saturday night Rebecca went out for the night with her boyfriend and some friends. As I woke on Sunday morning I was greeted with a tearful Rebecca, sharing tales of her stolen phone and a night out she wanted to forget. After reporting said theft to the police, we then heard from a kind soul who had found her phone and taken it home with him. Luckily for him he called, as no doubt the Greater Manchester Police were just about to deploy the SWAT team to take him out after I had given them the location of the phone courtesy of the Find My Irresponsible Daughter’s iPhone app.

It'll end in tears!

It’ll end in tears!

I spent most of Sunday arranging to go and collect it, and then buying and taking a bottle of whiskey with me to say thank you for not having it on eBay within minutes. As he handed over the phone I quickly saw why he could not have done that, even if he were that way inclined. The front screen looked as if a small nuclear reaction had gone off just under the glass. The thing still worked, but using the touchscreen meant collecting shards of glass in the ends of your fingers.

Luckily, we have our mobiles insured, but still, a hefty excess makes the replacement of it painful.

Having barely recovered from the stress and heart-break of parting with that chunk of change, on Monday, whilst trying to look busy at my desk Louise phoned me, beginning the conversation with the words nobody wants to hear.

“You’re going to go mad!”

I did. It turned out whilst running the bath a couple of phone calls had distracted her and we now had a lovely water feature in the kitchen below. It sounded as if the Apocalypse was happening in my house as I sat with my head in hands at work.  None of the electrics were working, wallpaper was off, and I was weeping causing a similar flood at my desk.

By the time I got home, things were a little calmer, and I managed to get the electrics back on, and it seems all we have to make good is one wall which now has no wallpaper on it. I’ll need to leave that for about six months so it can properly dry out of course.

Things were all calm on Tuesday, which was nice. However as I arrived home from work on Wednesday I was greeted at the car by Oli and Louise, and I knew something was up. Louise told me that all the electrics were off again, and nothing was bringing them back.

“Oh deary me, what a week we are having,” I said, unable to suppress a smile!

I went to the fuse box thing and fiddled expertly with stuff, but to no avail. It was only after that fiddling that a thought occurred to me. This is a power cut. A quick check with next door, and yes, they had no power either. This was inconvenient as Louise’s new phone had just arrived, as she had just upgraded. I needed power for the WiFi, so that I could set it up.

Speaking of WiFi, about a week earlier, Louise’s old phone, with just days to go before we could upgrade, decided to break, and develop the world renowned “greyed out WiFi button” that it seems has befallen half of the iPhone 4s in the universe.  She hadn’t noticed for a few days and gone massively over her data limit, at great expense.

Now, with her upgrade date so close at hand of course this wasn’t too much of an issue, but upon upgrading I was looking forward to trading the old phone in for a few quid, which would probably now not be an option. I am still wrestling with it to make look like it works for the purposes of the testing said trade in folks will undertake.

Sigh.

Yesterday, I attempted to change the fuse in Rebecca’s GHD straightener things as they had stopped working. Of course, that did not do the trick and they lie dead under her bed. I don’t care one bit that she has used them every day for the past five years. The fact that they broke this week is evidence of the revenge being exacted upon me. It’s a good job GHDs are so cheap to replace isn’t it?

Today, the hoover, or more accurately, Dyson packed in. Again, we’ve had this for years and years, but why today, why this week? I had a new one all selected, with my finger poised over the Buy button on a suitable web site, but something within me told me to fight back, and not take this cosmic rogering lying down. I pulled at stuff, I disconnected stuff, I huffed and puffed and wrestled with pipes and brushes. With a good sweat on, I arose victorious, arms aloft. The bloody thing was working again. I had fixed it. In that contest of Man V Machine, Man was victorious.

Emily asked me why I was walking around the dining room with my arms aloft. She wouldn’t have understood. It is these small, insignificant acts that (just) keep me sane. It is this act of saving a few quid on a new hoover that stops me from going all Michael Douglas in Falling Down through the village.

I don’t know which one is Chumba….

In the historic words of Chumbawumba, I get knocked down, but I get up again. Usually after a quick cry, and a few hours of sulking and swearing, but still, I do. I am hopeful that having been the play thing of the Gods of the shitty end of the stick, the week to come will include a lottery win, a 32″ waist and a Florida beach. I’ll let you know!

Till the next time…..