It turns out those 67 coats of the conservatory ceiling were still not enough and it probably needed one more. Did I mention my hatred for painting freshly plastered ceilings?
We’ve had a frustrating lack of activity on the whole getting things finished this week. Our conservatory man had van issues early in the week and then tested positive for COVID, so he won’t be with us until next week. The angst of being at about 95% completion is like waiting for those last few percentages to load for your new Play Station game when you have average broadband speed like in our front room.
Life continues to be busy and chaotic and we aren’t choosing to just take one day at a time, we just have no choice as we don’t have time to think any further ahead. We are dropping balls all over the place, not speaking to parents as often as we should and not spending time with the girls and grandkids as much as we’d like. Mary has not been well this week and has needed a lot of TLC and more basic and less pleasant attention for a stomach upset, and of course, we continue to try and integrate little Woody into our house. He’s doing OK and finding a routine but he still needs a lot of attention.
Yes, he has his own Instagram account. Blame Emily and Louise for that.
Rebecca and Tom are moving house this weekend. Of course, I feel for anyone going through that experience, as those scars are still very real for me, some eighteen months after we did it. I am hopeful their experience will be better as their move isn’t one all being done in one day so they have got some time to move their stuff over time. They got a lot done yesterday so hopefully, the worst is behind them now.
Dougie is doing well. He recently slept from 10.30 till 5.30 which is better than I normally manage. Obligatory Freddie/Dougie photo incoming.
They were at our house on Friday and I had the pleasure of being able to feed Dougie. Whether it’s wind or an actual smile is there anything more lovely than a baby smiling at you?
I spent all day yesterday painting the conservatory. I know painted windows may be an odd look but we are going with it. Of course, the painting was not of the glass but instead the seemingly small areas of plaster and wood that I thought might take an hour or two but I started at 10 and finished around 5.30. Even after doing two days of the same last weekend. That involved one more coat of the ceiling and two coats of the walls. Thankfully Louise has chosen a darker colour for the walls so just the two coats seem to have done the trick.
Today there were more “finishing touches” to do before we get the last of the construction done by our hopefully soon-to-be COVID-free builder one day next week. As another sign of my surprising DIY prowess, I used a drill this morning and there was no fire, hospital visit or damage to property.
Then it took me another hour to clean all the frames and windows of all the dust, crap and plaster that had happened to them during the construction process. All that work and a long-overdue visit from my Mum and Dad are the reasons for the late hour of posting this thing. I won’t speak of the time spent cleaning all the paint speckles off the floor tiles. I had put covers down but somehow this stuff found its way to the floor.
So with time a precious resource that’s the lot for this week. I’m going tp nip over to Rebecca’s new house now to have a look around. Louise went on Friday as they started the move and will have to stay home with Mary today as she needs 24/7 care.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your sunny weekends and endured less painting than I did. There surely can be nobody on the planet who has spent more of their weekend painting than I? Persecution complex? Never!
There are recurring themes in my blogging, which is another way of saying that I probably write the same blog post roughly every six weeks. Today’s theme is that I don’t really have time to write a blog this week, but such is my tragic obsessive nature that I sit here writing a blog to let you know that I don’t have time to write one. As I type I can see the bits of paint on my hands that I haven’t quite got rid of after painting various things in the bathroom a few minutes ago. If a pre-Monday isn’t bad enough, you only have to add DIY to it to make it a whole lot worse.
Add to that we have guests coming for tea (poor people’s dinner) in the form of Louise’s Mum and Rebecca and Tom and I have to somehow cram in watching a football match and it’s a marvel I’m not having a nervous breakdown.
The entire weekend has been somewhat scuppered by a stupidly late night on Friday when I was out being a rock and roll demi-God with Mustard. We played a new venue in Rochdale and didn’t come off stage (yes, there was even a stage) until just after 1am. With packing up and driving home that was a 3am bed time and my aged ravaged body has been playing catch up ever since. I have a good sense now of what it feels like to live to be a hundred years old.
Last week was so busy that I didn’t do ANY holiday planning at all….oh no wait, that’s a lie. Emily and I had a text conversation (despite sitting across from each other at work) about something new we may be considering adding to our stupidly full plan. Wild Florida is in our thoughts, mainly as Emily is obsessed with sloths and they have a sloth encounter amongst many other things which look like a good day out.
We haven’t had time to say it is absolutely locked and loaded into our plan as it may just be an activity too far, but it does look good. If anyone has been I would really appreciate your views and experiences.
So with apologies for what is a very brief post today (the game is about to kick off!) I shall leave you to enjoy your Sunday.
What do you mean I have to write a blog? I have season five of Breaking Bad throbbing away on my Netflix account.
How inconvenient. This has pretty much been the story of my week. I have had more hair than free time, and I can think of no more extreme metaphor for my time poorness.
Work has been manic, and unexciting at the same time, and at home I have been a whirling dervish of DIY. Fed up at the crapness of the state of our house we made a list of stuff we should have done months ago, and resolved to do it.
These tasks involved more sweat and effort on my part than monetary investment, but should make the place look like it is owned by somebody who hasn’t squandered every last penny on ridiculous holidays.
I undertook one of those tasks that you try to put off until either you can afford to pay someone else to do it or death. I painted the hall, stairs and landing walls. The horror you are imagining is not sufficient to reflect the reality. We live in an old house, and in those days it seems the higher the walls the better.
As well as having to actually cover vast acres of wall with a roller I had to assume positions not seen since nine and a half weeks to get to those hard to reach spots.
I haven’t sweated as much since I last thought I might have to buy a round. With that complete, I did a bit of painting in Rebecca’s room, glossed our bedroom window sills (we inconveniently have two) and then took on my least favourite task of all….wallpapering.
We were to have a “feature wall” behind the headboard. Louise poo pooed my idea of diamante encrusted mirrors and a smoke machine, and instead chose some wallpaper which was both duck egg, and patterned. The latter fact was more important as it meant I had to swear to a much greater extent whilst up the ladder trying to match the bloody thing.
This here feature wall also had more light fittings and plugs on than a control desk at Cape Canaveral. The intricate snipping, cutting and manipulating of patterned bloody wallpaper led to more sweating, a load of swearing and the usual search for one of the cats to give it a good kick up the arse.
I couldn’t find it, but there’s a cat shaped air bubble under one piece of wallpaper.
Having taken Friday off to attack these tasks, they have stretched into the weekend, with some bathroom painting today hopefully finishing things off.
Next week we have a joiner and an electrician coming to resolve long-standing stuff in the house, so soon we may have somewhere you could class as habitable.
Speaking of the reason for the need of all this making good, our holidays, I have made very poor progress this week with the trip report. By the time I have returned from work each evening I have been crushed into a depressed husk by the commute home or football has been on. I got a solitary day done! Day Ten, consisting of the Animal Kingdom and Donut Burgers was done today.
It took some writing, but I actually enjoyed remembering the day. That’s the whole point I suppose.
The work commute has been spectacularly shite this week thanks to the Tories being gracious enough to visit the frozen North for their annual piss up. With most of the centre closed to stop folks murdering them for crimes against side partings, my route home took the brunt of the diversion and it took forever.
So here we are again butting up against Monday and it feels like I haven’t had time to draw breath.
This means that the plan tonight is to close this laptop very shortly, fire up Netflix, eat some crap, and watch as many Breaking Bads as possible before needing to sleep. Yo, bitches, let’s cook!
It is a delight and a relief to finally have it done, as it means that Emily can fully move in at last, but more than that, it means I don’t have to do any more work on it.
I took some before photos a few weeks ago, but to be honest, they were sort of half way through as we had already spent a few weeks in demo mode. You can scroll back to find them I’m sure. Either way, the room was a mess. However, now it is habitable again, probably for the first time in a few decades, and Emily moved in on Tuesday once the carpet was in.
We had a slight false start (or end) with the carpet folk who did a bit of a shoddy job first time round, and it took me in my sternest grown up voice to get them back and sort it out. Grrrr!
We’ve had a bit of a busy week aside from the completion of Emily’s room. On Friday it was our wedding anniversary. Sixteen years this time around. Those quick of maths will have worked out that Emily just turned seventeen, so we will surely burn in hell for doing things the wrong way round!
Being in “skint before holiday” mode we didn’t do much to commemorate the day to be honest. We just went to Pizza Hut with the kids on Friday evening for a very underwhelming dining experience. Not to worry, it reminded us how good the dining will be in a couple of weeks time.
In other news, Louise’s Mum has been in hospital for an operation, which seems to have gone well, and she is now home resting up. Weirdly they operated on Saturday. Maybe they have extended their opening hours for the Olympics like the supermarkets?
This week has also seen Emily and myself survive a high-speed car crash! I took her out on Saturday evening for a practice following her second lesson. She somehow managed to find the only lamp-post in the empty car park we were in, and like some sort of light seeking missile, jammed the front of the car right into it. Apparently the brake and clutch are very confusing when you first start driving. Thankfully, there are no visible signs of damage, and the car is OK too!
Despite finishing the loft, DIY was still unavoidable over the weekend, with a bathroom that needed painting. Well, it needed finishing as Louise had started it, knowing that I would not be able to pee in peace knowing it was half done. On top of that we had to do some floor tiling in the kitchen. I have to admit to doing the handing of stuff to Dad approach on this one.
Add a couple of tip trips, and there you have what has been a fairly typical weekend since the move.
Oli was not to be kept out of the headlines, with an injury all of his own. Getting ready for work on Monday, I noticed he was hopping about on three legs. I ignored him hopeful that he’d got those post poo pins and needles that you can sometimes get if you take too long over your business. Alas, no. Louise confirmed later that morning that he was still limping, and they were off to the vets. Only one word springs to mind in that scenario. Kerching. They did not let me down.
Despite the huge hole in the already swiss cheese like bank account, luckily Oli was quickly back on form later that day, despite what was diagnosed as a fractured toe.
Sometimes, I think I’m living in a very low-budget soap opera with writers that need sacking.
Speaking of soap operas. No writer of one of those could have put together the script that we all witnessed on Saturday night. I speak of course of the Olympics. Wow, what a night. It is rare that a sporting occasion grasps our whole family, but we all sat glued to the action, shouting them on. By the time we got to Mo Farah’s race we were truly hooked, and absolutely blown away by his incredible performance. Well done to all who are making this summer memorable despite the crappiest of weather.
So now we turn to the inevitable countdown ramblings. We now enter those funny last two weeks before departure. I want to wish them away with all my being, but I know that these next two weeks are the same duration as the actual holiday, so as quick as these go, I would hope the holiday goes too. If only.
Several times through the day today we have been doing the “this time in two weeks we will be……” thing. In fact, right now, we will be at Atlanta airport waiting to board our second flight down to Orlando. I’ll have put on my first half stone just with the airport Starbucks and eating the kid’s in flight meals for them before cracking open the three pounds of sweets and Pringles. I’ll be on Diet Coke though.
Until that time comes around there is a fair amount of work enduring to do, no doubt more DIY and tippage, and the usual last-minute prep to go through. I shall really try to enjoy all of that as much as possible, as heaven knows when it might come around again.
This evening whilst doing her homework, (yes I too am astounded that she has given it any thought before the last of the holidays) Rebecca came down stairs with a smoking laptop. Not literally, but it had a blue screen of death. I have since spent the last few hours wrestling with it. Admitting defeat I had to rescue the files we needed off it, and go for a full wipe and restore. It took an age, but I sit typing on it again now resplendent in my own IT excellence. It is the equivalent of returning to the cave dragging a mammoth!
So with manhood proven, I’m off to go and give someone a gun show, and watch the rest of the Olympics. *flexes muscles and gives manly look*.
With another quiet uneventful week behind us, here we are at blog time once again.
Last week of course meant starting a new job. As much as I was happy to be able to do exactly that, it did not lessen the usual misgivings and apprehension that something like this always brings, even when you’ve been working for (quickly does the maths) 25 years without a break. Wow, I am very old.
Week one went OK. I didn’t do a great deal that I could feel enormously proud of, unless you count setting up my laptop, finding the toilets and making the odd brew. I am in the “too new to be useful” phase, which I hope will not last long. I am expecting to be launched into the deep end from tomorrow, which is preferred to sitting reading induction material!
Typically, since starting the new job, every call I’ve had has been from someone trying to talk to me about a job for which “I am absolutely perfect”. Such is life, and it does take a fair amount of will power to tell them I am off the market, and not be tempted to see if the grass on offer is any greener. I have so far managed to be strong.
With some sort of normality restored, I have thrown myself wherever possible into preparations for our upcoming holiday. Have I mentioned that we’re going away?
Last week that took the shape of completing our ESTAs. I resisted the urge to moan about the $14 charge much as my natural instinct was to do so. Rationally, in the scheme of a holiday costing multiple thousands of pounds, it does seem a little odd to moan about a tenner each to get into the country. Again, I managed to remain strong.
With the four of us assured entry into the US (their economy could not cope with our absence), I talked my Dad through the online process and was relieved to know that we are all allowed to go! So onto matters more fun. I found my way to the relevant website to book us tickets for the Daytona Cubs. With relevant discounts from $7 to $6 for seniors and children, the bill for that evening came out at around £30.
I am really looking forward to that, especially with Mum and Dad in tow as they have not seen live baseball since the 1980s, when we saw a college game at Boardwalk and Baseball.
These types of activities are some of the few that I enjoy spending money on!
So after my first four days in work, I headed home looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend with my feet up. You really should know better than that. Saturday meant an all out attack on the loft (soon to be Emily’s bedroom). The task was so huge that we gladly accepted the offer of help from my brother and sister-in-law. We were so glad of that help, as the task was more vast than we had imagined.
We thought we’d now just be stripping off the sixty year old wallpaper. For this reason we had secured the services of two strippers. They got very steamy for hours on end, and they quickly removed the necessary items to our satisfaction.
This stripping was the main task, but the real work ( you can guess which the men did!!) was in cutting up and transporting the carpet down two flights of stairs, along with endless bags of crap. Heavy crap too, as most of them contained the walls knocked down last week. We filled a skip and the cavernous back of the Mondeo and still had stuff to get rid of.
However, a long, long, hard day ended with the job done. It also ended with four very tired, stiff and sore individuals. After a gap filled with showers and a nap or two, we reconvened at our house where I prepared a delightful meal of Mango Chicken. We had made this many years ago, but couldn’t find the recipe. Despite having to guess at most of the ingredients and the cooking methods, it turned out very well. Well done me.
We spent the evening absolutely not moving and watching a film whilst our every muscle stiffened up to the point of rigamortis. The beer and wine went some way to lessening the pain.
The evening did not involve the strippers in any way. I was in no fit state anyway.
Sunday surely must have brought hours of endless relaxing? Not quite. A small lie in until around 9am was followed by a tidy up of last night’s meal, and some general faffery until we set off for the bed shop. You may recall we have a bed for the making of the magic? Well, Louise (Princess and the pea) Williams tells me the mattress is too hard.
The terms of the purchase allow us 40 nights within which to swap out the mattress, so this is what we are doing. Louise lay down on a few mattresses and settled on one that should fit the bill. I nodded in the appropriate place, as I’m pretty sure I will be able to sleep on it.
A big shop later, and I was back home for lunch. Following the collection of Louise’s new car last week, I had gotten to thinking about getting one for myself. Now, I love my Mondeo and it has been an excellent car, but I made the fatal mistake of calculating what the pleasure of driving it costs me over a year. Wow. Safe to say it is a holiday’s worth.
99% of the time, I am sat in it all on my own so it’s sprawling expanse is largely wasted. To cut a long story short, we went back the garage this afternoon and picked out one for me. Between the two cars, we should be saving a whole chunk of cash every month.
Whether it is my recent stressful job situation, and brush with financial meltdown or a subliminal desire to help us get to WDW in future years I don’t know, but I just could not justify the huge wads of cash leaving the bank every month for something I queue up in twice a day.
Another factor maybe that we have found that our new house may well have been featured into that film The Money Pit. We were perhaps a little naive to think that a house of this age, bought from someone in the latter years of their life would be anything but riddled with nasty surprises. The outlay on new bulbs alone would bring Greece to its knees, as every single light fitting in the house has at least one bulb that needs replacing.
Add to that all the lovely appliances we were left. Every one of which have decided now to give up the pretense of working that they fooled us with last week and give up the ghost. It would seem that we are going to have to systematically replace every single thing in the house. However, not until I have had my bloody holiday!
Last week alone we have had issue with the cooker, dishwasher, fridges and the windows. The latter being my favourite. The previous owner had misplaced the keys to all the windows, so we enjoyed a lovely sauna at night, unable to get any fresh air in. Luckily a locksmith was able to locate a key that would work, and for another chunk of money, we can breathe again.
On our return from the garage this afternoon, Rebecca has bathed Oli, and Louise is making us a chilli for tea. (Top tip from Louise, do not put your finger up your nose after chopping Chillis). Time to relax now and enjoy the weekend! Oh bugger, it’s Monday in a few hours.
I have fallen out with Tesco this week. I don’t think their CEO is losing sleep over this, but he should if he realised just how much Louise is capable of spending in one of his shops once she gets going. When they have to announce a profits warning in the coming months he will rue the day he fell out with me I’m sure.
The back story here concerns Rebecca’s bed, which we bought only in March, and around four weeks ago it broke. One of the metal sides just buckled one morning as Rebecca got out of bed. Being so new, we wrongly made the assumption that our friendly Tesco folks would arrange a replacement or credit for what was quite obviously a faulty item.
Well, after weeks of faff, involving them having to send someone out to come and look at it, and say “Yep, that metal bit has buckled” and submit his report, it eventually turns out that one side of the bed totally collapsing does not a broken bed make. No, as none of the screws or fittings had broken, his report said that obviously a child had been jumping up and down on the bed.
Now, at 14, Rebecca is well past jumping up and down on the bed. So I challenged this theory several times, only to be told that basically I was obviously lying and that they were not prepared to do anything about it. I was vexed, and henceforth, Tesco shall not receive one penny of my meagre earnings. The weekly shop has transferred to Asda, the DVD club has been cancelled and the car insurance about to renew will now be “Go Compared” to find a different supplier.
So for the refusal to swap out a product that broke six weeks into its active life, they have lost a fair bit of cash, and of course I am now broadcasting the episode to the hordes of folk who come to read this stuff. I hope both of you take heed too, and follow my one man crusade against the retail giant!! I know I could take this further, but as Tesco know all too well, for the sake of a couple of hundred quid, not many folk are going to take on Tesco’s lawyers in court. So I am putting the whole episode to bed, if you can pardon the pun!
Anyway, enough of that, I have calmed down now, after unleashing my contempt in the form of several emails to anyone at Tesco who dared have an email address on a website somewhere, even the CEO himself.
I had a full weekend planned. Full of lots of tasks that had been building up on my to do list. The first of which of course was to throw away the broken bed, and move the one from the spare room into Rebecca’s room. That took most of Friday evening, and a lovely moist glimmer of sweat. On Saturday, I had an appointment with the Rug Doctor. No, I have not lost my mind in some sort of middle aged madness, and resorted to cover my shiny dome with a wig. I had resolved to cleanse our carpets, which had been hammered by too many animals and teenagers and were looking decidedly worse for wear.
After a little internet research on these things in the week (strictly in my own time), I had selected B&Q as my retailer of choice, as –
a) they were cheap
b) I knew where it was
My plan to be there for opening at 7am on Saturday drifted away as I lazed in bed till at least 8.30!! Anywho, after a pit stop at the tip to deposit the broken bed (I had taken great delight, and some revenge when dismantling it, so it was in a fair few bits), I arrived at B&Q at around 9.15. I needed a few bits for other random DIY tasks to be tackled this weekend (more of this later), so I wandered, lost, around the twelve acre expanse of the warehouse before somehow stumbling across what I needed eventually.
With that purchased I went to the “Service Desk” to be, well, served. I stood watching a chap do stuff with his till, tap at his keyboard, and generally avoid eye contact with me for as long as possible for about ten minutes. Slightly miffed, I stopped a passing member of staff to ask if I was at the right place to actually get served, and she said yes. Sensing my disdain, she went behind the desk and said she would serve me. “Oh good” said I.
After quite some time, she found the key to the Rug Doctor cupboard, then a bit more searching located the pad she needed to fill in, and once she’d found a pen, we were off. As she was wrestling with the form, the phone started ringing. “Oh shut up” she said, several times. Several colleagues came and went as this went on, and she took the chance to moan to every single one about something or someone.
About forty minutes after arriving, I did eventually leave with the Rug Doctor, and headed home. I would recommend one of these things, but be warned, you will feel like you have lived in squalor for months when you pour away the black water that it collects during the cleaning process. It would appear we have been rubbing soil into our carpets on a regular basis.
Three hours of huff and puff and a lot of sweating, and our house is full of lovely looking rugs and carpets. Satisfied and sweaty, I load the Rug Doctor back in the car (well Louise’s car as she had taken mine to go shopping, which is always a concern that she thinks she needs the bigger boot space!!) and headed back to B&Q.
I was relieved to see some actual staff on the desk this time, and I was served almost immediately. Again, another search is undertaken for pens, the pad and the key to the cupboard. Again, the same insular staff discussion was taking place between the staff, to my exclusion, mostly about how lazy such a colleague was, and what an idiot the manager was. Nice! After more endless faff, I get to sign the form that confirms I have given it back, and my lovely assistant says, “You know this should have been back a lot earlier”. She was referring to the 10am time at the top of the form.
“No, you’ll find that is tomorrow’s date, I only picked this up earlier today”.
“Right” she says snatching the form away from me and turning her back. I assume we are done, and I leave glowing from the exceptional retail experience I have just endured.
So that’s two major retailers who have covered themselves in all sorts of glory this week. Still, I have clean carpets.
From my list of other tasks, the lawn remains untackled, as things are still just too moist out there. I may get to it next May!! However, to end on a high note, the other DIY task I alluded to earlier was the repair of a broken kitchen cupboard. The screws holding the hinges in place had become loose, and the door was hanging off a little. So, I procured some wood filler, filled the now too large holes, waited for that to dry, and acquired some suitable new screws to use.
I had intended to return to B&Q to get these, but –
a) I forgot to call in on our shopping outing today
b) I resent giving the buggers any more of my hard earned
So I did what all sons do. We called in to my Dad’s to give him his Father’s Day gifts, and I nipped down to the cellar to raid the thirty year old Nescafe coffee jar which is full of every size screw ever produced. Ten minutes of rummaging and I had enough likely sized screws to complete my task.
On my return home, the task was completed with zero expletives, and relative ease. I emerged from the kitchen, hands aloft, with a self-satisfied glow. Unfortunately no-one was there to see it, so I had to walk upstairs and tell Rebecca, who you can imagine was massively impressed, and replied with a confused “Oh…right”.
I am not a DIY kind of guy, and most of my attempts end in disaster, swearing and getting my Dad or neighbour in to sort it. I was happy with myself anyway.
So, I mentioned a shopping trip earlier. This is another sign of our impending jaunt over the Atlantic. We were clothes shopping for the girls. They are total opposites on a clothes shopping trip, with Emily reluctant to look, try on or unplug the iPod from her head, whereas Rebecca is a whirling dervish of clothes being ripped from the rails and tried on. It is safe to say, Rebecca came home with more, but only down to the fact that she could be bothered to look. Emily only “does” clothes shopping proper, in Hot Topic, and the fact that we start our holiday the day after her birthday means she will be investing most of her gifts in that retail outlet once we get there!!
So having conquered the carpets, clothes shopping and a cupboard this weekend, I hope to spend the rest of Father’s Day watching the golf, dreaming of sunnier weather and decent customer service in a far away land. Tomorrow, the diet starts in earnest. A pound or two has been shed over the last few weeks, despite the criminal excesses at the cinema on some occasions, but now I need to make a serious dent in the flab so that I can replace it whilst away. Those with any sort of knowledge of me will know that refraining from food is not my forte. Wish me luck!!