Look, I Am Your Father

As with all parents, we have had our fair share of trips to A&E, worries and mishaps. Being the parents of two girls may have lessened the frequency of our trips to A&E a little but probably not too much.

Last week saw some signs for Rebecca and Tom that they may not be so fortunate. With two boys now, and with Tom capable of being a third child in shenanigans and roughhousing, I can see a fair amount of bumps and bruises in their future.

Last week Freddie spent time at A&E after an accident at home. After some initial panic, he was fine and will suffer no long-term effects. If you are a parent of boys it may not surprise you too much to learn that this visit to the hospital was actually nothing to do with the video below.

This took place a few days after his accident and did not result in any injury. To his great credit after a hug and some encouraging words, he got right back on the thing and had a great time. The only thing more shocking than Freddie falling off the bike was the speed at which Tom’s brother moved to get to him!

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of all-action stuff for kids, of course, it is all a part of growing up. It’s just the stress and worry inflicted on parents that may also result in a need for medical treatment. As Rebecca said when she sent us this video, “these boys will be the death of me”. Indeed.

As today is Father’s Day it’s a good time to reflect on all things parenting and although we may be beyond the fear of one of Emily or Rebecca falling off a swing, slide or even mini motorbike, the shape of worry just changes. At times, I would go back to scraped knees and the odd trip to the hospital for a minor injury but I certainly would not go back to the late teens angst of boyfriend drama and some of the horrendous choices they both made at that time. If you’re coming up on that phase with your daughters then, you have my best wishes.

At my stage of life, we then move into the role reversal of looking after our own parents as they inevitably start to succumb to the perils of old age. Whether that be the physical care of Louise’s Mum of course, for which I tip my hat to Louise, or whether it is telling your Dad not to click that link in that dodgy message on Facebook as it is a scam, it is all done without a second thought as it is just returning the favour from all those years ago.

Being a full-time carer as Louise currently is, needs a certain type of person. It can be relentless, exhausting and heartbreaking. It’s a necessary but not necessarily pleasant part of the circle of life.

My own Dad (and Mum) are coming round later for a Father’s day meal, along with Rebecca, Tom, Freddie and Dougie. Three generations of Dads around the table. I wonder how many hours in A&E we have clocked up amongst us and how many more Tom might have to endure. If you are celebrating your Dad today, or anyone who has that role in your life, I hope it’s a good one and hopefully they can all have a stress-free, non-hospital-based 24 hours. It’s probably the best present they can get.

Till the next time…….

Binging, Bean and Bonkers Behaviour

Remember when it wasn’t raining? Good times, good times…..

The weather has been a meteorological metaphor for my past week at work. Each raindrop representing some element of my working week that washed away my energy, resilience and will to live.

With no immediate end in sight to the current madness and a diary chock full of things I don’t want to do with people I don’t want to do it with, I am clinging onto sanity by looking at my fridge door on a regular basis. Why? Because that’s where our countdown sits.

Evenings have been a vegetative state of binge watching, with Louise similarly busy, it’s all we can muster. Last week we polished off the new Killing Eve in two nights, caught the first episode of the new series of Handmaid’s Tale and then, whilst surfing around Netflix, Louise chose Dr Foster. We are always on the cutting edge of new releases. I probably wouldn’t have picked it to be honest but it was largely good. The end of series 2 seemed to be a case of the writers losing it a bit and letting the whole thing get away from them, but it was very watchable for the most part.

I was out gigging last night at a wedding in Tottington/Bury and Louise took the opportunity to binge watch all of the current series of Love Island. This has to happen when I’m out of the house otherwise I have to set the TV on fire.

Away from exciting TV related news, that I know you live for in these blogs, yesterday Rebecca started her wedding dress search. She, Louise and Emily went to a couple of shops where apparently you now need to make appointments. Clearly I am not involved in this process and will not see the selection until the day, but she has not yet found “the one” but did try a few on which she really liked and found it helpful.

The cake has been ordered now and lots of other things are being looked at and selected. It’s full on this wedding lark isn’t it?

During the hurly burly of my working week I got wind of utter madness going down in Orlando. I have to say it did fill me with a bit of horror and dread for what might be in store with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. I didn’t have time to read too much detail of what was going on, but for the opening of what (it seems to me) is the re-theming of a fairly standard roller coaster, folks were waiting over ten hours. Ten. Hours!!

I barely tolerate a flight shorter than that to get to Orlando never mind to ride one thing. Come on folks, have a word with yourselves. Apparently the park had to shut the gates at 10am after reaching capacity, and the queue literally filled the whole park.

I mean, I have a soft spot for this ride already. For those paying attention, it was the announcement of this ride that forced Louise into wanting to go back, (next year) to ride it. Sure, another trip then got shoe horned in this year but still, it has played its part in our Orlando obsession. But, look, just, look….

Look at how happy they look. Ten hours…….ten hours!!

I would go so far as to say, despite all my work related moaning that I probably would rather spend a day at work than queue for anything for ten hours. That is the level of my disdain for this stupidity.

Before I go, I need to mention two occasions of note. The first, as Emily would be upset if I didn’t give it a “shout out”, is Bean’s third birthday. She’s a pain in the arse at times, but can also be a loving, funny ginger nuisance. Happy Birthday Bean.

The other of course is Father’s Day. With both of my daughters having the audacity to be spending this morning out of my house with their respective partners, there was no breakfast in bed and I had to source my own bowl of Shreddies.

Having said that, I live next door to my Dad and I didn’t make him breakfast either so I suppose that’s fair enough. I shall pop round later Dad with a gift that will in no way reflect what you deserve for everything you’ve done for me, Louise and the girls. Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, all of yours and of course to those Dads who aren’t here to receive their gifts in person. Louise’s Dad is in that category so a special mention to him.

Oh, and it’s 72 days folks. I don’t know if I’ll remember to give you a weekly update on that but I hope so!

Till the next time…..

Look, I Am Your Father…

Happy Father’s Day to me! I have awoken to some lovely presents and social media messages from Emily and Rebecca, along with my first card from Freddie. I would spend the day with my feet up, but the shopping arrives shortly, the dogs need walking and we have a new tumble dryer arriving later. If that isn’t a homage to Dads everywhere I don’t know what is.

It won’t surprise you to know that most of my cards and the photos posted online by the girls are WDW related. Our lives are catalogued by a series of photographs stood in front of a lot of the same stuff and I don’t see that in any way as any sort of a bad thing.

I would also like to wish my Dad a Happy Father’s Day, but I always feel a bit silly doing it online as he lives next door and it would just be rude not to pop in and say it in person, so I’ll do that. Thanks Dad for everything you do, have done and will do, as I need some DIY advice again but I’ll wait until you’ve opened your card and present.

Last week also saw a birthday in our household as Bean turned two.

It’s safe to say it wasn’t my idea to get another dog, and in some ways she makes my life harder work, but she’s a little love and we’re stuck with her now and she with us.

As the girls have had the nerve to grow up into adults I now find myself being Dad to Bean and Oli and I’m not sure if that is in any way easier than raising humans. I’m still clearing up poo, breaking up jealous squabbles and taking them to emo based gigs. Oli and Bean are all over Paramore and My Chemical Romance.

So to all Dad’s out there, well done. Keep up the good work, and produce the best little humans you can. In a world where people on Love Island become celebrities, making a sex tape is a route into a multi-billion dollar career and Coldplay sell millions of albums, it is up to you to show them the way.

In reality, like me, you will bumble and stumble your way through it, making loads of mistakes and wrong decisions as I continue to do and just hope that they pick out your best bits and ignore the rest. Oh and take them to Walt Disney World as often as is humanly possible. They’ll turn out all the better for it and so will you.

Here endeth the patronising Dad advice. Right I have too much to do to be rambling on here, that’ll have to do for this week.

Till the next time….

Who’s The Daddy?

We really enjoyed the film last Sunday. I thought I’d start with that as I often say we’re going to see a film and then never report back on what we thought of it. There are few films I watch that make me laugh out loud, but A Million Ways to Die in the West did. If you like a bit of silly, rude, sweary humour you should go and see it.

So it’s Sunday evening again already. It’s drizzling, I have work tomorrow, no holiday plans and England lost last night. It is a good thing I am such a naturally cheery soul or else these sorts of things could be getting me down. Having stayed up until after 1am to watch the football last night, as grateful as I was to be woken with breakfast in bed with a Father’s Day card and present, an hour or so later wouldn’t have gone amiss. Gone are the days when Louise or I have to buy the relevant card and present for the Mother or Father’s Day occasions. Emily seems to have become a black belt on Moonpig, and to know the girls actually gave the thought and time to make sure they had something to give me makes it more special.

fathers day card

So, I shouldn’t grumble about the early hour. It’s the first time Emily has been awake before me since 2008. Rebecca immediately retreated to bed as she had been up until who knows what time on a Netflix marathon watching Orange is the New Black, which I think is about young girls with a false tan addiction.

Louise and I haven’t yet had time to watch this one. Louise is deep into a Tudors marathon, as she loves all that bodice ripping stuff. I’ve seen the odd few minutes of it and it appears to comprise around 90% sex scenes and 10% dialogue. That may be reason enough for me to break my “no period drama” resolution.

Louise finished her latest placement this week, which she was pleased about. They are a definite mixed bag these placements, with some being a delight and some being, well, not so delightful. It’s all one more hurdle cleared towards qualification. Once we get past Christmas I think she starts applying for jobs which is no doubt frightening for Louise yet heartening for the bank manager.

In other news I am writing again. I have made a start on the next book. It is very, very early days and I am under 10,000 words, but still it’s a start. Why? I honestly don’t know why. I just feel like I should, or need to. It’ll give some folks something to write bad reviews about anyway. I have a title and everything. Well, I say everything, I don’t have a fully formed plot, chapter plan or an ending, but apart from that, yes, everything. It is a sort of sequel to the first one, but should work as a standalone book too. However, what you all clearly need to do now is read the first one so that you are fully up to speed to read the new one as soon as I complete it, which will be any time this decade.

Having done the really scary bit (that being to write the first few words on the blank page) I am getting back into it slowly, and with a million miles to go, I am starting to get the odd waft of enjoyment as the brain starts whirring away to solve plot points and things start to fall into place. It would be nice to do it for a living, from my beach front house on a Florida coast, but then again it would nice to do anything from my beach front house on a Florida coast.

So with another working week stretching ahead of me like a Krypton Factor assault course of tedium and monotony I shall retire to my Sunday night during which I think we’ll be watching my Father’s Day gift, Anchorman 2 on DVD or maybe the football, it is Father’s Day after all. I should of course be grateful that I have a week of work ahead of me. I could be one of the unfortunates that are out of work, you know, like the bloke who used to be in the Go Compare ads. I expect his prospects for alternative employment are quite limited.

Till the next time…..

A weekend with the Rug Doctor (not a euphemism)

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.

Soon to be bankrupt!!

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

rug doctor
For the cleaning of rugs!

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!!

Till the next time…..