Yo Motha’ Lovers

It doesn’t happen very often, maybe only once every five minutes, but last week I was wrong. It came to me a few hours after posting last week’s blog that it had all been based on a non-truth. Those photos we discovered were actually from 2001 and not 2003. I understand that this makes little difference to sentiment of the post, and of course that you don’t care but my confession is an attempt to satisfy my “things have to be correct” demon.

Those of you who have been around a while, reading these weekly word vomits may have thought, if indeed you think at all about this corner of the internet, that this week would just be me whinging about the troubles and hassle of having workmen in all week. Well, you’d be right. It’s been everything I expected and more.

We’ve done enough of this now that this should not have been a surprise, but it’s a bit like childbirth, yet more painful. You forget how bad it was last time and decide to do it all over again.

On Monday alone I was summoned upstairs several times to be consulted on minor decisions and major emergencies. Every such consultation of course meant more cost, hassle, time and cost. The week continued in that way and we stand now at the crossroads of any such job, where the demolition and destruction is done and now we start the process of putting the room back together. Looking at it now, I am struggling to imagine ever having a habitable bedroom ever again. It is freshly plastered, with the remains of our old carpet knee-deep in plaster blobs and dust. It’s grim.

We timed the work with Louise’s planned trip to Rome with her work colleagues and during that time I was holed up in the spare room, sleeping amidst the piled up crap from our bedroom. Originally by now we had hoped to have the room back in a good enough shape that we could sleep in it, alas with all the scope creep and disasters, work is taking longer than we imagined and we are now both enjoying the smaller bed and lack of floor space in what was Rebecca’s room.

The plan now is that tomorrow will see the chaps return to do the joinery stuff, such as skirting boards, doors and other wood based activity along with the electrician to fit our new lights ‘n’ stuff.

We had booked the decorator to come tomorrow, but with the delays he has had to be pushed back to next week, so our pain will endure a little longer.

All this detail is I’m sure an essential part of your Sunday!

In more positive news, assuming we can find some clothes in the crap mountain in the spare room, later today we are off out for a family meal to celebrate Louise’s birthday and the awesomeness of the various Mothers in our family. It’s the same place we went for our Christmas meal last year and my ever growing belly is alive with anticipation.

Louise’s verdict on Rome by the way was that it was lovely and fascinating. It is literally dripping in history. It was slightly marred by lots of beggars and dodgy folks trying to sell tat on the street, but overall she had a lovely week, filled with walking, pasta and interesting tours of old stuff. I recognise that is not up to trip report standards of detail, but firstly, I didn’t go and secondly she only got back late yesterday so I’ve only seen a few photos and had a quick debrief (not a euphemism).

Let’s hope for a better week construction wise so that you may have a better blog experience next Sunday….but it is not within my gift to promise that.

Till the next time…..

A Loss Of Form

Today’s blog post is a salute to all Mothers, but mostly mine and Louise’s. Thanks to you both for everything you have done and continue to do for us.

I had a right old whinge last week about a load of problems that weren’t really. In the end, last week wasn’t as bad as I feared. It was worse. Now of course, I don’t have any real problems and events in London last week reminded me of that, but with that considered, in my own little world I had a week so stupidly busy that I didn’t even have time to moan about it.

Our bathroom renovations started and we currently have an empty room, stripped back to brick and a lovely collection of dust on every surface in the house.

Our boiler is in though and it is just delightful to have a boiler that is younger than me. It is amazing that having just one room out-of-order can seemingly send shock waves throughout the entire house. There is mess everywhere and where this isn’t mess there are large boxes containing stuff to be fitted into said bathroom in the coming days (hopefully).

Our chosen workmen have been great and were at the front door like clockwork every day at 7.30am. They have worked their socks off and made good progress. We are through the worst now I think, and from here on in the room starts to look better, not worse!

They have a week and a bit to go and just before they finish more workmen will arrive to dismantle almost all the gubbins at the back of the house, like our car port, walls and anything else in the way, to erect our new one large wall and roller shutter door thing for our cars. We like to do things the hard way.

My busy state was created by all of that house nonsense and a million other things going on at home plus my actual work life. Due to a perfect storm of team holidays, unavoidable meetings out of the office and yet another million things going on at work, I can’t remember a week when I’ve worked harder or faster. I earned my money for sure.

Monday was especially fun. Louise was due to collect her new car at 6pm, and with that in mind I dug out the V5 form for the car we were trading in at 8am that morning, from its secure holding place where it could not be lost from. Louise took it to work with her and we went about our day. Fast forward to 5.50pm and I get a call from Louise. She had lost that V5 document. It had lived safely in my secret special documents place since the day we got the car nearly two years ago, but within a matter of hours Louise managed to lose it. She had placed it in her diary which she carries with her to all of her patient appointments every day. What could possibly have gone wrong??

So this led to a whole load of faff, stress and last-minute nonsense with the garage having to undertake administrative somersaults to still allow Louise to take her new car home. Those somersaults would cause a load more admin for us too as they couldn’t pay off the remaining finance until we got a new V5 and that would mean we were paying for two cars until that was sorted. I was not pleased.

A replacement was £25 and a good few days to get hold of one but Louise told me to hang fire until she had a look for it in a few of her regular patients’ houses. I seethed for almost 24 hours, until she text me to say she had found it in a care home. This falls into the “only Louise” category. The form was dropped off at the garage and hopefully that will be the last of it.

Living life at a million miles an hour as I did last week did mean that it flew by. With only a few days to go now before we holiday that is always welcome. I have a couple of gruesome milestones to endure in the remaining time, such as a dentist trip tomorrow to hopefully sort out a developing issue and a particular meeting I am not looking forward to the week after, but as life has taught me over the years, these things come and go before you know it and we really are entering the final part of our countdown now. I’m not sure who will be most pleased when we get to the airport, us travelers or you lot, as you heave a huge sigh of relief that I can’t wang on about it anymore.

I do not like the dentist. My childhood dentist had all the bedside manner of Freddie Kruger and ever since I have dreaded every visit, more so since I had to start paying for it too. Needs must though as I cannot go on holiday and take on all that food with a set of gnashers not operating at 100% efficiency. They have a big job on.

Till the next time…..

Eggs, Zombies, and a Bevy of Birthdays

The late hour of this here post is all my mother’s fault. We have been entertaining both of our maternal units today, with cards, presents and a fine steak and ale pie that has been in the slow cooker since just after Christmas.

They have just returned home to get “seckled” for the night, clutching their identical gifts of the Saving Mr Banks DVD. It has been a week of non stop celebratory events, as our family appears to have had a conception fest around nine months ago across many years. The same week sees Louise, my niece Sarah and nephew George all have birthdays in the space of two days. This is highly inconsiderate from a budgetary point of view, and then Mother’s Day creeps up on us to run salt in the wounds.

One of Louise’s gifts was also a DVD, of Season 1 of The Walking Dead. It was my extra sensory perception that drove me to buy such a gift. Her saying for months on end that she wanted to watch it, and me searching fruitlessly on Netflix for it was the only hint I needed, and she was very happy with my choice.

So this weekend we have gorged on a series in a manner not seen since the heady days just after we discovered Breaking Bad. Ah, those were the days…bitches. We have almost finished Season 1 now, and I’m sure Louise exclaimed what every UK viewer of this series says. “Is that Egg from This Life?”. Indeed it is.

Ask if I am Egg one more time…I double dare you!

We’ve really enjoyed it so far and I can see us going on to devour the other seasons before too long. Yes, I do know that we are about a millennium behind the rest of the western world, but I never claimed to be on the cutting edge of modern culture. I like Level 42 for God’s sake.

I have taken the wise and welcome step of booking some time off work over Easter. Louise ends her current placement in a week’s time and then has a couple of weeks or so off. Bloody students! So having not had a break since Christmas, and feeling like I haven’t had a break since birth, the week after next seems me on holiday. My body yearns to spend it in bed and if not there prone in front of the TV, but I fear it may drift into housey tasks and inexplicable visits to B&Q. If you spot me there please, kill me. I may return to walk the earth as a flesh-eating zombie, but all you’ll need is an Egg and a blunt instrument, which there should be plenty of in the aisles of that DIY hell on earth.

I eye the week to come with a mixture of wary suspicion and hope that it passes me by as quickly as the one after it will. This time next week I shall be blogging free from the dark cloud of an impending Monday back at work. There shall be unicorns and rainbows, and sparkles everywhere. Honest.

Right now, I am writing through the fog of too much pie and more than one dessert, so I need to take this laptop off my bulging stomach, do some digesting, pick Rebecca up from work and then watch some dead folks try to beat an Egg.

Un Oeuf with the egg gags

Till the next time….

There’s a scum on my decking what am I gonna do?

It’s been a bit of a busy week.  During the week, work took me to Newcastle on Friday.  I was viewing office space and potential staff members for what will be the North Eastern part of our empire.  Both elements were successful, and with the opening of that office in a few weeks, I’ll be spending at least a day a week up there.  It could be worse of course, it could be Central London!

In other news, we have had an actual viewer for the house.  You may have forgotten that we are up for sale, as we’ve had absolutely no news at all in that regard for many weeks.  Not only have we had one viewing, they only went and came back today for a second one!  Never in the history of Williams kind has our house been as tidy as it was on those occasions.  They seem keen enough, asking lots of probing questions, and no doubt noticing all those things that we really should have upgraded, replaced, painted or improved, but we instead went on holiday.

I showed them the holiday pictures instead, so we’ll see if that helps!

Who knows what happens now.  We await a call from the agent to justify their football agent style fee tomorrow.

The second view was to be in broad daylight, and this meant they would be able to see the full horror of the back garden, which no human has set foot in since about October last year.  Drastic measures were called for, and so my Saturday was taken up by blasting scum off the decking.  It took an age and all the use from my right hand (from trigger pulling on the jet wash….get your mind out of the gutter!) to get the decking to state where you don’t have to wear ice skates to make it across in one piece.  It does tend to get a little mossy after six months of shite weather.

I even debarricaded the outdoor furniture from beneath the winter coat of tarpaulin and gave that a jet wash within an inch of its life.  By Sunday, and that all important second visit, our outside space looked almost like something from a house where someone hasn’t pissed away every spare penny on flights, villas and food.  It was almost worth the agony and stiffness I am enduring today.

On a more pleasant note, Saturday evening saw us out on the tiles.  We were at a family do to celebrate my niece’s 21st birthday.  This fact has officially confirmed that I am now 97 years old.  I was 20 when she was born, and at the party last night, my brother and sister-in-law had laid out lots of old photos of Sarah, which I thought were taken yesterday, but it would appear that is not the case.

Prep for the party started at around 4pm in our house, and looked like this.  I joined in with about twelve minutes to go before departure.

rebecca prep party
Four hours pre-party

and resulted in this….

rebecca at party
Party girl

We had a really lovely evening, and Sarah was overcome by her present which was a trip to New York for her and her boyfriend.  This was presented in a lovely speech from her Mum that even had Emily and Rebecca in tears at the end.

sarah's 21st cake
Sarah's birthday cake

We sloped off at 12.30, tired and full of Guinness (that last bit might just have been me) but I believe the festivities went on until 4.30am!!  When we did leave, we were carrying, high above our heads, the glorious prizes, and smug satisfaction only awarded to those who win the quiz. A quiz fittingly all about 1991 was held, and our team won.  I say team, I more or less single-handedly defeated all comers, mainly as I knew what was Number One on the day of Sarah’s birth.  (Chesney Hawkes, in case you were wondering).  Nothing improves an evening more than the sweet smell of victory, and the easter eggs awarded as prizes.

The other major news this week is that Louise has resigned from her job.  I know, I know.  How anyone could give up a job that involves handling boobs all day is a mystery, but she has had enough of it.  She leaves in four weeks to return to University to train to be a nurse.  This of course has been on the cards for some time, but under wraps until her place on the course, and the informing of work were done.  This dear readers is the one of the reasons why we shall not be jetting off to anywhere close to Florida this year, unless my balls drop.  Lottery, not the twins.

Today, once our viewing was done, has been a relaxed affair as we are all feeling the effects, to varying degrees of last night and a very busy weekend of chores.  I popped round to my Mum’s with present and card, returned home to watch half of The Help (Louise’s mother’s day gift “from the girls”) some footy, and then prepared and ate one of the largest Sunday roasts known to man.  I sit typing this now, in the discomfort and glow of an overly full stomach, and the mild concern that with all that Guinness and today’s eating, I’ll be attending work with my shirt unbuttoned to the waist to avoid discomfort.

So, who knows what the coming days will bring.  An offer on the house?  Maybe.  The start of the living hell of actually then having to move house.  Who knows?  The need to diet to avoid the next notch on the belt?  Absolutely!!

Whatever it is, I’ll waffle about it here so…

Till the next time…..

Stick it!

I apologise for the late posting, and missing my usual Sunday tea time slot.  I was humbled to see a surge in visits around that time expecting a new post!  A busy weekend and Mother’s Day led to the missing of the deadline.  Hence me rattling this out over a lunch time sarnie at my desk.

USB Stick
I hate you, I hate you , I hate you!

To be honest, it was more a mild rage last night that led me to not feel inclined to blog.  What earth shattering event led to such a rage?  Homework!  You may well think that I am a little old for such things, but no, I have found that homework these days is “fun” for all the family, and unless I have kids who are severely educationally challenged, it seems that most homework is now so involved that it would be impossible for the young folk to complete it without help.

To be fair to school, Rebecca had done the usual trick of having been given two weeks to complete a project, she had taken that as a signal that she could leave it in her school bag for one week and six days and then have a thrash at it on the Sunday before it is due.  I gave her a very rare rollocking for this one, and having done so, did what I shouldn’t, and helped her out with it.  So through Sunday afternoon we cracked off two weeks’ worth of project, and it was looking pretty good.

Work was stopped whilst Grandparents visited for Mother’s Day celebrations, and then when Rebecca took to the laptop once more to finish it off in the evening, the law of sod struck and rendered the USB drive upon which our labours were stored useless.  I wrestled with it for hours, googling for solutions, and even using the tried and tested violence on both laptop and stick, but to no avail.  The work was lost.

At this point the dark clouds descended, and I have to say I was mightily upset.  Louise had the good sense to leave me to it, and Rebecca retreated upstairs for a shower.  Safe to say I emailed the teacher involved, and explained that the work would be late due to technical issues, as we were not starting again at that time of night!!  I can wallow with the best of them in a pool of victimisation, persecution and why me??

So a long explanation of the bloggage blockage.

The last week has been fairly mundane to be honest, and with all hotels booked for the holidays, the main fun of planning is over, which I am always gutted about.  We are now making final preparations for the impending arrival of Rebecca’s German, with Louise redecorating the spare room.  We’ve warned the girls that we cannot have the usual World War 3 style shenanigans of a morning where we have to shout, wrestle and throw things at them (well, to be honest Emily) in order to get them up, dressed and heading towards school.  For ten days we shall have to live the text book family life shown in all cereal ads, where they all sit, perfectly dressed, around a breakfast table enjoying a meal it clearly took three hours to make, before bouncing off happily to their daily lives.

Rebecca's German

In reality, our house is a blur of last minute panic, shouting, loud music (to wake the girls up), and animal shepherding always resulting in leaving five minutes later than we should, with the girls cramming some sugary breakfast bar down their necks as a vague homage to a proper breakfast.

I wonder what “If you don’t get up now, I am going to sell your drum kit” is in German?

On Saturday, Louise went out on a rare girl’s night out with her work colleagues.  As it is rare, she had of course to purchase a new outfit, the cost of which I am yet to fully understand, as it included the obligatory handbag and shoes, and more creams, lotions and potions than a Dark Arts class at Hogwarts.  Add to that the meal, drinks, taxis and petrol and I think it is coming close to one of our mortgage payments!!  As she arrived back home on Sunday morning, tired, and declaring she couldn’t do that every week, I could not agree more.

So what did I do on Saturday?  Well, it was odd.  I was home alone for the first time in years, with Louise on the razz, and the girls out and about for most of the evening; I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the peace and quiet.  I usually spend Saturday nights with around seventeen teenagers in the house, praying for some peace and somewhere to sit down.  So to make the most of this rare occasion I filled in our census online and watched Where Eagles Dare!!

I also corrected a long time wrong, and watched Wall Street…the first one.  Nope I’d never seen it, and I don’t know why.  I did enjoy it, and of course was incredulous as to how young Charlie Sheen looked!  Now with all his millions in the bank, and having no job he needs to go to, I have to ask where did it all go wrong????

Sunday was dominated with lots of ironing, by me, as Louise was not back till lunch and she then had to prep the house for incoming oldies for a Mother’s Day tea.  We had a relaxing meal, as it was mainly made by Louise’s Mum to be honest, and we ate whilst watching the Florida DVDs again, which my Dad particularly enjoyed, and he seemed to be a similar emotional wreck to me the week before, and began telling Louise’s Mum, for about the hundredth time, that she should go and it is the best holiday in the world!!  Agreed.

I hope his return to full health comes quickly and that he is able to do Florida again soon.

We then sat back and watched the girls play Just Dance on the Wii for an hour, astounded by their apparent energy levels that seem to only apply of a weekend, and are sadly lacking at around 7am on a weekday.

And so begins another week, which brings us one week closer to the 27th of July, the official start of our next adventure.  Between now and then, we have a German visit, Rebecca’s birthday (and she wants a house party!!), Emily’s GCSEs, her prom and her departure from school.  So a few landmark events, and I am struggling to comprehend that she has finished full time school education already.

For anyone else with a child of GCSE age, I only hope it is not just us who only seem to talk to their child about revising, a lack of revising, not going out so they can revise, and some plans for revising.  Are you getting the idea?  I really have to remind myself to talk to her about other things, and have some fun; otherwise we could become enemies very quickly!  Add to that Rebecca sitting on a two week project for the best of two weeks, and the mere mention of anything academic at the moment has me breaking out in a panic.

By the way, I have cheekily asked one of our IT chaps at work to see if he can rescue the contents of our defunct stick, and if he does I may just full on mouth kiss him in the middle of the office.  Bloody computers!!

Onwards then into the week, with the consolation that I am off for most of the back end of April, making the most of the endless Bank holidays and weddings.  I hope I can stay awake until then!

Till the next time…..

Lost in 3,000 fringes.

Youmeatsix and Forever the Sickest Kids. Whatever happened to sensible band names like what we had?? Kagagoogoo, Bow Wow Wow, They Might be Giants and of course The Goombay Dance band.

Youmeatsix signing
what do you mean you've never heard of them???

Friday saw two very excited girls travel to Manchester to not only watch, but also meet one of these “bands”, and to say they enjoyed it would be like saying I enjoy a buffet. An under statement of huge proportions (did someone say huge portions?).

However, as with most things in life this did not run entirely smoothly. Having had weeks of build up to this event, with daily countdowns (honestly, who is so sad as to countdown to an event like that!!), and preparatory trips to Manchester earlier in the week to secure the required golden (well , purple) wristbands to ensure entry in to the signing, the girls were a little excited.

So when my phone rang around 3.30 pm on Friday I was greeted with a hysterical Rebecca, who after repeating herself a few times, I managed to gather that she had lost the tickets!! It took me a good five minutes to calm her down, and for her to breathe again, before I conducted an operation akin to air traffic control to find out where they were.

Louise’s mum had met the girls after school to pick up all their school stuff, and take it back home so they did not have to go to the gig with their school bags or indeed in school uniform (this was not an ACDC gig). So I had Rebecca on my mobile making wailing noises, whilst I called my mother in law on the landline, at our house to try to locate the tickets.

It took a little while to explain what was happening, and even longer to communicate that they did not look like tickets, more like A4 pieces of paper….cos that’s exactly what they were!! Anyway, to save you the twenty minutes of stress and panic, eventually they were located inside a school book, deep within Rebecca’s school bag, and the day was saved. Rebecca got the tickets and made her train with minutes to spare.

As well as the photos here, you can, if you really want to, see the full album on a popular social networking site, although you may need to befriend Emily to do so.

Emily called me at around 5.30pm, hysterical for entirely different reasons, as she had just been met and hugged by Max and Josh from Youmeatsix. The exuberance of youth!!

Josh Youmeatsix
Josh, singing, not signing.

Roll on a few hours, and I am the designated pick up taxi for Rebecca and her friends (Emily was going back to sleep at her friend’s house via another taxi/parent). Our cunning plan to co-ordinate pick up locations was scuppered by Rebecca’s battery dying on her mobile almost as soon as she arrived, so I had to park the car up, and take my almost forty, obviously someone’s Dad frame into the sweaty masses as they poured out of the main entrance.

All Stars
Same difference

Stood amongst the obviously quite illegal fake merchandise sales folk outside the Manchester Apollo, I quickly realised that all 3,000 attendees of this event looked almost identical. Large fringe, checked shirt, skinny jeans, All Stars and a backpack. The chances of recognising my own daughter were slim, and what seemed like an eternity passed before Rebecca had the brains to phone me using her friend’s phone and tell me she was stood right behind me, across the road at a bus stop.

The journey home was a loud one with the girls still in concert shouty mode, as they regaled me with tales of (insert Band member name) doing something cool. My iPod was hijacked, and the likes of Hall and Oates, Jellyfish etc were banned as we had a playlist (DJ’d by Rebecca) of Youmeatsix and other similar looking types.

As if all that wasn’t exhausting enough, the weekend continued with Rebecca attending the X Factor Tour at the MEN on Saturday. Her new friend (Vicky, keyboard player in her band) invited her as they had a spare ticket. As cool as Rebecca obviously is these days, she returned with a Jedward poster, claiming them to be awesome. Oh dear.

Perfect Strager Poster
Poorer for the lack of white vests

Us normal old folk stayed in on Saturday and watched Perfect Stranger, with Bruce Willis (not a vest in sight) and Halle Berry. It was watchable but the film did not really live up to the cast, and Louise didn’t make it to the end before having to retire to bed.

Sunday of course, like nearly everyone in the UK, was dominated by the paying of homage to respective Mothers. In our house this looked like Louise and I being up before the kids, me wrestling Emily from her pit to come and give Louise her card and presents, and then a day of cooking.

First of course I delivered my breakfast speciality, of Eggs Benedict, before spending most of the day making Moroccan Lamb, as reciped by Jamie Oliver. Louise and I had this some time ago at our friends (Mike and Amanda) so we thought we’d give it a go. Our prep was less than perfect, as this entailed me being on the phone to Mike in Tescos on Saturday trying to remember the 312 ingredients, lacking a pen and paper. I did OK, and when reunited with the recipe on Sunday, I only seemed to have forgotten the fennel seeds, which surely cannot be essential to any recipe???

There was a lot of prep, and for some reason it turned out way too spicy for our invited audience (Mum, Dad and Louise’s Mum) so we had to do some remedial work at the last minute to calm it down. I enjoyed it anyway, and Louise’s Mum was only at A&E for an hour or two!!!

With what turned out to be a very hectic weekend behind us, we crawled to bed very early on Sunday and watched the Lost Boys, followed by a recorded Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. This was a cruel trick to play on my mind. Watching a programme so clearly linked with the start of the weekend on a Sunday made for a very confusing end to the day. I could just do with another Saturday and Sunday right about now.

Till the next time….