Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Total Frustration.....

So I've been on a keep fit kind of thing for a while, kind of since I saw that girl on the bike whose legs I used to have and want again (sometime not long after my first post).  Another incentive was that being a sad little accountant, one day I sat and worked out the calories in a full fat can of coke, multiplied that by the average 5 cans of it I drank a day, multiplied that by 365 days a year, then divided it by the number of additional calories you have to consume to put on 1lb in weight I would put on 57 lbs in a year!  Some days it helps to be a bit of a geek....

Anyhoo, I am doing rather well and so far have dropped 4 and half stone since October.  Helped along by 5 classes of bodypump (weights to a music class basically) a week, 2 step classes and a ton of time in the gym....and the 3 mile walks with Hubby and the fluffers. 

As sad as this may sound, I love the gym - I may sometimes not love getting there, in fact in the early stages I instructed Hubby to "make" me go unless I was ill (under my instruction of course because Hubby finds it difficult to insist that I do anything being the loving hubby that he is).  I go for an hour and come back 3 hours later stuffed to the brim with all the happy endorphins that exercise releases. 

So when you are forced to have to stop it gets kind of maddening.  Makes one stir crazy even.  10 years ago I developed Repetitive Strain Injury (or RSI as it is more commonly known) - being a touch typist since I was 14 probably had everything to do with it.  So my right hand and elbow were sore but as my mother never went to the doctor until she was dying neither did I.  When I did go I got the rollocking of my life for leaving it so long that I couldn't feel the last 2 fingers on my right hand.  Anti inflammatory drugs were prescribed and have been taken for 10 years (which drives me insane enough - I mean who wants to take drugs their entire lives.......)

Now this is when working for the government comes in handy - being covered under the Disability Discrimination Act they had to put measures in place to help me at work and they did in spades - specialist keyboards and a mouse (which looks like a nice gaming joystick from my younger Atari days), specialist desk, document holder and......voice activated equipment.  The latter of which I stopped using when I left a benefit processing management role because I felt better and....well, it is kind of embarrassing to talk to a computer in a room full of people and I ain't nothing if not good at getting very self-conscious peeps - that's why there aren't any photos of me on here.

So, everything was going swimmingly.....except for the hand that hurt when I write for more than 3-4 minutes but who needs to write much when you have a keyboard...right?

So you all know where this is going, don't ya?  Yep, a huge flare up and a discovery that not only is it as bad as it was in my right hand but worse as it now affects my elbow, hand and wrist and also my left hand and elbow.  Seems I may have been unknowingly doing more damage while the drugs have been working their magic for 10 years.  So much so that I am to be referred back to the hospital as the doctor is concerned at the speed of the flare up.

So I have had to give up practically everything I do.  Now those of you that know me may think I am strange and you would be right.  In particular, I am okay as long as I can cope at one place, either work or home.  At the moment I am coping at neither which drives me kind of nuts and I have frequent little meltdowns where Hubby has to dig deep and find the real reason for the meltdown rather than the thing I happen to be having a meltdown over at the time such as the washing up not being done or pots being left in the sink. 

Writing makes me cry with pain now, my hand feels not too bad in a morning but is a git by the time I get home and driving is horrendous after a full day at work.  To top that I cannot play games on the computer at home, something I do to switch off from the daily grind at work, can't cross-stitch (yes I know that is supposed to be an old persons kind of thing but it is relaxing OK and some of mine are pretty good I have to say), can't iron, can't prepare vegetables and cleaning I can do but only if I accept that pain is on its way (and lets not tell Hubby about the latter because he would stop me doing it and as neither he or Beautiful B feel the need to clean even when you can write your name in the dust it would drive me over the edge....)

So not coping at either, as you can see which kind of makes me a bit mental.  I am kind of annoyed at myself because while I haven't felt the pain I knew that pain in my hand when writing was not normal but continued to ignore the voice activated equipment at work so I am thinking I have kind of brought this upon myself.....and I am nothing if not good at beating myself up about things - in fact, I make a habit of finding things to feel guilty about.

It's a lesson I needed I have to admit.  Nothing else was going to make me realise the damage I was doing and this has made me realise that being self conscious at work is a necessity if I want to be able to do the other things I love.  Family and being happier at home will always come before work (especially after finding such happiness with Hubby and Beautiful B and deciding that career thingy is not all its cracked up to be) and now I know that the only way to get back to being able to do the things I love at home is to do what I should at work.

I've had to give up the gym for 4 weeks.  Bodypump is off the menu for I don't know how long and potentially always will be as the repetitive action with weights is probably not the best thing for RSI.  I'm hoping that I might be able to get back to it once or twice a week within the year.  Bodycombat (boxing, karate etc moves with aerobic exercise) is also not allowed because of the repetitive punching moves - a shame as I enjoyed pretending to kick someones head in once a month - which makes me sound kinda scary but I am not honest.

I've found myself getting short-tempered, especially these last few days.  PMT aside, yesterday there was no reason for it, work had been pretty good and Hubby was being wonderful to me as ever, Beautiful B is as beautiful as ever and no she wasn't doing all her jobs but that is nothing new so that wasn't messing with my head, baba fluff is sleeping through the, I took myself off to the gym and did a step class.  I had a tearful moment when I saw my bodypump trainer and explained why I couldn't come to class (yes, I LOVE that class) and my step trainer "felt much better" at the end of the class when I wasn't writhing about in pain at the end of it. For the record, I refuse to give up Step - I would literally have to be in a wheelchair as that class rocks! 

Those happy endorphins were back and yes this morning my right elbow is aching already so I need to be careful but I have decided I am just going to have to be more inventive when it comes to what exercise I can do in the gym because there are only 2 step classes a week and my happy endorphins tell me that is just not enough.....

So I'm kinda conscious that the last few posts haven't been my normal nutty self and frustration is a lot to do with that so I apologise and now that I am back to the gym even if on a restricted schedule, normal service should resume.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Scruffy Fluffer (aka Abi fluff)

So on the sleeping front.....we Hubby has cracked it and would have cracked it had I not been as bull-headed and stubborn and insisted that she had to sleep downstairs until she was house-trained.  How did he do it?  Well, the advertisement phrase "we only want to be together" springs to mind.  He simply put her in her cage in our room, covered it with a dark blanket and she sleeps in there without a peek all night long!

Lesson 1: Listen to Hubby.

On the walking front....Scruffy fluffer is off the lead - already.  Even I have to be impressed with that, me with such high expectations for everyone except baba fluffers apparently.  The other fluffers happily run around and about us on the 3 mile trail we walk and if we get too far ahead or behind of them they either wait or come back to us - Scruffy fluffer obviously realises this is a rule so does the same.

Except....when someone else is walking in the opposite direction.  She is such a happy friendly little fluffer that she turns around and follows them in the hopes of getting a little pet and a "Ah, look isn't she the cutest."  Mind you, Hubby has taken to ensuring there is a little box of treats in his pocket for when we call her and she comes back to us.  I personally think, being a woman, that she has him sussed already.  "Sniff a tree or some grass, they wander off and eventually call me back.  I run to them and get a treat....result!"

I was a bit slow....I happily wandered along the trail and forgot about the smelly brook - the one that runs along the caravan site on the other side and that I am convinced is used to empty all sorts of nasty things into.  Scruffy Fluff didn't!  Bear in mind this picture is after Hubby had cleaned her feet and legs some to get her back in the car...... 

Lesson 2: When Hubby says, "Ribena, what about the brook?" don't say "She will be fine" because she won't!

After the bath she refused to come downstairs - she claims to still be scared - she is perfectly capable, she is just being a big GIRL!

So being one to learn my lesson rather quickly she is picked up and carried or put back on her lead to go past the smelly brook.  For such a small fluffer I am very impressed that she is happily walking 3 miles in one go every day.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

To the men in my life.....

Dad, you taught me how to be the person that I am.  I have lived in a different country because of you, even if I could only speak 3 foreign words when we moved back the UK, I was after all only 6.  You bought me a puppy in the hope that I could learn to be unafraid of dogs after being bit by an old English Sheepdog when I was two.  That dog, Bobby, became my best friend and my shadow for 14 years.  Thanks to you I am that unafraid I now have 4 dogs.

You taught me morals, you taught me how to work hard for what I wanted, you taught me that a job should be done right not half-heartedly, you taught me to enjoy study so much that I have continued to study all of my life, you taught me the love of books, you taught me how important it is to put others and their feelings before your own.

You put up with the chip (otherwise known as the mountain) on my shoulder until I grew out of it, you disciplined me as was needed until I learnt to behave, you punished me when it was needed and you withheld pudding until I finished my main meal. 

You gave me enough rope to learn how to go out into the big bad world earlier than you probably would have liked but played "TAXI" at silly o'clock in the morning to make sure I got home safe yet you trusted me enough to go on holiday during my GCSE's to not only look after the house but to study hard while you were away to pass those exams.

You stood by me when I wanted to marry someone who was wrong for me and you were there for Beautiful B and I when it went horribly wrong to put a roof over our heads for 4 years, you were there to help redecorate our house when we got it back and turn it from the broken house it was to the home it is now.

You stood by me again when I married the second man you disapproved of because you wanted to see me happy and you were there to force him out of my home when he refused to go.

I know now that in Hubby you have the son you never had even if he is rubbish at DIY.  There is no man better at being a dad than you, Dad, you continue to be there for me, Hubby and Beautiful B every single day and words cannot express how grateful I am for the way you brought me up to be the decent human being that I am, nor how much I adore you for continuing to be that Dad that I love each and every day to Hubby who lost his father 7 years ago.

Hubby, you are my world.  It took me long enough to find you and I am never letting go.  You are my counsel, my rock and my strength.  You have calmed me down from the hyper woman that could lose her cool over the little things to become one who is more mellow than she ever thought she could be.  You have made me a better person in so many ways.

You are a Dad, you have Beautiful B and as much as she is not your biologically, from the day we started dating you have treated her like she was your own flesh and blood.  You have treated her with respect and kindness and became her friend, counsel and mediator long before you ever disciplined her as a Dad.  In that, you showed her respect and she has given it back to you in spades, accepting you as the father figure she has so desperately needed at home.

You have helped mould Beautiful B from a confused, frightened and upset 12 year old to an almost confident 17 year old.  Like me, she has taken your morals and run with them and holds the upmost regard for her elders, treating others beautifully and with empathy - as you showed her when she needed it at 12.  Beautiful B is looking for a younger version of you to marry.

Me?  I am grateful each and every day to have you, I know how lucky I am to have found someone who loves me for me; who does not try to change or control me just wants to make me happy every time you breathe.  I love that you saw through the bravado and the veil of confidence to see the real me and to work to increase that lack of confidence I was hiding.  I love that you love me as much as I love you.  I love that you accepted Beautiful B as your own, I love that you still wanted to be with me after I told you that being with me meant never having a biological child of your own.  I love that you fit into my family so well, that mum and dad approve of you and love you as their own son.

I love you for making my life complete, for enriching it so that I cannot think of anywhere I would rather be than in your arms, for loving me so much that you make any other problems seem minute and easy to deal with, that your calmness enables me to rationalise any problems to the size they are rather than thinking the world is ending just because the washing machine is broken.  I love that you tell me that you love me every single day, I love that when you come to bed after me you kiss me and hug me even if I am asleep.  Most of all I love that we communicate as a couple to make that love grow every day and that I know that I make you as happy as you make me and because of that I know that we will always be together.  

Thank you to both of you for helping to shape the person I am today and for loving me unconditionally.  Happy Fathers Day

Friday, 17 June 2011


So Baba Fluff slept through the night last night!!!!  I feel like breaking out the champagne - well I would if I drank it but it tastes just plain nasty....

Abi just wants to be with the other fluffers.  They all sleep upstairs - yes, I know it was a bad idea to start with but 5 years down the line there is no training them to sleep downstairs in their own beds now. 

As per the other fluffers training when puppies I insisted Abi stay downstairs until she was house trained.  Serves me right for keeping the most boisterous female because there has been a battle of wills going on every night at 2.30 a.m., 3 a.m., 4a.m....well you get the picture.

Hubby hates seeing any of us upset, one of the many reasons he is so wonderful to me.  Nor can Beautiful B so they would take Abi upstairs when she cried leaving me to play big bad wolf - neither of them understanding that, like babies, puppies quickly learn to play one owner against another. 

I had to laugh the day I walked around like a zombie and I said to Hubby "You just aren't listening, they are like babies, if they are fed, watered and have been to the loo they have to be left to cry to get used to their own company."  His response was fantastic: "I am listening honey, I'm just can't obey."

Last night we took her cage upstairs to our room, covered it with a blanket and waited to see what she would do.  What did she do, she slept....finally. 

I woke at 2.30 not to tell Baba fluff off but to use the bathroom, then I blissfully went back to sleep.  I woke at 4 a.m. when she would normally wake and refuse to settle again to silence.  Like a mother with a newborn I was unable to go back to sleep and led there in bed waiting for her to wake and cry.  The last time I did anything like that Beautiful B was a toddler and I was trying to get her settled through the night.

They are so like babies, and they are all my babies.  I can't have any more children so the fluffers are our babies and we love them as such. 

It is probably too early to be counting my chickens but I have everything crossed that this is the start of more peaceful nights.  

What did I say about her submitting to my will - yeah okay, go on deluding yourself Ribena!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

New Directions

No, not Glee....though the season finale recorded last night so I will be catching up with that tonight.  Sue Sylvester doesn't seem to have as many funny one-liners this season but that might just be me.  See, getting off track already.

The bathroom is done and looks gorgeous!  Simple and plain and most of all CLEAN looking.  The garden makeover is to be put off until next year.  Our good friend M would love to help (and would be fantastic at it might I add based on his own garden makeover) however he broke his hip last year.  His wife and one of my best friends K has put her foot down and said he cannot help because he has a habit of overdoing things and insisting he is fine, despite the fact that the bone has not fully knitted back together yet. She is sooooo right but it didn't stop me having a mini meltdown about having to stare at the state that is our garden for another year though.

I love hubby, scarily so and he is wonderful with me.  After a hug and a backrub he took to taking control and cleared some stuff up from the garden, loaded up the car and threw it all away.  There is still more to do and it still leaves a mess as I was too super-efficient and moved all the gravel in preparation for the makeover only to find that the underlying concrete is breaking up and the work is now postponed a year.  It does look better though and it doesn't niggle on my blasted OCDishness quite so much.

Moreover, we were forced into new directions on Monday and if I believed in a higher power (and it is sad that I don't and one day you may get the why reason) I would wonder whether it was to help make me feel better.

Our suite is old, you can feel the frame in the arms but we were 2 years from replacing it as other makeovers are more important - garden and kitchen.  However, Beautiful B noticed rust on the floor on Monday and upon investigation we discovered the base frame is corroding (I suspect with the help of some recent puppies) all over my nice beech laminate floor.  As 2-3 laminate boards cannot be replaced without the rest of the floor we must replace the suite before it does more damage.  I wonder if the invention of interlocking laminate boards is someone's master plan to require us to have to replace entire floors at great expense.

So we went shopping - we didn't want much - electric recliners, leather (4 dogs dictate that fabric will never be allowed) and the base cannot be more than an inch off the floor.  Nothing like being choosy - recliners generally dictate the back of the chair to be about 3 inches off the floor and puppies can get to the frame.  However we found one where no puppy can get under without super powers.

Alas the ones with rockers were not nice, to high at the back and therefore not puppy friendly or too expensive - I loved the Lazyboy chair which reclined and rocked but I didn't love the price so much.  So we bought the suite we fell in love with and I asked Hubby if I can have one of these:

I don't have to ask him if I can have the rocking chair but out of politeness and togetherness I do; his manta is "You do the bank, if we can afford it hon, you can have whatever you want."  It's just polite, you know, and goes with the whole sharing and togetherness concept.

He asked if I was pregnant as I feel the need to rock - not if you paid me a million dollars - I'm not even managing to get the baba fluff to sleep through the night let alone a baby.  He understands my need to rock, it is an automatic reaction when I sit in a rocker and I find it so relaxing.  He knows I have wanted one for 10 years and controlling ex-husband number 2 would not let me have one.

His next question was where would I put it - simple - move a cupboard into another room and it fits neatly right near the patio door so I can read and rock in the sun - granted I might need to avoid staring out the window for a year until my garden is as beautiful as my bathroom but still......

I didn't even need to get to the reason that would have sealed the deal above anything else - it gives us an extra chair when we have guests.  Our house is small so necessitates only a 2 seater settee and one chair so a rocker is a wonderful addition for when we have visitors.

He said yes and this is why I love him so - he just wants me to be happy.  That is why we are so compatible - I want him to be happy and he wants the same for me.  It is our overriding reason for everything we do.  Not just because it gives him an easy life but because when Beautiful B and I are happy, he is happy.

I am so very very lucky to have found him.  Granted it took 3 attempts and despite never understanding when my mum used to say "when you find the one, you know, you just know", I fully understood exactly what she meant when I got to 32.  My life feels complete - I had Beautiful B and she is wonderful in every way but then Hubby came along and became the husband my mum told me about and the father figure that Beautiful B so desperately needed.  

We aren't rich, we aren't even comfortable monetary wise at the moment, but we are happy and that is what makes me feel complete. It is what has stopped me wanting the career I have chased after for 14 of those 32 years, instead I long to be a housewife and a mum - I would excel at that - it is where I feel complete, where I feel totally relaxed and most importantly where I feel I am doing most good.  

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Maintenance and the lack thereof.....

No!  Not with me, though in hindsight, I could probably do with a little more maintenance.  It helps to try and maintain the body rather than wait to win the lottery so that you can go crazy at the plastic surgeons office.

As we have had some puppy money Hubby and I - okay I - decided that we should spent it on maintaining the house.  Our house is tiny but it doesn't make it harder to ignore that we have done very little to maintain our humble abode for....well, years.  So, we I tossed a coin and decided that of the 3 main most expensive things that require doing the bathroom needed tiling above all else.  I guess when you have a chunk of money, albeit a small chunk, the most expensive things should be a priority.

Now this was a somewhat tortourous decision for me - those of you that know me well know that I LOOOOVE the sun - I would lie in it all day and bygones to the potential of skin cancer so every cell in my body was screaming "Do the back garden, do the back garden" before what summer we have (generally all 3 days of it) hits. 

For those of you who care, or are even interested, the jobs were the kitchen, back garden and the bathroom.  All in various states of disarray, tiredness and disrepair - and all require more money that I care to think about.

Now, I can be self-centred, Hubby disagrees with me here, but I disagree with him and I win every argument so.....

...... but even I have to admit seen as Hubby hates the sun and heat even more than I adore it, the person who would benefit most from the back garden make-over would be me and that would be self-centred - I can dream and be self-centred but am not good at translating that into reality. 

The kitchen is going to cost more money than the puppy fluffs were kind enough to provide us with (something to do with selling them with their injections and treatments - which cost more than the sale of a WHOLE puppy) so it left the garden and the bathroom.

The bathroom isn't big enough to swing a cat in - seriously, even by UK standards.  Some folks in the USA would wonder how we manage not to step on each other in our tiny bathroom.  It is tiled half way up the wall and the rest is paper.  Now, that was a good idea when Beautiful B was more interested in having a bath so she could pretend to be a dolphin and sing and splash to her hearts content but now she is all grown up (though still insisting she will live with us until she is 30 - yeah OK!) there are 3 of us having daily showers - not condusive to keeping the wall dry even if the paper is varnished.  So, to avoid long term structural damage as the water slowly seeps onto the wall behind the paper I opted for the bathroom makeover.

Shopping for tiles - what Hubby liked I thought were old fashioned, what I REALLY REALLY like were above our cost range - we opted for a relatively plain and simple tile and a mosaic trim - okay, I opted for it because Hubby - being that laid back he is practically horizontal said "pick what you want darling, as long as you are happy, I am happy" - I am still trying to work out if that translates to "you hate everything I pick and I can't be doing with the nagging for the next 10 years until we can afford the REALLY REALLY expensive tiles which don't look any different than the ones you have picked" - probably, bygones.

So we are in day one of tiling - Hubby sent photos of the work in progress by phone today as I he knew I would be sat here impatiently wondering - see why I am going to marry the man....Oh, and that is on the list of things to do. Hurry up Abi, grow up we need more puppies.....

Hubby is more relaxed today - he claims to hate DIY and claims even more to be rubbish at it - I think he has a mental block - it is the only thing he gets angry with.  On DIY days I avoid him like the plague.....or tell him off for sulking.

.....which takes us nicely to our latest discussion - paying a landscape gardener to transform the back garden - we know who is going to win that one, don't we?  I mean unless it is ridiculously cheap why give the landscape gardener the money when I could have nicer paving stones.....

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Now I've had some experience with perseverance - ignore that required to be patient through 30 hours of labour while Beautiful B decided if she wanted to be introduced to the world and lets ignore that required to finish the qualification that you questioned oodles of times in those darkest hours - instead lets talk puppies.....

So 5 of the 7 dwarves disappeared off into the sunset with their new families.  Now I loved them all but Scrappy I cried for and I still get tearful but that is besides the point.  2 of the 7 dwarves remained.  Joey the little dwarf whose face reminded me of a mouse sulked for a few days because his brothers and sisters dared to leave him with the crazy Abi, to defend himself on his own - until he decided to fight back - after all, a boy can only put up with so much bullying.....

Joey rode off into the sunset on Saturday - one would expect that he would be the one to cry at night because he no longer had any brothers and sisters to keep him company.  Oh no!  He apparently is rather well behaved....Abi, however, lulled us into a state of semi-security.  Now I have had fluffers most of my life, my current fluffers have had 2 litters before, I provide advice on how to settle a fluffer into it's new home including the advice that says "fluffers are like babies......they will work out in less than 10 seconds that if they cry you will pick them up.   If they are fed, watered and cleaned they are whining - pick them up for cuddles during the first few nights at home and you will question your sanity for years."

Abi is having none of that.  Lulling us into a false sense of security, she settled down to sleep quite happily the first two nights of aloneness until 4am - that was bad enough.  Beautiful B took her up to her bed under the pretence that she did not want me or Hubby to be woken up.  The night after Hubby argued that the neighbours would be disturbed - she is in a kitchen extension peeps - that is almost impossible!!!  This morning that excuse was amended - he was mistaken, apparently he was worried that she was distressed.

So, last night I took over - she knew peeps, she did!  No waiting until 4am last night - nope, cried for an SOLID hour until she got a telling off, then again at 3.30 then again at 4.50. 

Today we gave her room to roam around and play again - after all who wants to mess where they sleep.  Other than the crying, that worked well last night.  Until 5pm - when Hubby rang - saying we needed a plan B (were we not on plan B.....) because she had managed to climb out of pen that is 5 times her height (obviously thinks she is a monkey), ripped a bin bag to shreds and the expected ***p everywhere.  Beautiful!

So, there is a battle of wills going on in our domestic bliss - little does Abi know that I was taught by the best - my gorgeous mum ( there is a lesson for a teenage me - "Listen to your mum, my little padawan - she is all knowledgable - ignore that inner voice of yours....").  Abi has nothing on that - she can only learn from Cala fluff who submitted to my superior will around day 3......