Friday, 21 December 2012

Five Things Friday

It is only right that this weeks Five Things Friday is related to Christmas!

Five things I love about Christmas:

1     Christmas Decorations

I am one of those individuals that would happily have Christmas decorations up in the house all year round.  I love the way they look, the way the Christmas tree lights sparkle, the way the tinsel shines, the numerous Santas and reindeers and snowmen I have scattered around the ground floor, the way the bells on some of the tree decorations tinkle when the fluffers walk past the tree a little too close.... 

I love the way Beautiful B and I put Christmas music on and sing and dance while decorating the house, I love the closeness of it all, I love the memories we talk about.

I love that each year Hubby and I go to his mum's to put up her tree and lights so that she can decorate the best.  Hubby does not enjoy the run up to Christmas, he hates all the commerciality of it all but he enjoys Christmas Day.  How it became his job to put up his mum's tree each year I do not know - what I do know is that it is fun for his mum and I to sit there saying "move it to the left a little...look there is a spot with no lights - just move that red one up a touch...."

2.   Christmas Stocking and advent calendars

I love the fact that despite being 18 years old Beautiful B still wants an advent calendar to open every day of December and a stocking stuffed full of goodies to wake up to on Christmas morning.  She does it because of the memories it brings her...and also because she is a big kid just like her mum.

3.   Satsumas

A weird one I know but then I am weird.  I LOVE satsumas.  They are a fruit that should be available all year round (as should cherries) instead of just December.  They are the only orange I can eat that does not induce a migraine straight away - though too many can do.  Despite that I buy 2 nets of them each week and can be seen with 2 on my desk every day.  They bring back memories of my mum buying a whole greengrocers box of satsumas and splitting them with Angel's mum each year just to maintain a plentiful supply for me.

4.    Shopping

Not for presents as I find it really difficult to decide what to buy people.  After all Beautiful B is no longer a child and this year has been especially difficult as she didn't hint at anything she wanted.  Buying a smart HD TV sorted that though thankfully because she needs a blu-ray DVD player to go along with it of course.

No, what I love is the food shopping.  Granted I eat too much of food at the best of times and I have loaded weight on since the wedding and need to lose it again after Christmas but what I enjoy is the stocking up of non-perishable foods for the Christmas period.  Hubby and I buy 1 or 2 things a week so slowly a cupboard fills up with Christmas food.  Boxes of chocolates are bought for the visitors that will come over Christmas and for the times we sit in front of the TV and watch rubbish TV as a family.  

I love that the supermarkets play Christmas songs which serve to make me sing and dance in the aisles, often not realising I am doing it - Hubby and Beautiful B will never get over the embarrassment but they are getting used to it.

I love (but also hate in a way) the need to be at Marks & Spencers at 8am on Christmas Eve to get the pick of the Christmas finger food; though this year I am more organised and have ordered the food for collection.  Alas, the novelty requisite Christmas cake (sponge of course because fruit cake is yuk!) is not on this years list as the price has increased from £15 to £25 which is truly diabolical.

5.    Family get-togethers

I think everyone loves these.  I am lucky enough to live on a neighbouring street to mum and dad and my aunty and uncle so see them regularly but there is nothing better than Christmas Day when Hubby, Beautiful B and I have opened presents to get dressed and go and see mum and dad when my aunty and uncle will come across the road (because yes, they live in the house directly opposite mum and dad) so we can exchange gifts.  

I won't impose on my mum for Christmas dinner as she cooks for my aunty and uncle and it is too much at her age in my opinion so we are either at Hubby's mum after that or everyone comes to our house - Hubby cooks, I cannot get everything to be ready on time. Carrots are never on the menu as they refuse to cook properly in our house.  

This year Christmas dinner is at a lovely nearby pub who serve gorgeous food.  Extortionate prices but lovely food - it is what Hubby's mum wanted so money has to be no object, she comes first.

Boxing Day is usually a family get together at mum and dads, with fun, laughter, and alcohol.

This year Hubby, me, Beautiful B, the BF, mum, dad and Hubby's mum are off to the our favourite restaurant, Sapori's, who did our wedding reception; for New Years Eve.  A beautiful meal following by letting the New Year in with wonderful people who care about their local customers.  A great time will be had by all.

There is nothing better than family.  They sustain us each and every day.  To spend Christmas and New Year reminding ourselves of our love for each other is wonderful.  I am lucky enough to be able to do that on more than a weekly basis, Christmas just reiterates it but with more sparkle and wonder.

So what are your five favourite things about Christmas?

Five Things Friday - the Christmas edition

Well, it is Christmas after all and appropriate to write about Christmas.  I'd write about Christmas all year round and leave the decorations up too but apparently that is a tiny bit mental (according to Hubby).

Five things I have love about Christmas:

1     Writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents and delivering them

Normally, I am extremely organised.  This year I haven't been.  When I try and thing why all I see is procrastination but not the normal dallying about I can do.  I don't seem to have stopped but also don't seem to be getting anywhere.

Normally my cards and presents are bought, wrapped and written by the end of the first week in December so i can leisurely deliver them.  Not this year and boy has it stressed me out. Amazingly so.  I am determined not to have that happen next year so I have already organised and booked in my diary a card writing and gift wrapping party for the first weekend in December.  

Hubby thinks I am mental and is already talking of going round to see a friend that night to get out of the way.

I love delivering cards and presents.  This year I made sure that one evening I delivered only 2 lots.  One to Angel and one to my brother and his fiancee.   Angel has been having a bad time at work and so I let her rant and it was just what she needed.  I was sorry to go so early and we have booked more time in the diary between Christmas and New Year - whoop.

2      Visiting family and friends

Following on from above, there is nothing better than being off work for the holidays and having the time to spend lots of quality time with those you love.  Christmas Day is always such a rush.  I even had to wake Beautiful B up last year to open her presents because we had to be at my mums by a certain time and then Hubby's.  No doubt this year will be the same.  

We spend Boxing Day with mum and dad usually though mum is still saying she isn't doing Christmas this year as she fell out with Dad about how stressed he got putting Christmas decorations up last year.  She is not stubborn at all, oh no she is not....

Her Christmas tree went up late, at my dad's insistence and she refused to get involved, instead going upstairs to avoid any temper tantrums by dad.  Not his fault, his stroke affected the emotion sensors in his brain; mum just hasn't learnt to let it go over her head.

So I am not sure if we will be there Boxing Day this year for the requisite party but I will still visit and later go to my brothers for a mini party with Hubby....and lots of alcohol.

3      Christmas films

Hubby hates them, I love them.  Last year I watched nearly a 100 of them.  Recuperating from major surgery allowed the time to sit in bed and watch cheesy Christmas films back to back.  It helps that Sky put on 2 Christmas film channels.  Then there is The Santa Clause trilogy which we own and which I always watch with Beautiful B.  Lets also not forget The Grinch which Beautiful B insists on us watching because it takes her back to being a young Beautiful B spending quality time with me when it was just us two.

4     Christmas food

I am already paying for eating too much food and will spend most of next year at Weightwatchers.  However, it won't stop me buying the party food from at least 3 stores which we live on over Christmas.  We almost have a week long party and party food has to go with that - or that is my excuse.

Cooking some finger food and snuggling up on the sofa with Hubby to watch comedies, Christmas Quiz Shows and best of all the darts is my kind of heaven.

This year we are house and dog-sitting for a week and there is plenty of time for us to spend quality time together.  It is helpful that Hubby thought it was a good idea for our friends to have us look after there house seen as I volunteered our services automatically without asking how he felt about it.

Another upside is that Beautiful B gets to spend quality time with her boyfriend, R as they will house and dog sit at our house.  It gives them the freedom they don't get sharing the house with Hubby and I most of the time.  

She's responsible, I don't need to worry about I?

5     Decorations

I alluded to this above but I love them so much.  Hubby does not enjoy the run up to Christmas so it is a good job that Beautiful B does.  Having said that she had no choice, growing up with me.  Each year on the 1st of December Hubby goes up into the loft (because I am too small to get up there even with the ladders) and braves the spiders he is so scared of to fetch down 15 boxes of various decorations for the house. 

We have 2 trees, because we roll like that, one for the living room and one for the dining room.  The front window of the house is full of decorations and lights, there are various LED displays around the living room and it takes a full day to put them up.

Beautiful B and I play Christmas songs and have Christmas films on in the background and we love it.  Hubby stays upstairs out of the way!

This year the decorations went up late.  Hubby was away that week and didn't want to get them down before he went away and then work got in the way.  Along with the Christmas cards that seriously stressed me out. There is nothing worse for me that being behind schedule, even if it is 'just' Christmas.

Hubby worries about the number of sockets used and I tell him about the trip switches every year, I have to show him which plugs to pull at night in case he accidently switches Sky off (and God forbid it means one of my programmes isn't recorded), I lose count of how many baubles fall of the tree as I turn the lights off at night but it is all worth it.  Sitting in front of the TV snuggled up to Beautiful B or Hubby or the fluff bags with all the lights shining and sparkling makes it feel so very cosy.

If I could get away with it, I would have the decorations up all year round and when they come down I feel almost bereft for a week afterwards as the room appears so very bare.  

So, what are your five favourite things about Christmas?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tonsillitis with a shot of linear equations

Back in 2005 I got a job; to learn to be the nuttiest accountant in my department. Hubby and I got together just before I started to travel across the country each week to study accounting.  To get the job I jumped through all sorts of hoops including completing an on-line personality questionnaire with feedback (only I could make a trained psychologist laugh his head off), written and oral assignments and an hour long interview.  

During the interview the only 2 questions I can recall were:

"What do you think your biggest challenge will be?"

"Trying to get my daughter to realise that as I need to do 15 hours study a week that she should sit down with me and do her homework."

"You stated on your questionnaire that you had wanted to apply for the scheme before - why didn't you apply last year?"

"Previously A level mathematics was required.  I do not have that, purely because I am rubbish at algebra and trigonometry and lets face it, unless I decide to be an architect or simalar, when am I ever going to need it...."    

They roared laughing - at the time, I wondered why as I was just being truthful.  I got the job, I assume because they thought it would be fun to have a nutter on the scheme.

So skip to our first 2 weeks in accountancy training, bearing in mind they took us through the equivalent of all 4 years of AAT training in 6 months.  Initially 2 weeks in Liverpool with the weekend as a break.  The first week goes well, I am coping very well with the study and quite enjoying being in a hotel room with no cooking, cleaning or washing etc. My friend and study partner C laughed at finding flyers each morning slipped under the door advertising the local escort services.

Second week, Hubby phones me one day and asks me to meet him at the station.  I love that he just hopped on a train because he wanted to see me. Ignore that I have a sore throat and am feeling slightly under the weather - I'm suddenly feeling better!

The following day C and I laugh at my attempt to swallow Rice Crispies at breakfast.  Having found a smoothie station in the nearby shopping centre I am not overly concerned - I can get my nutients from that.  I lived on that for 3 days before I got home and to a GP who confirmed my first and only tonsillitis episode in 33 years.  

Anyhoo, later that day we are sat in a management accounting class, my friend C is a whizz and we are loving the class.  I am feeling worse for wear and although not in a bad mood just want to get back to the hotel for a lie down, when the tutor says:

"Today we are going to do linear equations."

My head shoots up and involuntarily I say (being common and all and from the north) and feeling ill, in my defence "Shit off!" - my mother has a lot to answer for!

"No Ribena, deadly serious."

C rubs her hands with glee and says "I LOVE linear equations!"

"Well, maybe you should be the nuttiest accountant in the Department then."

I obviously spoke too soon at that interview!

8 weeks later I still could not grasp linear equations.  Had that question come up in the exam I could have answered it by following the process by rote - to this day I still do not understand the concept.

Beautiful B has no hope with a mother like me.    

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Part 3 - How hubby and I almost never were

So we left off where Hubby had been interrogated by Beautiful B over pizza.

I was oblivious to what is now obvious.  We had grown closer when I moved to the project team and sub-consciously the door was open because I was leaving in a bid to become the nuttiest accountant in this Department.

Friday dawned and my last day at work before the hard work started.  Taking my wonder drug (otherwise known as migraine medication) I was fit for work and another 7 hour drinking session.  The team and I vacated work and relocated to the nearest pub and drank and drank and drank.  The usual round the table games started, you know the ones where parents move their children across the pub....speed dating with the inevitable "Have you ever...." and "What is your favourite..." type questions - some of which made me gasp and I am no prude.

Around 8 o'clock I got a text from Hubby who was sat at the other end of the table...."I want to hold you but I can't.  but I will later tonight."  I read it in astonishment, thought "OK" and decided he had already had too much to drink.  Whilst on the subject, Hubby's right eye closes slowly in relation to how much alcohol he consumes!

Later we took off to town, Jo played some air guitar, Hubby disappeared and returned with a lollipop; my favourite sweet of choice, which mixed amazingly well with vodka, lime and lemonade.  We danced, we swayed, we drank together, we smiled at each other, we both took care of Jo.  

You know hubby is the one when he insists on ensuring Jo gets home to her husband, paying for a taxi to go 8 miles in one direction and then 12 miles back to return to me.  I dread to think how much that cost him.  

Hubby and I did hold each other that night, and we kissed and we have been together ever since.  

I am so lucky, two weeks in and he was seriously considering if I was worth the hassle.  2 puppies under the age of 6 months that barked and barked and barked made it hard for him to hear me when I talked (really I mumble so no wonder he struggled to hear me).  Luckily he persisted and decided I was worth it.  He told his mum all about me after I had sat him down to explain that I could not have children and that if he wanted any of his own we needed to split up there and then and him instantly saying that he wanted me more than any child.  

He fell in love with me more after I spontaneously turned up on his mothers door step armed with a bouquet of flowers to introduce myself and after I frequently knocked on her door for a girlie chat over a drink and biscuits.

Beautiful B fell in love with hubby because he became her friend first and foremost, then her confidant and mentor.  He went home after seeing me for nearly a year before staying over to make sure that Beautiful B was comfortable and her life was stable.  

So you see, we almost never were; firstly we didn't see the wood for the trees and then it hit us like a whirlwind and secondly my fluff bags nearly ruined it for all of us.  He wouldnt be without those fluff bags now....though admittedly he would happily remove Freddy fluffs voice box.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Part 2 - How hubby and I almost never were

How I met Hubby:  
  • I worked with hubby, I was his manager, he was quiet and reserved having lost his father on a few months before.  I worried that I wouldn't be able to reach him as he seemed very withdrawn.
  • I distinctly remember how he would approach me with a problem to ask advice but he would never let me do the work because he wanted to know how to tackle whatever issue it was if it came up again.
  • He used to go to the coffee machine in the corridor; what I didn't know was that he smoked.  I only found that out after he had quit and we started dating.  How observant am I as a manager?!
  • During appraisals he started to open up to me on a 1-1 basis about his dad, how he had received a diagnosis and died 3 months later; how he had nursed his dad for the last 3 months of his life and how he no longer could look at photographs of his dad because all he saw was how he looked just before he passed away. 
  • I vividly remember feeling honoured that he had opened up to me as he was such a private person and I vividly remember him leaving the office one day and how I remained there crying having imagined what he had and was going through.
  • During this time I was still a Jehovah's Witness and married to my second husband.  I was very controlled at home and having studied and been baptised as one I had learnt to supress my natural nuttiness and vibrancy for life.  I thought Hubby had opened up to me because I was so quiet and reserved and therefore "safe".  Maybe we were drawn to each other then and just didn't realise it.
  • I went to work on the project side of the team and hubby and I continued to email each other and our working relationship grew into a friendship.  I remember an email discussion when hubby said he had a cold and my automatic response was "well that explains the green shirt - hides all sorts of cold nastiness."  - Hubby says he recalls this conversation as one of the first where he had a conscioius realisation that he liked my personality.
  • The team used to go to the pub every Friday lunch and we all used to laugh and joke.  I distincty remember going there one lunchtime and tossing a box of tissues at Hubby and saying that I had come prepared for his cold so his green shirt wouldn't suffer.
  • Many of us used to continue to drink and be merry after work in a nearby pub on a Friday and hubby and I got to know each other as our friendship grew.  Still, if anyone had said we would have got together we would have laughed at how ridiculous it was - after all, we worked together and that sort of thing was out of bounds and therefore never considered.
  • Hubby once expressed his concern at how I was being treated by a man I was dating - I told him not to worry as the man was struggling to cope with the realisation that a woman could play his game better than he could.  That was the first time Hubby "noticed" me and he remembers the clothes I wore that night.
  • The goodbye lunch time celebrations when I was successful in obtaining a finance role went on all lunch and after work hubby and I went to the pub to continue the celebrations.  We put the world to rights that evening and we learnt more about each others backgrounds. 
  • At 8pm I figured it was time to go home and rescue mum and dad from Beautiful B.  I invited him along and we took pizza home.  Beautiful B interrogated hubby and extracted his life story.  As he said goodbye and pecked me on the cheek before leaving, Beautiful B's parting shot when I shut the door was "He is nice but there is no way he is only 32 if his mum is 70" - 11 year old logic because her nanny was 55.
  • The next day the team joined me in an evening of celebrations in the nearby pub; the celebratiosn continued until the early hours of the morning.  In the pub I received a text from Hubby telling me he couldn't hug me in the pub but would later; I thought was shocked and though he was already drunk.
  • Reading this back, it seemed evident that we were getting closer and closer that last week before I left the team.  All of this went "whoosh" as it sailed so far over my head.
  • I was hugged later that night and the rest, as they say, is history.
Part 3 soon.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Part 1 - How hubby and I almost never were

A background:

  • Dad was in the army until I was 6 during which time we moved 14 times.  
  • I have a sister two years younger than I (I do not speak to her - another story).
  • Dad left the army so that we could have a stable education
  • We lived with Nanny in a guest house for 2 years while mum and dad saved for the deposit on a house - I loved it there, I remember helping to change beds and be at the side near the wall because I was small and serving people when I was only just taller than the table.  I wasn't a child slave, I just loved helping out....
  •  I was scared of dogs - you tend to be when you have been bit by a dog through your nose at 2 years old.  The dog was bigger than me - at 6 months old the sheep dog was huge and we had been friends since it came to its owner.  Biting me for no reason resulted in the poor thing being put down and me being petrified of any dog.
  • Mum and Dad took me to see some Jack Russell puppies and Bobby came home with us.  He spend his life either led on my back with his head on the top of my head when I used to lie on the floor to watch TV, or I with my head on his belly while he slept on the floor.  
  • Bobby used to escape - where to, no idea but once he had wandered enough he would come home and sit at the front door and wait for one of us to walk past the door and see him through the frosted glass.
  • I studied hard, I was a geek but had a boyfriend called Simon when I was 15 and we were together for 4 years before getting engaged.  I moved in with him and his mum to help her with the bills and we last another 6 months before I came back home to mum and dad.
  • I met my first husband, got married within 6 months and was pregnant 8 months later.  Beautiful B was born and the marriage went downhill.  I filed for divorce and Beautiful B and I were given a roof over our heads by mum and dad.
  • Beautiful B grew up to have blonde hair just like I did when I was little.  Mum and Dad let her have a rabbit (I was never allowed one when I was little!) which lived with them until she died as she did not like our house when Beautiful B and I moved back into our home.
  • I met my second husband, became a Jehovah's Witness and was controlled to the extent that I was banned from drinking Coca Cola. I rebelled, he treat Beautiful B awfully and that ended our relationship.  He refused to move out, I bought a dog for Beautiful B; something he would not let me have while we were married before we agreed the marriage wasn't working.  Dad intervened to get him to move out and I got a sense of satisfaction when he wanted some time with Fred, Beautiful B's giraffe of a dog, to say goodbye.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Five things Friday - a day early

Hi guys.  I'm writing this a day early and have scheduled it as I am off to Cheshire Oaks today with one of my besties, R for some much needed retail therapy with a hot chocolate thrown in.  I may come back with more bags than I can carry but then again I may come back with one special Radley bag.....

This weeks topic is five things that have stressed me out this week....

1.  Putting the Christmas decorations up late this year.  

I know, ridiculous!  I love Christmas and I can blame my mum for that.  I missed Christmas during my Jehovah's Witness period and when they threw me out in disgust telling me I am now one step up from the devil the Christmas decorations on the front windows of the house had to be seen to be believed.  Not that I like making a point or anything...

Each year those decorations go up on the 1st December.  As Beautiful B is now 18 I cannot use her as an excuse to put them up at the beginning of November.  I am height-challenged and even with the ladders cannot reach into the attic to get the 20 boxes of decorations down so Hubby is needed except he was away for the weekend of the 1st December helping one of his friends celebrate his 40th - how dare he!  Taking another week for them to go up was not my fault; no it was not!

2.  Writing job applications and interview

I know it is the nature of the beast, if I want a job that will challenge me more and of course pay more so I can buy Radley bags and Dune shoes then I have to apply for them.  I am rubbish at selling myself though and it is a game of words, one which you will have realised by now I do not do well. 

I waffle at the best of times; I know it is hard to believe but I do but boy I go all out completely involuntarily during an interview - the more nervous, the more I talk.  As much as I do not like dwelling on the negative I talking myself into not getting the job after the interview so it wasn't a surprise when I was told I wasn't successful.  

The shoes and bags will have to wait to come home with me and the bills I wanted to clear will have to be cleared over a longer period of time.  On the upside I get to continue working at KFC part time which is good considering I find it amusing, stress free (well, until we run out of chicken which we do every Saturday!) and I love the interaction with the customers.

3.  Picking

What you say?!  A strange one yes.  When I get nervous I pick the side of my finger nails.  Now those finger nails are horrid and have been ever since my op last year.  Apparently when your body no longer makes oestrogen your nails get brittle and it does not matter how careful you are they split and refuse to be strong.  So picking the sides of those nails is never going to be a good idea.  Now I have a plaster on a thumb and a middle finger - numpty!

4.  Inexplicable pain

Why is it that for no reason whatsoever you can start walking and have a pain in your leg that feels like you have exercised too long? Maybe my right leg detaches itself at night and goes and does 2-3 step sessions on it's own ensuing it reattaches before I wake?  Mind you, it started during the day yesterday and I know I had my leg all day long so doubtful really.  Today it is worse.  Maybe I am going to have to put it down to getting old but I will resist that until the end.  While my head still feels in it's 20's I will not let my body beat me, oh no I won't.

5.  Sky issues

We are greedy and have 3 sky satelitte boxes at home - Yes, I know 3!  It's the better of 2 evils; pay more or argue over the TV and lets face it, I am going to win every time.  No-one and I mean no-one will come between me and Morgan from Criminal Minds, Dean from Supernatural and Damon on The Vampire Diaries.  So when the machine inexplicably deletes all the series link that have been lovingly added, because my mind loses itself on a regular basis and I am unlikely to remember what days and times each of the 15 series I watch are on, I get a bit antsy.  Luckily Sky Protect came to the rescue - for the bargain price of just under £9 a month if anything goes wrong they fix it at no additional cost.

Here is when I get frustrated.  When you ring Sky and they say "Oh yes, this problem is affecting a lot of our customers - one of our updates went a bit wayward" you wonder why customer service does not come to the fore and a thought to value for money savings.  Surely a letter/email to all customers explaining the problem with a step by step guide of how to fix it would have made more business sense.  

I wonder if Sky get any profit from thousands of customers ringing an 08444 number and paying lord only knows what per minute to be walked through correcting the problem.....

Having said that, worth every penny - Sky is back to lovingly remembering to record the programmes I forget about on time.  So much so that I watched 45 minutes of zombie galore on The Walking Dead this morning!

So what stresses you out?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Smart TV's and Apple Macs

Tuesday...Beautiful B is so excited and cannot sit still. She has decided to spend some of her much earned wage on a 40" smart TV and an Apple Mac laptop.  They arrive on Tuesday afternoon.  Beautiful B is told by Grampa not to try putting the TV and stand together until her boyfriend arrives.  Come on, she is my daughter, you know me, do you seriously think she is even listening at this stage?!  Forget it, the excitement has taken over and all else fades into the background.

So that is where I find her, struggling to use a screwdriver.  Guess who is going to be putting the TV on it's stand - yep, it wasn't Beautiful B.  After an hour, I gave up and called Grampa who managed the screws I had been fighting with for an hour in 2 minutes flat.  I'll blame the effects of the slipped disc in my neck for the weakness....

Tuesday's lesson: Granted Beautiful B's room is only 10 ft by 8 ft but it helps to sit further away from the TV when you switch it on otherwise you might think the resolution is not all that!  

So now she has linked the internet to it and her boyfriend is seriously considering the purchase of a further xbox 360 after Christmas so he can kill people with sub machine guns in 40" galore.  

How funny to see how easily impressed some people are and that you are not the only one that gets excited at tiny little things.  Nipping upstairs to say hello to the boyfriend you discover he is sat with the laptop on his knee with the face of an animated 5 year old child opening their Christmas presents and the conversation goes like this:

BF:     "Ooooh Ribena!  What do you do to make sure that your power cable does not keep falling out of your laptop?"

Me:     "I don't know, BF, what do you do?"

BF:      (Taking the cable out of the socket)  "Well, you......." (then he starts to move it back towards the socket) "....make it magnetic!!!" (as the force takes over the inserting of the cable).  "How great is that!!!!"

Me:     Speechless and laughing my head off.

Being naive Beautiful B was convinced the laptop would come complete with the MS office package.  How little she knows!  Why put it on the Apple Mac when you can charge a fortune for it separately?!

So that has sorted another Christmas gift out for her.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Five Things Friday

Hi guys...first an apology.  The amount of time between my posts is ridiculous...not that I have any regular readers anyhoo.  So this is my second Five Things Friday and this week I am simply going to discuss 5 things I have observed this week....well, because it's easy.

1.     Cala Fluff has an extra dewclaw on one of her back legs.  It's not attached very well and has a small nail on it which is a funny shape and we have got used to her having it and have never had a problem with it.  For the past week or so she has been nibbling at the foot but at the top.  Looking at it last night I noticed that the claw has grown but has rounded on itself very quickly and dug into the skin that holds it to her foot.  Let's ignore for the moment how bad I feel at not noticing before now and clipping it but instead wonder whether a, my dog is stupid or b, partially sighted because she has clearly been nibbling the wrong part of her foot!  Tonight, we try and clip the small feat considering it is curled like a little piggy's tail so can't be clipped with my conventional doggy nail clippers.  I can see her visiting the vet and costing me a fortune again....

2.     It is possible for it to be the 7th of December and for me not to have my entire house decorated for Christmas, still have outstanding present buying to do and to have not written one Christmas card.  It is beginning to drive me a little insane though.

3.     I am still no better at interviews than I was 3 years ago.  If I get the job I applied for it will be an absolute miricle.  

4.     You can almost guarantee that the car battery or some equally obscure thing will stop working and need replacing just before Christmas because to wait until the New Year would just make sense now wouldn't it?

5.     Time is a funny thing......Hubby and I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by but only when looked at as an overall picture; it doesn't feel like a whole year has gone by since last Christmas or that Hubby has been in his current job a whole year come Monday but I feel like I have known my very good friend A for 2-3 years when in fact it was only March when I met her for the first time.  Equally I feel like I have been married to Hubby for years yet it was only October and when I think about the wedding it seems like it was ages ago.  If we think about my operation which was just over a year ago now it feels like 2-3 years ago. Mind you, we shouldn't be surprised; I look at Beautiful B and feel like it was only a few years ago that she was 3 years old in Orlando eating half a muffin that was almost as big as her head with Grampa.

Oh and I still only feel about 20....which is never a bad thing.

What would your 5 things Friday be?  

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What I learned this week

Hello guys and gals,

I've had a long weekend, using the requirement for car repairs to have Thursday off work and a funeral on Friday so it's been a funny ole weekend.  Let's see what I learned along the way;

1.     Having a hubby that doesn't drive shortens your day by over an hour and you can have a day off and feel like you have accomplished nothing.

2.     You are not really going to accomplish much if you sit and watch 3 episodes of Castle back to back and the latest episode of True Blood.

3.     You really can record far to much TV using the Sky planner.

4.     You can take the car to the garage because it has a squeak, replace the fan belt and still have a squeak when you pick it up.  Being assured that the car is not going to fall apart or blow up enables you to just pretend you have a mouse controlling the engine every time you turn the key.

5.     As much as you love her, the dog groomer can get very distracted and Abi's feet will remain untrimmed because this weeks distraction was the theft of an iron drain cover.  It will only confirm, however, that your dog groomer is a caring person as she rushes back and forth across the road trying to find anything in the shop big enough to cover up the hole to prevent someone being maimed.

6.     It is possible to drink from 1pm to 10pm and feel as sober as a judge - funerals help that.  You will feel slightly tipsy when you put your head on your pillow though.

7.     Abi fluff will attack an empty packet of crisps, pouncing, stalkig and throwing it around the room just as much as she does with her dog chews and teddies.

8.     Having seen the Christmas desserts for Marks & Spencers online you will repeatedly think about them and decide to pre-order them.  Note to self; throw in some fruit and veg on the order to reduce the danger of someone realising that it is just the desserts you are coveting.  Accept that everyone that knows you well has you sussed from the outset.

9.     You can get more and more angry at the delay in the delivery of 2 desktop calendars of Jensen Ackles.  It does not matter that they are getting here from Hong Kong or that one of them is a Christmas present, oh and for 2013, so there is plenty of time.  

10.    For the first time ever, you will feel entirely satisifed at being able to watch a film based on a book you have read when you can say "That brought the book to life and it was everything I imagined when reading it" instead of "Typical, the film is nowhere near as good as the book, I don't know why I bother watching these films" - in case you are wondering, yes it was "The Hunger Games".

10 is enough.  So what did you learn this week?    

Friday, 2 November 2012

Five Things Friday

I saw this on another blog and thought it was a good idea…so let’s see how long it lasts.

When I post on a Friday (because it really would be wrong to promise to blog every Friday) I will discuss 5 things…if possible on a theme.  A bit like Julies (From Inmates to Playdates blog) ‘What I learned this week’ but different.

This week: Childhood Edition

Favourite Childhood Toy:

If we are talking my favourite toy for a finite amount of time it would have to be a little bean teddy I had when very small.  This little teddy might as well have been attached to me because it went everywhere; so much so that it needed washing regularly and the only way I would allow it to be washed was for mum to makeshift teddy cover to put the beans in so I could cuddle it’s innards while it’s skin was washed.  Even so, I sat in front of the washing machine waiting for it to be washed, or so I am told.  I wonder how she explained that the teddy stayed alive when it was essentially split in two.

I gave the teddy away for a good cause when I was 6.  After my sister had thrown it in a potty of pee and being traumatised by that, so much so that I ripped the head of her bean doggy! Though the decapitation was during a scuffle so that doesn’t count and by no means as heinous a crime as drowning my teddy in pee!  Mum and Dad told me about all the children that didn’t get birthday presents from their parents or many Christmas presents because their parents couldn’t afford to send many to Santa.  I was distraught at this and always trying to be fair and empathetic asked mum and dad to wash teddy and send it to Santa so some other child could enjoy it’s love – I know, I was cute then.

Anyhoo, said teddy lived on top of the wardrobe until I was 8 just in case I ever cried and cried for teddy to come back.

If we are talking favourite toys of all time, then that would have to be books – always has been and always will be.  If you can’t find me and come searching, you will find me with my head buried in a book (or Kindle or iPad – because you know, I am not discriminatory).  I have spent more money on books that possibly anything else; well, except shoes.

Favourite Childhood Song:

Without a shadow of a doubt this will be “Hey Mickey” by Toni – released in 1982.  Those were the days when we had tape players with a red record button and I drove my parent’s nuts singing that song.  Also the neighbours….when holding a variety concert in the front garden one summer day.  How thoughtful they must have been because I am tone deaf and who wants to listen to a 10 year old sing into a hairbrush in the front garden but there must have been 20 people there watching my sister and I bop around the garden.

Favourite Childhood Memory:

Many many of these…..

From each and every Christmas that mum and dad made so special, to rollerblading down our street on Christmas Day, to enjoying every Sunday afternoon watching Tom & Jerry while mum cooked Sunday Lunch, eating lunch, watching The Love Boat before having a bath just in time to watch The Muppets before bed.

But my favourites are our holidays to St. Ives – 6 years in a row and the best bits were leaving at midnight to drive down the country and miss most of the traffic.  Dad took the first shift and mum used to take over the driving at 3am and I used to stay awake with her sat in the front of the car to “help her stay awake” – those times were special, watching the sunrise while we drove down the quiet motorways just talking and catching up.

Favourite Childhood Crush:

I have to say even now I can be rather indiscriminate so it’s hardly surprising that I didn’t settle on one crush when I was a youngster. 

All 4 bedroom walls were covered from the ceiling to the tops of my furniture with photos of Duran Duran and Wham – Simon Le Bon and George Michael were the one’s I fancied.  Not being one to settle for things in the same place for very long, those posters were moved about the room to ‘look better’ just as much as my bedroom furniture was.

Most Afraid of in Childhood:

Dogs.  When you get bitten through the top of your nose when you are two by a HUGE sheepdog you tend to shy away from dogs after that.  In fact, the sheepdog wasn’t that big; being only 6 months old but being only 2, it was as big as me! Let’s face it everything is BIG at that age.

I had grown up with the fluff bag from the minute a friend and neighbour fetched it home. Dad was in the army so pets were a luxury amongst our friends.  When all the adults played badminton and ate the alcoholic ice-pops my dad was known for making outside the flats we lived in the dog and I became best friends.  We were ‘me and my shadow’ and I treat that dog with ‘kid gloves’ as it were.  Mum and Dad had taught me to be very gentle with the dog and that is what I was, so the day he turned round and bit me without provocation the owners put the dog down on the vet’s advice.  I know it was for the best but even now….so sad.

Anyhoo, then I wouldn’t go near dogs and would cross the street if I saw a dog, would cry if you took me near one.  When dad left the army and they bought our house (which they still live in to this day) there was opportunity to try and get me over this fear. 

They took me to a house where there were a litter of Jack Russell puppies.  Their thought process being that the breed only grows to shin height and a puppy may teach me to get over the fear of dogs.  I wanted the little girl but she was sold but then a little boy crawled up my leg and sat chewing my hair – must have liked the taste of Vosene.  That was it, my heart melted.  Mum carried him home in her coat that night with his little head poking out above the zip.

It worked, Bobby and I were inseparable from the minute we fetched him home for 14 years until he passed away.  I still crossed the road to get away from big dogs until Bobby was 6 though….
So what are your favourite 5 childhood memories?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Spare a thought for New York and America today

Okay, it's rare I post twice a day...lets face it, rare I post regularly let alone daily but today I feel I have to put my feelings in writing.

I don't watch much news; all the bad news drives me mad and makes me sad about the state of the world.  So when Hubby showed me the footage of New York last night I sat in stunned silence.  Stunned silence thinking about the millions that would be affected and stunned silence at those that insisted on staying in their homes.  Stunned silence at those that insisted on staying in their home and then filming the ever rising water right outside their water side homes.

I couldn't help but wonder how those affected would fare; would their insurance cover the damage; how would they keep their families safe and how scared these must be as the weather worsened.

This morning Hubby and I sat safe in our beds watching the news as pictures of the devastation came in; of New York streets being underwater, of facades on buildings having been ripped away from peoples home (and thanking someone that they were safe), of a crane being bent completely in half.  The photos are still dark so I am sure there will be much more devastation yet to be assessed.

I watched in amazement at the differing weather conditions across America, at the snow that is piled up to 60 inches high in some areas.  One cannot help but be amazed at the power and the sheer size of the storm and one cannot help but feel for everyone involved and the repurcussions for America.

Which is why I was disgusted when people were tweeting Sky News this morning in disgust that the release of Assassins Creed 3 will be delayed as a result of the devastation to New York.  Really!  Really!?!  What about the 13 people who are known to have died in this storm and the many injured?  What about the financial repurcussions for New York, other areas, USA and above all the citizens of America.  

I am disgusted that people can be so selfish and a big part of me was sad that those thoughts are indications of what some of the world is coming to.

My heart goes out to all Americans today, for the devastation they face, the financial worries both personally and as a country and for the fear they must be facing.  I know that if nothing else Americans will band together to recover as they did after 9/11.


What I learned this week

What I learned this week….

Well, this week has been pretty uneventful unless we count the colds we have all had.  It is the first I have suffered in a year so I am not complaining….much

  1. You can be around your Beautiful B for over a week and not catch the humdinger of a cold she has even if she does often occasionally forget to put her hand over her mouth while coughing;
  2. It can be incredibly frustrating to listen to Beautiful B cough and cough and cough when she refuses to take medicine (“it makes me sick”); I wonder who she could possibly have got that trait from (not me, it’s pills that used to make me sick at her age);
  3. You only need to be around one of your bestest friends for 2 hours when they have a cold to fetch it home with you;
  4. A wonderful hubby will wait on you hand and foot to nurse you better and make you hot chocolate (using milk!) and bacon butties for lunch;
  5. Your ears feel like you are still in the aeroplane that fetched you home from honeymoon;
  6. Despite feeling awful you can still get out of bed because you feel the need to do the washing and transfer it to the dryer;
  7. It’s easier to breathe through your nose when sat up than led in bed when full of a cold;
  8. Having a cold is a fabulous excuse to stay snuggled up in bed reading a book all weekend with occasional snoozes;
  9. The Hunger Games trilogy is addictive;
  10. You can read a whole book in 3 hours flat if not distracted;
  11. You can get frustrated when you lose the battle with your eyes on a Sunday night when you want to finish the third book in the trilogy;
  12. On the Monday you can feel much better and just amuse people with the squeaky voice you are left with;
  13. Oh and, you can then nurse your Hubby because you passed it onto him.

Now what did you learn this week?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Who or what to blame....

On the day we got married, Beautiful B was full of a cold.  For how poorly she felt she looks fabulous on the photographs and you would never know.  The poor mite struggled more and more as the day wore on and by 6pm gave up and had to go home and put herself to bed. 

Hubby and I went on honeymoon and have returned and over 2 weeks later she is still coughing.  and coughing.  and coughing.  

It's my fault; she refuses to take medicine "because it will make her sick" - she sounds like I did when I was young.  I drove my parents mad; I would take medicine but not pills for the same reason which became a problem once I got to 12 and couldn't have the banana tasting medicine as it was no longer strong enough.  

So Beautiful B coughs and coughs.  Some of the time she forgets to cover her mouth.  How she is still at work I do not know.  If I was one of her patients I would probably ask for another nurse; who wants to go to hospital for a hip replacement and come out with a cold as a leaving present?

So my cold could be Beautiful B's fault.

Then I went to see my best friend R who was full of a cold.  I sat next to her on the couch and looked at the wedding photos her boyfriend had taken of wedding guests R had ensured were in the photos. 

So it could be R's fault.

Then I went for a flu jab because I am apparently at risk;  I have asthma alledgedly (is that spelt correctly, mmmm) even though I haven't had a full on attack since I was 32. Does asthma cause your chest to feel tight during exertion?  If so, maybe I should be using the inhalers.  Anyhoo, I also take a stream of medication for things such as slipped discs, painful hands and arms, migraine blah blah blah.

So it could be the flu jabs fault but then Beautiful B looked at me with amusement when I said that because although they inject you with flu nastiness it does not cause you to get a cold and she "could get me a leaflet to prove it".  No thank you honey, I have enough to do sneezing, coughing, blowing my nose and wiping my streaming eyes just so I can work.

So apparently it isn't the flu jabs fault but I love Beautiful B and R and therefore don't want to blame them.  I don't like flu nastiness so I am going to blame them because I can.....

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Random musing

When you open the wardrobe and discover a pair of shoes that you don't remember buying is it a sign that you have too many shoes, the early onset of senile dementia or both?

Hubby has been thanking people who let us out of side roads etc when I am driving so I can just concentrate on the road so maybe he is worrying about senile dementia also...

Short and sweet today and yes I have lots of news of hen weekends, 40th parties and weddings but I have a cold (courtesy of Beautiful B) and cannot post photographs on the work computer (yes, it is lunch time) due to the security protocols.


Friday, 5 October 2012

The big 40

So I hit 40 and unlike my mum I celebrated being 40 because I am more comfortable in myself than ever before.  I have a loving family, a Hubby who adores me as much as I him and a daughter who has an inner strength to behold and does me more than proud every single day.

I bought a posh dress, I returned that dress to the shop as Hubby told me another suited me more.  I guess it is unusual for a Hubby to have such fashion sense - mind you, he needs to because without his help I would live in black and dark colours.

I arranged for Beautiful B and I to have our hair done - after all, its not every day I hit a milestone.  Then I spent 10 minutes moving the curled bits at the sides of my face up and down in front of Hubby going "Up or down, up or down, up or down."

The DJ arrived, Angel carried the cake in and I thought it was the best cake ever.  Angel and Beautiful B arranged for a novelty cake to describe me to a T and that is exactly what it did.  The buffet was arranged and I had a vodka to calm my nerves - after all, people may not come.

Except they did, and I worried I couldn't get round them all and they had all come to see me.  Angel told me to relax and enjoy it - the vodkas situated around the room bought for me helped; after all it would have been rude not to drink them all.

The buffet arrived and it took me 20 minutes to realise it had arrived; Hubby spent the evening with my purse to make sure everyone was paid because the vodka started taking effect and I was busy flitting around like a butterfly.

I was truly spoiled with the presents and very humbled by the amounts some people gave me.  It has enabled me to buy a new camera which has been broken in during the hen weekend and bought just in time for that, the wedding and the honeymoon.

But none of that mattered; what mattered was that my nearest and dearest and much loved friends took the time to come and celebrate with me.  I was humbled at the number of people who cared enough to come.  Cards and presents didn't matter, copious amounts of alcohol and food didn't matter.  What mattered was the time I spent talking to everyone, some of whom I had not seen in months or missed working with terribly.

Hubby even smiled for photographs; all great practice for the wedding photographs and I have some wonderful photos to frame and will cherish the memories and photographs for a long time.

John or is it Jack....

To help save money for the wedding, I got a little weekend job at KFC.  I still have my full time job but Hubby spends the weekend watching sport so all I was going to miss was cleaning.  I like KFC - it's like playing shop when you are 4 years old.  I get to go to work and have a laugh with kids who are younger than Beautiful B and have a great time serving customers.

Having moved into Accountancy I miss the customer contact I used to have when working on the front line where I spoke to customers all day so KFC gives me the opportunity to feel like I am making someones day better.  It is amazing how many regular customers we have at KFC; though why I am surprised I do not know - Hubby spends a whole shifts worth of my pay on KFC food each week.  No we don't get it free and it really can't be good for Hubby's health...

Anyhoo; there is a little old man who comes into KFC each night.  He has a walker and it honestly takes him 5 minutes to walk from the door to the counter.  He always has a small fries, large fries, tub of beans and a coffee but he has the coffee after he has eaten.  It takes him an hour to eat his food and I have taken to going to the door and helping him sit down and then fetch his food to him.  He is almost skeletal thin and one does wonder whether it is the only meal he gets all day.  

Now I talk for England - of course you haven't noticed this  ;-) so I have twittered about this little old man to Hubby and Beautiful B because I find him very sweet and I am honestly in awe of him - to come in KFC each night when he struggles to walk the way he does is some level of determination and I am not sure that I would have it in his position.

Last weekend he didn't come into KFC.  I commented on it and wondered if he was ill.  Beautiful B came home from work at the hospital on Monday and the conversation went like this:

BB:    Mum, what does that little old man eat at KFC?
Me:   Small fries, large fries, beans and coffee - why?
BB:    Is he thin with longish hair?
Me:   Yes, why?
BB:    I think he is on my ward.  He had a fall and I heard him talking to the Drs and all he could talk about was KFC and what he ate there.  He takes ages to eat his dinner so it must be the same little old man.
Me:   Bless.  Yes it must be him, I can't imagine many people would eat the same meal each day.  Does he have any visitors?
BB:    No, he has been in since Thursday night with no-one.

So I messaged Hubby:

Me:        You are going to think I am mad but long story short; the little old man from KFC is in BB's ward and has no visitors so I am going to see him.  All I can think of is that I wouldn't want your mum in hospital without visitors.
Hubby:    No, I do not think you are mad, I think your heart is huge and there is too much love for just your family.

So, I went to visit the little old man who is called John but prefers Jack.  I spent an hour and a half with him and he talked and talked and talked because he rarely has visitors at home and from the conversation it was evident that the only visitors he has are district nurses and carers.

Poor Jack visited KFC on the Thursday night and then went home.  He lost the grip on his walker which started to slide down a small slope and his automatic reaction was to reach for it.  Except, he cannot stand unaided so down he went.  When he landed "he knew his hip had gone" - what a way to say that he knew he had broken his hip - anyone else would say that it was agony.

Poor Jack lay there in the dark and rain for 2 hours before some young boys saw him and called an ambulance.  I dread to think what was going through his head during those 2 hours!  

Hubby has visited Jack with me since my first visit and called him "Sir" which I found so sweet.  Poor Jack is 80 and partially sighted so when I took some Tropicana fruit juice to him, remembering he had taken some home from KFC once and said the following evening he liked it, I had to explain what it was.

I find Jack inspirational.  At 80, he has a determination for life which is rarely seen.  You can tell from the conversation how scared he must have been at 18 when the war was on and his conscription was extended by 6 months.  You can tell how upset he is at losing his sister following a fall down a drain in her garden because some thiefs had stolen the manhole cover to sell the iron.  You can tell how he physically struggles each day yet he does daily exercises to try and keep his back, stomach and arms strong to compensate for his legs.

I think I may be in the wrong job.  I certainly think that I should quit KFC and volunteer as a carer.  I only hope that I have the same zest and determination for life when I am his age.