Right, I’m busy today (ooh I feel all important!) I have to do the pet passport run again and I’m busy printing off maps and stuff so I can go the slightly less roundabouty way than when Hubby and I did it (with considerably less arguing than that time too). Can I just tell you, though, the funniest thing I heard all day today was that J’d had a lovely chat with a Yorkshireman. She loved his accent, she told him, then rendered him utterly speechless by adding: ‘oh, and I love your puddings’!!
The Disreputable one will be moaning like mad about all this doggy-bloggery (he likes a non-dog blog every so often), so I’m going all mechanical today just for him. Well yesterday was a day of major-league road miles. My jeepy 4x4 thing has decided to stop reading how much fuel is in the tank and permanently flashes an angry red light at me, even when the tank is full. I’m afraid the maths required to work out how much diesel you have in the tank by how many miles you’ve done is sadly beyond me, so I’m just filling up every 250 miles. It had to be booked in, so yesterday, I did the driving day from hell:
Kids to school: 1 hour (well, 25 minutes each way)
Down to Dublin to drop car at dealership: 1 hour
Back up to home in flashy loan car sadly foregoing shopping trip due to dog needing pee: 1 hour
Back down to Dublin to pick up car (still not mended) whilst dropping me Mum to the airport: 1 hour
Back up to school to pick up kids: 1 hour 10 minutes
Back home: 25 minutes
Total spent driving: 5 hours 35 minutes
And yes, before you all email me, I’m sure there must be a dealership closer to where I live, it’s just that the people where I go are SO nice, and I get a swish hire car to drive around in too. Anyhoo, the upshot was that the diesel tank has to come out and there was far to much in there to attempt it, so it must be booked back in at a later date when it’s only half full, and a new off side CV boot has been ordered; all this to coincide with replacing my front brakes which have about another 5000 miles wear on them and the above-mentioned CV boot (still don’t know what that is). I also have ‘slight play in my bottom ball joints’ (no sniggering) and I require spring washers on my wheel nuts (getting all this?). I did, however, receive my ’service, replacement bulbs where required, a road test and a wash and vacuum’. All for the princely sum equivalent to at least two haircuts with highlights and a blow dry – and presumably a nice big bill to follow for all the rest of the stuff that needs doing. Hubby’s going to flip. But on the bright side, my dog’s lubly (and my kids are fab too). Here’s a pic.
#1 informed me this morning that his classmates think that Bertie is a silly name for a dog. Well, I think it’s a fabulous name - with so many connotations. Not many dogs get to be named after someone so illustrious (and, let’s face it, so sweet smelling - this is true - J’s met him and says he smells yummy). Also, as you know, nobody actually gets called by their proper name in our house, so he’s also become known as ‘Bertie Ahern’, ‘The Taoiseach’ (very useful – I especially like: ‘has the Taoiseach been out for a pee recently?’), ‘Bertilicious’, ‘Bertiful’, and ‘the Bertmeister’.
So work is progressing well with the confidence-building-moving-down-the-hall-away-from-the-bedroom thing. This progress was temporarily suspended last night when me Mum popped to the bathroom in the night and inadvertently woke Bertie from a rather deep sleep half way through a complicated manoeuvre aimed at stepping over him without attracting his attention. His reaction (quite validly) was to assume that someone was trying to kill him and attempt to leap to his feet. Unfortunately, a squishy duvet, slippery wood floor and an adrenalin-fuelled sleepy greyhound are a dangerous combination and the subsequent clattering and skittering had us all wondering whether we were being burgled by a large crowd of people all wearing stilettos. Ah well, they both survived. Me Mum’s a bit traumatised, but Bertie was already asleep by the time she got back from the bathroom, so I guess he recovered.
Oh, and I’ve found his quirk. It’s a kind of twisty, mangled sleeping thing. I can’t really explain, but here’s some photographic evidence.
Now I’m starting to worry whether Bertie really is a greyhound or not. Let me explain: firstly, there are no quirks – nope not one. He doesn’t nick the kids’ toys, or my knickers, in fact he seems completely bereft of the ‘greyhound tidying gene’. He doesn’t sing strange strangled songs, he doesn’t walk round in circles seventeen times before he sits down, he hasn’t tried to nick all the sofa (although, give him time), he knows exactly where and when he should ‘go’ and more importantly where he shouldn’t and he doesn’t, honestly, seem to have wind. Ever. Okay so we’ve only known him one weekend but he seriously is THE most well mannered foster dog (in fact, dog full stop) I’ve ever had.
Happily, though, he’s got enough good old fashioned bonkersness in him to assure us that there’s definitely a greyhound in there somewhere. Here’s the clues: he’s incredibly nosey: nobody can visit the loo or get up for any reason without being followed so closely that they look like they have a strange furry growth attached to their thigh. He’s also the greediest pig on the planet and had to be stopped from relieving #2 of his breakfast when it was midway to his mouth this morning. Last but certainly not least, he is endowed with that most greyhound of qualities: plain old adoration. Although he’s quite reserved, he also loves us all already to within an inch of our lives and he’s only known us two days (how forward!). We are perpetually smothered with wet kisses (the children especially – probably because they’re generally in need of a good wash) and gazed at adoringly, and being left alone at night is the worst torture we can possibly inflict on him. In fact, he cried so pitifully when left alone that I eventually succumbed and let him have his bed on the floor by my bed the first night, then sneakily moved it to outside the door the next night. In fact, if I keep up this devious process, by next week he’ll be sleeping down the bottom of the field.
So there you have it. He is adorable, cuddly, affectionate, clean, silly, and stunningly beautiful (as well as his blue ears, we’ve noticed he has blue stripes all down his tail!). I’ll let you know when I find the catch.
Blimey, what a day. First thing we had to say goodbye to Hubby. This was tough as we’re really going to miss him, and the kids especially were upset and sombre all morning. Still, we’re trying to stay positive and we’ve got loads of visits planned, either with him flitting home or us popping over to see him so I’m sure the weeks will fly by before he’s back with us again.
Later on we drove up to the stadium to see J for some well earned tea, and laughter-as-therapy and to pick up our new foster boy. He’s coming to stay for a few weeks, not only to keep us company and act as ‘token man’ while Hubby’s away, but also to give him some proper house training before he goes to a new Italian family.
The biggest bone (no pun intended) of contention was the fact that the kids wanted to call him ‘Cheese’. Now, I’m all for a silly name, but I actually felt quite sorry for the big man, having to be named after a dairy product and all. Anyway, when they finally got to meet him and discovered what a great big cuddly fawn bear of a dog he is, suddenly ‘Cheese’ didn’t sound right at all. J suggested ‘Wensleydale’, or ‘Wes’ for short, but this was rejected too, along with ‘Gouda’, ‘Edam’ ‘Cheddar’ and a host of others. Finally, me Mum suggested ‘Bertie’, after J’s favourite, fragrant politician, and seeing as he’s very much ‘a la mode’ today, looking increasingly likely to step into a third term, we all agreed and set off home with our new and very un-fragrant Bertie in the back. An hour later, after rushing around checking out every room in the house, he was treated to his first bath. It took me, me Mum and #1 to heave him into the bath, where he stood very patiently as we scrubbed about a ton of dirt and fluffy sludge off him. He then proceeded to have a jolly good shake, covering us all in more wet fluff, which stuck like glue. Now the whole family looked like furry golden teddy bears his work was done and after submitting patiently to a blow-dry which puffed him up even more, he finally deigned to sit in his bed for two seconds.
Every time anyone gets up, however, or even shifts position a bit, he leaps up to check out what’s going on. He found tea making fascinating: all that moving from the fridge to the kettle to the bin and back to the cups kept him occupied for ages. Then he tried to sit on me Mum’s lap, which alarmed her a bit, but he’s finally settled down and sat still long enough to pose for a photo. Happy days.
Oh, and I forgot to say, he’s a blue fawn, which is very pretty. He’s mostly fawn but he’s got a bluish head and some rather fetching blue ears. Gorgeous.
So this is weird. A while ago, the house nearing completion (finally), we had a visit from Sean the painter. Initially, due not only to the fact that nobody seemed to know who engaged his services, but also that he turned up at the door in the dead of night and because of his slightly morose appearance (his ruddy face is terribly sad and he walks with a shuffle, his gaze permanently on the floor) he was nicknamed ‘Sean of the Dead’ and it kind of stuck. Actually when you get to know him, he’s incredibly chirpy and not at all funereal; fond of spinning a yarn and passing on tips for horses to back (‘Leon Knights’ 8pm tonight at Pontefract - each way, not to win) he’s frankly a right laugh. The trouble is, he’s kind of hard to pin down. The first time we met him, he appeared at the door, introduced himself to us and proceeded to wade in with his paintbrush fully loaded, giving the bathroom a complete coat (none of this rubbing down and sanding nonsense: no priming or preparation, just straight in, down with the floral dustsheet and away – oh, and I mean complete – bath, taps, sink, you name it) before disappearing back into the night with a baleful ‘I’ll see ye again, so’. I tried, unsuccessfully, to resist the temptation to look out of the window to see if he drove a hearse or a big black sedan, but nope, he’d vanished.
The next time we saw him was several weeks later, long after we’d given up hope of seeing him again, when he reappeared, announcing that he’d been in Scotland and that his daughter had had a baby, luzzed on another coat, stopped for a quick chat and promptly vanished into the night once again. Imagine our surprise, then, when my Mum and I returned from a medicinal recce to the unfeasibly large shopping centre to discover a rather painty Sean of the Dead giving the bathroom another go.
After a quick cup of tea, we set off on the school run, leaving Sean of the Dead splattering paint around and humming in his sinister fashion. When we came back, it was as though he’d never been there, apart from the fact that mine and Hubby’s bathroom had turned a violent shade of yellow and all our towels and toilet rolls were piled up in the sink. ‘Spooky’, said Hubby. ‘Hmm’, I agreed, ‘bet nobody else has got an otherworldly, disappearing Lord of the Dead painting their bathroom’. Sure it’s probably just as well.
Right, I’m baring my soul here (I said SOUL, keep it clean, people), which I do on a regular basis and which rarely fails to get me into some sort of trouble. Even though I’m blessed with this form of self-awareness it doesn’t seem to stop the words come tumbling out of my mouth (or, in this case, through the keyboard) so I’ll just let you all say ‘I told you so’ now and get it out of the way.
Here goes, then, with the double whammy. My lovely funny, cheeky, naughty, short of fuse but huge of heart Hubby’s got to go away. No, he’s not leaving me or anything (oh, I hadn’t thought of that, but no, he booked a return ticket, I checked) but still I face a considerable amount of time on my ownsome. I’m not very happy about it, in fact I’m downright miserable about it, but I realise it’s important in that career-furthering/investment in the future/for the greater good yada yada yada kind of way.
And, just as bad, J: my NBF, partner in long-giggly-telephone-conversation crime, queen of the flippant text conversation and my champagne drinking buddy is moving away too. Not a million miles away, admittedly, but to a different county and a new and exciting stage in the life of her and her sweetie and lovely boy, which I wish her well for but would secretly like to sabotage so she stays near to me (mwah ha ha). J, the evil laugh/sabotage bit was just a joke by the way.
So, in that most typical way that is patented by us females, I’m covering this veritable explosion of emotions by bustling. Oh yes, bustling about pretending to be important and busy can hide a multitude of sins. So, there has been an exceptional amount of Hoover usage, the bathroom floor has been mopped, all the bills which have been gathering on the kitchen work surface for the last six months have been filed, and I’ve made a list of everybody’s birthday so I can buy a year’s worth of cards next time I go shopping.
My Mum’s coming today, which is very good, and which will divert me from my impending single motherhood (God, that’s another thing, I won’t be able to say ‘just wait ‘til your father gets home’ for ages). We can bustle together. In fact, I think I probably inherited the bustling thing from her in the first place.
So. Am I worried about Hubby going away? Nah, I’m busy polishing the fireplace. Am I concerned that I’m just slightly terrified of the dark and that the house goes click and creak in the night? Nah, the bathroom needs doing again. Will I miss…er… you know that Husbandy/Wifey stuff that you can’t mention on a family blog? Nah, I’m ironing my underwear.
And here’s the bit that’ll get me in trouble, because he’ll tell me off, or someone he knows will read it and he’ll be all embarrassed or whatever, but Hubby, I’ll miss you every second, every minute, every hour until we’re back together and you’re here where you belong with me and our lovely boys. But hey, look on the bright side; the bathroom’ll be spotless.
Aw. I’m all whiney and moany today. My lubly Hubby is away on business and I’m on a big downer because I had such a lovely day yesterday. Hubby took us out to eat at the gorgeously yummy hotel and golf club where the fab spa is, and we had such a great evening. We haven’t been out en-famille for ages and it was such fun. #2 had a burger, which was about the same size as his head, and made a valiant attempt to eat the lot. #1 had some really yummy fish and chips which was small pieces of fish in a lovely beer batter with a gorgeous dip/sauce thing made of mushy peas. Then when we came home, Big J (multi-talented hole-digger/plumber/carpenter/tiler extraordinaire) popped round. We were supposed to be discussing some work he’s going to do for us but ended up opening a bottle of wine and chatting about all sorts of rubbish until incredibly late. So here, in the spirit of cheering us all up, is a little joke, no doubt originating from the Disreputable one:
A man loses an ear in a terrible accident. Waking in his hospital bed he is shocked when told the bad news by his surgeon, but cheers up when the surgeon tells him that all hope is not lost because a pioneering treatment has just been invented using donor ears from pigs. Feeling a little uncertain, he is reassured by the surgeon that this new groundbreaking treatment has a high success rate and once in place and surgically altered, the pig’s ear is virtually identical to a human ear. He agrees to the surgery and is delighted with his new pig’s ear, which really is indistinguishable from his other ear. He goes back to visit the surgeon for a check-up a month later. ‘So’, the surgeon says, ‘how is your hearing?’ ‘Well’ says the man, ‘it’s not bad, but there’s a little crackling’.
Well this life lesson thing is really gathering momentum. Firstly, B sent me some scorchers. She’s definitely one of those people who has that thing going where every time she emails me I feel the urge to print some of it out and stick it on my fridge:
B’s Life Lesson #1: Don’t always put off doing the things you really want to do just because your mates won’t do it with you. You never know you may meet better friends that have more in common with you!!
B’s Life Lesson #2: Never let a boyfriend stop you doing the things you want to do, if he’s worth having he’ll want to go with you or he’ll still be there when you get back!!
B’s Life Lesson #3: Never be too scared to give something a go, life’s too short so grab the bull by the horns and live life to the full. Tomorrow could be your last day and if you make it to old age you’ll be much more interesting to talk to.
I LOVE those – bit of a pattern there maybe though, B?
Me Mam went for the ‘sage and dignified’ approach often favoured by mothers: “I think you know mine love….it hasn’t changed: we all do the best we can at the time - can we do more?”, and the Disreputable one sent the following which made me both laugh and inwardly cringe:
DD’s Life Lesson #1: If your Dad says “don’t get a tattoo” he is probably correct (oh shit)
DD’s Life Lesson #2: If you are suddenly very nice to Dad, he is probably aware that he is being buttered up for an almost impossible request (damn)
DD’s Life Lesson #3: If you put an arm round a parent he can normally feel the other one attempting to locate his inside wallet pocket (double damn)
DD’s Life Lesson #4: If during a teenage stayover the floorboards creek, don’t worry about it. Your father will a) be expecting it, and b) almost certainly did it themselves but will be too embarrassed to mention it next morning (I’ve gone red now – thought I got away with that)
He also sent me another one but I’m afraid it’s slightly too…er…disreputable to share with you. Surprised? Thought not.
I just knew that J would have some good ones. These made me laugh out loud. And so, without any further ado (and certainly no censorship), here they are:
Dear 18 year old J,
Life Lesson # 1: It’s not love, he isn’t perfect, 10 years older than you is too damned old and eloping is a really crappy idea
Life Lesson # 2: Never, ever, ever, ever, let the sun set on a fight. Ever.
Life Lesson # 3: Save yourself an awful lot of time and heartbreak and accept these two inviolable truths: your Mother is always right and your Dad is the only boy who will ever truly love you no matter what.
Life Lesson # 4: It doesn’t matter how much of a sissy you are or how much waxing hurts. Never, ever shave below stairs.
Life Lesson # 5: Only hussies think a black brassiere and a white top is attractive; hussies and their gentleman friends.
Life Lesson # 6: Six cocktails do not make you more attractive, witty or a great dancer. Six cocktails make you very drunk indeed.
Life Lesson # 7: A boy who isn’t good enough to meet your family is a boy who isn’t good enough.
Life Lesson # 8: It’s perfectly ok and sometimes fashionable to be ‘pale and interesting’. Decent fake tan and a cure for skin cancer haven’t been discovered yet and you will regret smearing your shoulders in baby oil to sit out in the sun for the rest of your life. And every time you see a strappy top/dress.
Life Lesson # 9: It doesn’t matter how cool it looks, head banging will definitely hurt in the morning.
Life Lesson # 10: Hang on with grim determination to the only two things in life that truly matters. Your family and your friends.
J, you’re a legend.