Birds, bees, needles & lots of spots

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It was during the recent trauma – and closeness – of our vigil with Ellie during her week in hospital with ‘the pox’.

She slept a lot of the time, day & night, due to her illness & the medication she was taking. She’d just recently awoken, & we were doing ordinary things, like watching children’s TV or videos, & chatting.

We got to talking about our being in hospital when she & Jake were born, when out of the blue she said:

“Doctors make babies, don’t they?”

Umm…

Continue reading “Birds, bees, needles & lots of spots”

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Trouble Sleeping?

1-DSCN0993I’ve had a bit of this lately: circumstances, sort of thing.

Fortunately I’ve come across a meditation music app that really helps!

It’s called ‘Soothing Sounds’ & is available for your Android phone or tablet.

Does it work? Yes: this app is great!

I often get myself off to sleep with a ‘Mellow’ playlist on my ‘phone. This is good, but the playlist wasn’t designed for that & more often than not songs come up that are a bit too lively & delay the process. I also use TV, although I know I shouldn’t; it’s generally been shown to be a bad idea. I’m often woken up in the middle of the night by noisy ads or a bright screen.

This however works ‘like a charm’, & I’ve been using it regularly ever since I downloaded it.
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It has a large variety of relaxing ambient sounds to choose from: for instance beach, binaural, birds, crickets, frogs, a ticking clock, a heartbeat, rain, a rainforest, flowing water, a Tibetan bowl, whalesong, white noise, wind & a some ‘new-age’ style music.

Each sound is configurable: you change both volume & intensity.

You can select each sound individually or in groups of up to 10;  you can then save any of the groups you create for later use.

I found it was as fun to play around with as it is useful as a sleep-aid!

I do have a couple of minor quibbles however. The app is quite big, & if you’re like me & have a budget ‘phone with limited memory you may struggle to find space for it.

I also had trouble getting the options to work. You can set silence, alarm & wake-up timers but I found the keys unresponsive.

To be honest I’ve had similar trouble with other apps so it may well be my ‘phone’s fault. If not it just needs a simple patch.

I usually charge my ‘phone overnight anyway so I’ve often just left it on all night. It’s actually pretty good to wake up to!

The bottom line however: it works, it’s fun & it costs spare change, so I can recommend it!

In my experience anything that helps you sleep when you’re having trouble dropping off is worth it, & ‘Soothing Sounds’ does exactly that.

Review written in collaboration with Lost Ego Studios 

 

 

 

Saturday is Caption Day! The Sit-Down Strike Edition

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Captions please!

Then for more captiony fun just click the pic:

The Gallery: Drink (Pretty in Pink)

Have I got you singing now? I hope so!

That song is a big ‘ear-worm’ with me. Every time I hear the phrase: bang! There it  is, stuck in my head.

“But what the Furs has that got to do with drink? Isn’t that what this silly post is supposed to be about anyway? Get on with it, man!” I hear you cry. Or words to that effect. Probably.

Alright, since you asked so nicely, this:

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This is the source of much of my drinking activity. During the day, at least, especially mornings. I pretty much chain-drink coffee ’til lunchtime, then often indulge in 1 or 2 more in the afternoon.

My old cafetière broke, OK? Our kitchen is very small, we don’t have a dishwasher, so accidents happen. I needed my caffeine fix, & this was the only one I could find in town. Also: it was cheap. Which probably explains why it already has a crack at the top.

It’s my story, & I’m sticking to it.

Now I’m off to drink my pink brew and put on my Borat pinny* & marigolds to do the washing up while singing very loudly & very badly to Adele.

I am MetroDad, hear me roar!

* It was a gift, honest

This post is for Tara’s terrific ‘Gallery’ on her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog.

It’s also for Emma of ‘Crazy With Twins’ who is having a hard time right now as she’s in isolation & away from her family while having treatment for cancer, so is in need of some cheering up.

To read more & to join in just click the pics:

TheGallery

Shoulder to Shoulder to Day

3 is the Magic Number

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Jake & Ellie turned 3 today!

I don’t know where the time has gone. It doesn’t seem so long ago that they were gurgling, cute little babies. Now they’re running, jumping, talking, pants-wearing, sociable, smart little people. In a few weeks they’ll be in uniform when they start Nursery at a local school.

School! They’re growing up.

They had a junior knees-up on the weekend with friends so today we wanted to celebrate at home with family: me, the Mummy & her Mum & Dad. I think that’s just how they like it.

We went for a scoot to the playground but didn’t last long as the wind was bitingly cold, & they had a bit of a grizzly journey back. After that I had hoped they would have a nap, especially as Ellie woke early this morning, but they didn’t.

So after lunch when the Mummy got home early from her work & it was Party Time they were a little tired, but it didn’t stop them enjoying themselves!

They had a fantastic array of cards & presents. I was hoping to save what I thought was the best until last, but…

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MINE, ALL MINE! Vis zis my new Leap-Pad I vill CONQUER ZA VORLD! (In a really terrible German accent)

We couldn’t stop her in time. And of course, no Judy without Punch…

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Jake is delighted to finally have an ‘iPad’ while Ellie continues to formulate her plans for World Domination.

I was glad to see though that life didn’t suddenly grind to a halt with the advent of a fancy screen: there were still more exciting discoveries ahead!

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Ooh, what’s this?!
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I’m three!

And actually we may have saved the best ’til last:
1-DSC00188This is a 3 1/2 foot-high chalkboard / magnetic whiteboard double easel with coloured chalks & pens & magnetic letters. Fantastic! A great present from my in-laws, but suggested by the Mummy. They loved it! Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of them enjoying it as I was busy rushing around trying to get replacement batteries for the Leap-pads!

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Enjoying some new toys: throwing & catching a talking ball

Then…The Cake!1-DSC00217

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After much cake was ate we did manage to get them down for a much-needed nap, using the excuse of driving off to buy more batteries!

Then it was dinner out, a rare treat; but not before Jake had a good ‘getting to know you’ session with his new techy toy
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They were almost well-behaved! A lot of sausages, chips, sundaes & cheekiness later we said fond farewells to the Mummy’s parents & headed home.

The helium balloons Jake & Ellie blagged on the way out provided a lot of entertainment before everyone collapsed in a tired heap, Ellie somehow managing to fall asleep while still clutching her balloon!

A great day all round!

3!

Still can’t get used to it…

An update on Jake

For those who saw my tweet / update on Saturday night about A&E – & especially for those who expressed their concern (Thank You) – I just thought I’d write a brief update about Jake.

We took him in because he seemed to have a high temperature & was very lethargic, to the point where he seemed to be lapsing into unconsciousness. We were worried. He’d perked up by the time we got there but he was clearly not right. At the hospital they advised us to keep treating his temperature with Calpol & Ibuprofen, give him plenty of liquids & to bring him in again if necessary.

He’s been sleeping restlessly the last 2 nights & has got very hot. We’ve brought his temperature down as advised; how parents coped before that stuff I don’t know!

Yesterday he was in good spirits but unusually tired. His appetite was off, & we had to continue with the medicine to keep his temperature down.

As instructed at the A&E – he’s had a urinary tract infection before -this morning we managed to coerce him into peeing into ‘a special potty’, the contents of which are now at our GPs’ surgery. Ellie of course insisted on using it as well! It’s a twin thing. And they both got ‘special stickers’.

Because he still seemed unwell we decided that he would stay home with me today so I could look after him, while Ellie went on her own to Karen’ s.

Although not his usual energetic self he was in good spirits, & we had a great time together. Because he was unwell I let him have (within limits) free choice of what we’d do. So we watched children’s TV (including a really good Dora about books & a Wonder Pets featuring the 3 little pigs – 3x each) & he fiddled about with my iPod Touch! Actually he didn’t seem to have the energy for anything more active.

Worryingly he hardly ate a thing, although he did have a good drink of apple juice. They still have a daily nap, usually late morning, & by 1145 he was sound asleep on my shoulder. I’d given him Calpol about half an hour earlier as he felt too hot.

Three hours later when the Mummy came home with Ellie he was still fast asleep: that’s almost unheard-of. He was hot as well, so we gave him Ibuprofen. After that he seemed back to his normal self & had a really good snack & more juice.  The Mummy however was so concerned she managed to get a doctor to see him.

Of course by the time he saw her he was happily jumping up & down & devouring his bag of Organix Goodies! Despite this she thought that we were right to bring him in & that we should keep on monitoring him carefully & giving him medication if necessary.

He’s been fine since, eating a really good dinner & playing happily, so we’re hoping he’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

Not my most exciting post! I just thought some people might like to know how he’s getting on.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Work

I used to work in finance. Although I have no major qualifications beyond high-school I’m reasonably good with numbers, spreadsheets & tech, and –  if I’m honest, as I always try to be here – less good with people. I’ve worked on that & my social skills have improved but at heart I am still basically anti-social! I gravitate towards screens & am often uncomfortable in social situations.

So I happened on a career in accountancy & finance, not really by choice but just as it seemed to be what I was suited for.

The truth is my heart was never in it.

Office stress 2A lot of the time it bored me senseless: sitting in front of screens for hours on end just to make all the numbers, little & large, get on with each other. At other times it was very stressful & pressured: with fixed daily, weekly, monthly & yearly deadlines for which the right numbers had to be produced. And if they weren’t then others down the line who needed the numbers got stressed as their deadlines began to loom. It could get shouty.

I hated the office politics, pettiness, dealing with annoying people, bullying bosses, tiresome meetings. There were sometimes 24-hour, even weekend-long shifts. And I didn’t even have the compensation of being highly compensated. I did OK but I often struggled to pay my bills, just like anybody else.

I guess I’ve just never been that career-minded. I have often wondered if I’m maybe just a bit lazy: I definitely value my leisure time & try to make as much of it as I can.

But when I became a Stay-at-Home Dad I, along with the Mummy of course, worked really, really hard. I’ve probably said it here before but it’s worth repeating:

It’s the hardest job I have ever had.

1-DSCF3305It was exhausting, particularly the first year. The first 6 months or so are now a bit of a blur; we basically lived in the bedroom for most of that time.

No matter how unpleasant the office was I could still come home, get away from it. It might prey on my mind, even keep me awake at night, but at least I could escape to my own space.

With our slightly premature twins & their minor but demanding health problems there was no such escape. Care was around-the-clock, 24 hours a day. Even when I wasn’t actively looking after them I was always on call, all the time. The stress of taking on new challenges way outside of my experience, with my wife, all the while with the mind-numbing, debilitating sleep-deprivation: that’s something I could never have prepared myself for.

But this time my heart was in it.

So why the difference?

Before, I worked for money. As a Dad: it was love. And that realisation makes me happy.

So: lazy? Probably not. Soppy & besotted? Definitely!

Some posts from around that time:

My Old House & My New Headphones

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http://www.bassbuds.co.uk/

I’ve got a brand new pair of headphones. They’re great. If you want some ‘phones you should buy them, OK? If you insist on wanting to know why, read on…

But I also want to post about my current living conditions, the 4 of us. It’s been difficult since we moved, & we’re stuck until we can sell our old house. I’ve been quiet about it: I tend to clam up when things aren’t as I’d like them to be.

It’s called ‘context’, but it’s also something I’ve meant to post about for a while now.

I enjoy blogging, listening to music, gaming. But the cramped conditions I live in can make this difficult: I no longer have a space of my own to escape to when I need to. There are 4 of us – me, the Mummy & the now 2 & 3/4-year-old twins – in a small mid-terrace 2-up, 2-down. Upstairs we just have 2 bedrooms, 1 of which doubles as their nursery, & a small bathroom / loo. Downstairs there’s just a small kitchen & the lounge / dining room; my PC, surrounded by papers in what now also passes as my office, is on the dining room table there.

When the twins are at home they’re mostly there; a lot of the time I’m looking after them; when I’m not doing that there are jobs around the house that need doing. Even when I have so-called ‘spare time’ – even if I could concentrate enough with the noise & activity around me – if I try to blog or listen to music or play a game the twins will sooner or later interrupt, wanting me to play with them or help them with something. Which is fine: I’m their Dad, that’s what I’m here for. But it’s also very frustrating.

In the evening after they’re asleep – the time of which is getting progressively later as they get older – after I’ve cleared up & done as much washing-up as I can bring myself to do I’m often too tired to manage much more than collapsing on the sofa in front of the telly.  If I do manage something more mentally active like blogging & playing music or playing a game I then often have to do so while the Mummy watches TV.

Which means 1 of us has to shut up. And that would be me as I have the magic wonder of technology that is known as Headphones.

Would it surprise you to learn that they’re no good? They were once; they are Sennheiser noise-cancelling jobbies. They’re just a bit broken. They work OK in normal mode but have a really annoying hum in noise-cancelling mode.

So enough about me; I know I have no right to complain, really, & the twins even though demanding are a joy & a delight.

No, it’s time to introduce the brand new & very shiny pair of headphones I’ve recently received & was asked to review. Bass Buds, they’re called, the 2012 Collection.

They’re in-ear ‘phones. I haven’t got on with those before & I wasn’t expecting much different with these; I find that before long they irritate & then hurt my ears. That was my first surprise: they fit inside my ears perfectly & are really comfortable; they’re really well designed.

My second surprise was the sound quality: again not something I expected from ‘phones which I’d think of as ‘basic’. They’re not: the sounds are crisp & clear, the bass booms, the treble trills & all the in-between bits are where they should be. They’re actually significantly better than my old Sennheisers: that was a big surprise.

The only negative – & it’s a trivial one – was that I found that if I pushed the jack all the way into my soundcard connector the sound wasn’t quite right. When I pulled it out a smidge it was gorgeous.

They also have a built-in mike, especially good when you use them with your mobile ‘phone or iPod. The mike controller can not only take & end calls but also play & skip tracks & enable voice control.

Surprise no. 3: they look great! They come in a variety of colours & styles, there’s 1 to suit any lifestyle or mood – as you can see from the website.

And they’re reasonably priced, as you can also see from there. And in addition quoting the code BB48265 will gain an extra £5 off.

Headphones that sound great, that look great & have a great price: I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Good, so that’s my headphones sorted. Now can someone get me a bigger house please? Thanks.

Also? Happy New Year!

A Moving Experience

It was all planned out very carefully.

The Mummy has been commuting 2/3 days a week to work in Wales from the Midlands & was sick of it. The plan has been to sell our home there & buy in Wales but we had made no progress in getting the place ready to sell nor in finding somewhere there. So we decided to move in to a small place we had been renting out while we sort everything out from there, renting out our old home at a reduced rate.

We’d been over to measure up, & had selected & paid for all but the stairs & landing to be refloored. We’d ordered & arranged delivery of a small washer-dryer & a small fridge-freezer. We’d selected a moving company & given them a list of what we were moving. The in-laws had come over to help with packing.

The flooring was being done on Tuesday April 3rd, & I was to spend the day before cleaning there. So I had grabbed what I needed for a week or 2, stuffed it all in the little car without the child seats & zoomed off to Wales on Sunday night, leaving behind a list of what to pack for when the Mummy & the twins joined me on Wednesday.

I should have known something was afoot, & not just that – as you may have noticed – I was driving over on April Fools’ Day. A month earlier I had ‘phoned Sky to tell them we were moving our TV, ‘phone & broadband. They told me that they couldn’t take moving calls until 2 weeks before the move. Their Engineers are so efficient! I was surprised but dutifully ‘phoned back 2 weeks later. I was then told that we couldn’t have ‘phone & broadband in Wales until April 11th – a week after our move! It appears that our earlier Operative was only thinking about our TV contract. Probably didn’t have room for more than 1 thought at a time I expect. I couldn’t understand why such a delay, they insisted that ‘according to their records’ an Engineer needed to attend to install the line. I pointed out that there was already a working BT line there, that the tenant had used it & so had we when we stayed there earlier. But what would I know? I’d only lived there, after all; I didn’t have The Records.

On March 28th, I got a letter saying that our ‘phone & broadband would stop at our present address on the 29th – tomorrow! After another frantic, & frankly really quite cross, ‘phone call they graciously allowed us to keep them until we actually left the house.

Serve me right for giving money to Murdoch’s Evil Empire I guess. Not for much longer I hope.

So how did the move go? Well…

Sunday April 1st, evening: Driving through Brum where the M6 meets the M5 & the car is losing speed rapidly. I manage to exit to a truck service & transport police depot before grinding to a halt. Coincidentally I’d broken down in almost the same place 3 years before except I had to go from the outside lane where the 2 motorways merged & just made it to the hard shoulder, on a corner. The AA arrives 40 minutes later & can’t fix it on the spot (clutch: same as before) so I have to be towed. Wife isn’t answering the ‘phone, she & the in-laws are enjoying a last drink & the phone is upstairs. The AA man suggests towing me to a 24-hour secure garage & having my wife pick me up, but when she eventually hears the ‘phone she tells me she’s a bit too tipsy to drive. So I get towed home. Stressometer: 5

Monday April 2nd: The car is towed to our local garage but they can’t fix it today as it also needs a new gear something or other. I decide to take the carseat-equipped Astra to the garage, transfer my stuff there & drive to Wales in it, coming back for the children to move on Wednesday. What the garage didn’t tell me is that the Ka is suspended, & we had to unpack it by a big ladder. I only had to go back once. I could also have done without the smart-arse jibes about my driving. Stressometer: 6

I make good time & reach our new home in the early evening. I discover that the only mobile I have has no signal in the house & I have to cross the road & stand under a lamppost to make calls. It’s very cold & so am I. No ‘phone & no internet while trying to organise moving my family to a different country. Great. I’m still sane, but cracking a little. Stressometer: 7

Tuesday 3rd, early morning: The carpet people refuse to start until they’re paid in cash  – which I’m fairly sure is illegal – saying it’s because we don’t own the house. We do but – oddly enough – I haven’t packed the title deeds & can’t prove it. I thought it was all paid for, & so does the Mummy when I ‘phone her. From around the corner now as the signal area has moved. CarpetWrong confirmed this so I have to find & drive off to an atm before work can start. They’re sneaky & won’t take the cash ’til they finish. I’m fitting in my cleaning around them as they work. They manage to leave the only downstairs door so that it won’t shut & the explanation they give me, which of course they leave until they’ve finished, doesn’t make sense. By now it’s already late & I have to drive back so I don’t have the option of standing around & arguing. Another good drive, fish’n’chips for dinner, & I’m  straight to bed in some old clothes as all my PJs are in Wales. Despite this I sleep long & well.  Stressometer: 6

Wednesday 4th, Moving Day. I’ve forgotten that the Sky TV bloke is due at 8 so the Mummy had ‘phoned to postpone ’til Saturday. I’ve also overlooked that we have an all-day delivery slot for the washer-dryer, starting from 8, so I zoom off in the now-fixed Ka with a few more supplies. I’m held up in English traffic though & am quite late in arriving. Luckily I haven’t missed the delivery.

Finally something goes right! Simply Removals are great: the 2 Romanian chappies are quick, efficient & extremely polite, the only issue being just slightly wonky closet doors. The washer-dryer arrives while they are unloading. I pay them in cash as arranged, having grabbed some more money on the way to the chippie last night.

I run the washer-dryer (an Indesit) through a test cycle as instructed, seems OK but a little water is left in it. It drains away on the drain cycle but the timer stays on 1 minute. Hmmm. Good enough to use, & I really need some clean clothes so I put on a load. It doesn’t drain. I discover this when I open the door & the (new) kitchen floor becomes a lake. Managing to shut the door before the flood spread, I run every cycle I can find but still no drainage. I ‘phone Appliances Direct but they are shut so I can’t arrange a repair or replacement.

Then I remember that my wedding ring is (probably) in the pocket of my jeans in the wash. I take it off often as it’s a bit uncomfortable, & if we weren’t moving it would be on its usual spot on my desk. So I have the choice of flooding the new flooring or leaving the clothes possibly including my ring in there to rot & worrying about it.

I have to spend about half an hour standing out in the freezing cold listening to messages & making ‘phone calls. The Mummy & Jallie arrive late evening, & are soon in bed & asleep. I sleep badly.  Stressometer: 8

Thursday 5th. There’s a mixup as to which of the 2 bedrooms is for adults & which is for children, so while the Mummy & Jallie go shopping I swap all the furniture between the 2 rooms. It’s not easy. In the day’s chaos I forget to ‘phone up about the washer-dryer.

The fridge-freezer is due sometime today & when it doesn’t turn up at 4 I ‘phone them up to check all is well. The signal area has moved away from me again so I have to walk a couple of blocks this time. They helpfully explain: ‘We sent an email to confirm & you didn’t reply so delivery has been cancelled’. I had specified delivery for today when I ordered, & had explained that I was moving house & wouldn’t have internet access! As I’m was trying to rearrange delivery, with comic timing, the ‘phone batteries run out. And of course we can’t find the charger. We manage to impose upon a childminder we know there to use her ‘phone: they can’t redeliver for a week. A week without a washing machine & dryer having just moved with twin 2-year-olds? NOOOO! We cancelled. I thank Jade Technologies for being so helpful. I’m being sarcastic. A vein in my forehead is beginning to make its presence felt. Stressometer: 9

While out shopping the Mummy had noticed that the Co-Op sells ‘fridges, so off we trot. We buy a brand we don’t recognise but a salesman who seems trustworthy assures us it’s reliable, & it has the features we want. Most importantly they can deliver tomorrow – Good Friday! I don’t think the salesman was expecting a big sloppy kiss. Especially with tongue. I like the Co-Op. Stressometer: 7

Friday 6th: The Co-Op delivered as promised, & the fridge-freezer seems to be working well. We mostly stand around waiting for something bad to happen. We find the ‘phone charger in the car, & I manage to drag out a crappy old PAYG with no credits but on a network that has coverage in the house. I eventually find its charger & figure out how to top it up. We use most of the £10 top-up in a ‘phone call to Mum-in-law as we pushed the wrong button & didn’t end the call.

We’re finding it difficult moving to such a small place. We keep falling over small persons running around & are having trouble finding anywhere to put stuff that won’t be grabbed by little hands & played-with to destruction. In the evening, with no ‘net, phone or TV, I rediscover an old Wii sci-fi shooter called Metroid Prime 3. Stressometer: 6

Saturday 7th: I top-up my ‘phone again & try to ‘phone about the washer-dryer. They’re closed, of course. Something to do with bunnies & chocolate. The Sky TV man comes along & plugs us in. He seems like a very decent bloke & he lives just around the corner, & he told us just to knock on his door if we have any problems. Stressometer: 6

Sunday 8th, Monday 9th: I show Jake Metroid Prime 3 in an area where there are no bad guys to shoot, explaining that it’s like Tree-Fu magic. Despite this he calls it the “bang bang!”, although personally I think it’s more of a whirrzzzhaa-chow! He becomes addicted. A few days later he sees a gun, points to it & says “bang bang!” & I realise that I’ve made a mistake & once again have underestimated him.

We spend our time looking around, settling in & waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Stressometer: 5

Tuesday 10th: I arrange for the washer-dryer to be serviced on Thursday. Wanting to find my wedding ring before the serviceman does I open the door & drain the water into a recycling bin. Which turns out to have holes in it. Cue another flood. I use a big bucket instead & manage to extricate my clothes. No sign of my ring. I hang the clothes on the rotary line & it collapses & breaks. I’m really quite grumpy now. Stressometer: 8

Wednesday 11th: In the light of the fridge-freezer delivery debacle I ‘phone Sky to get a time for when their Engineer is due. “Oh, we don’t need to send an Engineer as you already have a BT line. It’s already switched on.” The stupid &*%! seemed to expect me to be grateful. When I asked them why in Fs name they couldn’t have done this a week ago they didn’t seem to understand the question.

Ever feel like hitting someone? On the nose? Really, really hard?

Still at least we have a ‘phone line. Then we notice that we forgot to pack a ‘phone.

I go into to town & buy a ‘phone. And a washing line.

We also need an urgent prescription repeat as Jake has had an eye infection, now both Ellie & the Mummy have caught it & we’re out of drops. Ellie woke up with 1 eye closed & the other barely open. We haven’t registered anywhere & the town’s only surgery is shut. I find the emergency doctor’s office & they don’t want to do it, telling me to come back tomorrow morning & fill out some forms. My old PAYG mobile keeps cutting out. I show heroic restraint in not shouting or swearing even once. After using words like “duty of care” I eventually get them to do it, & get the prescriptions at 5pm. It’s cold & it’s raining & I don’t have an umbrella. Stressometer: 7

Thursday 12th: The ‘phone doesn’t work; it has a loose connection & keeps cutting out. We still don’t have the internet as we forgot to pack the necessary dongles with the router.

The Indesit bloke turns up, fiddles about & fixes the washer-dryer. No sign of my ring; we’d wondered if it was blocking the outlet. The explanation he gives doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sadly I suspect our theory was right & that he may have pocketted it on 1 of the many times I was distracted by having to supervise Jake & Ellie.

I get a new ‘phone &, after a lot of bother as this is not a high-tech town, manage to get  a couple of broadband dongles. Stressometer: A steady, resigned-to-my-fate 6

Now: So we now finally have a landline, Internet, TV, washing line & a washing machine, dryer, fridge & freezer that work. I’m still worried about my ring though; I’m now hoping that either I left it behind or that it fell in the long grass as I was hanging the clothes on the line. Which I haven’t been able to mow as I couldn’t find my Flymo.

Good. So how was your week?