My Husband. The Raving Loony with the Beard and a Hammer

We don’t have any neighbours for maybe half a mile or so in each direction.  Just open fields and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.  So imagine my surprise when I found someone lurking around having what he told me was a leisurely stroll in the field next to our house. 

Me: Hi, can I help you?

Him: No

Me: Are you looking for something?

Him: No I’m just having a stroll

Me: Well this is private property so you could maybe take a stroll somewhere else.  There’s loads of public footpaths around here.

Him: Oh right.  It’s nice here though. Quiet.

Me: Yes it usually is when there’s no one trespassing -(Okay I never said that last part but I wanted to) 

Correct me if I’m wrong but if I was choosing a summer walk I wouldn’t look for a house to walk directly next to.  It’s rude, it’s an invasion of privacy and it’s just not the done thing. He was so close he was practically in my garden. If he had been walking slightly faster he would have caught me fully naked in the garden unpegging my yoga pants and vest from the washing line to put on. And let’s remember I’m not a fan of underwear so that could have been awkward.  I was alone in the house with all the doors to the garden wide open and honestly it made me feel a little vulnerable and uneasy.

Now, Husband is not a fan of any sort of intruders, accidental or otherwise and he always believes that these lost dog walkers or cheeky nature lovers with no concept of personal space have a hidden agenda.  He is convinced they are plotting a robbery, kidnapping or worse and becomes horrendously overprotective and automatically morphs into protector mode in the form of the Incredible Hulk. So when I called him to tell him that I’d had a run in with a stranger over the garden fence it was possibly not a decision I’d thought out that well.  He made the 20 minute journey from across town in approximately 4 minutes and came storming in like the charge of the light brigade.  He was 9 foot tall and puffed out from what I imagine was adrenaline.

Hus: What did he look like?  How old was he?  Did he have any tattoos or distinguishing features?

Good God I felt like I was being interrogated by MI5

Me: Er… Erm … he was in black shorts with a smiley face tattoo on his calf like the calling card sign that serial killer Red John leaves at his crime scenes off that program I like because I fancy the man in it.

Husband was looking at me like I’d grow another head.  Saying nothing he turned and immediately stalked outside and jumped over the back garden fence making his way at great speed towards the layby at the end of our driveway.  In a nutshell this layby has been known to have a bit of ‘dogging’ activity and it has also been known for Husband to chase people out of the layby that are being particularly brazen about it.

He returned a few minutes later for his car.  Within seconds he had jumped in it and all that was left was a cloud of dust from him speeding off.

I hoped he wasn’t going to kill anyone or frighten anyone too much so they called the police.  I’d been hoping for a nice quiet weekend.

Once again he returned.  He told me with vigour and in great detail how he had walked up to a few random people in the layby to get a good look at their calves and driven to a couple of neighbouring laybys also known for there unsavoury activities to do the same but hadn’t had any luck.  He seemed disappointed.  But then finished by telling me that he had driven back through our layby at the end of our drive and just for good measure had made sure he was driving past the parked cars menacingly slowly while gently swinging a hammer out of the open window.

WTF?

He likes to make sure that anyone who visits this layby or who comes too close to our house leaves with the idea that a raving loony with a ginger beard and a large hammer lives here.  

I definitely think he managed it.

So if you’re considering a walk in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and happen to stumble across a crazed maniac going from car to car in a resting spot wielding a hammer/ baseball bat or a selection of power tools (historically they’ve all had an outing), do not panic, it’s only Husband.

Birthday Week

This week it was my birthday.

I love birthdays.  A celebration of another year here on earth,  and I feel lucky.  It’s a privilege to get older that not everyone gets to experience.  And then there’s the birthday cake.  Not that I need an excuse to eat cake, after all it’s always someone’s birthday somewhere but on your own it’s basically an open licence to consume as much as your little heart desires without a second thought to the appropriateness of the amount.

I was also whisked away on a surprise trip by Husband.  This is something that has never happened in 18 years together so it was obviously lovely if not a little unnerving.  He actually wasn’t going to tell me until the day we left which in itself is a bit terrifying but thankfully was forced to own up a couple of weeks in advance because I nearly planned something with my friends for that weekend.  He still wouldn’t disclose the location or nature of the surprise though.  Winding me up telling me I’d need a wetsuit and hiking boots and that the trip would include tree climbing.  Bearing in mind my idea of a lovely time is eating and drinking in the sun somewhere whilst wearing a nice frock, this information was starting to bother me slightly. We were due to leave at lunchtime on Saturday and by Friday evening I still knew nothing and was verging on a nervous breakdown.  I’m not the sort of woman that relishes the element of surprise on a large scale.  

Don’t get me wrong I love a bit of  a…

 ‘’Surprise, heres 20 quid go and treat yourself’’

Or

 ‘’Surprise I’ve cooked tea tonight so you don’t have to’’

 Or

’’Surprise, I’ve made you a cuppa’’

But I draw the line at anything bigger.  Most girls that I know like to plan.  Plan what to wear, plan what time they will begin getting ready, plan what to pack depending on the activity and location.  I don’t think I’m wrong when I say we like to know what’s happening at least a few days in advance so we can look forward to it. Maybe get our nails done or do some tanning.  I know for me that’s definitely a big thing. Even though that’s not what happened on this occasion, I think he sensed I was becoming more and more tense and so  just as I was on the brink of losing consciousness through the stress of it all, he told me to pack a nice frock and that I wouldn’t be needing outdoor activity gear after all.

Phew! Well Thank God for that. 

It turned out he had put together a lovely day of eating and drinking at some select  places.  He had booked a room at a gorgeous little pub we visited 8 years ago by accident on his 40th birthday.  Somewhere we always wanted to go back to but somehow had never managed to get round to it.  He even arranged the sunshine.

Husband tries desperately hard to annoy the shit out of me 23 hours a day and to make me hate him, but I don’t.  In fact I quite like him.  Love him even.  He’s one of life’s good ones and I feel very lucky.

Side note: Some will be reading this thinking how weird it is that we are married yet I’m reluctant in saying I love him, and I suppose it is but its our thing and its what we do. We pretend to not really like each other when the truth is there’s no one else in the world I’d rather pretend to hate.

I booked the week off work to fully enjoy my birthday because in our house we like to have a birthday week.  It’s only right I think, and would be rude not to. So following my lovely break away I’ve had a few days relaxing in the sun, avoided housework as much as possible except to wash a few pairs of pants and had a huge family Bar B Q on my actual birthday.

I’m a year older, a year wiser and definitely a year saggier. I’m also more grateful than ever for my gorgeous babies, comfortable home and wonderful family. Oh, and for my mediocre Husband. Im joking!

Jogging can jog on

Scenario: When you’ve been for a jog despite hating exercise with a passion.  You get caught short and are forced to shit in a field except you were a minute too late and are now required to expel the contents of your pants into the nearby ditch before making a familiar phone call to your husband to be collected.

Actually not me this time. Very surprising. 

I don’t even know how I was spared this one.  Probably because I don’t jog.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t want to, I’d love to pop out in a morning and get 5k under my belt before breakfast but my body literally won’t do it.  I did a short spell of boot camps in our local park a couple of years ago which included some running and no word of a lie, about three weeks into it my left hip broke.  It just stopped working. Sitting down, bending, getting in and out of bed and sitting on the loo were just a few things that I found excruciatingly painful and so it was because of this that my running career ended before it began.  Instead of being dedicated and continuing my boot camp regime at all costs and against all odds (only having one working hip) I gave up immediately replacing the boot camp sessions with half hearted home workouts and plenty of tea and biscuits, which my hip thanked me for and after a few more weeks reluctantly began participating in my life once again.

  My friend’s sister was actually the student in this life lesson.  Doing great on her jog, nearly half way round the route she had chosen when that urgent, all knowing feeling reared its ugly head she had no other option than to hot foot it through the hedge into the nearest field. Undoubtedly thanking her lucky stars she’d had the good sense to choose a quiet route instead of the park that would have been crawling with cyclists, runners and overly eager dog walkers, it was unfortunate that she didn’t quite make it the whole way round without cacking her pants.  Luckily it was a baked potato situation and not a chocolate milkshake situation, which apparently she is no stranger to, so for small things we must be grateful.  Apparently this was not her first time doing the tango.  It appears she seems to be an expert in dancing this dance.  It was therefore no surprise to anyone when she had to make the dreaded call to her husband instructing him to bring the car immediately and to make sure he brought a number of towels, the wet wipes and a large can of air freshener. 

I wanted to share this unfortunate incident to mainly highlight what a dangerous sport running, or in fact any sport is, that involves the outdoors with no facilities within bum clenching distance. Paula Radcliffe knows this only too well. Competing at the highest level, representing her country running her heart out only to be put in the unthinkable position of having to choose between losing her place in the race by exiting to use the lav, or squatting brazenly at the side of the road on a very public, highly televised competitive run so she could fire out a shit at the speed of light before continuing the race like nothing had happened.

 Before you make any rash decisions regarding such high risk activities there are a few basic points I feel it is important to consider…

  1. Have I eaten bran flakes, prunes or porridge in the last 24 hours?
  2. Are my gym leggings easy to get off in a bowel movement emergency situation?
  3. Do I enjoy having the use of both my hips?

After answering these questions if you still decide to venture into the unpredictable, fairly terrifying world of jogging then Godspeed.

The Joys of a Septic Tank

In our house it’s quite a regular occurrence that we might have a slow draining sink or a blocked toilet, and not because our shits are any bigger than anyone else’s but mainly because we live out in the sticks and have a revolting septic tank.

Sidenote: For anyone unsure of what a septic tank is, it is essentially a massive tank buried in the garden that all household water drains into, including poo’s and wee’s.  These are generally used when the water mains drainage system is too far away from the house to connect into. They require regular emptying but when working properly should hold the dumps in the tank and filter the liquid out into a soak away where the water should theoretically soak into the ground.  

 After further probing  as to why these sorts of problems happen to us so frequently we looked into our septic tank situation and became aware that it must have been in residence for approximately 60 years.  Now I’m no waste drainage expert but that doesn’t sound too healthy and you don’t have to be a genius to work out it probably needs a bit of upgrading. 

 What is not widely known is that you need approximately 2 million pounds to do it.  Okay that might be a small exaggeration but we definitely wouldn’t get much change from 15K, so it may as well have been 2 million.  It’s on the top of the ‘to do’ list but until then Husband is running a very tight ship where water is concerned.  Constantly policing the length of showers we have, the amount of washes I do which is horrendous because washing clothes is the only element of housework I actually enjoy, relish even, so normally I attempt to launder everything in the house every day, twice.  I’ve been given strict instructions the dishwasher is off limits because its not water efficient enough and when I pull a face or throw a toddler tantrum at having to wash up he gleefully reminds me that the consequences of expelling too much water into the tank at once will leave us with backed up pipes and the delight of our own turds gurgling back up the plughole. 

 Okay Husband, point taken.

This means that for the foreseeable future our daily water drainage allowance will be roughly equivalent to that of an egg cup. We are obliged to wear the same clothes for a fortnight as I’ve been told to only do 1 wash per week (but will possibly do a few more on the sly and then will deny everything if questioned) and frankly they’re so stiff with God knows what they’re about to get up and walk off my body.  It’s also not the most attractive feature that the smell from the toilet is making everyone gag due to the ‘If it’s yellow let it mellow and if it’s brown flush it down’ rule  that no one pays any attention to.

Living the Dream

A Prod, a Poke and a Grope.

When I found a breast lump last year, time momentarily stood still. There were a few different ways this could pan out so before I let my imagination run wild I rang my doctors who were super helpful and surprisingly quick off the mark in securing me an appointment at the breast clinic within a fortnight. As a general rule I don’t rate GP’s surgeries.  The whole set up and the booking system is all wrong with not much organisation or fairness.  I actively try and avoid it because in my experience when I’ve had a pain,  a funny feeling or something weird growing off my foot, and I’ve braved the trauma of getting an appointment 4 weeks on Thursday with a locum doctor I’ve never met before, the funny feeling has gone, or my foot has already dropped off by the time I get to see someone.  One time during my long awaited appointment the doc climbed on a chair to retrieve a grubby old book from a crowded bookshelf where he looked up my symptoms and confirmed to me what I knew all along … that I’d have been better off googling it. Faster and probably more accurate and up to date than an ancient book that looked like it had been written during Medieval times and judging by the thick layer of dust  on it had had its last outing in 1962.  But on this occasion I couldn’t fault them. As soon as I explained about my boob they had been efficient, helpful and speedy in jumping into action and getting me a breast clinic appointment.

You hear of people finding lumps and having to brave a hospital visit to get it checked out but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would affect me. On the day I discovered it I awoke with a god almighty pain in my right boob, the only explanation for such intense pain was that someone had sneaked in during the night, cut it off with a pair of garden shears, beaten it to death with a lump hammer then quickly glued it back on, all while I was asleep.  After a thorough self boob examination I discovered a lump behind my nipple.  It was also very hot, like it had been on fire.  Maybe it had? Maybe the same person who was responsible for the lump hammering had also set fire to it?

On the day of the appointment I was a nervous wreck, not typical for me at all.  After waiting for nearly an hour with only my own dread as company I was shown to the specialists office where I was prodded, poked and groped by a handsome consultant before being told I’d need a mammogram and then an ultrasound. 

Sidenote-  I think boob and fanny doctors should be ugly.  I do not think it is necessary or fair that doctor school allows even remotely good looking medical students to progress in the field of lady parts.  When I am being inspected up close and way too personal, the last thing I want is a dishy bloke looking up the wizards sleeve that is now my reality following 2 children and little to no pelvic floors. Equally I do not relish a hot man’s nose being an inch away from my nipple whilst he inspects it for lumps, and probably hairs.

Following the instructions that the mammogram lady had given me was not an easy task and had me in the strangest positions, with my boob clamped in the machine I could have got a job as a contortionist.  I felt worried for the lady I’d seen in the waiting room who was around 90 years old and in a wheelchair.  God only knows what would happen there because although I’m not flexible I would like to think I am slightly more so than an elderly lady, and I really struggled. 

 Thankfully it was confirmed that it was only a cyst. A giant one by all accounts but a harmless cyst nevertheless.

Treatable by either 

Option 1- Having a ‘massive painful needle inserted into my breast to drain it, for which I would require a high pain threshold’.  A direct quote from the nurse in charge

OR  

Option 2 – Doing absolutely nothing 

A tough call, but I chose option 2

I can still feel it now and again.  Mainly at certain times in the month when my hormone levels are high and I’m at a particular part of my cycle but generally it’s fine.  It could have been so much worse and I am so grateful it was just a cyst.  It’s so important that we check ourselves regularly and make it part of our weekly routine. I’ll admit that I didn’t used to do it as often as I should have but now I do because the outcome could have been so much worse and we need to be on the ball with this stuff, especially if it means a prod, poke and grope courtesy of a handsome doctor (or an ugly one if you’re lucky).

Lash Lift Shit Show

It’s rare I treat myself to any kind of professional beauty treatments.  Partly because I do them at home to spare the expense but also because I have trust issues where my face is concerned.  If a beautician buggers up your face they might feel regret but at the end of the day it won’t be them walking around with the end result so if they make a hash of it, they’ll apologise, knock off some money and send you on your way.

Why do I have the memory of a potato? Why didn’t I remember this when I made a booking at the local beauty salon for LVL lashes and high definition brows?

My own eyelashes, although very long are poker straight. A trait dealt to me courtesy of my Dad, so thanks for that dad.  Not a slight curve or remote curl in sight.  This means that on a daily basis I have no other option but to use an eyelash curler to achieve a full looking eye by curling the shit out of them.  It is time consuming, tedious and the results can be varied depending on how rushed I am so when these new fandangled lash perms and lash lifts made an appearance on the beauty scene a few years ago I was first in line. I admit some treatments have been better than others but I’ve usually left the salon with lovely dark curled lashes.  Just for the record I’ve always had a good set of eyebrows, much like Animal out of The Muppet’s, and have never really touched them except to shape them a bit. The problem is, as our old friend ‘Age’ has caught up with me I’ve started to notice parts of my once thick brows require some pencilling, which is just my least favourite thing to do so I was hoping a spot of HD browing might help.

It’s been a while since I last dabbled in the unpredictable world of beauty therapists so I did some research and was pleased as punch to discover that there was a highly recommended place just around the corner from my 10 year old’s school.  Perfect.

Appointment booked for 9.30 on Thursday. Brilliant.  Couldn’t wait. Very excited.

As I entered the salon there were 6 ladies bustling around already busy with clients.  A good sign, because a busy salon means lots of repeat custom from satisfied clients.

‘’Hello, are you Eliza?’’ Said a voice to my left.

As I turned to look I was met with the sight of a 12 year old child grinning like a Cheshire cat.  She continued ‘’ You’re my 9.30’’

Of course I Fucking was.  For absolute Fucks Sake.  

There was only another 6 fully mature women that worked there, why in Gods name did I think for a second that this would run smoothly and I would get an actual fully trained grown up with a few years experience under her belt to make my eyelash dreams come true, when there was a chance I could have an infant do it who had the life experience of a mayfly let alone any work experience. Just for reference, mayflies live for one day only.  They are born and then 24 hours later they are dead.

I could have said something before she started but I didn’t want to judge.  For all I knew she could be either a child genius that had passed all her beauty exams with flying colours at the tender age of 6 and was now super successful and in demand with a 2 year waiting list which I had been lucky enough to cut to the front of, via a last minute cancellation.  Or she might be 55 with 30 years experience but uses Olay twice a day?  Of course she could also have been the trainee, but I wasn’t jumping to conclusions, I was going to give her a fair go.

Laying on the bed in the treatment room with my eyes closed and the tiny little perm rollers in my lashes, I began to relax and drift off until the child said ‘’ It’s strange not being able to see isn’t it. But if I had to choose to be either blind or deaf I’d choose blindness because I can’t live without music.  I love it’’

What the Fuck? Had I heard her right?

I grunted something then pretended to be asleep. I’m all for a bit of small talk but something light hearted and general, not which sense or limb or relative you could live without.

‘’All done, and they look brilliant!’’  Said the child as she was attempting to prize open my left eyelid by scrubbing at the glue and the tint  that was blathered around my full socket. ‘’ Have a look before I start your eyebrows.’’

Looking in the mirror all I could see was a severely pissed off woman with panda eyes.The lashes on the right eye were lifted slightly but not to the degree they should have been and the lashes on the left were lifted even more pathetically and only in certain places. They looked thinner too? Maybe down to the rogue glue she had been trying to remove before she freed me from the little perming rods?  The whole thing was very underwhelming and disappointing not to mention plain annoying that I’d wasted an hour of my life at this shit show.

The child looked a little confused when I explained that they weren’t really what I was expecting and that I wouldn’t be letting her loose on my eyebrows.  I couldn’t risk her using a blowtorch or similar to tame them.

I HATE complaining.  It’s not in my nature and it creates negativity for me which I can’t bear so as a rule I try to let things go and move on.  Except I’d be buggered if I was letting go of fifty quid for the privilege of having someone ruin my eyelashes, so on this occasion I did complain and I did leave with my money still firmly in my pocket.  The owner was very pleasant about the whole thing and insisted that I not only keep my money but I also book another appointment the week after so the LVL lash treatment could be repeated and rectified.

Did I let her book the appointment- Yes

Will I be attending it- Absolutely not.

Would I rather lose a sense, a limb or a relative rather than return to this mediocre torture chamber for any further attempted procedures-  Probably.

Do I Forgive You? Hmmm, yeah go on then.

Ever accepted an apology you never actually got? 

For example, from your Husband that is a stubborn old goat and a massive bellend at times, especially when he does tricks like going to the pub after work with his mate, rings you for a lift and then after you’ve decided to stay for an hour, eaten tea there and left him to settle up while you fetch the car he then goes AWOL with his mate and ends up at home without you.  Let’s say for argument’s sake that in a completely theoretical situation (ahem) that once at home with his mate in tow, he then proceeds to show off and be cocky despite knowing he’s up to his neck in shit and the only reason he’s escaping a throat punch is because an outsider is present. Lets throw into the mix that you never receive a heartfelt apology, or any apology at all because even though it’s obvious to anyone that you deserve one, he isn’t emotionally well equipped enough to admit he was in the wrong, even at the age of 48. 

Ever been the bigger person and let something go even though it was a real struggle and honestly you would have rather chopped off both your legs and dragged yourself over the salt plains of Bolivia?

So continuing with the above theoretical situation, you realise that if you’re not going to leave him, which you’re not because despite being this way he is at heart one of the good ones, that you have to choose your battles wisely.  It turns out this isn’t one worth rocking the boat over and you accept the non existent apology.

It’s a yes from me on both accounts.  I want to make it clear that if you are also in my camp and have done either of these things you are already way ahead of the game and should pat yourself on the back for not only being a decent Human but also for being smart enough to know that by doing these things you are helping protect your mental health.

Please don’t misunderstand.  In no way shape or form am I advocating letting people treat you like shit or letting people think you are a pushover, for me personally when I decide to forgive someone for something it’s a very deliberate thing and not something that happens because I’ve given in, daren’t speak up or just want to forget about it.  To understand this better we have to discuss the term forgiveness.  When we forgive it does not mean it’s all okay.  In some unfortunate cases it might never be okay.  But what it does mean is that you have decided that the time has come when you are ready to draw a line under whatever it is that requires forgiveness, that you won’t let it rule your life or harass your thoughts continuously anymore.  

It is a decision to let it go.  

This doesn’t mean you will forget it.  In some instances it also means that you still might decide to break a friendship or end a relationship but with the knowledge that it will not affect your day to day living or impact negatively on your mindset.

Let’s hope that the fictional character in this story realised he had been let off the hook and shown some grace, and might consider this the next time he is tempted to behave in this manner again.

Unlikely.  But we can only live in hope, and who knows, maybe next time he may not be so lucky to escape a throat punch or a double eye poke . (If indeed this was a real situation and not a made up one containing a wildly fictional character. Ahem)

Vodka, Hot Tubs and Tits

Through my 20’s there was vodka, nights out, some rare outfit choices, dancing and it was messy, oh so messy. Through my 30’s there was exotic flavoured gin, sunny daytime drinking and it was still messy but not so late into the night, mainly because we’d start at 2pm instead of 9pm but still.

I’ve always been more of a social drinker than a house drinker, honestly if I’m not out dancing on a table somewhere and pulling a moonie with my tit out I’d much rather have a cup of tea.  So when lock down hit and the kids stopped sleeping at grandmas and socialising ground to a halt, so did my occasional blowouts.

We had better weather here a few weekends ago so the Lazy Spa hot tub came out and the garden bar got restocked. A Lazy Spa- A genius creation that is a blow up hot tub, essentially a massive paddling pool with generator to heat it and make bubbles. Is it called a Lazy Spa because it makes you lazy once you are in it? Or because the people who have them are too lazy to work overtime to save up for a real spa? Harsh but maybe fair, I’m not sure.  But at a fraction of the price of a proper one it’s by far the better option in my opinion. Who wants to work themselves to death to  be able to afford an inbuilt one only to have your children or anyone like me who can’t look after stuff, ruin it by scratching it, breaking the controls, dropping chips in it, peeing in it, accidentally kicking the filter off when snorkelling around it, or all of the aforementioned. Why bother taking the risk when you can enjoy life with not so much hard work or responsibility and still relax in hot bubbly loveliness.

We had a square hot tub shaped hole in our garden for 3 years. Husband was a little overzealous and dug it out in eager anticipation before we had the cash to buy one. The plan was to save up for a swanky all singing all dancing slice of opulence and luxury in the form of a top of the range model. The only problem was each time we had nearly enough cash to buy one, the money was needed to maintain or repair something else so after looking at the gaping hole that should have housed our fancy bubble bath for much longer than planned we had a change of heart. We laid some fake grass golf turf stuff over the garden Stacey Solomon style, covered the hole and gratefully accepted a Lazy Spa hand me down from my brother.

Anyway I digress.. back to a few weekends ago..

The children had nattered to go to grandmas because it’s fun there and after all she is in our childcare bubble so I threw caution to the wind and waved them off happily, safe in the knowledge that they would be grandparent bonding while Husband and I let loose. I appreciate everyone has their own way of doing things and that’s fine, everyone to their own but I’ve never been one for getting shitfaced in front of the children. When my ankle biters where little I was never a fan of these child friendly BBQs with friends. All day drinking in a garden with friends – yes I’m up for that. All day drinking in a garden with friends and every man and his dogs kids running around, but it’s ok, it’s kid friendly because there’s a paddling pool/ swing/ sand pit in the garden- No, I am not up for that. Personally I have to know that mine are safe and sound and not in any danger of dying the nano second I look away to talk a gulp of my mojito before I can relax and let my hair down, plus if I get into the situation of being on the wrong side of my 5th or 6th drink I certainly do not want little eyes and ears witnessing moonies and exposed tits that nearly always want to make an appearance at the last minute which is most definitely an age thing because this NEVER happened before I was 35.

So.. the letting loose.. There was a fancy spiced orange gin, vodka, 3 types of trendy IPA beer, music, singing, dance routines from all the classic musicals, silliness, 3 outfit changes due to the aforementioned silliness involving the lazy spa and a fully clothed Husband (3 times- what’s wrong with him?) But it was good to let off steam.

The next morning and the 5 days that followed had me feeling slow and confused. Confused in general but also confused about if I had actually been hit by a large vehicle on the night of the letting loose or during the night while I slept in bed. Maybe I hadn’t been involved in a car accident at all and I’d done 6 million squats and burpees instead and just not remembered? Both were front runners in the explanation as to why my body felt the way it did. Maybe it was because I couldn’t handle a good drink anymore and I should retire from the game, biting the bullet and hanging up my shot glasses? In recent years this is always the general consensus every time I have a few drinks and feel like a 90 year old woman for a full week afterwards. That is until the next time when I’m once again persuaded by Husband or my friends that are full of crazy that I need to blow the cobwebs off again. Then, we are back to square one where the vodka flows, the music plays, the dance routines commence and my tits that have become newly wild and free since my 35th birthday strain against my vest.

Dressing Gown, Crocs and a Nasty Surprise at the Petrol Station

I’m not very good at keeping my car full of petrol.  I just can’t seem to get to grips with making sure it never falls below half so that I never find myself in the unenviable situation of sweating out of my face in a mad panic wondering if I can make it to the nearest Esso station before I grind to a halt at the side of the road miles from anywhere.  And this isn’t a new thing.  It’s not something that has happened as I’ve grown old and complacent, I can report that unfortunately it has always been this way.  When I first passed my driving test at 17 and had the coolest car on the planet, Seth the ancient white Vauxhall Nova with body kit (yes I name my cars, and yes I had a body kit on it worthy of a boy racer) I managed to run out of petrol a few times in that first year alone, and always ended up being rescued by either my Dad or my Gramps with a petrol can in hand.  Since then, with the experience I have gathered on this subject, I have managed to be able to gauge fairly accurately how many miles I have left before I actually conk out, so usually can make it to fill up by the skin of my teeth when I’m running on fumes and the engine is probably already ruined from dragging up all the crap at the bottom of the petrol tank in an effort to keep going, a direct quote from Husband.

On a Wednesday my Dad is chief school picker upper and the kids go back to his house to run riot and have tea, and this particular Wednesday was no different.  It was the perfect opportunity for a spot of child free self care which on that night included an full body exfoliation and a tan courtesy of my new amazing find, Utan extra dark Brazilian tanning mousse.  The most amazing creation since sliced bread. Blather it on and leave for 8-10 hours, then shower off to leave an incredible feeling of body confidence.  The only downfall is that the colour of the tan when applying is quite dark and not natural looking at all for me as I can be quite pasty during the winter months but it helps to get full body coverage without missing spots and lowers the risk of streaking like sometimes happens with the transparent tanners.  I love rocking a tan. A real one from a beach holiday or an equally brilliant one out of a bottle.  It makes me feel sun kissed and streamlined and just altogether better about myself. 

As I was naturally airing myself and waiting for the dark brown mousse to dry out, which of course meant parading around the house fully naked and making Husbands eyes bleed, I got a phone call from Dad asking if I could collect the ankle biters instead of his usual drop off  as he had lost track of time and was in danger of missing his favourite program. He only lives a stones throw down the road from us, it would be a 10 minute round trip at the most, so freshly tanned up to within an inch of my life I grabbed my old tired tan stained dressing gown, slipped into my pink strawberry crocs, jumped into my car and sped off. 

As I pulled off down the road I suddenly remembered something terrible.  I had meant to fill up with petrol that day but as usual had put it off, telling myself I’d do it on the way to school tomorrow.  I had been meaning to do it all week since the light had come on but just hadn’t got round to it. Surely it would get me to Dads? But what about home again? What if we got stranded at the side of the road in the dark and because I’d stupidly not bothered to take my phone, would be forced to flag down an unsuspecting motorist looking like an overly eager lady of the night, in crocs so clearly not a very trendy one at that.   And if by a miracle we actually made it back home that night, what about the next morning, would I make it back to the petrol station?  

After a brief doorstep exchange and the kids’ 10 ton of school stuff had been piled into the boot we set off … to the Esso garage.. the decision had been made.  It was 8pm on a cold winter’s evening, and I forced myself to imagine normal people probably avoiding night time fill ups as much as I wanted to, whether they were in a dressing gown or had actually made acceptable clothing choices. Still half heartedly trying to convince myself that it was not going to be the social hub my mind had created, we proceeded to execute the car fill up mission as covertly and quickly as possible.

10yo: Where are we going?

Me: The petrol station, it’ll only take a minute

8yo: But you’re not wearing proper clothes and did you know that you’re a really funny colour?

Me: Yes, I know both of those things.

Both kids exchanged pained glances.

Pulling onto the forecourt, my heart sang.  Not a car in sight. Brilliant!

At the speed of light I exited the car, got the fuel cap off and wrestled the nozzle in whilst clutching my shabby dressing gown together in an effort not to expose myself. As I was completely unprepared with no purse or phone and was reliant on the emergency fiver I kept in the glove compartment, it didn’t take long.  I always try and keep a few quid in an obscure place in the car so I forget about it and am therefore not tempted to spend it, freeing it up for its actual job of being available in case of an actual emergency.  In the past it hasn’t always panned out this way and I am slightly embarrassed to say that on more than one occasion when I’ve found myself without my handbag , and before the days of Apple Pay I have been known to get fuel (seconds before I completely run out) and then once at the cashiers desk given an Academy Award winning performance pretending that I had just that second realised I had left my purse at home.  Luckily it never resulted  in police intervention and was usually settled by me filling in a form with my details and then having to bring the money back on the same day.  So with this in mind, Thank God for that fiver.  I was in no mood to give the performance of my life in a dirty dressing gown, pink crocs and no undercrackers.

Handing over my fiver to the cashier I couldn’t help but smile to myself.  I’d done it and had been undetected.  The lady behind the counter was eyeing me a little suspiciously but I avoided direct eye contact, and it’s not like I knew her. I walked to the door and reached for the handle that would take me back out onto the forecourt, back to my car and to victory, when I was all but knocked off my feet by a whirlwind in the form of a very smartly dressed woman in a mad rush. As we both quickly recovered from nearly knocking each other out I looked up at her laughing face to be greeted with…

‘’What the Fuck are you dressed as?’’

Like 20 ton of bricks being dropped on my head, it registered that it was my old friend Mich.  We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years or so but had been inseparable in our younger years, pre kids and mostly in the thick of drunken nights out and on silly adventures.

Fuck.

Me: Aww Mich it was an emergency, I was about to run out of petrol, I don’t usually do this.

Mich (laughing, hand over mouth): A likely story. 

And then to the cashier …

Mich: She always does stuff like this

Me to the cashier: No I don’t.

After a super quick exchange of pleasantries  it was arranged that we would have a proper catch up when we both attended a Christmas night out in a few weeks time organised by our mutual friend.

I had nearly completed the mission undetected but had been discovered at the last minute.  A good effort though.  We made it home without breaking down and even made it back to another petrol station on the school run the next morning where we filled up with more than a fiver and was even able to pay for it.  I was smashing it.

A few weeks later my friend and I walked into a crowded pub, both looking a million dollars and headed towards the crowd of chattering women we had arranged to meet for the Christmas frollicks.  I clocked Mich and she clocked me on our approach.

‘’Here she is!’’ She shouted, a broad grin spanning her face.

What a nice hearty welcome I thought.

Everyone was very fussy to see each other and amongst the kisses, cuddles and excited greetings within the first few minutes 2 of the girls had asked me jokingly why I wasn’t wearing crocs and another had complimented me on my choice of dress and expressed their surprise I wasn’t wearing a dressing gown.  It turned out that after our chance meeting that night, mean old Mich had captured the moment that I had scurried back to my car in all my dressing gown glory on her phone and then lovingly posted it on Facebook.  Something I knew nothing about because at that point I wasn’t big on social media so had never joined.

It’s a good job I have a sense of humour and that I learn from my mistakes.  I will never be caught short again inappropriately dressed in a petrol station.

Also, I can confirm that the last part of that statement is not true and honestly I think I will always be the one to be caught short inappropriately dressed and probably not just limited to an Esso station.

Moth Hunt

I’m not usually one to let things get the better of me or get on top of me as I’m fairly laid back as a rule, but this week all I can think about is the mound of spring cleaning and and carpet care I’ve got to do and the fact that now the kids have gone back to school I don’t have a good enough excuse not to do it. 

Just to be clear I’m not talking about the usual spit and a lick I perform daily to give the illusion of cleanliness, I’m talking about tipping the house upside down to empty it, then deep cleaning the crap out of it.

Bit of background … Husband is a clever builder type so 10 years ago we built our own house.  It was hard graft and we lived in an old 80’s static caravan with leaky windows and draughty doors for a couple of years without proper running water or any real home luxuries. ‘Horrendous’ you might think but being in our little temporary home with a baby, a toddler and 2 big dogs for a couple of years while Husband worked late into the night to build us our perfect home was an adventure I wouldn’t have missed out on. Admittedly it wasn’t cheap, but as we had secured the mortgage already to do the work we decided not to skimp, and only to use the best materials, which included pricey carpets. This meant wool berbers everywhere except for the kitchen tiles.

What no one tells you is that if you don’t vigorously vacuum every last inch of a wool carpet on a regular basis (I’m talking dragging out heavy solid wood wardrobes and cabin beds) that you get carpet moths.

‘’Carpet Moths (Trichophaga Tapetzella) are also known as tapestry moths.  Their larvae have a taste for the keratin found in natural fibres and will happily munch their way through wool carpets and silk rugs’’ – Rentokil.

This time last year, a few weeks prior to the first National lock down, we made the gruesome discovery that these bad boys had been lurking in the dark depths that you don’t see on a daily basis.  I know I joke about not cleaning and living in a shit hole because in all honesty I’m not one of life’s born cleaners.  I wish to God I was but I’m one of those that cleans like Holy Hell only to discover that nothing looks any different except for being more smudged.  Having said that the house is usually at an acceptable level of cleanliness and to date no one has ever caught dysentery and died so I thought I was doing okay.

Anyway, at the risk of being dramatic, something I am a little prone to, the whole carpet moth episode freaked me out so much I still don’t like to talk about it.  It gives me tit sweats. I’m lucky enough to love my home, and being cooped up here during lock down hasn’t been a hardship for me in the slightest, so long as it’s just us, the people who actually live here and not any extra wildlife.  When I researched them and found out that they like natural fibres I was a bit miffed because it meant had we opted for cheap carpets we could have been as dirty as we liked with no threat of invasion.  Definitely something I’ll be bearing in mind for next time.

To cut a long, skin crawling story short, we managed to eradicate them in the form of a complete bottoming of the whole house and numerous carpet treatments.  I used sprays, powders and even some industrial strength flea spray because I read they weren’t a fan of that.  The last 3 applications were unnecessary following the first 3 I know but once it was in my mind that we were infested with creepies, I just couldn’t stop.  The tell tale sign that the moths have moved in are little grains of rice in the dark depths of your rooms or under the feet of furniture.  Of course it’s far more sinister than it being actual rice. The tiny little pupa’s masquerading as rice, and what is categorically not rice in any way, are actually moth larvae, baby moths in cocoons that munch their way through your carpets until they are big fat grown up moths and your carpets are thread bare. Moths that have grown from small eggs that have laid hidden, embedded in your carpet.  The carpet your children play on.  As I write this I’m trying not to gag and am doing a sterling job in holding back the vomit. 

The end result is that we are totally free of small mothy squatters but I now make a point of moving ALL furniture and doing a spring clean that would make a crime scene clean up crew proud on a 6 weekly basis.  Homeschooling this time around has been so full on that I’m actually  weeks behind with the bottoming rota and even though I know logically that nothing major will happen in a few weeks , it’s all I can think about.  So with the reopening of schools I now have a child free house and the ability to clean until my heart’s content (or until the fear of rediscovering those little bastards stops running from my body screaming). I don’t want to scare monger, that’s not what this is, but if you have a wool carpet, have you checked under the bed lately?