Friday, February 9, 2018

How to start an argument.

I love my wife, honestly.... but if anyone wants to find just cause for a homicide simply ask their special loved one to go on an extreme diet.

Those magic words, "Honey, we should start a diet together! Are you in?" puts anyone in a horrible position, the thoughts of "Actually I'm aware I could shift a few pounds, thanks for reminding me, but I also do like the food I can eat" are swept away by the fact you don't want to begin the mega-argument that will inevitably end with "Why don't you love me?" and tears and probably a few items thrown and some choice language questioning parentage.  Sigh.

Jessica decided February was the time to put me in that position, as outlined above of course I saw sense and agreed, not really knowing what I was in for.

So planning and thought went into it, The Keto diet would see us drop Carbs like a stone, eat the fat content of a killer whale every day and boom- stop Soda consumption like Hollywood drops Actors in a scandal. Shopping was interesting, staring longingly at foods enjoyed and focusing instead on a limp lettuce or pasty cheese. And then we began.......

Oh my GOD.  We began on the 1st, and by the weekend it's not unfair to say we were both miserable, tired, and oh so hungry.  Living off rations & meal portions seemingly set out for Bob Geldof to come to the rescue Jessica was off her head with cold turkey soda crash and I was just given even more reason to be a grumpy bastard.  

And then... the headaches, tiredness went away.  Not sure I felt refreshed or recovered and any of the other good things you read about, but between us in the first week we'd shipped 15+ pounds.  Yes, doomsayers I KNOW it's mostly water, but with a little exception at dinner where feeling you should be serving up a tasty treat on dessert plates and it's something you'd see in those annoying "minimalist" restaurants, we'd actually made it this far.

We're definitely eating a much better variety of food, though breakfast is often eggs & something. Jessica is truly monitoring the intake, I'm taking more of a random flyer at it, by basically eating the same and watching anytime we deviate.  Whisper it, but Jessica has even hinted she might try a different kind of fish!  Shocking.  

Next week may be hard, I know of at least 1 day at work where free bagels are on offer, and I've got a message that day will also have free pizza....... but we committed to it for a month and we'll see the results. 

I have to be honest I doubt come March 2nd you'll see me still on it, but it has given a good perspective on portion size (my killer) and actual content of foods.  I can see how you can simply pound on the carbs and nasties by not actually doing much other than combining bad meal choices, so if nothing else I think we'll eat smarter in the future and that should certainly help us both.

Ok - so you read that lot and thought, what the hell??? I only read this for the kids updates, so here they are.

Ryan got an excellent report from school, he's made great strides this year and is closing the gap in his reading & comprehension, some of that is due to the extra tutoring and the ever-reliable Kristen but he's also worked damn hard at reading up each night, he's loving math (Good lad!) and is signed up for soccer this spring, seems his batting days may be behind him.

Hannah is still Hannah, by that I mean she's as soft, cuddly & as dangerous as a Tiger, going from epic individualism to Mommy's girl in seconds.  She's up to Intermediates now and is beginning to show a thawing in her willingness to at least attempt to use the potty, hopefully that's another tick soon to come.  She too is interested in soccer, possibly because she thinks she can try out some of the words Daddy used when the referee donated those penalties to Tottenham last week.

So a slightly different blog this time, we'll check in next and say how we did, and how badly we crashed back on the soda truck :)

Have a good one!

J, J, R & H

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Wrap Up!

Good Morning everyone,

Hasn't this year rolled around fast.   We've certainly achieved a lot so here's a quick recap of 2017!

Biggest news is of course we joined the ranks of homeowners - hoorah!  Jessica really is trying to settle down, having dragged me through multiple addresses since I've been here we finally have some roots to settle down with.  We're lucky to have found a house in such good condition (under sink pipework notwithstanding) and it's fortunate that apart from that, only a couple of light bulbs and toilet seats have been the sum total of replacement works so far.  Still, I have to echo my thoughts from 2013 (last move) - NEVER AGAIN!  I'm sure the process was fairly uncomplicated but it's a reminder that house moves add unpleasant stress.

Ryan is having a much better 2nd grade than 1st grade, the all day slog of school is no longer a struggle, and while we still face some issues over the implications of doing/not doing homework, he's slowly catching up to the level of reading/comprehension expected of him.  He's been massively helped by the extra tuition as well as continuing to see Kristen who's tweaked her work to keep him progressing.  Ryan also played more baseball in the Spring, but took time off in the fall, we'll see what he's going to do in the coming year, he may want a slight change of direction sporting wise.

Hannah, what can we say about her?  Stubborn, determined, happy, helpful & loving are some of the traits she loves to demonstrate, apart from an odd decision to stay in diapers rather than join her friends in using the potty, her progress is right on target.  She loves to boss Daddy around, running up fingers pointing and nostrils flaring to exclaim "No Daddy!" when I'm simply breathing, I think that's most likely Jessica's influence but she's not afraid to lay down the law there either.

Hannah is also becoming somewhat technologically wise, which can be a concern or a blessing depending on how nuts she's driven us in the intervening few minutes. The good news is she's a very good sleeper in her new room and after a little play time always settles down with minimal concern.  Ryan has had a few bad moments in his new room, but is happy enough to read a DogMan book to get himself drowsy.

Jessica got promoted - finally!  Officially as of tomorrow she's going to get paid for that responsibility she's taken.  She continues to be Ryan's guide for homework, even though he's adamant he's better at math than she is (he might have a case but I'm not going to be the one to say it!)  She also continues to tolerate me, the crazy bitch!  To be fair, the level of crazy in our family is a lot less than some of our friends (if you think this might be you, chances are it is!) and Jessica manages to be a solid sounding board for many people, often to the detriment of her own free time, I hope it's appreciated and recognized for the great deed it is.

As for me, plenty of work, appreciated I'm glad to say which leads me to actually enjoy the workload each & every day, even the frustrations don't matter that much as I've accepted it tends to come with the territory.  Even managed to spend some of my time improving my skills at Elite Dangerous on the Xbox which is everything I hope the game would be for the 20 years we waited for it to arrive.  

We still have 3 cats, Jet decided to push that envelope this year, but it's not the first NYE we've got to & said "Might be her last one....." so we'll see.  Thug cat managed to lose a tooth this week, perhaps in a PoofWar, or maybe not.  He seems fine enough, though was understandably skittish on the day it occurred.  Speaking of Poofy... he now has a big sticker across his ass saying "Wide Load" because he, more than any of them, has enjoyed the wet cat food sporadically used as medicine filter for Jet.  He's so fat I think his butt is in another zip code, and when he jumps down off the perch the earth (or at least the table) shakes.  However he's still a friendly enough cat that he's begun to tolerate Hannah touching him and that based on how he used to be pre-Nugget is still an amazing transformation.

Christmas was a success though by the 27th Ryan was bored of the tree and the lights. So here's to a very healthy & successful 2018!

Have a very good one!

Till next year!

J, J, R & H

Monday, November 13, 2017

No more scares this year

Leading off with 2 photos this time, because I really wanted both kids, but Ryan was very grumpy in his Optimus Prime costume - unless he was collecting candy - so we'll make do with his medal efforts from his school sponsored run and Hannah proving we were right to hold onto the Tigger costume from way back when, and has there been a more merited costume than that for a little wubbah?? Nope!

As is usual Halloween was an enjoyable night out, with adults discussing matters of interest and vaguely wondering what candy they could steal later.  We missed Sophia & Hayley though, but were compensated by the arrival of Jack,  his sister Harper & Hannah's friend Harper (HJ) who formed a joint task operation to visit as many houses as possible.

Jessica put in many hours of effort for Halloween bingo, even inviting a quorum round on more than one occasion to stuff bags, discuss structure & schedule etc etc.  As is usual in times like this you try to cover off all eventualities and the whole crew did an excellent job, much to the benefit of the school.

Had our first mishap in the new house as a sink gasket let by and in looking at taking it apart cos "it's just the gasket, that's easy to change" I ran into the problem of the O-Rings popping followed by some of the pipework, I swiftly ran out of talent, but not swearwords (high vocabulary in that context) so Jessica went out with the kids and said "Call a plumber!"  Which I did.  After all it's not like map reading, this is a skilled trade!

That provided us the impetus to also sign up with the inspection plan which helps on heating/AC... and that's necessary because that's our major outlay ahead.  D'oh.  When the inspection took place I listened intently to the information and then said "Yeah, I used to be in the heating business"  so he wasn't pulling a swift one there.  To be fair he was very professional and it's clear he was legit in his concerns at the age and condition of the heating unit.

Hannah has a cold... not easy to survive, plus some teething... and a fondness for singing "Daddy Finger" plus "Spider" (Itsy Bitsy Spider) when she goes to bed, that can become more of a singalong than X-Factor, probably with more tune too.

Ryan is back with his speech teacher as well, working on his reading comprehension, I'm sure it's working as he's closing the gap down step by step between where he needs to be and where he's at.  We'll keep pounding away and he'll get there soon enough.

Ok, enough for now, till next time.
J, J, R & H.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cats & Nats

Hello there, and suddenly we're into the middle of October and today the temperature plummeted after heavy rain on Tuesday.

Of course Ryan decided to still wear a t-shirt & shorts...... then complained he was cold in the car. 

So to the cats, Jet was the source of much concern last time, in fact we'd almost decided she wasn't having much of a life and took her to the vet fully prepared to not come back with her. Trying to explain this to Ryan led to this epic exchange.  "Ryan, we're taking Jet to the vet, she's sick and she might not be able to come back". "Why don't you burn her?" "Ryan..... that's not nice!" "No, I mean like ashes, like Nugget & Nathan" "Oh, you mean cremate her... well yes, but you do that when they're dead, not to make them dead".  

Fortunately the vet took some blood, decided arthritis & general pain could be managed  by medication and we decided to give it a shot.  Jet's general attitude in the run up to this appointment and the few days after can best be described as "spirited" as if she was aiming to convince us she's still got life in her.  Turns out she had an overactive thyroid in addition to the arthritis so more meds than expected but she's doing ok to date.

Poofy decided not only did he like the extra soft food - part of the overall Jet investment to get her weight back up - but the attention was worth it, so he's walking round sneezing.... including an impressive launch off the perch, landing next to Jessica on the sofa and looking right at her and launching a large amount of cat snot directly onto her!  Top Work!

Meantime thug is busy creating thug shaped beds on top of each and every sofa. he just loves to curl up and rest there, much to Jessica's displeasure as she comes along and thumps the sofa back into shape, only to see him back there inside 5 mins.

Kids are fine, Hannah still being a smiling assassin as she plots a killing spree, bopping along to Coldplay, Ryan is now enjoying Star Wars Battlefront (not telling him there's a new one out soon!) He's still progressing at school, still needs to work on his reading & comprehension, but is getting more confident as he gets older.

Sitting here cheering on the Nats but thinking back precisely 5 years since the collapse vs St Louis.... and so far as it's shaping up, this looks to have a similar fate, and as I say that it's another shit show -  FFS.   Anyway, I'm regularly surprised by how often baseball managers are caught out by events, the differences can be so minute that a poor call looks horrible, Nats lost the 3rd game not because the starting pitcher was pulled (justifiably, despite giving up only the 1 hit) but because despite the open base, the decision not to walk the best hitter in the lineup backfired.   In the 162 game regular season those choices are forgotten, but in the post-season the top managers get those calls right 90%+ and that's the reason they lead their team to wins that truly matter.  Proper planning prevents piss poor performance - sometimes you have to say well played, but don't simply play the so-called odds, the easiest opponent is the predictable one.  Here's hoping for a comeback along the lines of Istanbul 2005!

Late addendum - Also hoping for a heavy defeat for Man U this weekend, ok, every weekend, but especially THIS weekend!

Till next time,
J, J, R & H

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ready to learn!

We're into September right now and the summer zipped by, last time we split up a lot of news into 2 parts so we're going to condense as much as possible this time via a list.

1> Jessica is pissed off she has to wait at least 18 months for GoT.  She's spending her time investigating plot holes..... she's probably not got enough time before the next season.

2> Ryan is back at school which may be a concern, but after 1 week he's loving it - not the homework obviously, where the score is already 3 meltdowns but progress is slowly being made with his mentality & approach to it all. He's getting a lot of "Dojo points" which is a good thing.

3> Hannah is 2 - "TWO!" as she likes to say.  A very nice little gathering was held at our house and Hannah certainly had a great time.

4> Premier League is back and I'm not an Arsenal fan - HOORAH!  Wish it was Man U going through this, but 1 less close rival for a Top 4 finish is never a bad thing. PS: Money rolling through the game is a nightmare, sooner or later a big team is going to go under.

5>House still looks inhabitable, notwithstanding the state of the grill, or the understairs cubby hole.

6>We lucked out with the neighbors, time will tell if they say the same!

7>No more headaches :)

8> Where did that summer go?  Will winter bring snow and if so, how much?

9> Plans made for the Kings Dominion visit much to the delight of Ryan, I will not enjoy the Eiffel Tower. He will.

10> Jessica loves Cava - it's her new favorite.

11> Ryan is now two teeth short in the front (bottom half) having worked out for a little pain he gets paid.  Getting that corporate mentality down pat at a young age.

12> We're all doing well!  Even Jet, but more detailed information of her next time.

 Till then,
J, J, R & H.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Another new post - Part 2

Hello again everyone and as the title suggests, this is part 2 of a recent update so if you're not up to date, go back a page!

Well I did promise another blog post by today and despite a very intense attempt to avoid it (more of that later) here I am, so what did we get up to in June?

Biggest thing was my parents came to visit, obviously planned prior to any house moving ideas so that at least gave us a deadline to get 95% of the crap stored, but we managed to entertain them by making trips to Home Depot, The Container Store and a few others.  The biggest issue beforehand was "How would the old farts cope with the heat?" That actually turned out ok, first here wasn't as hot or as stormy as predicted and second, it was actually hotter most days in the UK.  Yes, that's right, the UK was hotter than the US.  With no air conditioning.  Mmmmm Sweaty!

Having had some fun with baggage possibly coming after they did, all turned out well and they enjoyed a relaxing time here, of course the biggest relaxation was when the Wubphoon had gone to bed, once she'd thrown all but her pillow off her bed in rage of course, but when she was up she busied herself showing off all her new tricks, of course since they were last here she's walking, talking and generally being Hannah.

Ryan stuck his head further into his iPad, only coming up for Ice Cream and some scowls at Daddy, but eventually he too managed to find other things to do such as cheat at Chutes & Ladders, cheat at Candy Land and laugh as the Yanks beat the Brits via Friendly Fire at Battleship.

We didn't do too much visiting this time, as it was very hot outside, but we rolled in a trip to Clemyjohntri (very hot) and a quick tour of Falls Church to see how it had developed since their very first visit 8 years ago.  Food highlights included Sweetwater Tavern which was sensational, Popeyes, Subway (yes, we went really out on that limb) an Italian restaurant (v.good) and finished off with Cheesecake Factory where I managed to find out a slice of mine was in fact a full days worth of calories once I'd bought it.... oops.

Postscript: They were bumped out of their seats for the return flight...... so they got upgraded to Club Class, on an Airbus..... Jammy Bastards.

Why did I almost miss this agreed update?  Well it had been a while since I'd made an ER visit so I decided to cram one in on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  Turned out the massive headache I experienced wasn't anything too serious, but it took a series of tests and enough needles to ensure Jessica didn't look to find that out.  Cue a few days of work and some heavy prescriptions, I feel like Greg House right about now, only with 1 slightly less messed up leg.

Till next time.

J, J, R & H

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wow! A new post - Part 1

Ok, so this has taken over two months and a LOT has happened so expect this to be part 1 of at least 2, kinda like the new GoT series, it's been a long time coming, hopefully worth the wait!

Let's break this down into events through May, so basically we're older, live slightly further South (if my thoughts are correct) have hammered our credit rating, have survived another year of school, and are now officially settled in our 1st home as a family.


The big news is the house of course and it's fair to say we love it, as sad as we are to have had to say bye to Bill and his house, this is ours and it means so much more. Obviously we have to thank Natalie & Andy for all their work they put in here, it's clear they valued it dearly but having seen their wonderful new house it's clear that Andy loves a project or 5! :)

The move was as expected, a lot more crap accumulated over the years and some crap we even forgot to unpack from years back, work friend Jen helped by dumping off several car loads to unfortunates so expect Washington Redskins to have several outfits available soon - just teasing Jen, we know our rejects are much too good for the 'Skins.  As is usual the vast bulk of the load was completed by me and the last lots fell to Paul, however we hit our deadline and got the old place in good order for the handover, so keen were the new renters to get in they were literally at the door as we concluded our tour with Bill. There's keen and then there's somewhat pushy! Never mind, good luck to them.

Ryan is no longer a 1st grader! He's delighted to be having a break from homework but he's still going to tutoring and also working hard on his library reading list, pounding the Elephant & Piggie collection.  He also finished the spring baseball season, with a little less success on pure stats he's actually far better now than the fall, the reason for the fall in hitting avg is he's hitting it harder & further so the defense can make plays and that's getting him out. However he also had terrible luck on the bases as he always found a team mate to hit it directly to the base he had to run to, in fact prior to the final game I even called him out at 3rd before the player had hit the ball!

Hannah is just a typhoon of terror, on her new bed she has gone through a phase of turfing everything off but her pillow prior to falling asleep, she may be a terror but she's not dumb! Of course that smile melts most hearts and most people think she's a delight- they're the same people who live far away.

Right, for now that mini-recap will do, I will have part 2 up by the conclusion of the weekend. Promise.