Sunday, December 9, 2018

Galloping towards the end of the year!

How is it December already? We've shot through September, October & November and stomped over the 1st week in December too.  Before you know it, we'll be celebrating Hannah's birthday for real - right now everyday is her birthday and she's most irate if anyone dares to deny the Princess her wishes.

So last time out we'd just introduced Oreo and now we can officially confirm that she's feisty, regular battles with Jakey to see who owns the highest thug status but she's also recognized her place in regards to Poofy.  Glad to say after a 3 week hiatus he ventured upstairs, rumors that this coincided with the return of Paul aren't wide of the mark and you're welcome to venture gases guesses as to the cause.

Anyway Poofy has taken back ownership of wherever he goes, and has often stood and stared down Oreo, she's always the one who cedes and walks away, even with a hiss it's clear she's given ground. I think he isn't being mean, just not willing to take any of this "youngsters crap".  Even at food times there's a definite pecking order and we've had to split up the servings as he moves pretty rapidly for a fat old cat.

Ryan's soccer was hard work, we ended up not having a regular turnout so inexperienced players had to play all games, but the boys tried hard and even without it being obvious if you simply judge by results, I think they all ended better players than before, we'll see what Spring brings in terms of team and who Ryan slots in with.

Halloween was as usual a success, ranging from Princess Elsa (oh my God Frozen non-stop on the DVD...zzzz) and a Ninja, to Jessica and co working wonders at Bingo for the benefit of the PTO and punting the pumpkins off our deck for the squirrels below :)

School is an interesting one for Ryan, at times some of the results/feedback are disappointing, but when we actually look at the results he's right on the edge of where he should be,  there's a swelling school of thought that some of his issues may not be as simple as ADHD and that could be fun to chase down in a new Insurance Deductible period.

Hannah is getting occasionally disobedient "I don't want to", a real threenado if you will, though not as bad as some kids we've encountered.  I guess at times you have to see others in action to appreciate what you actually have, rather than assuming because they're not 100% good ALL of the time they're actually devious little turds.  However, if a certain young man continues to BS about his homework and reading tallies, Santa might have to return some of his gifts for credit!

Work continues to be interesting for us both, I'll be interested to see how things are handled because there's little doubt a lot of people have justifiable concerns and moral is inevitably beginning to get pounded.  In the meantime, we turn up, do our work and do our best to decompress whilst dealing with WubbaStrops and BooTantrums.. The thing about Ryan is when he's in the middle of one of those moments, laughing at him actually stops the sulk and he laughs too... which tells you 95% of it is totally unnecessary anyway.

The escape room crew ventured off to watch "Love Actually" and returned with props, not sure if they were donated or simply lifted, all that means is the men will get time for another night out, the last one lasted 5 hours much to the chagrin of the wife who whined "what can you have talked about for 5 hours?"  However, some of our crew need to plan a better drinking structure lest they fall into an Uber and not recall any of the evening - no names, you know who you are!

That's all for now, another update before Christmas, hopefully a positive one from Santa :)

J, J, R &H

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Life got busy - Part 2

Hi everyone, as the title says - Part 2... so go back and read part 1 if you've come here first.

The above picture accurately represents the pace of life right now so lets get back to the updates, kids are back at school - that's right, Ryan is a 3rd grader and Hannah is 2 years away from K.  Time flies when you're mentally busy!

Before I get onto work situations, let's first announce that we're back up to 3 cats once again!  If you haven't seen/heard we once again found a black cat.  In short, we'd agreed that we'd not get one before vacation - hardly fair - and would best be suited to waiting for a "clear the shelters" event. Well, I found out there was a nationwide one the day after vacation, so we went to Leesburg and found a lot of cats available for show & share effectively.  Ryan of course, being so close to Jet, found a 1 year old black female, and consequently got upset when we suggested we think about it.  So we checked and it was still unclaimed, and if we were open to a visit that day we'd be able to have her.  

Once that had all been sorted, we were advised to keep kitten away from the other 2 and introduce them all gently.  So Ryan asked for kitten to be in his room, no big deal, litter box, food, water, play up there and keep her company.  And it worked great for 24 hours... and then Ryan decided he didn't want his door shut.  Out came kitten, debatably named Oreo, which narrowly beat off Jet 2 (this is not another bloody fish scenario! - Bluey 2 is fine by the way!) and swiftly explored under the bed, running into a surprised Poof Cat who momentarily thought Jet had been resurrected.  

The net result of this, once Oreo decided she liked running up and downstairs - she's a kitten, who wouldn't? Is that Jakey found himself in danger of not being the biggest thug in the house, he's fighting back quite hard, but it's fair to say she's feisty.  And poor old Poof has quarantined himself downstairs, he actually clearly couldn't give a crap about the kitten, but he did manage to initially embargo himself in our room, but that came to an end in a never-ending sea of vomit on our bed, carefully synchronized in time with me washing the sheets in between the chuffing.  What a git!  Things are settling down after a month and I think in time all will be fine, or at least tolerable :)

Work, both Jessica & I are working very hard, we're entering into our major month and I've just picked up a new role, it's testing me quite a bit, because there's a lot of new protocols & procedures to learn.  With 4 staff moving on inside a month at my level it's become very much all hands to the pumps and personally I'm just hoping that come October any mistakes aren't too costly.  I can tell tensions are running high because some people are acting/doing things that you wouldn't usually expect and their conduct towards others is sometimes falling off the cliff.  No big deal, I've faced worse things in my life, and this is definitely a means to an end, hopefully it will get better faster and become a lot less of an issue.

Ryan is back playing soccer, and his Dad is "assistant coach" which I've stepped into as a favor to Roberto who's Head Coach and had no-one to help.  Not going to lie, it's nice to be back involved, but this will be a one & done I think, I'm more inclined to help only Ryan and can't commit to the 3 times a week all the season.

Next up is Halloween and I'm assuming that means Jessica will be off whipping her subordinates into shape to provide the best possible Bingo night, once that's gone, we'll begin thinking about Christmas.

I'll get more updates before then!  Honest.

Have fun,
J, J, R & H

Life got busy - Part 1

Hello again everyone, did you miss us?

I was thinking I needed to get onto updating here and then worked out it's been 12 weeks ooops..  So the lets try to split up the summer with 2 updates in quick succession.

Part 1 shall follow on from last time, where we'd said goodbye to Jet, it was of course just about end of school year and both Ryan & Hannah had an excellent summer.  Ryan was back at summer school for 3 weeks and did well, he also took some extra STEM training for 3 evenings at the local library run by a Grade 2 teacher from Lowes Island.  What was good about it was he worked with some of his friends creating bridges and towers etc out of food stuffs, he showed some good construction skills, perhaps Minecraft does serve some positive purpose after all!

Hannah turned 3 of course, and had an exceptional party at Clemyjontri, for a lot of parents it was either the first time ever or the reason to return after a while away and again the weather behaved and we all had fun.  Hannah did freak out people though early on, as I was unloading the car I got a call... "Hi, is this Hannah's Dad?".. "Yes!" "oh great, I have Hannah, she's lost!"  cue me looking round from the back of the car to see David's mom holding an upset Hannah's hand.  I quickly got to them and it turned out Hannah had lost sight of Mom and her friends so had returned to the last place she saw them, the toilets.  But of course they weren't there.  At that moment I saw one of the Moms run into the toilets and call for Hannah, followed by a fairly frantic Jessica coming down the path.  Relax lady, I've got this covered ;-)  Hannah was fine by this point so everyone got on with the fun.

We made our pilgrimage down to Myrtle Beach and got lucky as expected poor weather turned out to be pretty reasonable actually, we even met up with Maggie on the beach one morning.  We played Crazy Golf - well Ryan cheated a bit and Hannah simply put the ball down next to the hole and whacked it in.  Stupidly we did this on the hottest day at the height of the afternoon... and all showed wear & tear after it.  The oven in the room was pretty crap, kept setting off the smoke detector and didn't heat properly, but we made the best of it, and of course managed to go through a full aquarium of seafood.  We even found a very good, cheap burger place and found both kids could pick something off the menu.  Best news of all is Paul didn't spend any time needing to discuss actions with any cops this time!  Progress.

Cats coped in our absence, we had a deal set up where twice a day someone came in, fed, watered and cleaned up..... and after a little reticence - Poofy does not forgive easily! and some insistence on sleeping with us on our bed, they were both back in good form.

Jessica continued her escape room endeavors, from the whispers I've heard, they seem to be failing more than they succeed, but somehow they still manage to consume alcohol. There's been some bad behavior from the group - you know who you are! - and Jessica is equally culpable for encouraging it!

Ok, part 2 will follow shortly - honest.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Jet flames out :(

Unfortunately we have to devote this blog to the sad loss of our soppy cat, Jet.  Jet had been in declining health for some time and regular readers may recall we sort of talked ourselves off the edge last year, sadly things didn't improve for her or us and it became clear that the quality of life just wasn't there anymore.  In order to reduce risk of "Jet bombs" or other events, we'd ended up keeping all the cats downstairs for a couple of months, this had led to some unhappiness and it was clear we were making the other 2 unhappy with that arrangement.

Things came to a head on Tuesday and it was a run down to the vets, due to the timing, I ended up making a trek to get Hannah, who after it had all occurred was most upset to be leaving Jet at the Dr's "I don't want to leave her at the Dr's!" but it was harder for Ryan who of course had no idea and had to have the news broken to him later that evening.  We did have the fortune of having incredibly caring and supportive vets, and they worked with us to make it as pleasant as such an unpleasant occasion can be.

So we remember her as always loving & demanding cuddles, and for some reason hating any cat other than Poofy.  She hissed & snarled when Nugget arrived and never really made Jake the Thug feel welcome either.  No idea why those two made her uncomfortable, but her love for Poofy was endless, he's already missing the Poof Wash and is going around the house looking for her, he even took a very brave few steps outside onto the deck which represents the 2nd time he's ever ventured out and the 1st time was more from terror!

Jet was great with Ryan, less so with Hannah - mostly down to age but probably more likely she recognized the danger lurking!  Ryan often wanted Jet to fall asleep on his bed and he even went through a month or 2 where he couldn't sleep unless she was there.   I've spoken before about her amazing lack of athletic ability and incredible propensity to consume food, in fact in times past you couldn't even think of touching any food without her barging in and trying to grab it.  As she aged, and her hearing failed and she got more distant, it became a rarity to see her nose on your plate, which probably told us a lot more than we wanted to accept.

I'm sure there's several Jet stories out there, the time she escaped at Herndon and went to the top floor (we were on the ground) and sat there for 4 hours until Jessica came home and found her is pretty typical of the dopey feline.  Jessica fell for her when she went looking for a kitten to adopt back in 2005, immediately loving those glowing eyes and completely black coat, little did she know Jet had already adopted this other cat, slightly younger but apparently part of the package.  Jet never stopped caring for her friend, she'd even offer to try his food - all of it! - prior to his consuming it, just to be safe.  That's dedication! 

Like all of us, Poofy is going to miss her, she was a special cat and her personality & presence is a hard one to lose.

Run fast, jump high Jet, snore all you want and hover round the kitchens.

Hugs always;
J,J, R&H and paws from Poofy & Thug.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Updates & Rebates

So you know those times when you think, "Yeah, I've got enough to write a blog update" but then somethings coming up and you think "I'll add that in" and so on.... that's where we're at so we're cutting it off here & now and this is the update you've all been waiting for!

Ok, so the diet ended March 1st - Jessica did not approve of the last blog calling it "too negative", others did approve calling it "a return to form".  To answer the critics dieting is supposed to be difficult, it will make you unhappy, because you're doing something you don't enjoy and not doing the stuff that you DO enjoy, therefore the tone was correct because it was crappy - especially in the first week.

Which is why Jessica wants us to do it all again...... and I've agreed because I'm utterly stupid wonderful!  The good news is we ended up a combined 27lbs down, and not much of it has gone back on in the meantime.  She did want to start immediately but I suggested she could do one with 3 birthdays coming up!

The first delay to that part of the follow up was created because GrandParents came visiting and after 10 days with Hannah they needed another break.... so they went home! The good news is the weather was ok, having snowed before they got here, it only rained a little bit and they dodged crap weather back home so all was good.  The usual DIY tasks were instigated by Jessica and a couple of local bottles of wine were sourced in return.  We didn't get to travel too much, but hopefully should they come back next year the kids (1 in particular) will have settled down and be fit to go visiting certain places.

Ryan is doing well at school, he just scored highly on the COGAT test (think I have that right) and the progress in his reading & comprehension is actually outstripping expected annual development rates so in other words, he's catching up and closing the gap which is great.  He's also begun his Spring Soccer schedule in very garish yellow boots.   Bonus of those is we'll never lose him on the pitch.

Hannah continues to be confident and cocky, the picture is one of her admiring the beauty of her fruit snacks.  She's looking forward to playing soccer too, I envision her in the midfield enforcer role making the other team punt it long for fear of getting into the same zip code as her zone of terror.

As for the rebate part, well as we've now been house owners a year we decided to celebrate by cracking open a purchase on a new HVAC system with water heater due to the AC deciding to munch on the compressor.  Granted given the age of the units (as old as the house) we were under no illusions that it wasn't going to be long before it took a hit, but it of course picked the one day when temps were in the 80's... consequently so was the house, and poor BlueyII only survived because someone (me) dumped enough ice to damage a ship into his tank to cool it back to a survivable temperature.  Fortunately the temps are back in the 60s and its quite comfortable right now for the next week until we get the new system installed.  We even managed to see the same salesman who sold the unit last year into the house we rented, that might have been played up a touch to get a little more trade in value :)

Ok, next time will probably be a round up of birthdays and fun events.

Have a good one!
J, J R & H!

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