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.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Itchy feet, scratched heads and new beginnings

Hi everyone,

Well this has been a while!  But to be fair Jessica is totally at fault for all of this.

So the biggest news is that after 3 1/2 years of stability Jessica's itchy feet came up again and we'll be on the move next month.  It would be hard to beat our 2010 move of 50yds but we've come close, moving just 31 doors up the street to buy Natalie & Andy's house, parents of Sophia (Ryan's school pal) & Hayley.  The opportunity came up suddenly and caught us very much off guard, but after some quick research and checking it became apparent if we didn't take this chance we'd probably regret it down the line.  It means a lot of tough decisions will come up in the next years, Ryan is already bemoaning the lack of carpet and beach trips but I'm sure he'll come round once he's settled in.

Obviously this is the first house I'm involved with buying here, and there's a fair few differences between US & UK, not least the way the interest rates are calculated & offered, with the recession back in 2008 it's clear that more attention is paid to offers available, and as we weren't in the market we really had to thin down our numbers very rapidly but I think we've got a good option overall.

Yeah, it's stressful buying here too........ good job Jessica already made me lose my hair.

Hannah is showing progress with her words and attitude, though she's not going to make many friends if she continues to grass up her partners in crime "Harper bite" is her current tattle of choice.  Though it's equally conceivable that's not a finger pointing exercise, more a command to her minion.

Ryan has been working really hard on his reading, we've swapped swimming for extra tuition and he's taken to it very well, he's about to begin baseball once again and hopefully this will all give him further opportunity to grow.  He has finished his initial IEP with Lowes Island and that is being updated to move away from speech and concentrate more on his attention/concentration issues.  With both his speech specialists expecting babies late in the summer, it's probably perfect timing to move onto the next stage.

We had a tornado warning in the week here, and that led to a fun escapade by me.  As the rain poured down I heard a rumble from our deck and looked out the window to see our rather heavy umbrella lift up and cartwheel over onto next doors deck... after 30 mins the rain stopped and I could see it sat on the deck, so it was easy enough to grab a step stool, hop over, grab it and put it back on our deck.  Of course I didn't take the step stool with me so how did I get back?  Well, with some difficulty! Got up on the wooden posts easily enough, but the gap was wider than it seems and down below was the fence splitting our gardens, and of course due to the rain they were a little slick.  Anyway I made it, but suffice to say if the umbrella flies again it's over to Jessica or Ryan to get it back!

Yesterday we went out on the annual Easter Egg hunt, and it turned out a bit hotter than we thought it would, so now the only one without a slight case of sunburn is Ryan because he stayed under cover in the bouncy castles most of the afternoon.  Must mean summer will soon be here and that also means mowing the lawn.....D'oh!

Hopefully 1 more update prior to the move, but packing & chucking out inherited crap will be taking priority!

Have fun,

J,J,R & H.

Note: Harper isn't Hannah's minion and Jessica disagrees with any notion that it may have been implied above.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Good, The Bad & The Wubbly

Welcome back to the Booster & Wiggles Blog,

First update of the year and it mostly centers on the behavior of our youngest.  Little Miss Wubbet has been excelling herself making friends at her day care and making recognition easier by biting them to show they're part of the gang... it's all part of a cunning plan to ease up on stranger danger.  Or she's the next Hannah-bal Lecter.

Probably the 2nd option makes more sense as I'm damn sure she'd nosh down some fava beans and a nice chianti given half a chance, she does love her food, and rather like a python digesting a deer, her stomach lets everyone know she's just eaten a meal sized for a horse.

Ryan is busy showing her his iPad in the above picture, which now comes with free (once paid for!) Goat Simulator which oddly enough managed to download without anyone sanctioning the arrival.  Fairly confident the automatic shutdown feature we now have in place should anything like that happen again will prevent a re-occurrence, if it doesn't he'll be playing escape mode from Prison Architect for real.

This time last year was definitely snowmaggedon, but now we face a temp expected to be in the 60's tomorrow so Ryan is crossing his fingers and hoping the next few weeks bring a downturn so he can make more snow angels or watch Daddy shovel 20t of frozen water out of the way.

Hannah has been getting to know her music, having loved the Gorilla's in "Adventure of a Lifetime" I showed her an old advert featuring a Gorilla playing the best bit of "In the Air Tonight", now if she sees 1, she has to see both and likes pointing her finger vaguely to the beat.  In less than a week she turns 18 months and her progress is pretty much up to a normal standard, with a standard check up set up soon we'll soon find out her metrics.

Have to cheer for the Falcons in the SuperBowl as Ryan maintains he's a Patriots fan, oddly enough he regularly says "the other team is cheating" which as a Patriots fan he should be able to recognize easily enough.

Hard to believe January is almost done, unlike last year barely any celebrities have bitten the dust which given the outrage over events here in the past 7 days may be considered something of a surprise!

Till next time,
J, J, R & H.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Final Thoughts of 2016

Right, time to wrap up 2016, a year which saw many changes and stress, multiple newsworthy moments and a closer look at what makes the fabric of society ebb & flow.

Here's our personal wrap up though, fortunately no deaths - but only because we saved Paul.  Though if he doesn't return the hoover upstairs soon maybe 2017 will see an early development in his status.....

Cats somehow lived throughout the year, especially Jet who of course managed to find more places to Jetty bomb, we had some cleaners come in to "winterclean" this week and they managed to freak out the cats, no surprise that one was  Poof, who ran downstairs, however in protest Jet decided to crap first in her bed, and 2nd under the tree.  She seemed surprised not to be getting any treats for 24 hours.  Actually Poof had 2 bad experiences this month as we finally got our carpet replaced after the flooding, and when they came to complete the job off scooted Poof downstairs, to find the door to the room of doom shut, so he hid under the futon, which of course was the 1st thing they grabbed to move, which saw a screaming Poofy run upstairs, to find the door shut on him there too, cue mass hysteria and eventual scampering into the room of doom when the door was finally opened, whereupon he hid for 6 hours.  You know he's scared when he's in there for 6 hours!

Kids enjoyed Christmas, Ryan of course got several Lego items, missing his Grandad this year he was forced to rely on Mom (mostly) and Dad to put bits together, so far so good, only 1 is incomplete due to missing parts - we'll sort them out later somehow.  He also got a couple of games on the XBox which I'm sure he'll enjoy playing.  Hannah got several noisy toys and a ride on car which she prefers walking alongside right now......

Jessica did well, and she even managed to miss the obvious fact she stinks as nearly all her presents were "bath" related.  She also got a trip to Anita's for a breakfast, make special by the lack of children in tow and not made special by the shitty service attitude, as reflected in the level of tip.

As for me I came out ok as well, got my Chocolate Brazils - yum, and a sweater that Jessica has already worn more than me (and spilled food down of course) plus some more XBox related gear so all is good.

Back to 2016 recap and Hannah has enjoyed CBA (not Can't Be Arsed - that's entirely Dad's reaction to being told to do something) but Chesterbrook.  This year she's obviously begun walking, talking and causing havoc, she's learned important things such as "Mine" and "Bye-Bye" and can recite her favorite songs.  Things to improve on in 2017 include biting less, throwing less Wubstrops and stealing Mom's food.

Ryan has had a hard time in 1st grade, the transition to full day school has been difficult with the sometimes excessive expectations of learning pushing him into meltdowns, however he too has made some great progress and his speech is now probably near 95% age appropriate.  Things for him to work on in 2017 are reading & writing, plus learning how to accept sometimes Daddy's a twat - that's just how he is, so don't be upset :)  He did manage to move up swimming classes and hit a moving baseball several times, excellent work!

Jessica plodded on at work.  Somehow.  She also remained a point of contact for several friends in need and took on the role of Class Mom for Ryan and Bingo Chairperson for the schools most popular event.

I plodded on at work too, actually I didn't plod on, I kicked ass.  Took on board comments made in 2015 and put them all into play and at the end of the year got my reward as I was promoted - YAY!  Not saying I knew it was coming but the XBox does make a nice bonus for achievement and as I feel I earned it, it makes it more important to me.

Here's to 2017, I hope yours kicks ass!

J,J,R & H.

PS 13 posts this year - 1 on the 1st day, 1 on the last.  Read them all, there's a chance 1 might be mildly amusing.

Monday, November 28, 2016

As the dust settles

Hi everyone,

Figured it was best to let the dust settle down before posting this witty line of comments on the past few weeks.

I am of course referring to Halloween, or the mega rake up of leaves, or the 2 times our neighbor flooded our basement.... you thought I'd never go two sentences without mentioning politics right?

So what's going down? Hannah enjoyed Halloween, as did Ryan of course, consuming a mountain of candy and oddly enough getting a couple of stick on tattoos, which always makes me wonder why bother with the concept if you're going to refuse to hand out candy?  Turn off your light, go out for the evening and don't let it bother you, handing tattoos instead of candy merely makes you an out of touch muppet (or a dentist - perhaps the two are linked?)  This year Ryan was a Storm Trooper, and he showed off a dark side by refusing to hand over his candy to Darth Vader (name removed to prevent embarrassment, but as I explained to the unlucky party it could have been Chandler Bings Pink Bunny outfit).

That time of year when we (the royal we, others in the family simply sit and watch) rake up leaves, this year I managed 7 bags, and came out the next day to wonder why I bothered.  Its two weeks later and I'm still asking myself that question, staring down at at least another 5 bags worth.  Go ahead worms - snack on!

Flooding - came downstairs 3 weeks ago and stood in a wet patch of carpet, Jet has previous so I immediately looked for her, but when the patch was bigger 2 hours later I knew we had an issue, there followed a confusing series of events where despite having a professional come out, he failed to note it wasn't us, it was next door.  The pressure valve had let go on the water heater and with no drain it had turned their wooden slatted floor into a nice ocean - with a super ripple effect too, and seeped between the floors to ruin our carpet.  We got an assessor booked to come visit and they had repairs done.

Which was a failure because a week later it happened again, this time I came home on Monday and went splat, much bigger leak this time.  So to sum up the fix wasn't done to resolve the issue and now it was definite that our carpet needed replacing, we put up with dryers & humidifiers for 4 days and now we wait for some damaged/removed boards/drywall to be repaired/replaced and then the carpet comes in, all of this is going through insurance, not ours, but the landlords next door.  He did try to suggest our landlord picked up our portion and I said "Look if your car rolls into mine, is it my fault for parking there?  You had a failure, your part flooded our floor, your fault, you pay!"  Work may be complete by Christmas but given the pace of it, that could be 2017.

Hannah has become quite persistent in throwing "Wubba-Strops" she's more active than Ryan ever was in that department, we get the full on stomping, throwing herself down on the floor like she's Ronaldo and usually favoring 1 parent over the other.  She's also become good at saying "No" even if this is the offering of something she just asked for, which is not annoying at all, nope, no it's not.  Ok, it is.....

Our Christmas tree is up giving Jake Thug a new place to hide, Jet a new place to piss and Poofy a new delicacy to taste and then spew up in another room.  They're battling Hannah who see's lots of "balls" to grab... going to be a long month!

Final thought, Lewis Hamilton remains a spoiled, egotistical asshole with the attitude of a child.

Have fun!
J,J, R & H

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Swinging the bat

Ryan continues to improve at baseball, hitting power isn't his strength right now, but the concepts of what he's doing and how to do it are getting better & better.  Last week he was a little down because he was on a strikeout streak - and here's a little detour towards an explanation why.  It's machine pitch, basically a series of levers catapults the ball towards the batter.  However, it's not consistent and Ryan, being short, has a considerably smaller strike zone than many others.  So sometimes the ball is over his head, other times it's a worm shagger and bouncing in front of the plate.  There's no such thing as a "ball" in machine pitch, maximum 8 pitches and you're out of luck if not one is hittable.

So Ryan is telling me he doesn't like baseball because he never hits and never fields and I understand why, but after a few words of encouragement we go to the game in the evening and at the end he walks off 4 for 4 and he's a totally different kid, he's excited, he wants to play again and he knows he's going to get more hits.  Right now his season stats say 6/14, 2 RBI, 2 runs which for him is very good indeed. 

As the days get shorter he's only got 3 or 4 more games to go - and having to skip a game on Tuesday because our door latch broke and Jessica/Hannah couldn't get in, leaving me to return for some B&E, which let me assure you is a lot less fun when it's your own house and you have to spend the evening fitting a new set on the door, was a real shame.

Hannah is now up into the next class, all that means is she's gone over the wall in her classroom, still causing us to frantically look and see what terror she's up to on many occasions this week we almost managed to trade her in as Jessica called me on Thursday when I was on the way to speech saying "Tell me you have Hannah!", Nope, I've got the other one, and we're going to speech.  "But she just got signed out by Chesterbrook, I got her report"  led me to "suggest you call them and ask where she is then, perhaps we'll be able to trade up!"  Jessica wasn't happy at that prospect, I wasn't going to say we have to accept, just that it would be smart to at least look at the alternative option :-)  However by the time I got there, all was resolved and the deal was off the table and we had to bring back the original.

My parents made another trip to USA, only this time they ventured round the West Coast enjoying the sights and sounds of various states & cities, haven't caught up with them yet, they blame WiFi but we'll have a conversation and see how they enjoyed it.  They're in danger of having seen more states than me! 

Finally the prospect of voting in my first Presidential election should be exciting, but the comedy show playing out is actually rather depressing, we all have our opinions on the electoral options of each party, and most of us can be relatively engaged & informed about what the key voting issues are for us individually but this election is a shameful embarrassment for The Republican Party and how they arrived at such an obviously unacceptable candidate, in time I hope this represents a low point. Politics works best when you have multiple parties offering key alternatives working for the improvement of the country & its citizens.  A close election between two qualified candidates arguing about important topics is a good thing, ridiculous pissing contests in House & Senate see everyone lose, it's time to work together and drag the country forwards.

If I wasn't at risk of being under "birther" status I'd put forward my manifesto and show them all how it could be done!