Sunday, 7 June 2020

Mid-life crisis

So I'm back, hopefully for a more regular approach to blogging than the current annual instalment, although it appears I didn't blog once in 2019, clearly a busy year !
In fact, 2019 was a momentous year in so many ways for me and my family (I don't even care if the word 'myself' would be grammatically correct here, I'm dead 'ard me). In fact, I think the word should be obliterated from the Oxford English Dictionary on the grounds of its constant mis-use by anyone born in the 1980s and 1990s). They use it to try and sound clever, they get it wrong, they sound dumb. Period.
Where was I? Oh yes, huge year.  Well, apart from both children making giant leaps in their education journey, Teddy to college and Daniel to high school, I seem to have had a mid-life crisis while my amazing children took these momentous changes in their stride.
So anyway, we'll talk about me first (what a surprise, I hear my husband cry. No really, he cries)!!!
My choices to deal with said crisis appeared to me in two options; Gin & Tonic or HRT & Hypnotherapy.
As I'm a huge fan of alliteration, and my liver, I decided to go with the latter.
However, I've since gone on to mess with my liver thanks to fungal toenail medication and Gary bought me some gin for my 48th birthday so I went for a double-whammy of (mid-life) crisis management, chin, chin!!
So, I may have mentioned before, I'm a bit of a worker bee (hence huge absences in blogging due to the fact than in any given 24 hour period, I'm either working or sleeping). I'd like to say I have a 'portfolio career', when in fact the truth is more along the lines of  a 'taking anything that I'm offered' career. I don't, however, often word it as such on job applications.
I've flitted from journalism to PR to marketing with random jobs in golf clubs and a theatre box office thrown in for good measure.
Then in 2019, from a life largely sat on my backside staring at a computer screen I took a leap of faith into the complete unknown and a life on the streets. No really, I mean it.
My smart feminine blouse, culottes and quirky brogues went out of the window and were replaced by hob-nailed boots, teflon trousers and a hi-vis bomber jacket - sexy eh?!
Think cross between street cleaner and PCSO without any powers, no whistle (huge disappointment to Daniel), not as many pockets and no dust cart.
Yep, on full mid-life crisis mode, I decided a career change would be more practical than a divorce or a sports car. I kinda like my husband (sometimes) and I couldn't get the kids' cricket paraphernalia in an SLK.
Nearly a year in and I'm still treading the beat and was even heralded a 'hero' by my employer this week, about an hour before my car broke down and my cape slipped silently away as I sat patiently in my not-so-Smart-car and awaited rescue by the RAC.
It's also been a year where I have fully made use of my NI payments, thanks to the wonderful people of the NHS who have been busy straightening my son's wonky teeth and yanking my other son's shoulder back into place on numerous occasions.
Then along came 2020 with joy, hope, train track braces installed, shoulder soundly riveted back into place, jobs bumbling along nicely, we get to March and wham, bam, thank you ma'am, in steps Covid-19 stage left and it all goes a bit, shall we say, tits up.....

Monday, 31 December 2018


Dear neglected diary (yes, I know it's a blog, I just felt like being all Bridget Jones about it)
I've just looked back and it's been months, nay, seasons, since I posted. Life has been bonkers busy recently and with every www waking moment, I've been writing for work not for pleasure, although they are one-and-the-same as I do love my job but writing for withdewrespect does not a mortgage pay.
But now sinus infection has rendered me a few rare moments of inactivity, I have chance to catch up with the world of withdewrespect.
I've just read back to 4th November 2017 (a particularly fun one if you'd care to scroll) and seen that Daniel was then on PS3 playing Minecraft. Fast-forward a year and he's now on PS4 and, like everyone between the ages of 10 and 16, on Fortnite, cue sigh and eye-rolling from every parent of an aforementioned 10 to 16-year-old.
And, as of today, not just playing, but live streaming, bless his little cotton socks (although I'm not sure you can get a skin with cotton socks, that clearly wouldn't be cool, although having a burger for a head apparently is!). It's great actually, I'm laid up in bed but can log on to Twitch and see what Daniel is up to in the room next door, it's like having a baby monitor again!
It's amazing what we can do on the www now (said the old lady blogger); I can turn the heating up or down without getting out of bed. In fact I can go to the other side of the world and turn my heating up or down, get me! In fact, I have never ever wanted to go to Australia (you know, my spider thing) but now I want to go just so I can turn my heating up or down while I'm there. Of course, my husband would have to stay at home to check that it is actually going up or down or what would be the point!?
This remote / artificial / cyber intelligence thing is the future apparently. I want to be like the girl in Matrix who asks her brain implant chip thing to source instantaneous knowledge to fly a helicopter. Of course, I'd use it for something much more useful than flying a helicopter to escape certain death, like to summon up a nice recipe for lasagne, set a reminder to buy cat litter or order some printer ink on Amazon. Like Alexa, only actually in my head.
In fact, there may soon be very little reason to leave bed, let alone leave the house. I sometimes wonder why we bother anyway. I took the boys to Munich last year and later asked them what they had learnt about the city and Bavarian culture. Daniel: "They eat sausages", Teddy: "....and ride bikes".
Another recent trip had me chuckling at the banality of the road 'warnings' when you get north of Carlisle. Life in the northern most parts of our beautiful country is certainly not spent in the proverbial fast lane. In fact, I don't think anyone has ever used the outside lane on the A74(M), it still has its wrapper on.
Road signs up there can hardly be bothered lighting up at all and when they do they literally yawn out messages like 'drive efficiently', 'fasten your safety belt', 'soft tyres waste fuel', 'blah, blah', 'yadder, yadder'. On the M62 round our way, the incessantly flashing signage is much more shouty; 'slow down, debris on the road', 'incident ahead', 'hours and hours of delay ahead', 'have you brought a flask, you could be here a while?'
On the same trip, while touring round the Lake District, I was highly amused when we came across Loch Lochy.
It's as if the Lakes Naming Committee had had a long day. Catering had gone home, the tea urn had been turned off and the caretaker was peering through the door and looking at his watch, so somebody piped up; "look guys, there's just one more lake to name, fuck it, let's just call it Loch Lochy so we can all go home! All in favour....."

Friday, 8 June 2018

The C-C Syndrome

Is Mother Nature having a laugh?

I mean really, is she sat in her ivory tower somewhere in the clouds, having a cuppa and sniggering behind her hand, Horrid Henry-fashion (Dennis the Menace-fashion for more mature readers), saying to herself: "Let's see how they handle this one!"

I refer to the approximate, yet highly likely, timing of a woman's menopause years to, frighteningly, coincide with her children being teenagers.

C-C Syndrome appears to have arrived in my life of recent months and, guess what, I have one pre-teen and one full-blown one, thank you Ms N!!!!

I'm in denial of course, so refuse to use the M word by name and am affectionately referring to it as Cardi on-Cardi off Syndrome, or C-C for short. (In winter, my acronym will still work as I'm darn sure it will become Coat on-Coat off)

Anyways, before the C-C central heating fires up once again and I strip off and lay naked on the lino (or before my boss comes in), back to those boys and their unwittingly funny banter.

Just a normal day having tea with the pair and Teddy, the older one, is telling Daniel, the younger one, about the fingerprint scanning system which they use in his high school canteen to take payment for dinner. 
A quick aside; I genuinely wonder if Teddy thinks he stores money under his skin. I'm not sure he realises it links to an account where I regularly, oh so regularly, deposit wads of money to fund his relentless diet of crap followed by more crap.  I thought Jamie Oliver had some sort of say over what they eat in schools these days, nothing resembling healthy seems to be on the menu at my son's school.

Well, back to the tea table at home, and Daniel, who is heading to high school next year, asks his brother how the fingerprint scanner works: "How do you pay for your dinner at school Teddy?"

Teddy: "They use a thumb-scanning machine."

Daniel nearly chokes on his sausage sandwich (yes, looks like Jamie isn't in charge of the menu in our house either), and, clearly horrified, blurts out: "What!?!? A bum-scanning machine???????"

He then asks me politely if he can please go to a different high school to Teddy, to allow him to preserve his dignity at dinnertime.

And speaking of dinner. In Yorkshire, we famously call a spade a spade but in London it seems they're intent on calling it anything but.

On a recent trip, I discovered that in London, menu items such as salmon or chicken are generically referred to as 'protein'.  I selected a salad in the British Library cafĂ©, only for the long-suffering counter assistant to spot a northerner a mile off and pretentiously sigh, 'do you want protein with that?', barely disguising her eye roll when I politely asked what the fuck she was on about!

I then proceeded to order a side plate of complex-carbohydrates, a dollop of polyunsaturated fat, a smidge of starch, a slurp of dairy, a soupcon of caffeine and some refined sugars for good measure.  I asked her to go easy on the pesto which, never mind belonging to its own food group, in my opinion needs a Government health warning, along with Apium graveolens (or celery as it's known up north).

After my yummy protein, I asked the chap on the Library's information desk whether I should walk or take the tube to the National Gallery.  He assured me it was far too far to walk, proclaiming: "And I'm a keen walker, look, I have a FitBit and everything."

I took his advice and set off to the underground station only to find it surrounded by the flashing blue lights of police cars and ambulances. I asked a man in a news kiosk what was going on and got more information than I had bargained for: "Somebody has jumped in front of a train," he said, and then added: "I once worked in a hotel and found a man hung in a wardrobe."

I walked to the National Gallery, it took me less than an hour.  We're made of stern stuff us northern lasses.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

One thing led to acca'nother

Just been to see Pitch Perfect 3 with my little lad Daniel. #lovedit
Especially delighted to see one of my #ifIweregay faves in it, Ruby Rose (OITNB) who is top of the  'if'-list closely followed by Julia Roberts (circa. Pretty Woman not Notting Hill (Hugh Grant, really?)) and Claire (oh, and Gloria, claro) from Modern Family.  Is that list too long?
Anyway, a few weeks before his 10th birthday, Daniel asked for a goalkeeper shirt as a present.
A month later, I bought myself new car.
Trust me, there's a link, and a story, oh boy, there's always a story.
Daniel asked for a Bayern Munich goalie shirt so I messaged friends who I knew were holidaying in Spain, the land of the cheap replica footie kits.
A grand later, the four of us were on a plane to Munich.
So, no-one being able to find a shirt in a Spanish market, led to looking on the internet for one, browsing the Bayern online store, looking at Daniel's wide-eyed wonder at the images of the stadium, opening a new Google Chrome window and searching for flights..... Not that I'm a push-over or anything, just a sucker for my boys' big brown eyes and their fluttering long eyelashes.
Yadder, yadder, Munich; amazing city, wonderful people, public transport that runs on time, clean, tidy, friendly folk asking if we were lost, even before we knew we were lost, a slightly furrowed brow enough to engage a passer-by sufficiently to check if we needed any help, I could go on but I won't (for a change). Our hotel was near the Mercedes HQ and, popping in 'just for a look' at the fancy cars, I fell in love, with the smallest car in the joint, Smart eh?!
Now anybody who cares to listen to me (and some that don't have a choice) has now heard that I've got a new car.  Not any old new car, a Smart new car.
Being very proud of my little shiny motor, I was explaining to a colleague that this vehicle may be very small and not really very fancy, but that it comes from the Mercedes family and has a Daimler engine.
To which my colleague (clearly not listening properly) responded: "You what, a Dame Edna engine?"
Pah, theatre folk!!!
My new Dame Edna-engine'd vehicle may actually represent be the early signs of MLC creeping in.  *Mid-life crisis
I'm in denial about most aspects of ML.  Even though this Christmas Gary bought me a lower back support cushion and I got him a voucher for an eye test - please remember WDR (withdewrespect) is all true!
Then there's my own failing eyesight.
The other day Daniel held up a Love Heart sweet for me to read. I kept asking him to hold the sweet further and further away to allow my eyes to focus on the tiny words, until finally he quipped: "Shall I go to Africa mum?"
It's like Daniel's a little pocket-sized comedian, his wit effortless and half the time, in complete blissful ignorance with just a little bit of complete bonkersness thrown in for good measure.
His 15-year-old brother wandered past him the other day and Daniel wafted his hand in front of his nose and remarked: "Phew Teddy, you've gone a bit overboard with the astroturf, er, I mean deodorant!"
Say what!?!?
I'll round off with a couple of classics not from Daniel for a change but from a little black book of 'customers comments' that we have at my day job in a local theatre box office.
Customer: "I'm interested in coming to see Lesley Garrett; will she be singing and telling antedotes?"

Customer: "Good morning, I've got some buckets ticked for a show, wait, that's not right......"

Customer: "Can I book two tickets for Tarzan please?"
Box Office Assistant: "Do you mean The Jungle Book?"
Customer: "Same thing."

Saturday, 4 November 2017

People who live in glass houses

I've discovered that alongside PCP, I am also a complete control freak (who knew!?), no acronym required.
In a cafe the other day I was multi-tasking; perusing the cake cabinet at the same time as telling my 9-year-old to take his coat off: "Daniel, Daniel, Daniel....take your coat off, it's warm in here, take your coat off, Daniel, Daniel!"
As I turned back to Daniel he gave me one of his withering looks and in a calm and dry tone said: "Well I was doing, before you started with the Daniel'ing".

Speaking of Daniel.... He's a boy with all the usual 'boy' attributes; he plays Minecraft on his PS3, kicks a ball around a muddy field every Sunday morning, collects Match Attax cards and likes guns and knives.  He also, as has been analysed in many an edition of withdewrespect, has a, erm, softer side which was never more apparent than a conversation the other day.

We were looking at Swiss Army Knives and discussing the values of all their many attachments, knives in all shapes and sizes for various purposes, scissors, a bottle opener etc etc.

Daniel pipes up: "Mum, shall I tell you what would be really good as another attachment?"
Me: "What you thinking Daniel?"
Daniel: "A comb".

This kid was just born funny, it's not something you can learn, or clearly as you can see from this blog, inherit.  He just opens his mouth and is funny.

Here's another one.....
Due to his 'softer' side, he is prone to shedding a tear or two at will (and usually for completely no good reason).  The other day he was crying at the same time as eating a rice cake and, being the cold and cruel mother that I am, was laughing at him.
In between sobs he looked daggers at me and hissed: "Don't laugh, you've must made me miss my mouth and choke!!!"

And another......
During a recent trip to North Yorkshire, we were taking a stroll along a riverside and Daniel and his dad were stopping every now and then to throw stones into the water.
I was very bored, chilly and wanted to keep walking and politely expressed my eagerness to keep going and questioned why we needed to stop every beeping 100 yards to chuck things in!!

Daniel replied: "Mum, we're boys, it's what we do!"
Payback time.
Me: "Well can we please get a bloody move on, the village is still three miles away and there's a tea shop and I want a cup of tea; I'm a girl, it's what we do!"

I'm trying to bring him up to respect the fairer (in all senses of the word) sex but it would appear that I've failed miserably.
Driving through Cornwall on (yet another) recent holiday, the sat-nav with a lovely female voice was leading us, with dulcet tones, down stupidly narrow streets and up ridiculously steep hills.
Daniel decides to throw in his two penn'orth: "Dad, why don't you change your sat-nav settings to a man's voice, then it will choose smarter routes?"



Tuesday, 15 August 2017

I have PCP, but I don't think it's catching

So, I'm finally ready to come out of the closet.
(Which you will soon see is a remarkably apt use of analogy)

I admit it, (drum roll).....I have PCP.

There, I've said it.
The world now knows my deepest, darkest secret (well, those people in the world who read my blog, which is, say around 10, on a good day).

I don't know when my PCP first manifested itself, probably years ago, but it's currently out-of-control.

For example. 
Yesterday, two coats and a pair of shoes were purchased, taken home and put away in my wardrobe. 

Today, all were removed from wardrobe, labels re-attached, re-bagged and all were returned to source.

PCP (self-named acronym for self-named Purchase Commitment Phobia) symptoms include a weird guilt-laden panic-like state, felt head to toe. 
It begins when it dawns on you that too much money has been spent on something that you don't really, really need - and can, however, be debilitating when you do actually need something!

Symptoms are immediately alleviated once the return has been processed and light-headed relief slowly replaces the breathless, arm-tingling tension that had begun to build while the purchase was 'in the closet'.
It's not life-threatening.

The youth of today (pft), are creating their very own version of the English language, and no doubt other languages around the world, as they snap, tweet and text their way through life (don't even get me started on their new usage of the word 'sick').
I suspect within just a few years the Oxford English Dictionary will be adding the word 'lobe' - as a separate entry and entirely unrelated to anything to do with ears.
Lobe (2) Meaning:
  1. a strong feeling of affection
  2. a great interest and pleasure in something
  3. a person or thing that one lobes
  4. (in tennis, squash, and some other sports) a score of zero; nil
Verb: lobes (third person present) · lobed (past tense) · lobed (past participle) · lobing (present participle)
  1. feel deep affection or lobe for (someone):
On a regular basis (mainly on days when he's forgotten his PE kit, needs a lift to his friend's or wants a tenner), my teenage son tells me in a text: "I lobe you c"
Oh, and that's another thing, the letter X will be eradicated, simply because it's just too darn near the C on a Qwerty keyboard and seemingly impossible to hit on a touch-screen when you're not actually looking at said touch-screen - and therefore not essential.
I routinely text him back and tell him, I'm at work and can't traipse up to school with his blooming PE kit; he can stop being a lazy git and walk to his friend's house and he can sod off and ask his father for some money!  But I always add: "I lobe you too"

I'll round off for today with another gem from my job in a theatre Box Office.
Me: "Would you like to buy a programme for £2?"
Customer: "Maybe, how much are they?"

Mind you, if I was the customer, I'd be more likely to ask: "If I decide I don't need it, can I have my money back please?"

Monday, 22 May 2017

A wee football trip

Taking the boys to their football games is such a constant joy, nay the highlight of my week. There's nothing I would rather be doing on a Sunday morning than getting up at some God-forsaken hour and driving up hill and down dale around West Yorkshire following sat-nav to some field, somewhere where it's muddy, raining and blowing a hooley (please note heavy sarcasm and the subliminal angst in my cathartic heavy usage of the keyboard as I type this).

This week it was away, somewhere in a field in Halifax, with son 2 Daniel (numbered by arrival into the world not preference to reiterate from a previous blog on the subject of offspring numbering).

On arrival at our destination in Halifax, Daniel and his dad recognised the pitch and started recalling memories of their previous visit, the weather, where the pitch was, where they parked, the score, who scored etc (sad, very sad the male aptitude to memorise football trivia, yes, you heard right male, other more PC blogs are available, just not at withdewrespect).

I also recognised the location and cheerfully chipped in: "Oh I remember Daniel, they didn't have any toilets and I needed a wee so I had to drive miles to the nearest civilised supermarket with a loo and I missed most of the game."

They both looked at me and Daniel replied: "I'm sure you weren't with us mum, it was just me and dad."

Dad confirmed this was indeed the case.

I wracked my brain, fully recalling in minute detail the toilet trauma.

It was quite some time later than it finally dawned on me; it was actually child 1, Teddy, I had brought to this pitch, not Daniel at all!!!!

Clearly a minor detail in my random memory bank.