Monday, 31 October 2011

So that's what I sound like when I'm really scared...

Last night, we had no tea and watched X Factor in bed, things were all a bit muddled with the clock change.

After X Factor it dawned on me that a 7 and half month pregnant woman needs to eat something to get through the night, so I left The FH in bed, netbook on his stomach, trawling e bay , whilst I went in hot pursuit of a tuna and cucumber sandwich with too much butter.

I considered putting on a dressing gown, fully aware that a once short nightie, was now skin tight and indecently short due to the material taken up covering the bump, but then thought "sod it" anyone peeping into my back windows is clearly too desperate to be consequential.

There I was, at 9pm, all lights on downstairs, pitch black outside, hunting for the salad cream in the fridge, when I heard a noise outside. I am a little bit neurotic about noises and have an overactive imagination. Usually I chide myself for being jumpy, but something had unerved me to the point I had to check the patio doors. Just as I got to them, I caught sight of a figure, tangled up in the washing line, heading towards me.

The next sound that came out of my mouth is a sound I had never heard before. In my head I was shouting The FH, but in reality I warbled a high pitched yelp, that had such an impact he appeared in seconds. It was the sound of true fear.

The figure was our builder picking up some ladders he'd left behind a fortnight ago. He had texted earlier, but the iphone had been drained to empty by the kids.

He was mortified, the builder, who is polite and apologetic by nature. I like to think his mortification came from having terrified me to a quivering wreck, and he overloooked the fact my arse was hanging out of my nightie as I stood, frozen to the spot, considering my weapon of choice, warbling.

I can honestly say this is the most terrified I have ever been...
And this is what I have learnt...
  • In a crisis I think too much... Phone? Knife? Lock door? Grab broom? Is this person pissed? etc etc
  • When it comes to Fight or Flight? I Freeze.
  • Those screams girls make in horror films - so unrealistic - it's a warble!
  • The FH will throw a netbook across a room if he believes I am in real danger.
  • If you trult believe you are about to die, you don't think about your underwear - even if you're not wearing any at all!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Three things that have tickled me

I was sat at my Mums, one child at school, the other asleep; I was relaxing. The phone rang, as it often does there. My Mum answered, already shirked as the caller display hinted it may be a cold caller.
"Hello" she said, appearing, cold, abrupt and stern all at once.
No answer.
"Hello" she repeated, louder and even sterner.
 She hung up, pressing the disconnect button with drama, flourish and anger.
"They make me so cross" she said to me.
Next minute the phone rang again.
"Hello" she shouted with unmistakeable fury bubbling in her tone.
"Did you just hang up on me?" a male asked with a distinctive Indian accent.
"Yes, I did" I hears her say, taken aback.
The caller said something in Indian, which Mum thought could have been loosely translated as "F### You" and hung up on her.
She sat there, aghast, spluttering and spitting feathers.
"How rude?" she finally said after a lot of shaking of the head.
"Very" I replied, stifling the giggles.

If you read my last post, you will be aware about the water meter troubles we've had. If not, in short, we've been stung. Anyway The FH had to determine if we had a leak or  not, this meant he had to read the meter and we were NOT ALLOWED to use any water for an hour, then he had to read it again.
"Right he said coming in from the yard. I've read the meter, nobody is use any water for ONE WHOLE HOUR. Ok?"
"Ok" I replied.
"No water at all Fran, you got that?"
"Yes I replied "I'll take the kids to the park then, just to make sure"
I faffed about finding shoes, coats and hats for a while.
"Are you going?" the FH asked.
"Yep. Just need a wee" I said running up the stairs (or whatever a 7 month pregnant woman does when they intend to move quickly up a flight of stairs).
"Don't use any water." he chided
"Ok" I chirped back.
I had a wee.
Got up.
Flushed the chain.
And then washed my hands.
"What?" I shouted back arrogantly.

I had to follow the FH to hospital the other week, after he was carted off in an ambulance. (It was a false alarm, all is well). When I arrived, and found his ward, he was having his bloods taken and a hospital curtain was concealing him and his hospital bed. I was ushered in and sat on the uncomfortable plastic seat as we made small talk, including inappropriate humour, to pass the time.

The nurse left us, also leaving the curtains drawn. Which is a strange experience; being left in the middle of a ward, concealed behind curtains. You naturally whisper and listen intently to anything going on the other side. Like hiding in a cupboard as a child.

It was a shift change, so the new Nurse was acquainting herself with the ward

The first conversation we hear:
Nurse: (Approaching bed to the right, presumably looking at her notes): Hi there, Alfred isn't it?
Patient: No. Chris.
Nurse: Oh that's a bit different from Alfred. Is that your second name?
Patient: No. It's because my surname is Noel. And that's like Christmas. So people call me Chris

Me and The FH, listening to each other intently turn and pull "WTF" faces?

The second conversation we hear:
Nurse: (Approaching bed to the left, presumably looking at her notes): Hello. Robert isn't it?
Patient: No. Mark.
Nurse: Right, of course. Is that your middle name?
Patient: No, I just get called Mark.
Nurse: Ok, Mark.

Me and The FH stifle giggles. I turn to him and whisper "You have to create an Alias".
He shakes his head, trying not to laugh "Piss off Fran"

The third conversation we hear

Auxiliary: (entering ward) Simon? Is Simon here?
I nudge The FH, but before he can answer, some-one else replies.
Another Scouse Simon: (in a Liverpool accent): Yeah I'm Simon.
Auxiliary: Your brother's on the phone.
Another Souse Simon: I'll call him back.

I turn to The FH (Who is not only called Simon, but is also from Loverpool and has a brother) "Well you're going to have to create a new identity now as he's  just nicked yours."

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Isn't hindsight fucking wonderful?

Warning: ranty, sweary and angry.

There are many things I would allow my older self to tell my younger self if she could... but nothing ever seems as important as the things we did wrong when we bought this house.

Younger self: sit up and pay attention!

You MUST pay for a proper surveyor -

Before the collapse of our economy, there was a time when houses were flying of their metaphorioc shelves and banks were giving away mortgages - "Do you want a 100% mortgage? Sure why not? Would you like a free surveyor with that?"

So as a first time buyer when they say "would you like a free surveyor or to pay for one?" - which one do you think we chose? They fail to tell you that a free surveyor drives past the building and checks it is is there, whereas, other surveyors actually do a building survey and tell you about the things that might cost you a lot of money in the future.

What a decent surveyor could have told me?
  • That all the joists in the front room were rotten and when we would come to pull up the carpets and lay laminate flooring, we would have to budget in the cost of replacing all the joists, as what we were walking on was a shoddy, makeshift job which could have collapsed and one of use could disapperared through the floor at any moment (you will be 7 months pregnant with first child at this point)
  • That the electrics were actually illegal and the house could have gone up in flames at any point. But we would only discover this when getting some building work done and therefore would have to pay for a rewire, every room to be replastered and re-decorated and turn what was meant to be a 2 week stay at my parents (with a partly pooty trained toddler and a new born colicy baby) into an 8 week stint!
  • That the pointing and bricks on the exterior back wall were actually knackered and having replastered every room, two of them would be subject to elements, during TWO Big Freezes,  and the wall will need rendering, the rooms replastering and redocrating ... again!

Take a good look at the Previous Owner

So you may have worked out the previous owner, Mr P, was a bit of a bodge-up, make-shift kind of guy. There may have been some signs, if we hadn't been so excited about buying a house together, we could have picked up on them. However, I have come to the conclusion after living here for numerous years, Mr P was tighter than a duck's arse.

We have recently been given the news are water bill is doubling - why is ours doubling and noone elses?  We are on a meter - oh no we didn't fit it, the previous owner did. Because who fits water metres? Single men who don't flush the toilet that's who. And now we are stuck on it - Forever! Which means our bill can cost up to 5 times more than our neighbours, who can use more water than us, just because some tight fisted tit decided to install a meter and we are now stuck on it!

Can you tell them you didn't know you had a meter fitted?
Yes, and they can say we don't care.
Can you tell them you have a third child on the way and are a one income family and will struggle with the new bills?
Yes, And they can say they don't care.
Can you express how ridiculous the system is and that either everyone should have a compulsory meter or noone, otherwise they are not treating you the same as other customers?
Yes, and they can say as we are the only water provider, we have no competition, we don't care.

And one final note, younger self...
You are very in love and you're both playing it cool; going for the safe option, buying a two bedroom terrace, because who's going to start talking about thrid bedrooms and gardens for the children when you've only just committed to moving in together? Get over yourself younger self and look at the bigger picture: this is the man you are going to spend your life with and have children with (all boys btw, forget the pink now), don't go for a two bedroomed terrace, push the boat out and buy the three bedroomed semi with a garden. Why? Because, there is a fucker of an economic depression coming your way where the price of petrol and a weekly food shop is going to triple. Plus you will give up work, become very fertile and end up living like Mr and Mrs Pontipine  in that tiny house. (Younger Self, Google In The Night Garden for the children's TV reference) Additionally, David Cameron (Google future upper class twats who will run the country) will make it his priority to squeeze the middle and you will never be able to afford to get a bigger mortgage again and your FH will buy you this for Christmas in attempt to save money on the water bill!

Mrs Pontipine

You can't reason with a pregnant woman!

The FH and I actually went to a supermarket... together ... to do a weekly shop. Since we have had children, online shopping has been nothing short of miraculous for us. But every so often we slum it at Tesco, with screaming, small children restrained in the trolley seats, just to remind ourselves why some genius brain invented online shopping.

In our house we have a rule that we don't stockpile chocolate, crisps, biscuits or alcohol. For the simple reason that neither of us have much will power and they rarely last an evening in our house, never mind a week.

"Shall I go get some biscuits?" The FH asked with mischief glinting in his eyes.
"Ooh risky" I smirked "Yeah, go on then - why not?  You choose." There was no way I was going down the biscuit aisle – the selection is too overwhelming, I fear I would never come out of there.0 Plus Fearless had just discovered it was quite entertaining to pick items out of the trolley and throw them on the floor, then giggle as his pregnant Mother struggled to retrieve them, so I had my hands full, literally.  The FH returned brandishing a packet it each hand; reduced fat digestives and Tesco’s equivalent of Hobnobs, aptly named Oaties.
"Wow" I said, genuinely blown away by his choices as he placed them in the trolley.

Fearless immediately picked them up and threw them out, beating me to it. The FH caught them.

"Good job I've got safe hands" he said, placing them at the other end of the trolley.

"Isn't it?" I replied monotonously.

Two aisles later, we were done. The FH went to get some bread, whilst I headed to find a checkout. Unfortunately I got distracted and he found me drooling in the front of the grab bags chocolates where there was a "2 For 1 offer" filling my heart with glee.

I picked up Galaxy Counters and Malteasers, and stood with them in each hand just as  The FH got to me.
"We don't need them Fran."

"I know but I want them and they're on offer"

"We don't need them." he repeated sternly

"I know we don't.” I sighed heavily "But" *dramatic pause* "I am 7 months pregnant, I am allowed a dribble of wine a week, apart from X Factor I have few things to look forward to on a weekend and this is the last time in my life I will be able to buy guilt free chocolate as when this baby is born I am going to have to be on a diet for eternity. I'm getting them." I finished by dramatically throwing them into the trolley, just missing Fearless' head. 
"Well I'll take the biscuits back" he threatened

"What the most boring biscuit ever made worse by taking some of the fat content out and the poor man's hobnob? Go for it."

It was hardly a choice was it?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Unexpected Sunshine

It seemed like it was only me who was not "loving the sunshine" last week. Me, my swollen feet, newly found double chin and pregnancy waddle did not appreciate the October heat wave one bit.
Both my sons were born in the summer, and during their pregnancies I was at my biggest on the hottest days of 2007 and 2009; I could be found almost naked on the decking as The FH sprayed me with water, like he was trying to save a beached whale.
This time, having a Christmas baby, I was looking forward to having my own personal central heating. The summer had passed us by with only a couple of beach days and we had barely witnessed the sunshine caress the decking, never mind the appearance of semi-naked-beached-whale. But, for me, I thought "well I got off easy; bring on the snow. I'm ready."
An Indian summer seemed out of the question. We packed away the crocs and flip flops, put the outside toys back into storage (the playhouse), paired up all the boys’ socks and spent a fortune on winter shoes and lined winter jackets. I even started to make movements to sorting out the cloak cupboard (well I told The FH what I expected him to do). Then -Boom! A late September heat wave - and for the North East the hottest temperature of the summer - Mother Nature, you cow!
 I was surrounded by belated summer joy! Television presenters gushed and giggled at the end of the weather forecast, Twitter and Facebook glowed with Sunkist updates and everywhere I went grinning smiles turned to sympathising, cock-headed looks of pity, as I huffed, puffed and waddled past.
 But being (almost) 7 months pregnant was not the only downside of the unexpected sunshine...

  • Early sunset and high tide - we headed to the beach on Friday, after picking Little O up from school, the Future Husband would meet us there.  My favourite thing about having the beach on your doorstep is making the most of summer evenings and fish and chip suppers. In high Summer the Sun bounces off the sand and promenade till late into the evening. In the last days of September we discovered the autumn sunshine was stalled by the prevailing cliffs and with it being high tide at 4.00pm there was only a thin strip of sunbeams between the cliff shadows and the shallows. This thin strip was closing in on itself as the tide drew nearer and the sun lowered its gaze further.
  • No Salad or Ice lollies. On the Saturday, I was unbearably hot. I had developed a heat rash on parts of my body that will go without mention. All I could bare to do was walk into to town, with the boys and The FH, and get an ice cream. My lovely little seaside town has three traditional sweetshops; each one had a queue out the door for the ice cream booth. We decided to head the supermarket buy a multi-pack of ice lollies and go to the bandstand to eat them, I also needed some lettuce for tea. Turns out Sainsbury’s wasn't prepared for the sunshine either - there was one pack of lollies left, an opened and battered box of Fabs, and one bag of browning lettuce. 
  • Scruffs with no tops. You're prepared for them in July and August, the inevitable desire for most unattractive males to strip from the waist up. But in October, you'd be forgiven for thinking this unfortunate side effect of the summer was over for another year. But there they were again, parading their tattoos and flabby skin around the town. And even if they have spent the last 3 years of their life in the gym, and their bodies are ones worthy of display, they team their naked torsos with tracky bottoms, football socks and trainers (and a gold chain if you're lucky). Now, I’m not perfect, but I think it is in the public interest if I never adorn a mini skirt, regardless of fashion or weather.
Now if David Gandy (see below) were to walk past me on a Summer's day wearing nothing but Armani jeans and  Havaiana flip flops then I wouldn't be offended, but even David Gandy in Adidas bottoms tucked into socks would make my skin shudder.

  • Outrage at the Christmas aisle. Another hot day and I found myself waddling through the supermarket in a sundress and flip flops, only to find myself utterly outraged to be face to face with Halloween masks and confectionary and then utterly appalled to discover Christmas gifts awaited me at the end of the aisle "for fuck's sake - Halloween and Christmas things already!" I muttered to myself. "Well it is October tomorrow" a shop assistant said behind me. "Fair point." I thought, bloody stupid autumn heat wave weather making me look like a Scrooge.