Sunday, 15 December 2013

Why I've been AWOL recently - Part Three. Last part. Honest.

So Monday came, and Mr G had an early start that day, bound for his appointment in Wrexham.  I got the kids off to school, and changed into my painting clothes.  When he phoned to say he'd arrived safely he asked me what I was doing.  'Oh, nothing much, just a bit of tidying, can't be bothered today.'   I pulled out the furniture and I made a start on the painting, then when it dried I gave the woodwork a lick of gloss.  He arrived home about 1.30pm, I met him at the door.

Me:  Don't shout at me...  (Not that he ever would.  But still...)
Mr G:  You're a little sod.
Me:  In a good way?
Mr G:  Yes.

So from when I started at 9 am on Monday morning, to putting the TV bracket up on Saturday evening, we totally transformed our living room.  Dad came to help Mr G put up the flowered wallpaper, and the fire in the photo below was our early Christmas present from Mum and Dad.   We had always felt that the room was lacking something, the coal fires had been taken out before we moved in, and a real fire was something that we missed, especially this time of year.  Nothing nicer than being sat down in front of the fire on a cold Winter evening, rain lashing and wind howling outside (and boy has it been windy here!).   We just have the display on, and whether it's psychological or not, we feel warmer!

We just need some floating shelves under the TV for our boxes, and some new flooring in the New Year and it will be properly finished.

The kids decorated the tree

That big box is for me!  Yippee!
And so is this one!  Yippee!

Naked Wines delivered my Christmas wines Friday instead of Monday, which is pretty brilliant service seeing as I'd only ordered them 19 hours before.  Whether they make Christmas is another matter.  But given how much back pain I've been in this last month, it's becoming a 'Daddy or Chips' choice for me of late.  In my case 'Wine or Painkillers'.  My Doctor is fantastic but 'Painkillers until you can't bear it and then surgery' isn't an option I want to consider.  I am going to look into alternatives in the New Year, because it's getting worse and worse lately.

This year my friend H made me this beautiful peg dolly for my tree, the picture doesn't do it justice, they're so cute! 

The children made home made crackers to put on the tree and I made loads of Christmas puddings!  We tried one and Mr G's opinion was that they were so awful that there was no way for shame we could possibly give them away to friends, so we'd have to keep them all.  And eat them all ourselves.  So, I think this year's batch of puddings is one of my best :-)

Ryan and Adam took part in the school concert, this year they performed their take on 'The Lion King'.  Mr G and I were completely shocked as usual, because my boys always play everything so close to their chests.  They never tell us what they're doing, never show us what they're doing beforehand.  Never practice at home.  All we knew was that Ryan was a 'giraffe' and Adam?  Well, this is how Adam went down.

Adam:  I know what I'm going to be in the Christmas concert.  A monkey.
Mr G:  Ah, a cheeky monkey eating a banana?
Adam:  Well, no, because I don't like bananas.  So I'm going to be a vegetarian monkey.

Don't ask.  Unless he has some idea that bananas are meat or something?  We sat down to watch the show, and both of my boys performed separately in wonderfully choreographed dance routines.  I was so proud of them both.  And glad, in a way, that they'd kept it quiet from us as it was a wonderful surprise.    

And there's also this.  A contender for 'Not Quite Right' photos, this one.  Now, I am sure that to many people who do not possess the level of filthy mind as I do, this phrase can seem quite innocent.  However.  I read it, and snorted.


'You will need a suitable screwdriver to fit your knob'.  Surely it's not just me who thinks B&Q could have phrased that a little differently?  To fit the enclosed screws onto the doorknob, perhaps? 

So, now all that's over and done with, I'd like to say I can relax but I'm nowhere near ready for Christmas, I still have so many people to buy for, not a clue what to get them.  I want to have a get together with my friends before Christmas, and decide what is happening on New Year's Eve.  Mr G finally had an appointment from Walton to see a Neurologist, and when he phoned to make the appointment and he repeated back to me 'New Year's Eve?' my face fell and I shook my head.  Liverpool on a New Year's Eve at 3.30pm?  Oh no!  Luckily the Consultant has a clinic in our local hospital that day so he should be there and back in time for anything we have planned.  Not sure if my parents will make it this year, we may have my sister in law and husband down if she can get the night off work.  So I'm a bit in limbo there too at the moment, my plans all depend on other people.  However, I know that there's no point in stressing, everything always comes good in the end.  Everyone knows the pressure our family has been under this last few months so I'm sure they can make allowances for a more frugal and unorganised Christmas than I normally manage to pull out of the bag.   I'm not doing too badly under the circumstances!

Are you all ready for Christmas?   Or could you do with a few more weeks?

M x

Friday, 13 December 2013

Why I've been AWOL recently... Part Deux

So - after doing this...

... from 6.30 am on Saturday I was quite tired.  So I sat down for the rest of the night, watching the young ones dance the night away, while I had wine bought for me from my lovely son and stepson.  Result.  I knew one day they'd be old enough to come in handy for something. 

My son and stepson raiding the buffet before anyone arrived!

There was a sweet buffet set up for the kids (and big kids)!

Despite having his very long hair cut for the occasion, poor Dan was subject to the usual ritual humiliation from his older cousins.   Two of the more notable comparisons were 'Mika' and 'Jonathan Creek'.  Lol.

My boys doing the Cha Cha Slide...

And my beautiful daughter, glammed up.

All in all, a really wonderful night.  I was asked to go up on stage and I received a bottle of wine and chocolates for my help, which was really nice.  My Sister in Law also bought me a new Maneki Neko for my collection :-)  It was nice for my husband to get together with his extended family and friends without the occasion being someone's funeral, which is the norm for a lot of families, I suppose.

My new baby, third from left

Sunday lunch time we made our way home.  Mr G had a hospital appointment with his consultant in Wrexham on the Monday or it would have been nice to stay longer and recover from my hangover.  On the way home he said this...

Mr G:  I'm starting to wish that I'd done what I was told last week... 
Me:  Eh? 
Mr G:  Painting those walls before putting the tree up.

I just nodded and began to hatch a devious plan in my mind...

Why I've been AWOL recently... Part One

Remember our 'green' disaster?  No?  Let me remind you... we decided that the time had come to finally strip the hall, stairs and landing.   The walls were uneven, bumpy, cracked.  And green.  Yes.  We knew it would cost a fortune one way or another to get it looking nice.  So the plasterers came.  And they said...

'It will all have to come off.'

So, off it all came...

They replastered.  Did a wonderful job.  Really clean.  Then my brother broke his neck.  Then we had a month where we were between here and Staffordshire.  Then he came home.  Then we realised that Christmas was nearly upon us.  I started panicking.  The house was a mess.  So we decided to finish what they started.  We sanded down some of the woodwork and stained it.  Painted the walls.   Mr G decided he wanted a 'feature wall'.   I thought he was joking when he told me what wallpaper he wanted on it.

Brick wallpaper?  Really?

Mr G decided to install his tree in the corner.  To start off with it only had a few pinecone tree decorations on, but we've added glittery ones, snowy ones and jingle bells which look a bit like berries.  The effect at night is stunning but photographs don't do it justice. 

We'd been given an old, heavy mirror, which we masked up and spray painted gold.  Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Hung up the kids portraits and some tea light holders...

We put up some matching rollerblinds as our old blinds wouldn't fit after the walls being replastered (D'oh!)

So just to show you the contrast, here's a before and after...

I was so relieved that it was finally done.  Time to put my feet up?  Not quite.  We had two days before travelling to Lancashire to my Sister in Law's house, to prepare the buffet for her 50th Birthday party.  I was twitchy.  We had all the stuff to decorate the living room.  Wallpaper, paint, cushions, curtains, rug.  All we needed to do, was do it.  And I knew that the day after we came back from the party,  I would be wanting to put the tree up.  And once the tree was up, that room wasn't being touched until the New Year.  So - my suggestion was, paint the side of the room that the tree was on, put the tree up, and then we could work on the other half of the room over the next week or so.  Mr G vetoed me.  He'd had enough.  We'd leave it until the New Year... (to be continued).

Friday Flashback - my Wedding Day

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't planning to take a trip down memory lane.  But I am so glad I did.  I was tidying round the living room and put something into the cupboard and Mr G asked me if I would get the video camera out.  This is something we hadn't used or looked at in years.  He connected it up to the TV and we watched our wedding video, from February 2002.  02.02.02 at 2.30 pm to be precise! 

We married on a shoestring, literally.  We had no money to speak of.  Off the peg suits for us both, very cheap rings - because the rings were merely symbolic, for us it was about the vows, not what carat gold the rings were or how much they cost.  I didn't have a bouquet, but a friend's young granddaughter waited for me outside the hotel when I arrived with a bunch of freesias - my favourite flowers.   We arrived at the ceremony together in a chauffeur driven white Rolls Royce - a gift from his then workmate Nigel, who ran the business with his family.  Nigel actually driving us too, which was lovely.  We didn't have a proper wedding video, nor photos taken, relying on family and friends to take plenty and then give us copies.  We didn't have a honeymoon either.  One day, maybe?    Despite the lack of fanfares and tiaras and champagne, it was the best day of my life.  I think Mr G agrees.   It went so fast, and I have an appalling memory, so it was lovely to look back at the two videos taken by my nephew and my Father, and piece it all together.

I cringed a bit as I arrived in view, completely dressed in lilac from head to toe.  I had a thing about lilac, but let's just say it's not the most flattering colour for a big girl.  Who was also three months pregnant.  And no, it wasn't a shotgun wedding, we'd been engaged since October 1999.  Honest.  We watched as the registrar gave her speech and explained what would happen.  Then.  Mr G began to say his vows.  And he managed one line.  Before his voice broke and he started crying.  And stopped dead.  Complete deathly silence in the venue, before everyone starting whispering 'Awwwwwwww!'

Mr G - You're a bitch.

Me - Why???  *Gigglesnort* 

Mr G - Look at you there.  Look!

My back was to the camera and Mr G was facing it.  Tears streaming down his face, so completely choked up that he couldn't speak.  Me?  My entire body was convulsing.  You cannot see my face, but I'll leave it to you - dear readers - to decide.  Was I too, racked with sobs?  So overcome with emotion that the man of my dreams loves me so much, that he can't get his marriage vows out? 

Nah.  I was laughing at him.  Laughing may not be strong enough a word there.  He had tears of joy, I had tears of mirth.  And that pretty much set the standard for our marriage.  He makes me laugh every single day.  One way or another.   Either with him, or at him.  It doesn't matter.

Cutting the cake

We watched the rest of the video which was a pretty bittersweet experience for us both.  His parents were both there, they've now since passed away.  My dear friend Emma was there, she passed away a few years ago.  My Grandmother, also gone.  The friend who was my witness, we haven't spoken for nearly 6 years, as it was a toxic friendship, she was passive aggressive, very critical and backhanded in her words and I decided I deserved better.  But it was still sad to end a friendship of 15 years, no matter how badly I felt I was being treated.  A cousin I no longer speak to.  Several couples who are no longer together.   The only constants are my parents, my cousin and her (then boyfriend) husband (by the way, you can catch her over at Netty Natters for baby talk, reviews, recipes and really great photos, and a brilliant series of posts on a Monday entitled 'Mock my Man Monday' - which she really should start a blog hop off with... HINT), and Mr G and I.  Our Best Man hit the nail on the head when he said in his speech that my husband was the nicest person you could meet, and that nobody had a bad word to say about him, if anyone deserved happiness it was him, and he was so glad he'd found me.  I hope I have made him happy.  

First Dance as Man and Wife to Semisonic's Secret Smile - our song

I realised that we're so lucky to have remained the same.  Much changed, but essentially the same.  Older.  Wiser?  Greyer, definitely.  Crazier.  Grumpier.  But still happy.  Still very much in love.  It's our 14 and a half year anniversary of meeting on Christmas Day (yeah, we still count the halves!) and although we've been through some pretty grim stuff these last 14 years, individually and together, it just goes to show, if you face things together, support each other and give as much as you take, then you can get through anything and come out the other end, smiling.   I'd marry him again tomorrow, thank you Mr G for putting up with me.  I know I drive you mad.  I'm extremely hard work most (all?) of the time.  But I'm a good cook.  And I love you ;-)