Saturday, 23 April 2011

So, what's been happening then..?

April is almost over and what a glorious few weeks of weather we have had. It has been quite lovely and not too hot for me just yet. Although saying that, I have not ventured out much and staying inside in the cool makes me feel better, I know it is sunny outside and that makes me feel happy..

Someone who is not always happy is Sam, sometimes he is a miserable old fart.....

Everything is a tragedy, everything is magnified when it is bad and everyone is picking on him all the time... There are never any ice lollies, never anything to do, and he is always bored...


When we got the free school calender and flipped through the months to see the pictures, guess who is under the rain cloud for April...

You got it, our resident Eeyore, Sam...






This holiday he has spent more time out with friends than at home. He has slept over at friends houses for 6 nights (not all the same friend and not in a row). He is very well behaved and polite when he is at a friends house and they often ask him to stay over. They say "he is no trouble at all, he's such a lovely boy, do you want to swap him?"

Seriously.....??? We are talking about Sam are we not?? OK, maybe he's not always miserable..






When I read through yesterdays post again, I thought just how miserable that post ended, so thought I would share my pictures of these last two weeks to cheer things up abit..


First up we have Charlie and Florrie "chillin out" in the old rabbit hutches, they lay in there for hours, it must be very comfortable..





Then we have a picture of my front garden fence, which is slowly falling to pieces. It has had too many footballs kicked at it and people leaning on it. So it will be replaced very soon..






With this. Mum and I have found a lovely gardener called Tony, he works so hard and is always busy. He is brother-in-law to the amazing plumber Lee. So Tony will come round soon and put this up for me and tidy up the garden..






The past few weeks have been busy in my street, well just my row actually. I live in a row of just four houses and this month the house on one side of me have had one family move out and another move in. On the other side, the house has been empty for nearly a year and now new neighbours have bought it and are renovating it.

This is the house that is attached to our house and has stood empty for a long time. The new neighbour/landlord that has bought it, hopes to rent it out. Luckily I know the man who has bought it. I knew him about 20 years ago and I believe he will rent it out to his son and his family.







In their front garden is this gorgeous tree, it is really lovely when it is in bloom.. This picture does not do it justice, but believe me it is lovely.







Also this week I put up a new washing line, as if the 45 meters of rotary line is not enough... I love using the long line, it just dries the washing that much faster if the sun is on all the washing at once.

As soon as I put the washing on the line, the cats went and lay in the shadow that it cast on the ground..






While I was putting it up, the cats thought this would be a good time to play "jump on and eat the washing line"..






So, the neighbours on our other side moved out too. They have exchanged with another family who have now moved in.. Sam had made friends with the lad who's family has moved out now. They spent hours together and I am sure Sam will miss him very much. He has already slept over at their new house.






I hope they will be very happy and I hope to stay in touch. They have moved to the other side of town but I can still speak to them as they are my friends on Facebook.






This was their house and now, new neighbours have moved in. I have not officially met them yet but they have two little boys about 5 and 6, a daughter who is about 11 and two older sons who seem to be about 15 and 17..


The night before Sam's friend Taylor moved out they had a sleepover here. In the morning I caught them watching television with a blanket over their legs...Awwww bless. I bet they have their knitting under there...










And finally, here is what woke us up early one morning. A lovely hot air balloon. Katie and I went into the garden and waved like mad to them.. I don't think that they saw us though..









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Let the dieting comence...

This is day 2 of my healthy eating plan. I would call it a diet but diet implies that this is for a short period of time and only until the excess weight is gone...
This needs to be a change of eating habits and lifestyle for me.
This needs to be for good...

I weighed myself yesterday and was not surprised and the numbers that it showed me.. One day I might tell you but at the moment, it's not something I want to admit to.

I have have made my meal plan based on the Weight Watchers menus and points system. It's the old system that I am using at the moment because that is what I used before and shed an amazing 5 stone. Then my marriage failed miserably and I comfort ate it all back on again..

I am using an old diary to chart my progress and menu/points/gallons of water drunk. It is good for me to use this as I always feel better using lists and notebooks to keep organised. I have also measured myself and hope to see the inches come off and I can keep a tally, this helps to motivate me too.

I said to Charlotte the other day that I spent my teenage years as this super slim, mixed-up kid who was reasonable to look at. I genuinely had no idea how people viewed me and along with that comes some regrets.. choices I should have made but didn't. I now wish someone would have held me by the shoulders and shock some sense into me...

My twenty's were spent being mostly pregnant. Having a baby every couple of years, four times certainly took it's toll on my body as well as my sanity..

My thirty's have been spent being miserably fat and self loathing, a train wreck of a marriage and struggling to remember which end is up sometimes...it has certainly been a bumpy ride..

But I am still here, plodding on.. but now a little bit wiser. I am wise enough now to realise these things and have had the realisation that somethings got to give...
I need to make myself well again..

I read in a book a while back this..."If you eat based on emotional hunger, your body will never feel satisfied by food. This is why many people think that they never feel full. They never get the signal to stop eating because they were never hungry in the first place..." Yep, that would be me :)

So I have come up with a plan.. and these are my words to me.."You are unwell. But you deserve to be well. Think of your diet as a course of medication. You need to do these things to make you healthy again. No one likes to be or feel unwell, You owe this to yourself..."

This time next year Rodney...No really, this time next year I should be pretty near where I should be, weight wise anyway. This will be a continuing battle for me, food has been like an addiction and I'm afraid it's time to go cold turkey.....with mayo. Ha, just kidding :)

For a recovering alcoholic, they are only one drink away from a relapse, for me that would be cake :) However, every day we have to eat, we can't not eat, for me this is going to be flippin tough...

Obviously, like a drug, food for me is addictive, eating it gives you a temporary feeling of fulfillment and pleasure. Then, when you have stuffed your face, comes the guilt and self loathing and to squash down that feeling, you eat more.. and, for a while, you feel better... This can happen over the course of a few days or longer and not just in one sitting. Day after day the cycle repeats itself and before you know it you are piling on the pounds, oblivious to the damage you are doing to yourself.. But I am stronger than that...I have now recognised the pattern, I can see what I am doing, but this time I actually want to do something about it...


I have been taking my Thyroid tablets everyday as well as a multi-vitamin with iron, I have also been taking a cod liver oil capsule everyday.. When I am beautiful and slim I might have fish breath but at least I will have a glossy coat...


This was me at 16, on holiday with my family and our good friends in Yugoslavia. Even then I was already forming a bad image of myself, I had zero confidence in myself, I had no idea of what choices I should make, I totally messed up and took a different path from the one that was offered me and just look where it got me..
In my defence, all I can say was I was immature and naive..

I was, after all, only 16. But it paved the way to where I am now, picking up the pieces and trying to put it all right again, and I will, but it will take some time....

It's not until you write it all down that you realise just how much you have messed up..






Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Prettiest flowers ever...

Katie gave me these today..







These are just the prettiest flowers ever....

Friday, 15 April 2011

Hospital visit..

Yesterday I went to Hertford County Hospital to see the surgeon about my back problems. My Uncle Eddy took me in his car and I had the pleasure of meeting his brother Ted and his wife Barbara. They traveled with us to Hertford. They were very nice and we spent the journey chatting about all sorts of things.. Our conversations were a welcome distraction as I was quite anxious about what the surgeon would suggest.. We arrived at the Hospital nice and early and I waited for my appointment which was for 3:30pm At 3:45pm the receptionist said the clinic was running 15 minutes late. I know these things usually run late so that wasn't too bad. By 4pm she came out again and said the clinic was running 30 minutes late, so if my appointment was for 3:30pm and it was now 4pm I should be called soon.. I phoned Uncle Eddy and let him know I was running late. He had unfortunately left his mobile at home. So my Auntie Hazel, who was at home, took the message and relayed it to Barbra in the car, who did have her mobile.... The receptionist came out again shortly after and said the they were now running 50 minutes late. Everyone in the waiting room huffed and sighed. One lady was questioning the receptionist as to why things were running so late and we all listened in... apparently they always over book appointments as sometimes people do not turn up. Today however, the three people that had been booked for 2pm had all turned up, as had all the others for their time slots.... Instead of the surgeon seeing 30 people today he had seen over 50 and by 4pm still hadn't had any lunch.... I sat patiently and read a news magazine from cover to cover, I saw some interesting articles. One article was about a man had been drinking and decided it would be a good idea to go for a drive. This was some famous person but I had never heard of them before. Anyway, He had been drinking heavily at home but he decided he wanted to go out. He jumped into his RV (he lives on a ranch) and drove off. When he got to the intersection, he realises he is being followed by a large silver car, so he puts his foot down and speeds up..... the car behind is right up behind him and so, thinking it is newspaper reporters or something, he tries to loose them by turning off different ways and going really fast. Eventually he can't shake them and so when he stops at the next traffic lights, he jumps out of his car to give them a piece of his mind... Only to realise he has been towing his own horse box with two very worried ponies inside.... Another article was about how 4 strands of Michael Jackson's hair were been auctioned for $350 each..... So, back to the story.... I eventually got to see the surgeon and he was very nice and apologised for the delay...







He looked at my scans and MRI images. That always makes me feel queasy when he runs the images in and out so I concentrated on the clip in his hair that was holding on his skull cap....







He said although I was fairly young, the fracture, disc degeneration and slipped discs were more likely to be seen in someone much older, like 20 years older...





(This is not my back, but is very much like it..)


He told me of my options...


The most invasive would be surgery, to pin and plate the fracture, secondly a needle permanently placed in the spine to administer medication. This carries a risk of infection and surgery carries a risk of paralysis as well as a long recovery period.


These would be last resort options....


He said we need to try all the simple alternatives first...(phew)


So, let's not beat around the bush, I am rather rotund and carry a lot of excess weight... I'm not daft, I am very overweight. So that will be the first thing on the list, loose weight...


With an under active thyroid problem that will not be easy. HOWEVER I had lost five stone before, admittedly it was about six years ago, but I have done it, so it is not impossible....


He looked me in the eye and said "You need to do this"...


That is the kind of motivation that I need, someone or even myself to say something that sticks in my head, I repeat it to myself and it spurs me on to not give up...


Loosing weigh for me is not just about the food I put in my mouth. It is about how I feel about that food... I have a poor image of myself and so I either reward or punish myself with food... I need to overcome this too, I have to cultivate an attitude towards food that is both healthy and constructive. I'm getting there but it is hard, alot of my weight gain is because of how my mind works as well as what my stomach tells me.


He will also change my medication to a nerve pain relief, as the co-codamol and diclofenac isn't quite hitting the spot..







So, out will come the Weight Watchers books, dusted off and ready for action...


Thankfully, I love fruit and vegetables. Which is weird because as a child my Mum would despair of me that I would only eat sausages and drink orange juice...





Out will go the cookies and biscuits...






As well as the cakes....








And the sweets......(although these days, sweets are too sweet if you know what I mean)







He suggested I try Pilates.... very gently.....







And swimming, but not breaststroke or butterfly. Yeah like I could even do butterfly.

I am far too uncoordinated and would whip the water to a foam, only to find I had not left the side of the pool..


I spoke to my friend Alva, who's back and knee problems surpass my own. She has also been advised to go swimming. We have made a plan to go together when the children are back at school. (I'm the one on the left)....







I now have six months until he wants to see me again and see what progress I have made....





And so my plan is this, firstly to make a list....


I need to plan my menu, exercise and activity ideas.


Look up my local swimming times.


Work out prices and find my swimming costume.


Look up my local pilates venue and times.


Find prices and travel options.


Meal plan using my Weight Watchers books as a guide.


Find Weight Watchers books.


Set myself a realistic goal of weight loss between now and October.


Finally, make an appointment to see the doctors to get my new prescription.


OK, I think that's enough for now..


So, I'm off to have a cup of coffee, find a pen and paper and get busy...


Next week is the week I will begin. When I order my shopping and it arrives next week, I should be well planned and ready to start... so, wish me luck.. :)


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Charlie is not a Ninja

Last night I was woken at 3am by a certain cat who thought it would be a good idea to sit out on my window ledge via my head/face... He was lucky actually that he did wake me because he might not be here today if I had not realised what was happening.. Cats are supposed to be stealth like and able to leap and balance like Ninjas, Charlie however is nothing like that. He jumps onto worktops and slides off because he didn't quite make it.. He attempts to jump or pounce on flies in the garden but he ends up half jumping half flopping to the ground... He is certainly not a Ninja...



Last night he walked out of my window and attempted to walk outside across the ledge to the other window, which was closed....

I realised he had stepped out when I heard a scrabbling noise like he was slipping and clawing against the brickwork and window sill outside....


Which of course he was...


He had slipped and was hanging on like this....


Obviously this is not Charlie, this is just to represent his position in hanging on for dear life..


Anyway Charlie does not have glasses....


He has contacts...




On realising what was happening I quickly kneeled up on the window sill inside (my bed is under the window) held onto the window frame and lent out....


In one quick swoop I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pulled him swiftly inside....


This was all in the space of about 10 seconds.... He is one lucky pussy cat...





With 8 lives left......



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Saturday, 9 April 2011

All fixed at last..

At last the hot water cylinder has been fitted and it works.This is hopefully the last of things that have gone wrong to now be put right. The chap turned up on Friday morning to replace everything just as I was leaving with Katie for school. Luckily Sam, Jim and Charlotte were at home as their school finished for the holidays on Thursday. So Sam took Katie and the man (Gary) proceeded to dismantle the airing cupboard. He said yesterday he had a job that was meant to take 3 hours but as it was so difficult it took over 6 hours...





Charlie had a last play around at being a solider....






And finally got off his tank....






So Gary pulled out the old tank and drained the last of the water into the garden. He hoovered out all the cobwebs and spiders that were living behind...







And there it is, the old copper cylinder with a squirty hole at the top..







Sam was just passing through...







Here is the empty airing cupboard.






And this is our new cylinder, Gary had to remove the airing cupboard door to squeeze it in, but it fitted and he hooked it up and it worked....phew..


It took from 8:45 to 12:30 to do the whole job and he bled all the radiators too.


I am so glad it's all done...


now all I need to do is get the boys to have a wash,


because now there is no excuse....


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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

It's official...

I am, without doubt the worlds worst gardener.. I left the seed packets in the greenhouse/trampoline during the week and it rained. As a result all the seeds are starting to germinate in the packages.... I have sown these cress seeds today as they were all getting puffy and wanting to grow in the packet..



This black tray fell off the shelf and landed upside down in the greenhouse/trampoline. I stuffed everything back in but some holes may have seeds in, some may not...







Can you see the nice little labels that I put on every thing to remind me what I planted?????






No, me either.....






Still, they are growing, whatever they are....







Even Florrie is trying to help. I have moved the seeds that were on the top shelves because the cats like to sit up there...




Florrie is trying to eat the watering can from the outside...


What hope do I have that anything will actually grow????


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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The amazing plumber said so...

In my previous post I mentioned that my amazing plumber had noticed I had a leak on my hot water cylinder. I phoned the council while he was still here but heard nothing from them until Monday afternoon, when unannounced a man came to see what was the problem.. He was a rather unusual looking and small man, I apologise in advance for any offence I may cause in describing him but he was a rather small Indian man, smaller than me anyway and had a balding head but with black fuzzy hair on top, googly eyes a pot belly and a lisp... He initially said he would see where the water was leaking from and would tighten the pipes with his wrench to see if that would stop it. The amazing plumber had said that the pipes were corroded and the valve handles were missing. The amazing plumber said I needed a new cylinder.... The little man got out his tool box and with his wrench, entered the airing cupboard... He banged around for a little while and said he would just tighten up the pipes... After a moment and few more bangs, he went quiet and then he said "Bloody Bugger"... Now, I know it's childish of me but, bugger is my favourite swear word and so I quietly laughed to myself... I then heard the sound of a jet of water squirting out against the wall and the little man came out looking a bit worried.. He actually said " I think I have made it worse" "No shit Sherlock!!" (obviously I didn't say it, but I thought it) The amazing plumber wouldn't have done this... As he ran to his van to get his hose and ladder I snapped a shot of his toolbox...




And then a photo of the water squirting out of the top of the hot water cylinder....





He came back looking rather flustered and had his phone to his ear talking to a colleague of his about what to do..


He came off the phone and said that even if he tightened the pipe he thought I needed a new cylinder.


"Really.....??? but we still need to stop the water...like now" said I..


"Yes" was all he said and he kept looking at the water squirting out..


So I said "How about if you turn off the stopcock in the loft and we run the hot water taps??"


"Yes, I think we should do that" he said...


He clambered into the loft turned off the hot water stopcock while I ran the hot water taps..





Eventually the water stopped squirting and the tap ran dry.. I filled the washing up bowl with the last of the hot water.. The little plumber has ordered me a new cylinder but can't tell me when it will be fitted as they don't keep them in stock...


The lady from the council will call me..


Luckily the weather is not really cold and so heating is not an issue. This morning we all had a kettle full of water each to wash with. It will be OK for a few days but any longer and we will be becoming a tad smelly, Mum if you are reading this we might all need a shower by Friday. We will form an orderly queue, bring our own towels and a penny each for the meter.........


And I knew we needed a new cylinder, the amazing plumber said so..


In other news...


The kids are off school from Thursday for two weeks and that will be nice.


My seeds are growing well but I accidentally left out the seed packets in the greenhouse/trampoline and now they are all wet, better get planting again then....


Jim made himself a sandwich after he had fed the cats and did not wipe the worktop clean. He didn't realise at first, but when he did he just shrugged his shoulders and ate his sandwich anyway...



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Saturday, 2 April 2011

What a week !!

This whole week has been, what I can only describe as, a nightmare.. I have had a blocked outlet pipe from the washing machine and sink waste pipe, as a result, the water started backing up and emptying out into the kitchen....


Why do these things always happen at 9 o'clock at night??


When the water started overflowing I realised that, not only did I not have the strength to pull out the washing machine but the water stopcock had been boxed in behind the cupboard under the sink. The stopcock, when I did get to see it, had no handle on it....


I did turn off the washing machine so the water did not continue to pump out, however there was the water from the sink that was pouring out until it had all gone and a redundant washing machine hot water hose, that was now refusing to turn off.

It had nowhere else for it's water to go. So it continually filled a bowl that needed emptying every 5 minutes..


Being the ingenious soul that I am, I remembered that you can turn off the water to the house in the garden at the water main.. So I did that.. In the dark... I got Jim to phone for the cavalry...and everyone else to find all the towels to help mop up the water.. Mum and Kevin arrived within minutes. Mum called for back up in the shape of Mark her next door neighbour but one. He came along and realising the size of the job went home for some tools. On his way home he saw a van parked in a mans driveway with a company logo on of a plumbers company. Mark, being Mark, knocked on his door and asked for help... The man had just got out of the bath but was able to come over and at least stem the flow for the time being.. He worked for a company that fixed drains so he was not quite what we needed.. Now we needed a Plumber..


The following day, Mum and I thought of all the people we knew and asked around for someone who knew a plumber. On talking to my Ex-husband, he called a friend of ours to come over and have a look to see, in daylight, if there was anything that could be done..

Mum had Tony, her gardener visiting that morning and asked him.. It turns out, his Brother-in-law is a plumber, and a damn good one too.. Lee is his name, and he is nephew to my good friend Steve.. small world hey??


Lee is a plumbing genius. :)


Richard, the friend that My Ex called came over and pulled out the washing machine, he fiddled around with the pipes but came to the conclusion that I needed a Plumber...Yes, I know..


While Richard was here I got the call from Mum's gardener Tony, that Lee was going to come over and have a look. So Richard and I had a coffee while the expert looked at the problem..



He was most annoyed that everything had been boxed in and I had no access to the stopcock. In an emergency you need to be able to turn things off straight away..


The pipe work was old and corroding but the jungle of pipes and twists and turns of waste pipe was all wrong.. He was not happy about it and wanted to put it right for me :)


He was already on a big job at work and so was going to come over the next day. The job he was on was massive and he could not get away as planned the next day so he arrived yesterday to put everything right again. This actually gave me a chance to clear and dry out the cupboards and floor as Lee had stopped the water flow in this area when he came to check it out the first time.


The cats thought this was brilliant and they were in and out of the cupboards while I had the heater on, there were so many places to go..





It was like a playground and they were playing and sleeping in their new little den..




Cats are just so nosey and want to check everything out...
















Charlie said "Mum, look how good I'm being, I'm not in the cupboard like them naughty cats, oh and I think you need a plumber..."



Lee came yesterday and fixed all the problems with the waste pipes and the washing machine pipes, he has replaced everything, put on new valves, pipes, and most importantly, a massive handle on a new stopcock.. Which he has left visible in the back of the un-boxed-in cupboard under the sink.. He has even put on a valve for the washing machine under the sink too with a nice blue handle on it in case of any more problems...




Without being able to use the washing machine for a few days I have a pile or two to do. Luckily, when it happened I had no piles of washing waiting and so what ever washing we had in the last couple of day is all the washing that needs doing.. So when Lee went, I was like Snow White washing and singing while I cleaned. I put in a load of washing, washed up and let the deers lick the plates clean...





HOWEVER......


When Lee needed to isolate the hot water he looked inside the airing cupboard and found my cylinder has a slow leak and the pipes are also corroded, there are not even any valve handles on the pipes...(what ever that means). Fortunately this is a council property and the responsibility for this is with the council, I called them while Lee was here, but as of today I have not head back from them. It is important but is not a dire emergency. I will call again Monday and get someone out to see it.. I will keep you posted...

Already there is a cat in their....






In other news, the seeds are doing well, these are the beetroot ones :)





And this is my lovely outside tap that Lee re-newed for me while he was doing the pipes...





And look where it comes out....






PERFECT :)