Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Christmas

Well, I don’t know about you lot but I am somewhat busy getting ready for Christmas and using any spare time I might have to hang out with my family – far too much so to be going about writing stuff down all the time.

Therefore, I’d just like to wish all a massively superb Christmas and New Year – may they fill your hearts with joy.

I’ll see you early in 2015 when I’ll try not to mention how much weight I've put on.

I will, hopefully, be able to report on how my first ever attempt to build a shed goes – I'm not entirely confident that it’s going to be a manly success….



Happy Christmas, All


May 2015 be THE year - YOUR year






Monday, December 1, 2014

Making the impossible possible

This week, my wife and I stumbled onto a winner.

Something that could revolutionise our lives.

And I'm going to share it with you, right here. You can have it for free, consider it an early Christmas present.

Which is apt…

How do you get your kids to bed a little early on a Sunday night?

When you are a bit tired. When they are a bit tired.

When everyone is tired.

The alarm clock is already counting down to call you up for work and school on Monday?

Well, if your kids are anything like mine then the answer is that you don’t. You do not stand a cat in Hell’s chance of persuading them to believe that going to bed is a good idea.

We have tried everything over the years.

Reasoning with them – HA!!  Asking nicely, bribing, ordering, begging, turning the clocks forward.

All failed.

Well I think that I might just have found the answer.

It was approaching Eight last Sunday night. There was a persuasive stench of tetchiness about the house that had, all too easily, replaced the wondrous smell of the slow-cooked BBQ pork from the night before.

People needed to be in bed.

But my kids knew their rights. It was absolutely not bedtime yet. They knew it, we knew it.

It was a stand-off.

What they aren't yet, and let’s face it never actually will be, is a match for a woman. Better yet, a mother.

Their nemesis got up and very overtly fetched the boy’s Christmas lists from the fridge door. She sighed loudly and shook her head.

“I don’t know,” she moaned in my general direction, “When are we going to get to do the shopping for Christmas? We’ll never get a chance to go shopping now and the kids always stay up so late that we can’t even shop on-line without people looking over your shoulder…”

I'm not the fastest on the uptake but even I can see a set up that obvious, “I know, it’s a tricky one – I'm working every weekend up until Christmas now so it’s difficult”

My kids are smart enough to never say anything negative about Santa to my face, for fear of a reduced stash, but they also understand all too well the benefits of letting Mum & Dad have some solo shopping time at this time of year.

My wife looked at the boys and said, “I need to do a couple of things and need to be able to concentrate, I think it’s an early night for you…”

And that was when the miracle happened.

My youngest, grinning madly, gave a cuddle out and slid quietly away to bed.

My Teenager paused for a moment to decide if his basic human rights were being infringed in some way, glanced at the child-line number that he  has saved on his phone for emergencies (such as when he has been told ‘no’ about a second glass of Coke), and considered his options.

Time stopped. Hours passed by with nobody breathing. No noise. No anything.

“I suppose I could go and read on my bed for a bit before getting in it. I have a good book.”

Jo and I looked at each other in disbelief. This never happens.

THIS.  NEVER.  HAPPENS.

With that, we were cuddled and then our explosive 13 year old son tripped merrily up the stairs, not to be heard of again for the rest of the night.

GET IN” We both shouted, fist pumping the air mercilessly.

With the kids in bed we settled back and enjoyed a ridiculously peaceful night watching TV.

I mean, how long does it take to order a couple of things from Amazon?

I guess the trick is pretty seasonal – but use it while you can, I say. Tonight, I plan to tell them that I can’t order i-tunes vouchers because their teeth aren't clean….



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Because having an opinion isn't all it's cracked up to be...


If there is one thing married life has taught me, and taught me well, is that wives don’t really care about their husband’s opinion when it comes to how to bring up “their” children.

They might ask for it, frequently, they just aren't actually interested in it.

They only ask because they want to amuse themselves by hearing an idiot telling them the wrong opinion.

This is how they think.

But we get them back.

Fret not; the last laugh is most certainly ours.

The other day, before leaving the house for work, I remembered my youngest son mentioning that his bedside lamp’s bulb had blown.

It was the work of a second to replace it.

I went to work my late shift, knowing I would not be home until well after the kids were in bed.

Later in the day, my lovely wife left about a dozen plates spinning at her work in order to rush home and collect Jamie from his after-school club. Swiftly joined by our eldest boy, she quickly knocked up an evening meal out of whatever she could find while helping with homework. Nobody knows exactly how my wife throws meals together as fast as she does.

It’s an enigma.

The fridge, the cupboards, the house – all completely bereft of food and the oven cold.

Twenty seconds later there’s a table full of piping hot dinner. Not that the boys are ever impressed. They don’t appreciate an artist at work. All they know is that they haven’t got any chips on their plates.

Within the same few seconds it took to feed the animals, she broke up three fights.

With the boys fed, separated and up to date on their school-work, she then ferried Daniel, my Teen, to his football practice.

Jamie was looked after, cuddled and loved.

And then he went up to bed.

Only to come down two minutes later with an absolute look of joy on his face…

OH – I LOVE DAD! he sighed with genuine emotion – “He’s fixed my light”

With that, he spun around and took himself off to bed with the contented swoop of a child who has figured out who his hero is.

And I can picture the look on Jo’s face.

Undoubtedly the woman, who has, on a daily basis, given her everything to this boy and made so many great decisions that have kept him healthy, educated, and happy. Put her career on hold. Put her body through hell. Clothed, watered, fed and loved.

The woman without whom both of my sons would not even be a fraction of the amazing human beings that they are.

Her.

I don’t doubt that she looked over at the empty space on the sofa where my backside usually sits, shook her head in despair and correctly imagined my smug hand forming an L for Loser…

I’d also have been grinning.