A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Running around in circles

This week has found all my best laid plans blown to bits. I had carefully planned out my schedule so that I would not find myself in the last few hours prior to our departure to London running around trying to sort everything out at the last minute. As usual my plans have a way of running straight out the door, with me chasing after them.

Last night I took the boys to see a film as life in their other home hasn't been going so smoothly these last few days. The rest of the evening was spent repairing Alex's school clothes. I'm definitely not the type of mother who can sew something from scratch, or even hem a pair of pants, but I can put needle to thread and work it so that there is no longer a hole(s) where there shouldn't be, nevermind how uneven the result. I do however know that I am the kind of mother who won't let her kid go to school with the crotch out of his trousers, so alas, last night was spent trying to fix a problem that definitely needed fixing.

I thought I had most of today and half of tomorrow to get the house ready before driving down to London but Andy's schedule has changed and now, after three weeks of working local he has to drive all the way to Liverpool for one meeting on the Friday we go away. So to save him having to come all the way back here for me, I'll get up and leave the house with him at 6:00 a.m.

A small sacrifice, considering what the end result will be!

I did manage to get most tasks done this morning and there are just a few things left to get through before I can pack my bag and make a few calls/emails to finalize our plans!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

And then there was one.

Last night I went out for to dinner with the girls from work in honour of a lady who has left our organization. I personally didn't work with her, but had met her a few times, and of course never one to miss a party, especially where good food is involved, I went along.

The food, drink and conversation were fantastic and as the evening was wrapping up the gal whose party it was came down to our end of the table for a chat. It is well known that she has lost loads of weight and everyone is always telling her how great she looks now. I didn't know her before and when she proudly pulled out a magazine article to show us a picture of before, some of us were stunned. She had lost 12 stone 5 in weight! 172 POUNDS... Without surgery. At one point she made the comment that she must be a pretty boring person, as conversation often seems to center around her weight loss. Of course she's not boring. It's not every day that you meet someone who has lost the equivalent of a whole other person in body weight.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dog coming up on you fast...

Today I spent over two hours with the hair stylist, having my hair cut and coloured in preparation for the big trip next weekend down to London to meet up with the gang from Canada (nine more sleeps!!!) I held out for as long as I could on the cut/colour as I didn't want to be between styles whilst trekking around London/Paris, but I doubt I could have gone even three more days without the little wiry guys taking complete control of my head.

The kids came down at teatime and noticed my new 'do' straightaway, God luv em. Despite the fact that my hands were sporting a french mani, and my hair was looking refreshingly good, Andy and I headed out for a walk with the boys and Molly, ultimately ending up on the back field. We had the tennis racket and ball with us (we use it to play fetch with Molly) and before long we were all playing a game of 'rounders', made all the more fun with Molly trying to outrun us for the ball.

Listening to your boys shouting with glee for you to outrun the dog in order to catch a ball, while at the same time not falling on your ass isn't a bad way at all to pass away an evening.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Honky Tonk Woman

Our Easter weekend was more reminiscent of days gone by, when nights were spent getting inebriated in pubs than spent in with the kids. Every now and then Andy and I have a good night out but it is seldom when we both live it up together, and even rarer when we both end up feeling no pain by the end of the night. To think that we managed to get into such a state twice in one weekend is what made it such a success because we sure needed it.

We spent Friday night in Nottingham with Alison and Scott eating fine food and drinking in a chic bar. It seemed that no time had passed before it was midnight and I somehow got the idea in my head that it would be fun for us all to do a few shots. A few turned into a few more and by the time we got back to the apartment I had moved into an new dimension altogether. By the time we went to sleep Andy had seen more than a glimpse of that 'handful' he had foreseen over four years ago at a bar in Halifax. I was semi-apologetic the next morning, but did point out that he knew what he was getting himself into when we got together. What you see is what you get with me! We spent the rest of Saturday lethargically making our way back home, and what should normally be an hour and 45 minute drive took much longer. For the first time in a long time I battled nausea, something I don't wish to experience again any time soon. Andy himself wasn't feeling in top shape, but luckily Sunday found us feeling better if not still a little tired.

Andy was fighting sleep early on Sunday evening when it was time to get dressed to go out with our friends Helen and Trev. We were heading to a bar called Bootleggers to hear a local band. We both said it probably wouldn't be a late night as we were still feeling the effects of Friday night. As it turns out, Trev was feeling pretty raw from the night before so I think we all thought the night might end earlier than expected.


As we made our way into the teeming bar I wondered exactly how long I would last as the bar was 6-8 people deep, you could barely move and when the band started they were extremely loud. Once we got our drinks and found a spot that didn't have you right on top of the room-sized speakers, we began to enjoy the music. When the band took a break we headed next door to Silk for a change of atmosphere and a few more drinks before heading back to Bootlegger. This time when the band came on we were all on the dance floor shaking it up. I couldn't believe I was actually in a bar in England dancing to Honky Tonk Woman by the Stones... When the band ended we went looking for yet another pub as none of us were ready for the night to be over. At one point I ran into someone I know, which was great, as Helen knows everyone when we go out, so I felt more connected than I have in the past. We had a great time chatting to people and as Helen and I have no trouble talking to people we don't know, we ended up having an amusing time, especially when they start asking me where I'm from. I think Helen likes how people are drawn over because of this and its like I said to her 'If we think its fun with just me having the accent, wait till Dawn and Stacy hit the clubs with us!' Cleethorpes ain't gonna know what hit it!

We finally called it a night and headed up to the taxi stand to call for a cab. Thankfully we could wait inside, as no one was sure exactly how long it would take. There were a few guys there ahead of us, and of course we all got to chatting and I was hit with the inevitable where are you from, which is always followed by what are you doing here. I coyly pointed my husband out to the young fellow questioning me, but was slightly surprised when he followed up with 'What's so special about him?' (You ask this kind of question, your gonna get a Jody-style answer). Which happened to put the biggest smile on my drunken husband's face, when I loudly proclaimed 'Well he just happens to be the BEST SEX I'VE EVER HAD...' I'm sure the taxi drivers must have heard me over the radio.

This was a picture of Andy and Trev, taken with my phone while we were waiting for the cab. Andy doesn't remember this, therefore I am publishing it in honour of the fact that I had never, up until now, seen my husband so pissed his memories are hazy...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What a difference a year can make...

Our Birthday Girl...

Happy First Birthday Molly!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'll eat my humble pie with an audience...

When I began posting a few years back I made it a rule to never blog about the aspects of my personal life with Andy. In most of my past relationships I never hesitated to ring my one of my friends and have a right go at the latest thing HE had done to piss me off, upset me, or just leave me feeling drained. My relationship with Andy is very different from all others that I have experienced and especially now that we are married, I refuse to ring up a pal and have a proper moan after every little dispute. I don't even feel the urge most times.

I'm still sticking to my rule, but I'm bending it just slightly. This post won't go into much personal detail, but I do have to get something off my chest, more of how I'm feeling rather what traspired exactly between my husband and I.

Last night I went to bed just after nine to read and wind down as I wasn't feeling so well. I read until nearly 10:30 and thought I was ready to go to sleep. But last night turned into one of those nights where I toss and turn restlessly, fading in and out of bizarre dreams. Once again, I was awake more then I was asleep. I was up around 3 a.m. to let Molly out and as our back door tends to slam very loudly if you don't shut it with care, I took extra care to make sure I shut it gently as sound seems to magnify x10 in a dark house. Only trouble is, our handle sticks from time to time and unfortunately I had to jar it quite hard to get the key to lock. When I went back upstairs I will only say it was quite evident that Andy wasn't impressed. In my defense it wasn't as if I'd slammed the door, or made the noise on purpose. I wasn't going to get into it with him though at that hour of the night.

This morning, just after seven, when Andy came in to say good-bye, we chatted for a few minutes about the night gone by and how he had found me a bit tetchy, likely from not feeling the best. I agreed and stated that I was still feeling touchy and irritable and before I knew it I had waged a full-scale row with him. To say I feel like shit about it is an understatement.

I absolutely abhor falling out with him before he goes to work, hell I don't really like arguing with him much at all. All week though, I have felt a sort of disquiet that has been welling up in me and it was only a matter of time before it erupted. Andy unfortunately was the one who ended up being at the receiving end. I'm not saying he's completely blameless, we are still trying to sort out a few issues he's carried over from his 15 years with the Ex, but there was still no reason for me to rage at him in such a way at the beginning of his work day.

When it comes to husbands I honestly think I was right in waiting for Andy. He is the most considerate, loving and generous man I have ever come across in the long list of men I have dated. I never doubt that I made the wrong decision in choosing him to be my life partner and its times when I'm feeling the way I am that I like to stop and remember our first summer together in Nova Scotia where it was just the two of us, discovering who the other person was. Its an understatement to say that since we've made a life together here in England that we have had our share of stresses and naturally, as with any marriage, it won't ever be the same as it was in the beginning. I can say in all honesty that what we have now is even more special than what we had four years ago. It is, however, nice sometimes to reflect on those magical summer evenings and why I fell in love with this man, and continue to love him still.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It shouldn't happen like this...

Throughout the years I have always admired Dana Reeve for her remarkable strength as a wife and mother. I can't imagine the pain she must have suffered through in the early days after her husband's terrible accident and in the subsequent days when it was known that Christopher Reeve was to become permanently bound to a wheelchair, without the use of his arms or legs, having to breath with the assistance of a ventilator. Through the years that ensued neither gave up hope that he would move again, until tragically he died in October 2004, less than ten years after his accident.

I'm sure this hope is what carried her through all the hospital visits and physical therapy, hope, and her strong love for her husband. However I'm also sure that even without it she would have remained beside her husband until the end of his (or her own) days, how could she not? Marriage is to be honored both in sickness and in health, and although I know there are those out there who would not honour such vows, Dana was not one of these people. Her love for her husband was strong enough and by his side they not only continued to watch their son grow, but raised an enormous amount of awareness and money for others with spinal cord injuries. They fought the good fight, and it was a fight she continued even after his death.

Today as I was perusing People.com I read that Dana had died on the 6th of March. To say that I was absolutely taken aback by this is an understatement. I hadn't even realized that for the past year she has been waging her own battle against Lung Cancer. A battle that is now over for her due to a cruel twist of fate. To think that her child has lost both his parents at the age of 13 breaks my heart. It just reaffirms that nothing in life is certain and that at times it can be just damn unfair.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Across the haawwl and through the door

Work has been fairly busy for me as one colleague is off on annual leave and the other is on sick leave. So that leaves me to run the clinic. I'll be working a couple of full days but I'm not complaining, it just gives me time to take back when the girls are here. Today was a busy clinic day and I found myself repeatedly saying 'Go across the hall and into the Clinic Room'. Well I might have repeated that exact sentence twice, before changing my phrasing to 'Go across the corridor and into the Clinic Room'.

My friends/family back home have often called me up on the fact that my wording has changed and I tend to use more English words then previously. This is bound to happen, especially from a professional viewpoint. If you keep opposing it you just look like a, well... stuck up wanker. As they say: 'When in Rome'. I have never fought to keep my own Canadian speak, and picked up a lot of words rather quickly, especially since I'd been talking to Andy for two years prior to moving here. As time has marched on I think I've been using even more English words. I do however like to use a lot of Canadian phrases, especially as my colleague loves to hear the different versions of how we say things, and she especially laughs when we exchange swear words. She does a great mock of me saying 'Do you want anything at the store?' (The English say shop.) But there is no fear of me adopting the accent, I can't fake it so there is no worries of me being completely assimilated. If I lived London way, or further North where the accents are stronger than mine, it might be so, but not here in N.E. Lincolnshire.

Time to push on...

My legs feel like jello and my arms are a little sore, but other than that I feel gggreeat. Over the weekend I have surpassed 4000 steps on my Thigh Trainer, in two separate segments. Over the past few weeks I have made a concerted effort to use it at least five times a week. I was shooting for twenty minute intervals, however if I'm in front of a good show, I find that 40-45 minutes have passed rather quickly. I set myself some really good challenges and between the stepper and the armbands, I feel like I'm doing something to take me in the right direction. Andy has been having a go on it as well, and together we have agreed to shuck a few pounds (although our ideas of healthy eating are very different).

I had to put a stop to Ben & Jerry's being brought into the house because when its here, it gets eaten. A few weeks ago I had bought some as a treat only to eat after we had both lost 2-3 pounds but that failed when Andy couldn't resist. It just went too well with American Idol, and once he cracked his tub open, I had to eat mine. So last week while we were in Tesco and had picked up two tubs on the condition we lose 5 lbs before we could eat it, they had to be put back as Andy couldn't promise me he wouldn't eat it until then. I would love to have a committed partner in my weight loss program because when two people are following the same diet it makes things so much easier, however so long as I can point Andy in the right direction and stay away from the meals I cook for the kids, then I should be alright.

At the end of the month I will give a progress report on our weight loss challenge. Here's hoping we can shuck at least five pounds before the party begins on April 28th.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Cost of International Marriage

It's hard to believe that June 12th marks the anniversary of my Leave To Remain Visa and I will have to apply for the time limit to be removed, thus allowing me to remain in the UK indefinitely.

The cost to apply will be £335 if I apply by post, and £500 if I apply in person to the Liverpool office (not counting the expense of travelling across the country). The only reason I believe anyone would chose to apply in person would be that you don't have the 4-14 week processing time. Now when I applied for my Limited Leave To Remain Visa I was told that the wait would be the same, but fortunately I was returned my approved visa within 3 weeks. I thought we could do it the same way this time around, saving ourselves £165, however with the trip home to Nova Scotia in July, added to the fact that the IND Office has been experiencing some difficulty, it would probably be safer if we applied in person.

Now we need to come up with yet another £500 to add to the big pile o'money that we have already spent in getting me into, and keeping me, in this country. When compared to all the great experiences that come with being an international couple, this is only small potatoes. And although we were expecting a fee of some sort, we weren't really expecting it to be so high. It doesn't alter the fact that we find it daunting, especially when we have so many other monetary issues at present: Legal fees for getting a court order to take the kids home in July as well as to adjust the contact order allowing them to stay overnight on Wednesdays, saving for a house, saving for our weekend getaways this spring, and paying for our trip to Canada (and these on top of all the regular payments).

However we are both gainfully employed and of course we could have passed on the few trips we have planned this year but you've gotta get some rewards out of life and you just have to prioritize in order of importance. Often our priorities tie in with the International factor: This year it is a priority to bring the children to Canada to meet my family, as well as enjoy our first family holiday together.

I know that Andy and I aren't the only ones who have faced these issues, and of course I have a few close friends who have experienced the same on varying levels.

Of course we only have to turn around and face this again when we return to Canada to live. Owell at least we have the knowledge that the cost of living in Nova Scotia isn't as high as it is in England. Not yet anyway!

Only if you have a moment...

Here's your chance to do a little something that would put a smile on this bloggers face. I have a very good idea of who visits my blog via comments left on my blog, or sent to me via email, however if you are taking the time to visit my site on a semi-regular basis, could you do me the honour of putting your mark in my Guest Book or Map located on the sidebar? I realize I get a lot of hits by the site tracker, however it would be a nice thing to find out just who comes to visit.

Thanks to those of you who find my (often daft) ramblings to be of some interest and keep coming back for more. Your support makes blogging worthwhile.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Crying to Sleep...

Last night was the first night that I've had more than two hours sleep this week. Granted they were broken hours, but after five nights of barely catching any shut eye, I'll take it rather than leave it.

I've been feeling rather stressed lately for various reasons and I think its all finally catching up with me. The past few days have been good though as I've seen two movies with my husband and have enjoyed a few good meals along the way. Not great for the diet, but at times like these, the diet has to take a back seat while I battle with this sleep deprivation. I have to win this battle as loss of sanity could likely be the end result. Last night during dinner with Andy and my mother-in-law I feared I was losing the war for my sanity as I began to break down and cry during a baby-talk discussion, however I did manage to pull myself together and go on to enjoy a big fat burger washed down by two glasses of wine. Needless to say, I slept like the ambivalent baby I'm in distress over. Granted, this sleep came at 6:30 p.m. and by 10:00 I was once again wide awake. However as mentioned previously, I will take the sleep where I can.

This morning found me wide awake and in the bath by 7:00 a.m. Not how I imagined I would spend my Saturday morning, but there you have it. Andy and I did however go on to enjoy our day. I was the recipient of a gorgeous pair of earrings that Andy spoiled me with from my favourite shop, In The Pink. We also enjoyed a long refreshing walk with Molls on the beach. This combined with yet another good meal and a beer should hopefully lead the way to at least a four hour sleep tonight. I might help myself to one more drink, just to help me along. Some of you might be wondering why I don't just help myself to a sleeping pill or two, but those of you who know me well know that I hate to have to resort to a drug for my monthly, never mind to sleep. Also, at this point I will be honest and say that on Thursday night after shedding a tear or 100 over my frustration, I gave in and let Andy convince me to take not one, but two of his sleeping pills (he has been taking them as his sleep has been disturbed due to a neck problem brought on by our accident last summer). I took the pills and waited for the hour to pass when Andy said they should kick in... I watched him slowly drift off to sleep after his pill kicked in, but those little bastards weren't doing a thing for me. I remember the same thing happening when I took his superduper pain killers for a toothache a few years back... Normally those pills make him as loopey as hell, but they did nada for me.

I'm glad that April is finally here and the flowers are pushing through. I'm looking forward to a drive out in the country side as I love watching all the new born lambs frolic in the fields. Also with April brings the arrival of my family and Andy and I are both looking forward to the time we will spend with them. The break will do us both a world of good. In the meantime we are going to try and spend our weekends on long hikes, the first lengthy one being next weekend when the kids come down.

I'm also very grateful for Andy, for the patience he has with me during my more difficult moments and for walking along side me when I need him most. I know he feels for me during my struggle to sleep and I'm sure he is as eager as I am to get me back into a normal sleep pattern as this problem of mine isn't doing much for his sleeping pattern either.