Surgically Unattached, Alternator Issues & Dog Food Desperation

Where to begin… Bear’s in a snit with me because I’m not surgically attached to the Internet as he is. The dog has finally made eating his meals a trend and the car’s probably about to cost us a small fortune.

We had the children for half of the half term holidays, so had them from Wednesday morning until yesterday evening. On Wednesday morning Bear went to pick them up from their home and was just pulling into our street when the battery light went on in the dashboard. Thinking it might have been because his phone was plugged into the cigarette lighter socket the entire journey, he pulled it out and later in the day took the car out on a shopping trip to make sure everything was fine. It seemed to be.

Yesterday morning, to be 100% sure all was fine Bear hooked the battery up to the charger and left it to charge for the day. He took the children back home after dinner and made it to their house without incident. Thirty minutes from our home the battery light came back on and two seconds later, the car died, stranding Bear in the dark and cold on an unlit section of road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully he still had an Internet connection, so was able to contact roadside assistance.

He tried to ring me to let me know what had happened but my phone battery was dead. It usually is because I never use my phone. No-one rings me and no-one texts, so I have no use for the thing beyond Bear ringing me once in a blue moon. He sent me a Messenger message, but of course I didn’t get it for ages because I wasn’t on my laptop. By 8pm, I’d turned it off and was sat watching CSI with the dog. By the time 9pm came around I was mildly concerned that Bear wasn’t back, having left just shy of 7pm… the journey doesn’t normally take two hours, so I checked my Facebook and found his message.

Of course it had a tone and he was pissed that I hadn’t picked the phone up, or been online to answer his message. He doesn’t seem to understand that not everyone lives on the Internet 24/7 like he does. We don’t have a landline anymore because we never used it, both having mobiles and I never picked it up anyway without knowing who was calling, which at the time was constantly my ex-, so I rarely went near the thing. We were paying a connection fee and a 20 Euro a month call fee for doing nothing, so we disconnected it. Now he’s in a snit because I’m unreachable.

I am not living on the fucking Internet on the off chance he might call me while he’s out.! I have better things to do with my time than bore myself stupid with the dumb shit that has proven to be today’s society. There seems not to be a single brain cell amongst a large majority of them and I just can’t take that level of stupidity, it gives me homicidal tendencies.

The battery light coming on and the car dying suddenly appears to be the result of the alternator needing replacing. I suppose it’s not too bad, seeing as we haven’t had any real issues with the car in the past few years, although the garage still haven’t given us a price for the job so I hope it’s not going to be a small fortune. Bear takes his bike to work mostly, so if the car’s in the garage for a few days, it’s no biggie, just a pain in the ass with the weekly shop. I just hope this is going to be quick and painless.

Drax has finally decided after almost a year of pissing about, to eat his meals. He has the Royal Canin kibble that he was reared on and we continued the usage after we brought him home giving him three meals a day, six hours apart. He ate them as and when, sometimes limiting himself to one meal a day. When he turned a year old earlier this month, we changed the food to the adult kibble and he became even more fussy about eating, going for 48 hours without eating anything other than his normal daily treats for closing the back door.

In desperation I mixed a little peanut butter in the kibble and he immediately ate it. Refusing to do that for every meal due to the fat content, we investigated a few wet foods to see which he preferred and mixed them in with the kibble. The little toadface licked all the wet food off of the kibble and left the kibble in the bowl. *sigh* Bear thinks the kibble is too hard for him, despite him spending ages chewing on his rock hard cheesy bone. I think he’s damned lazy and anything that means making an effort is a no-no.

Nevertheless 40 minutes before every mealtime, I mix 60g of the kibble with some warm water and leave it to soak. Then mix it with three tablespoons of wet food. Bingo.! He eats the lot. Finally.! Now to get him back up to the weight he should be, having noted that his ribs are showing through the huge amount of fur he’s now covered in…

Furball.!

2020: A Personal Review

The New Year began with a loud bang on the sofa in the front room, Bear and I having no qualms about our neighbours listening in on our sex life. They should be more aghast at forcing us to listen to their weekly screaming rows. By the middle of the month though we were at odds with each other, over his consistent checking out of female Facebook profiles. I don’t have a problem with him checking out other women, I have a problem with him checking out other women in front of me.! Late January saw me being harpooned by a needle-wielding sadist whose ear to ear grin and bouncy joyfulness at stabbing me making me wonder just what kind of psychopath you have to be to get into the medical profession.

In February we went to Maastricht to shop for wedding outfits and I got a new tattoo, having 50’s style stocking seams inked down the backs of both legs that led to a major spat between Bear and I, owing to his over-enthusiastic attempt at being popular with a female ex co-worker who had wronged me badly in 2019.

My younger sister’s wedding in March went ahead without me, after the Netherlands went into National lockdown the day before we were due to sail over to the UK. We’d hoped to make it over before that happened, but upon discovering that had we, we’d have been stuck in the UK for more than three weeks I wasn’t overly concerned at the near miss. Three weeks stuck in the UK with my family is a definite no-no.! The wedding went ahead with 17 guests and a fish and chips lunch on a cold, blustery beach and we were left with two awesome outfits and nowhere to wear them. 😦 On a happier note, I received notification from the local town hall that my appeal for permanent residency had been accepted. 🙂

April 1st brought a puppy we named DraxtheDestroyer into our home. Man, were we dumb giving him a name that he’s happily lived up to.! A Border Collie mix/Toller Retriever cross, he was cute, lovable, bitey and naturally destructive all at the same time. It was like having a newborn baby for the first six weeks and a hyped up Gremlin since. I’m still amazed I’ve made it through intact and even more amazed the house has. My best friend ended up in hospital with the ‘Rona and had to be intubated and ventilated. An otherwise healthy, fit man has become a physical wreck with serious heart, lung and muscular issues thanks to long Covid.

In May my ex-husband politely requested an audience with me concerning an important legal matter. He’d been blocked from contacting me on every level, so the request came though our youngest son. I was loathe to bother responding, but knew the boys would hold it against me so replied. It led to a stressful six month legal process to rid myself of a house I’d never wanted and had had no involvement with since it was bought fourteen year ago. My feelings for my ex- died almost two decades ago, but his shitty behaviour towards our boys always triggered a psychopathic rage in me that he’s damned lucky I couldn’t fulfil. After ten years of stress and anxiety with every contact I’d been forced into with him, I suddenly realised I wasn’t feeling it this time. Finally, I was starting to heal.

In June, my father disowned me, not for the first time but definitely for the last. His blatant discrimination and lack of tolerance for anyone not white, straight and religious made me reveal my bi-sexuality and I was instantly banished, being blocked on Facebook and from his email. If I cared even a jot I might have been upset, but I knew that would be the result. His inability to see past his own biases and refusal to acknowledge that his ‘entitled white man’ attitude is the problem has caused a rift I have no inclination to heal. The only thing that caused me a moment’s pain was seeing my siblings rush to his defence and make excuses for him. It made me realise how toxic and truly unnecessary that family is to me.

July saw me get back in contact with my birth mother after years of on-off contact. She and I have spent almost 30 years circling each other warily. She dumped my brother and I when we were 9 and 7 years old, taking our disabled little sister (4) with her and has since feigned her innocence in that event and others. My brother hasn’t had anything to do with her since and I have been very cautious in my dealings with her. I got back in contact having had quite enough of my father’s bullshit and lies, and have finally accepted that answers will never be forthcoming, and those that are can’t be trusted to be the truth.

August was just hot. Too hot, but a new patio pool helped cool us off a little. September saw the mad puppy pass his puppy training course despite dismally failing the last lesson by chewing on the intelligence tests instead of solving them. Hardly his fault, all those treats and enticing puppy smells proved too much for our inquisitive little monster and he ran around chewing grass, games and anything he could get his mouth on rather than proving his superior intellect. He could now however sit, stay, offer a paw, come when called and destroy everything he came within a 20 foot radius of, after he’d covered it in slobber and teeth marks. Most of his training has been done by us and he’s learned quite quickly the behaviour that’s acceptable and the behaviour that’s not, although he likes to pretend he’s in charge every now and again, he knows that as Mummy, I am.!

In mid October a daughter was born to my youngest son, and promptly declared his by my eldest. My eldest would make a great father if his taste in women wasn’t so horrendous. Not that my youngest’s is any better, his fiancee’s a lazy bitch who has no idea what hygiene is. My younger sister discovered she was pregnant, with a due date of next June. I’m hoping it’ll be a few days early and arrive on my birthday. The legal process I started back in May finally drew to a close. It meant being free of all ties with my ex- who would now have no reason to be in contact with me, and you can be damned sure any contact he initiates will be taken as an act of aggression.

In November I gave up on Christmas preparation with the total cock-up of the Christmas pudding that rose in the pan, dried out and ended up half cooked and half raw, dumped in the freezer and left to fend for itself until such time as I could be bothered to do something with it. I gave up on online shopping trying to find a service that would deliver to the UK without it costing a fortune. My stepmother’s best friend stepped in to help and our grandchildren’s Christmas presents were delivered by mid-November.! We celebrated the big guy’s birthday with Thai delivery and beer and our 10th anniversary with Indian delivery and beer.

December arrived with an apologetic expression, bringing with it a final Brexit deal and a new strain of COVID. Not that I needed an excuse to stay the hell away from the UK, but finding out that even though we have an EU Pet passport, we’re still expected to pay £100 for a health certificate when bringing the dog with us, has given me a new incentive to not bother setting foot on British soil. Christmas happened quietly, once the Christmas tree had been reinstated after an altercation with the dog. We tried a new vegetarian bake for dinner, which proved to be spicy and tasty and a damn sight easier to cook than a few kilos of dead animal. Christmas pudding was steamed in a Bundt pan and amazingly it made no difference at all to the flavour.

The kids arrived on the 27th and a Star Wars marathon ensued. The New Year proved to be quiet and was over quickly, the dog only being bothered by the bangs and squeals when he decided he had to go and investigate the garden just as the neighbours let off a volley. He changed his mind pretty quickly and returned to the safety of the sofa and the adventures of Snake Plissken in New York.!

This year we have Corona to thank for uncovering the hidden lack of intelligence in people we thought we knew, who happily shared anti-mask and anti-safety restriction propaganda under the guise of ‘showing two sides of a story’ there are not two sides to. Anyone not wearing a mask, washing their hands and socially distancing to protect themselves and their loved ones is just being deliberately stupid and irresponsible. They were happily relegated to the ‘unfriended’ list of people who have unfortunately surprised us with their lack of basic brain power and common sense.

This year I have been in my element. Self-isolation and the avoidance of everyone who doesn’t live in my home agrees with me no end and having all this ‘me’ time has given me plenty of opportunities to update my blogs, make some progress in online games and bask in my newly discovered vegetarian cooking skills… the downside of all that is the painful lack of mobility, not that there’s much I can do about it until my little sadistic buddy starts using me as a voodoo doll again and the day that happens is nowhere near close yet.!

The Mommy, Christmas Pudding & The Missing Bauble

Yesterday we visited The Mommy, having been summoned because she’d made a whole ton of Chicken Soup and Ragout and didn’t have room to store it all in her freezer and fridge, so she was giving us half of it. What she thinks we’re going to do with it I don’t know. She knows we’ve gone vegetarian and she knows I won’t eat it. What makes her think we’ve even got room for it in our freezer and fridge, which right now is bursting with Christmas ingredients and beer, Bear having received 12 bottles of beer in his secret Santa giftbox that came two days ago, after he’d already been to the beer shop that morning and bought 10.! At least we’ll be okay for New Year. I may have to give the chicken stuff to the kids and make spicier meals for Bear and I that the kids won’t want.

Today I officially reached the ‘fuck this shit.!’ stage of Christmas preparation and decided tradition be damned. Who says I can’t steam a Christmas pudding in a Bundt tin.? Who says I can’t bake Christmas pudding mix like a cake.? Who says I can’t have chocolate fudge mud-pie brownies in place of Christmas cake.? I can and I am.!

Christmas pudding is the only part of the traditional English Christmas fare that Bear likes, so I try to make one every year and have it nicely laced with whisky, brandy or sherry, or all three depending on whether he has to work on Christmas day or not. This year he does, so I laced it with a little sherry and as with all well laid plans, it went to shit and I ended up packing it into little pudding tubs and putting it in the freezer to deal with at a later date.

That date was today. I left both pudding tubs to defrost over night, to steam them today so that I’d only have to re-heat them tomorrow in the microwave. Of course, ten minutes after starting the steaming process I discover the pudding tubs are not heat proof and the damned things are starting to melt… ffs.! So begins a search for heatproof plastic anything that can act as a pudding basin. Of course, no such luck. So I go through the equipment cupboards looking for something metal that would suffice. Nope.

So, in frustration and just a tad stressed, having been through the kitchen cupboards seeing what ingredients I do have, what I don’t and what I can get away without, I re-made the whole pudding again from scratch… omitting the marinating for 24 hours part, obviously. Once re-made, I scraped out the slightly damp puddings from their melting tubs and chucked them in with the new stuff and gave it a good mix and giving up on the ‘glass bowl in a casserole dish’ form of steaming, considering last month’s disaster, packed it into a Bundt cake tin and covered it with the traditional baking paper and aluminium foil before dropping it into a saucepan of boiling water on the hob.

Bear will get Christmas pudding this year… one way or another.! Thankfully, that big beardy angel prepared the sprouts for me, so that’s one less thing for me to get pissed off at. Just the potatoes to peel and cut and the tiramisu to make ready for tomorrow and I’m done. Not that we’ll have tiramisu tomorrow until Bear gets home from work around 11.45pm… can’t have him driving to work after a big bowl of Whisky and Bailey’s Irish Cream soaked tiramisu… but at least it’ll be well soaked if I make it tonight. The fumes alone should keep me happy. 😀

I’ll also be searching out the big bauble we pinched last year because for some reason it’s not where it should be, with the rest of the Christmas decorations and neither Bear nor I know where it went. It’s been a tradition since I moved here to steal a bauble from somewhere to add to our collection. Bear was a bit hesitant at first being an honest upstanding member of society, but soon got into the spirit of the thing for me and whipped a bauble from the same pub I pinched our first from the year before. In the past ten years he’s only swiped three baubles, I’ve done the dirty deed the rest of the time. It would be a shame to lose that one as out of all the baubles I’ve nicked over the years that’s the biggest and best and the most daring, as I nicked it from a public display in the centre of town… which is packed with CCTV.! 😀

Note to Self: Don’t bake Christmas pudding mix like cake. It’s dry as dust and tastes like cardboard crumbs. 😦

Drax And The WhatsApp Video Call, Ten Year Anniversary & Vegetarian Food Delivery Menus

On Wednesday morning I had to attend a WhatsApp video call with my Solicitor in England to go over the details of the property transfer with my ex-, so that he could ensure I knew what I was doing and why. The call was arranged for 10.30am so I made sure Drax had been fed, watered and was happily chewing on his cheesy bone on the sofa and that the back door was open so he could go outside should he choose to. At exactly 10.30am, I answer the call, just as Drax decides to start having a mad barking fit because there’s a cat sat on the windowsill across the road that’s just caught his attention.

As with all socially distanced cat encounters he races like a lunatic around the living room and patio, launching himself off of the sofa onto the footstool and onto the floor to race out the back door barking, to run a lap around the patio before rushing back indoors, throwing himself onto the footstool, which carries him to the sofa where he screeches to a halt before he ends up doing a Garfield on the window, barking like crazy, whining and whimpering, before throwing himself off of the sofa onto said footstool, launching himself off again and racing outside to run a lap around the patio… rinse and repeat 12-15 times… by the time he’s done the footstool is over by the door and the sofa is pushed up against the windowsill.. 14 inches from where it should be.! The floor has a slobber trail from door to footstool.

Meanwhile, my Solicitor in England is almost shouting at me through WhatsApp to try to get himself heard through the flurry of barking and claw-on-tile skittering, and of course apologies from me because screaming at the dog to shut the hell up doesn’t work.! Shutting him out in the garden doesn’t work… he’s a 9 month old, 50lb+ ball of over-excitement and slobber and if you try to shut him out, he’ll come through the window… Bear’s already warned the kids not to shut the door on him when he’s got the Zoomies. Eventually, the Solicitor shuts off the video and resorts to messaging. What he must think of me I don’t know, nor do I care, when there’s a cat in visual range, chaos reigns… Of course once the video is off and I’ve stopped attempting to talk, the dog decides to ignore the cat, quietens down and carries on chewing on his cheesy bone on the sofa.! 😕

DRAXtheDestroyer. Socially distanced cat worrier

Wednesday also saw mine and Bear’s 10th Anniversary. We’ve both come a long way and it hasn’t been easy for either of us. I’ve had to work hard to keep my natural flair for sarcasm under control, because he just doesn’t get it and thinks sarcastic people are just mean. He’s had to learn to read my moods, which is no easy task, but he’s managed to develop some early warning alarms and he’s been learning consideration, which is something the Dutch are not. We still make each other laugh and occasionally he surprises me. I’ve finally found some peace and he’s found security, something he desperately needed in order to let the person he is shine after previously being criticised and found fault with because he’s different to other men.

We decided to celebrate with beer and a food delivery, seeing as we couldn’t go out to a restaurant as we normally would. I made carrot cake with lime frosting and the dog got a HUGE dental stick chew through the post from The Mommy. The beer delivery guy turned out to be an old friend from our favourite bar, who’s started a beer company with a few friends and gets the more obscure craft beers for us discerning palettes. The food delivery was hard work… we decided to go with Chinese but only had a choice of two vegetarian meals tucked at the bottom of a huge menu of meat and fish dishes… Bear was not impressed. He checked out the Greek and Indonesian menus and was disgusted at the lack of vegetarian options, only two Greek meals and one Indonesian that was basically a boiled egg in tomato sauce.

He was about to give up when I suggested Indian. There’s only one Indian restaurant in town and they don’t deliver… or rather, they didn’t deliver. Google said they didn’t deliver but when Bear phoned and asked they said they would… and they had eight different vegetarian meals on their menu so we ordered Paneer Tikka Masala and Lauki with Saag, which is spinach, onions and red peppers in a spicy sauce and really tasty. I have a feeling Bear’s going to be pursuing the issue of a lack of support for vegetarians with our local political party.

Online Shopping Sucks & Peace At Last.!!

I despise online shopping… with a vengeance.! Saturday evening I was sat, looking for a decent sized Mr. Bean teddy for my grandson who’s Mr. Bean mad at the moment… he watches all the cartoons and has a toy Mini that he loves playing with. The only place that had decent sized teddies was Amazon, so I browsed Amazon.com and found several in various sizes… with two issues, one was that it would cost me twice what the bear cost in shipping fees and the other was that it would get to the UK between December 26th and Jan 11th..! So I tried Amazon.nl… they had the same bear at a similar price but didn’t ship to the UK… ffs.! So I tried Bol.com, same issue… no shipping to the UK.

Okay… so I went to Amazon.co.uk who offered me free shipping and had a good amount of bear’s left, so I wouldn’t miss out… but who refused to accept Bear’s Dutch payment card.! Apparently to shop for the UK, you have to live in the UK, have a UK mobile number and UK payment card.! How the fuck do people shop for their UK relatives when they don’t live in the UK.? Anybody.?! Because all I seem to get is grief from these oh-so-convenient shopping sites that are nothing but a massive pain in my ass.! I can’t go shopping because everywhere is closed due to the ‘Rona restrictions and the Post Office is open for an hour a day, four days a week, but the queues are ridiculously long and walking all the way into town, standing around for an hour and walking back again would cause me more pain and for far longer than it’s worth.

Last year I had to put up with my grandson’s Christmas present finally turning up on February 20th, due to Post.NL and DHL being too incompetent to deliver on their promises. We’ve had Christmas every December since the year 336, thanks to the Romans. Post.NL has been around since 1926 and DHL since the late 1970’s and yet neither can get their acts together after 94 years and 40 years respectively.! WTF.! Thanks to my stepmother’s best friend, who seeing my post on the family chat group agreed to order and pay for the bear herself and get it shipped from within the UK (and I would transfer the money into her account), my grandson will get his present in time for Christmas.

Finally, my ex-‘s mortgage issues will become a thing of the past. After being messed around for almost six months, the paperwork is finally completed, witnessed, notarised, scanned to PDF and sent and I can finally stop stressing over the stupid damned hoops I (and Bear) have had to jump through to get the process finalised. My ex- can do whatever the hell he wants to with his house and I can finally silence my phone again and ignore his stupid messages. Peace at last.!

A Pointless Exercise, Moulting & Going Grey

Stupidly, my first thought upon waking this morning was ‘I need to clean the windows’. Stupid because it’s chucking it down outside and blowing a howling gale and window washing would be a particularly pointless exercise. Being an expert at pointless exercises, I washed the downstairs windows.! With the help of the dog who found it mesmerising watching me clean the inside of the windows and a whole load of fun, following my cleaning of the outside windows with his nose… meaning the inside had to be cleaned again.!

Not content with leaving smeary nose prints on the windows he decides to shout at the local moggy, who blatantly ignores his persistent barking and yelping and whining to be noticed and sits on her doorstep with her nose in the air, while the dog is almost hysterical and scrabbling like crazy to get through the recently cleaned windows with his slobbery paws and strings of over-excitable slobber splattering everywhere in his haste to race from one end of the sofa to the other, to see if there’s a way he can get through the window to shout at the cat up close and personally…

Which is just mildly entertaining to watch when you know that the second he gets anywhere near a cat, he whimpers and tries to find somewhere to hide from it… so full of bravado this pup.! So my totally pointless exercise of the day was just as pointless as I knew it would be, but not for the reason I thought.

For some reason demon dog is moulting and I have no idea why. He moulted half his body weight during the summer with the excuse that he was shedding his winter coat… I’m accepting no such excuse this time and holding him personally responsible for the blanket of hair I have to vacuum from my floors and furniture on a daily basis. At this rate I could weave a dog rug. I’ve told him I’m going to give him a full body mohawk if it keeps up… his Papa is of course on his side, but then Bear moults just as much as the dog. Now that he’s working his way into his fifties his hair’s going grey and his beard’s turning white and moulting. Although the ginger bits are still ginger, which amuses me no end.

What doesn’t amuse me is the wing of white hair I’m developing on my left temple. I’ve been going silver since 2012, but this is more than just a few glittery strands, it’s a whole swatch of hair that gets whiter and whiter every time I see it, which isn’t often as there are only two mirrors in this house and neither one is positioned to catch a glimpse of the facial area unless you’re over 6 feet tall, which I’m not. I will be the youngest in my family to go grey.! My grandmother and father didn’t have a single grey hair until they were well into their fifties and my mother is 68 and only has a handful of silver on her head, she’s never dyed it.

Living On The Edge, Christmas Pudding & The New Niece

On Thursday evening, Bear decided to transfer from the dining table to the sofa with his iPad and phone, to be comfortable with his internet addiction… while I finished up the genealogy I was working on before joining him. The dog is of course curled up in my spot on the sofa beside him, so I sat on the other side of the dog, not wanting to disturb his sleep, seeing as the little shit had performed several ‘near misses’ and ‘hit and run’s’ that day whilst tear-assing like a demon around the living room and patio… and I had the bruises to prove it.!

Eventually Bear re-enters reality long enough to start streaming the Mandalorian, but then pauses it and goes back to his iPad. Twenty minutes later he puts that down and picks up his phone, then goes back to his iPad. Meanwhile I’m sat like a dick on the sofa, twiddling my damn thumbs and waiting for him to un-pause the Mandalorian, so we can watch it. Intuitively the dog has sensed my irritation with his internet engrossed Papa and decides to go bring him back to the present by clambering across his iPad screen and I moved into my spot on the sofa.

Bear then checks the time and says it’s now too late to watch the Mandalorian and switches the TV to some MTV crap, while I direct a filthy look in his direction.! I’ve just spent a little over an hour sat on my own, in silence, waiting for him to put the fucking Internet down and spend time with me, while he’s been poncing about playing some Star Trek style game, waiting for me to sit in my spot on the sofa because it seems the TV remote doesn’t work if I’m even an inch out of place.! Very little has been said in the meantime, while I consider the benefits of smashing his sodding iPad over his head and shoving the wi-fi cable up his ass.!

Yeah, taking deep breaths doesn’t work for me… homicide probably would though.! Bear sure does like living on the edge of my sanity.

Which leads me to today’s Christmas pudding, which I started to make on Tuesday of last week, until I discovered the alcohol we had was either really old or damn near gone, so got all the dry ingredients, sans fruit, all together and sealed in a Tupperware box. On Wednesday Bear begrudgingly went to Gall & Gall after work to get a certain Pedro Ximenez sherry I’d requested, which having been recommended by Nigella Lawson, was a must try.! He comes home with a different Pedro Ximenez sherry because it was cheaper and he got a second bottle for half price… *sigh.! FML*

So on Wednesday evening I pour 3/4 of a bottle into the dried fruit and leave it to soak until the morning, hoping to God it doesn’t smell like paint thinner.! On Thursday I discover I’m almost out of aluminium foil.. ffs.! But at least it means another day of soaking for the dried fruit, which smells divine (thank you ethereal being I’m doubtful exists). Thursday evening I get the new aluminium foil and set to work to find I don’t have enough butter… yeah, it’s been one of those weeks.! I daren’t ask Bear to go back to the store for butter because he’s done a full week of early shifts and is almost dead on his feet… then Thursday night happens.

Friday, I don’t give two shits how dead he is, I want butter and I want it now or I’m just gonna dump the whole damned lot in the bin and drink the remaining sherry all by myself. Friday night, after driving an extra 62 miles to pick the kids up and bring them back for the weekend, Bear gets me the butter which goes straight in the freezer. We have a fairly pleasant evening as Bear’s “Oh shit.!” radar has finally kicked in and he’s being overly affectionate, while leaving his iPad on the dining table. Very wise. This morning I’m up early to get on with the pudding before I give up and get to work grating frozen butter, mixing the dry ingredients into the sherry and fruit and getting it into the glass bowl to be steamed for 6 hours.!

After almost two, the pudding has risen, which it shouldn’t, and the lid of the steamer is now an inch off the pan.. fuck.! Not good, because the pudding is now drying out and not cooking properly. So Bear and I had a brainstorm and came up with a different pan with a tighter lid, but no wiggle room so I couldn’t see how far up the bowl the water was… taking a chance I filled it to where I could just see a glint and put it in the oven. After three hours and two more paranoia fuelled refills, the pan lid starts vibrating, so I whipped it out the oven and let it cool before checking to see what was going on.

The pudding is overcooked on top, but undercooked on the bottom. Ffs.! I knew I should have given it up. Bear’s solution… turn it upside down on to a plate and shake it.! So now I have a dinner plate covered in over cooked and under cooked pudding pieces and lots of crumbs because rather than using a little common sense and allowing the pudding to cool in the bowl and sliding a knife around it to loosen the baked on parts, it got the shaking of it’s life and fell to pieces all over the counter top. So that’s Christmas pudding for this year… done and dusted. I’m not playing anymore.

On the plus side, my sister is pregnant.! After her ‘edge of COVID’ wedding back in March (the one we spent a fortune for and ended up locked down two days before.!), she and the new brother in law have been trying for a baby, in vain until last month when they discovered she was 5 weeks pregnant. So overjoyed are they to be becoming parents that their tiny human has already been gendered and named.! I only hope the disappointment isn’t too crushing if they discover they were wrong. Baby Nyla is due on June 19th 2021 and I am very much looking forward to having a baby niece.

The elusive baby is still elusive and presumed non-existent. It being mid-November with still no sign of my brother’s youngest daughter giving birth to whatever she decided she’s been carrying around inside her for the past 61 weeks and making out she was on the verge of birthing. I think she needs help. Miscarriages are horrifically traumatic, I’ve survived through 6 and needed help I didn’t get… which probably explains a lot. Pretending she’s pregnant in the hopes that it might actually come true is not a healthy way to cope or to live.

A New Grand-Baby And Their Asshole Father

On October 13th my youngest son’s fiancee produced grandbaby #2. A gorgeous little girl they’ve named Rose Marie. She has her father’s nose, which I’m particularly happy about and looks more like her father than her mother… I have yet to see whether condolences are necessary. Her big brother Riley (2) isn’t all that impressed and seems to be confused in most of the photos he has with her. I totally get that. My eldest was just as confused when his baby brother was born. He wanted to know where the baby in Mummy’s tummy had gone, and where the new baby brother had come from in the hospital. Probably so that he could take him back… which he wanted to do less than 5 years later.. poor kid.!

Rose Marie

Hopefully Riley’s relationship with his little sister is less volatile and a lot more companionable than his father and Uncle’s was and is. He’s been spending lots of time with his paternal grandparent’s and his Uncle since Rose was born, having fun and eating a proper healthy diet. His parents’ idea of parenthood has much to be desired as does their take on hygiene. They’ve been warned to get their act together, but they’re both so bloody lazy that only something dramatic will kick their asses.

Riley and Rose

#2 son passed his driving test last month, on the second attempt and did exactly as I knew he would… sped off in his tiny little 1 litre Corsa and drove like an asshole. His father’s fault… he paid for the lessons, the test, the car, the MOT, tax and insurance and taught him all the lazy ways to drive a car that professional instructors hate. #2 son has ADHD, ADD and autistic spectrum disorders, so it was no surprise to hear that he did 90mph in a 60mph zone and took corners on two wheels in a residential area. The dumb fucktard.!

What makes me want to go over there and smack his head into a wall is that he took little Riley to school in the car with no car seat and no seatbelt on because he was too damned lazy to walk 100 yards. He admitted it to his father when he confessed that the car was now fucked because he’d been driving like an asshole. He broke the fanbelt.! I can guess how he broke the fanbelt and I know it’s not going to be the last time he drives like an asshole; it will however be the last time he takes his child out in the car without proper restraints and protection because he’s had his one warning and he knows the consequences of him causing that baby harm will be me causing him harm. He knows I’m not joking.

The Elusive Baby

Yet again, a postponement on the birth of baby Gracie Mae. My niece is now allegedly, 42 weeks pregnant having been due, finally, on September 5th. This pregnancy has been memorable for my family only because of the amount of changes of due date and odd excuses for the lack of baby’s appearance.

My niece sadly miscarried last August at 18 weeks of pregnancy. It was her first pregnancy and they knew the baby was a girl. Within six weeks, it was announced that she was pregnant again and that due to her history of gynae issues eg. Ovarian cysts, fallopian tube infection, cervical cancer, she would be having a premature birth to save the baby around the six months mark.

In early March, we were informed she was having another girl and would be induced on March 28th. Then the date changed to April 28th. By May, no baby appeared and so we asked how Mum was doing.? She seemed happy and healthy and said the hospital had decided it was safe for her to go a few more months under observation. Her due date was then amended to July 4th.

On June 21st her plug dislodged and passed and excitement rose in expectation of the impending birth. On June 24th contractions were reported to have started naturally. Those contractions turned out to be Braxton Hicks and she was allowed home. By July 4th there was still no baby. My brother reported that my niece would be going into hospital on July 31st.

By August 5th still nothing so again we enquired as to Mum’s health. Still fine, still allegedly pregnant. By August 29th we were told the baby was due the first week of September. Mum herself confirmed she was due to go in for a C-section on September 1st. It didn’t happen. On September 2nd she was admitted to the hospital and put on a saline drip with Pitocin in, so that her labour came on a little more naturally to try to keep the baby safe.

Nothing happened and on September 4th she was told she’d be having a C-section the next day. That night contractions started. On September 5th, we were told the C-section would now be on September 9th. On September 8th, we got a message from Mum saying her partner was showing signs of Covid-19 infection so she wouldn’t be going into hospital the next day after all. Maybe on the 10th.

Since then, we’ve heard nothing and it’s now September 17th. By my estimation my niece is now 52.5 weeks pregnant, which of course is impossible, but it means that when she told everyone she was pregnant again last year she probably wasn’t. Either way, I’m very dubious as to the validity of her claims to be on the verge of giving birth in light of all the excuses, stalling and outright impossibility that she can still be pregnant.

But I’m still waiting….

Puppy Intelligence, Equity Transfer and A Dying Dad

The nutso puppy completed his introduction to Puppy Training course last week and received a certificate, having proved that he can sit, stay, come when called, touch his nose to our hands and eat his way through an intelligence test, rather than eat the treats as he was meant to. In his defence all the other puppies had been sniffing, licking at and chewing on the tests before him and the remnant smells of doggy treats must have been alluring because he managed to complete not a single intelligence test and chewed on every one of them.!

Some he didn’t even bother looking for the hidden treat, he just started chewing on the test instead. He made a good effort with one that was shaped like a large puzzle piece that had to be opened in the centre to reach the treat… he managed to separate the two sides, ignored the offered treats and chewed on both sides of the puzzle piece. The fleece tie blanket that you hide treats in and the dog has to sniff them out, just got chewed on. Not a good ending to the course for him, but at least he got a participation certificate, so Bear felt good about it all.

My ex- has re-started the process of the equity transfer with a completely new solicitor, after the initial contact he made with the first one resulted in a total lack of communication. They said at first that they could help me, then decided they couldn’t because I lived in the Netherlands. Then stopped communicating with my ex- completely. Total lack of professionalism and my review of their company will reflect that.

This new solicitor seems to have more than a passing clue and responded to my initial contact with a long list of document requirements and a breakdown of all the costs involved. I like him already. I have a questionnaire to fill out and to send back asap. Now I have to find a solicitor here in the Netherlands, who speaks almost fluent English and knows what the hell to do with all these documents I have to acquire. Already, this is starting to get on my nerves.

I had hoped it was a simple case of flashing my passport, providing my name change document and signing a piece of paper… but it’s not. I have to prove who I am, who I was, that I live where I live and that Bear owns the property, and that we are a couple and have been for the length of tenancy that I have reported. Gee whizz! Seriously.?!! I know this is going to stress me the fuck out before it’s done and I shall be only too happy to block my asshole ex- again as soon as it’s completed.

This weekend he’s down in the south of England, after being informed of his father’s hospital admission and impending demise, should he refuse a life-saving operation he needs. Which is highly likely. His father is 81, has lived alone for the past 15 years and is as cantankerous and hard to shift as granite when he decides something is what he says it is. He’s spent all of lockdown alone at home, having his papers delivered and his groceries brought by his eldest son and left on the doorstep.

He used to go walking for an hour a day every day to keep fit, but due to lockdown hasn’t done any exercise for five months. Meaning he’s been sat on his butt at home watching TV and barely eating because he didn’t want to gain any weight, he’s barely even pushing 9 stone (126lbs), so it was assumed he’d been suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Far worse than that is that for the past almost year he’s had a hernia and didn’t tell anyone, so it’s become twisted around his bowel and pretty much stopped it working, sealing the lower half of his colon so that it filled up and filled up and then burst, poisoning him with his own waste.

Still he didn’t tell anyone, despite the pain he must have been in, until it was noticed that the old fool was going grey in the face and slurring his words. Fearing a stroke, his eldest son calls an ambulance and he’s rushed into the A&E and immediately sent up to the emergency ward and put in for an operation on his bowel. The problem is the operation will leave the old man with a tube fitted to the outside of his abdomen that will go to a waste bag that he has to carry around with him and both his son’s (and I) know that he will not agree to that.

He might be 81 but his vanity level is far higher and carrying around a bag of his own waste outside his body and having a care assistant come to his house twice a day to empty his bag and help take care of the hole in his tummy is too undignified to be considered. This is a man who would rather die than suffer any form of personal humiliation even if it means prolonging his life long enough for him to sort out his affairs.

Note: As yet, still no baby…

claytoonz

Nationally Syndicated Editorial Cartoonist

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