Categories
Life

Long Time No Write

Somehow a week has passed since the last blog post. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I suppose I should really fall back on the John Lennon quote – “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. I sometimes wonder if the quotes you commonly see attributed to various people are true – if they really said what people claim.

Anyway.

There’s not much to report, which perhaps indicates why there have been no blog posts. Work has continued as it always does, the chores have continued as they always do, and our family is largely surviving from day to day as it always seems to. I sometimes wonder if there might be some value in inventing a time machine, travelling into the past, and telling myself “one day you will have a family, and will struggle to make ends meet for several years in a row – but don’t worry – you’ll always manage it somehow”.

This morning my middle daughter took part in the 5K “Santa Fun-Run” around town, and then continued on to play rugby where she scored a try. I on the other hand stood in the cold to watch her run past while minding my younger daughter who is on crutches at the moment (long story – read the blog a few weeks ago). My other half wrapped up like an eskimo and waited in the park for middle daughter to finish the run. Our eldest holed herself up in the junk room at home playing a bizarre Manga inspired video game called “Catherine” about a guy having strange dreams about girls trying to kill him – or at least that’s what I could make of it.

The clock just ticked past 10pm and I’ve switched the dishwasher on for the second time today. In a few minutes I’m loading the washing machine for the third time today. It just seems to be like this at the moment. I get a few minutes – usually after getting into bed – to catch up with friends inside my mobile phone.

Hopefully the world will slow down soon. I woke up the other morning with a stiff neck, and a book propped on my chest.

Categories
Life

The Magical Floordrobe

The rest of the household are home at the moment – the schools are on “half term”. You might think this would mean chaos, noise, arguments, and running battles throughout the house – and you would be wrong. I’m as surprised as you.

There must be a turning point with teenagers – where they turn from battle hardened procrastinators into somewhat reasonable family members. I say “somewhat”, because I discovered an entire rugby kit stuffed behind the upstairs bathroom door earlier.

I’m pretty sure teenage girls think the workings of the floordrobe is a miracle of the natural world – where clothes magically vanish from whence they are thrown, walk themselves through the washing machine, dry themselves, fold themselves, and arrive ready to wear once again.

I guess the floordrobe works in exactly the same way as the fridge, and the kitchen food cupboards. By magic.

Don’t even get me started with washing up.

Categories
Life

Cutting the Hedge

I’ve just sat down after spending the last hour trimming the hedge at the front of our house. Of course I write “trimming”, but the real scenes were probably more closely aligned with the jungle hacking antics of the Livingston expedition in the jungle a hundred or so years ago.

We have an electric hedge trimmer. Rather a long electric hedge trimmer. Now I’m sure if you’re Conan the Barbarian you can wield it like a mighty broadsword, vanquishing the hedge as you go. If you’re a software developer who last did an arm workout twenty five years ago – not so much. My forearms are pumped full of blood at the moment – so much so that I’m finding it quite difficult to type. Who could have guessed that this finely tuned software developer physique would have trouble cutting a few yards of hedgerow?

I’m sure I’ll recover.

The up-side of cutting the hedge is that I can now see people approaching the house. The downside of cutting the hedge is that people can now see me watching them approach the house. No more peeping in plain sight for me. Maybe I need some net curtains, so I can appear as a shadowy figure behind them, and scare small children in the neighbourhood. I suppose that only works until I need to trudge towards the corner shop for milk, coffee, or whatever else. “Oh, that’s that man that lives there.”

Please, don’t let anybody that lives nearby know that I know my way around computers. I’ve been “that guy” before. It’s a thankless task – trying to explain to the third person this week that Windows 10 is designed to work with a Microsoft account – and no, they don’t track you – and no, they don’t read your email, and no, the right wing news outlet you listen to isn’t right, and no, you can’t inject bleach, and no, no, no… It gets tiring after a while.

I just tell everybody to buy Chromebooks these days.

In other news, the new power supply for the stricken PC across the room arrives later this afternoon. With a little luck I’ll put it back together, switch it on, and all will be well with the world once again. If not, well… that will be the end of that. I have a horrible feeling it really will be the end of that, but we’ll wait and see. Isn’t it funny that as you get older, you become every-so-much more cycnical about just about everything involving luck.

p.s. I have been bowled over by the number of people that have signed up to receive the blog posts by email. Who knew the blogosphere was so disenfranchised with the status quo? If you would also like to divorce yourself of endless comments, likes, and so on, visit https://jonathanwrotethis.substack.com and subscribe. If you try it out too, let me know – I’l sign up to your writing too 🙂

Categories
Life

A Week Without Words

I’m struggling to remember the last time this blog saw my absence for as many consecutive days. I would love to say “I’ve been busy having all manner of adventures in order to regale you with them”, but that wouldn’t be true at all. For the last week I’ve been existing. Getting up. Working. Making meals. Washing clothes. Doing chores. It’s difficult to make daily life sound exciting when so many have been enduring a similar existence for the last year and a half.

I haven’t been running since last Monday – a mystery pain appeared in my right knee just before the morning run – I probably shouldn’t have run on it, but I did. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I’ve been paying for it ever since. I’m hoping I’ll be ok to run again next week – just taking it slowly. It’s frustrating, after just getting back into the “Couch to 5K” programme.

I’m wondering about getting out on the bike to strengthen my knees. For the last twenty years I have cycled to work – but since the pandemic hit, the office closed, I’ve worked from home, and I have got on the bike only a handful of times. I have no idea how much muscle mass I’ve lost.

In other news, I’ve joined a damn fool weight loss challenge with my middle daughter. Granted, I’m a little overweight – let’s call it “padding” – but not a lot. She has more to lose so will (hopefully) lose more than me, allowing her to crow endlessly about it – which will of course be a good thing. I’ve set her the goal of losing a number of pounds, and getting fit before the end of the summer. I’ve also said I’ll do exercises with her in the week (bang goes my lunchtime noodling around on the internet). I imagine we’ll be dancing around in the garden doing jumping jacks or whatever the hell else she wants to attempt to kill me with.

Before you jump down my throat about encouraging my daughter to lose weight or get fit, and cancel me for being a toxic lunatic – there is a motive. She is in the middle of a two year college course, and on a path to a career in the uniformed services (police, etc). She has knocked it out of the park during the first year – earning distinctions through the academic part of the course. Next year the focus will change to the physical – so turning up in great shape will give her a HUGE head start. It will also of course help her with playing and refereeing rugby matches (yes, she does both).

In other news, I’ve been painting a shed. Or rather, a Wendy House. I’m not sure if “Wendy House” is an international term. In the UK, if you have a play house in your garden (a small shed), it is called a “Wendy House”, after the house made by the lost boys for Wendy to live in, in the book of Peter Pan by J M Barrie. We have a Wendy House that was given to us when the children were young – that became a “Pirate Hideout” for several years, before eventually becoming a garden store. Anyway. I started painting it today. Grey. A flat colour to make it fall into the background of the garden.

We’ve also been digging a pond in the garden. Before children we had a wildlife pond at the end of the garden with numerous fish, frogs, dragonflies, and whatever else living in it – it had to go when the children were small for obvious reasons. They’re grown up now – and digging a massive hold in the garden doesn’t cost very much – so it’s back. At the moment the only things in it are some worms that fell in, and a few pond skaters that have discovered it. Over the coming weeks – as we can afford it, or as people donate plants to us – we are planting the area around the pond. Once it’s established we’ll fill it with fish, and then setup the machine gun posts to shoot Herons on-sight.

Anyway.

It’s getting late. I’m going to go eat cereals, and watch rubbish television for a bit. My other half is curled up on sofa – she had her second Covid shot yesterday – the side effects have arrived today. Not as bad as the first time, but still making her feel a bit rubbish.

P.s. I’m furloughed Monday through Wednesday for the next few weeks. Expect blog posts.

Categories
Life

Bank Holiday Monday

It’s heading towards 10am, and I’m still the only person up and about at home. It’s a bank holiday in the UK today – many people have the day off work. Of course the weather isn’t cooperating – while the sun is trying to break through at the moment, it’s forecast to begin raining at lunchtime, and get worse throughout the day. I imagine our house will begin floating away by dinner time. I better start fashioning some oars out of household implements later.

I’m struggling to wake up. I’m not sure why, because I slept like a log last night – and half remember a couple of crazy dreams. One of them involved accidentally transferring thousands into one of my daughter’s bank accounts, and then struggling to transfer the money back again before anybody found out. I wonder what that means?

It’s interesting how the most illogical events or actions become reasonable in dreams.

(many hours pass)

The better part of the day was spent pulling ivy from the shed in the garden, helping my middle daughter create a podcast (for her college course), and doing several runs to the rubbish tip. This morning’s weather forecast was wrong – the rain finally began to fall early this evening. It’s still raining now, and looking pretty much like the world might end.

After washing up this evening I checked my phone, and saw messages from several friends, sent hours earlier. Hopefully they will understand that life occasionally tramples all over me. It seems that “having friends”, “working”, “doing chores”, and “being a part of a family” never quite add up – and “having friends” always seems to be the first thing to fall by the wayside.

I saw a quote the other day from somebody famous (I forget who), noting that if you got run over by a truck tomorrow, your employer would replace you within a month or two – but that your friends and family would always remember you. I read it, and thought “yes, but if you don’t work, you have no money, your family lose their house, and you have no smartphone to stay in touch with friends”.

Nothing is ever as simple as a motivational quote.

Anyway. I only have a few hours until the “day off” comes to an end. I should probably go watch something rubbish on the television, and eat something I’ll feel bad about afterwards. It’s funny how that works.

Categories
Life

A State of Continual Distraction

In keeping with the “falling off the blogging horse” theme I seem to have been following recently, I can feel myself being slowly drawn back. It’s curious how that happens. The more scientific might start talking about biorhythms. I’m more inclined to call it a state of continual distraction.

It’s Friday morning. The last day working before a week off. I don’t have any specific project work to get on with, so am doing research and development into skills I will need for an upcoming project. I always find it difficult to focus without a specific aim – I suppose it’s a little like wandering without a compass.

I’m not entirely sure what next week will be filled with. I need to get the grass cut in the back garden, but beyond that I’m not sure. Some long walks with the rest of the family might be an idea – if I can get them out of the house. There are some nice circular walks nearby – through woods, over hills, and across fields.

While writing this (and sipping coffee) I’m listening to a Spotify playlist. Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy just started playing. It always reminds me of the movie “Frankie and Johnny” – where the lead characters finally find a moment of calm after a (quite wonderful) story filled with stress, uncertainty, and yearning.

(five minutes pass while I make a second coffee, and check on the washing machine)

The washing line is now completely full of clothes. By end of day there will be mountains of folded clothes all over the dining table. When the kids emerge I will set them to work – retrieving dry clothes from the line, and folding them (to a fashion) into piles for each person. There’s no point me doing it – I no longer have a clue which clothes belong to whom. My daughters are now the same size as my other half. My simple brain has enough trouble distinguishing between “my clothes”, and “their clothes”, let alone “skinny fit t-shirt with cats on”, “black boy shorts”, “crimson leggings”, “black leggings”, and so on.

People tend to either smile knowingly, or frown when I tell them I live in a world of womens clothes, underwear, and makeup.

Anyway.

Better get on with some work.

Categories
Life

Turning into a Cat

I think I’m turning into a cat. You know how cats have favourite places to curl up or “be” that last for a few days at a time, before they move on to somewhere else? I’m like that with writing. For a while I was writing at Evernote, then a text editor for a little while, then Notion, and now I’m back at Google Docs, where I’ve been writing on-and-off for years.

Google Docs is the easy option for me. It satisfies the paranoid part of my brain that says “what if the computer goes bang in the middle of your Pulitzer prize winning blog post?” – because it saves every word as I write it. Of course this is predicated on the idea that what I’m writing has literary value (I’m humble enough to realise that I’m only a legend in my own lunchtime).

It’s Sunday morning. The clock is just ticking past 10am. I’ve been up for the last hour – emptying the dishwasher, clearing the kitchen up – the usual chores around the house. I didn’t have a shower this morning, and now feel grubby. I usually have a shower every morning – it helps wake me up. I’m not going anywhere or doing anything today, so thought “what’s the point?” – it’s not like I smell or anything. I will admit to washing my face with soap and cold water after brushing my teeth though – to try and wake myself up. It sort of worked.

I need to head out to the corner shop soon – we’ve run out of bread. It’s kind of difficult to make toast without bread – almost as bad as the time our middle daughter made a cup of tea for her Mum after we ran out of teabags. She didn’t let the lack of tea stop her – proudly delivering a cup of hot watery milk. She was only about seven years old at the time.

Anyway.

Time to go find my shoes and socks. At least it’s not raining today (yet).

Categories
Life

Slowly

I started writing this post a little after 8am this morning, and then a world of chores, distractions, and errands took over. It’s Wednesday – half-way through my second week off. I would say I’m starting to look forwards to going back to work, but of course that’s not happening, because I work from home now. Next monday I’ll be sitting at the same chair, in front of the same desk – just with a different laptop in front of me.

We’re heading out again today – to walk around the same place we walked around last week – a National Trust property a few miles from home. I imagine the fresh air will do us some good. My mother-in-law is coming with us – she’s due to arrive in the next half an hour or so.

I didn’t go running this morning. I haven’t done a lot of things recently. I’m not really sure why. Maybe this is me slowing down (that’s if slowing down discounts washing clothes, dishes, putting things away, tidying up behind people, putting garbage out, and so on, and so on, and so on). I realised yesterday that I haven’t been out on my bike – you know, the shiny new bike I bought just before lockdown – for weeks.

Anyway… time to go. I’ll write more later. Maybe.

Categories
Life

On Call

It’s Friday, and you find me holed up in the junk room at home, putting together another quiz. This evening the company I work for are having a “virtual social” on Zoom, and I volunteered myself as quiz-master. Although I have run several quizes recently, I’m putting together an entirely new set of questions, so the rest of my family can take part.

While I work on the quiz, the younger children are heading into town to get some groceries. I can’t really go anywhere today – even though I’m not working – because I have agreed to be “on call” for any support issues at work. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere, so it’s not really a hardship.

While tidying the junk room up yesterday I fished the old iMac out, and powered it up. It’s over 20 years old now, and STILL WORKS. I keep wondering if I should give it away to somebody that might get some use out of it, but can never quite bring myself to part with it. I keep telling myself I’ll use it for writing, but I never quite get around to it.

I bought a game for the kids to play yesterday – a crafting and exploration game on Steam called “Starbound”. After not hearing anything from our eldest for a few hours, I checked in on her, and discovered her still playing it – so it can’t be that bad. If I make some time later, I might have a look at it myself.

Finally, I watched the movie “Midway” last night. I hate to say it, but it’s nowhere near as good as the version made in the 1970s with Charlton Heston. Yes, the new movie has got spectacular special effects (which look very fake), but it has none of the strategic maneouvering that is covered so well in the older movie. The dive bombing scenes were unintentionally hilarious – with the age-old “every time we cut back to see the ground coming, we’re still as far away from it as last time we looked”… I swear – some of the dive bombing runs fell through the same altitudes four or five times.

Anyway.

This post was a bit random, wasn’t it.

Although I’m only posting every other day at the moment, life goes on. We’re still running, and I’m still cycling fairly regularly. Work is down to three days a week at the moment, which strangely means that I’m struggling to figure out which day of the week it is. We’re all well though, so we can’t complain.