Still feeling good.

Though I do hate tax returns.

This will be a short one.

I’ve returned to a good old habit: if I have a journey of less than 1 mile from my house, I return home then go out on foot to do said journey instead of doing it in my car.

It really helps by giving me real time out, still doing things that need to be done, but forcing me to take quality time over things.

I’m a big fan of audiobooks, I don’t know if I’ve said this before.

I listen to them, podcasts or YouTube videos (audio heavy ones) basically all day when not doing things that require real attention. Apparently I can multitask uncommonly well in this regard.

I’m currently listening to The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. Sequels after more than 2 decades rarely do well in my mind, but this is good. So far it serves just as a what happens next, sort of thing, with some great expansion on the world Atwood has made.

Right it’s late. I need to sleep.

Told you it’d be a short one.

New tings, bruv.

That run yesterday really sorted me out.

Today has been my favourite day of the year so far. I’ve been with my wife all day. Barely left eachothers company since a massive lie-in until after 0900.

My wife isn’t looking forward to maternity leave. She’s one of those extemely active, constant project-doing people. The idea of being mostly alone with a tiny nugget-person is striking a bit of fear into her. She doesn’t want to be one of those women who lose who they are when they become mothers.

I don’t see it happening to her.

So we’ve agreed to start a small business. As I’ve said she’s always active, always up to something. Years ago, she made designs for ink-stamps and sold them through a small online company. She gets ten pence or so for each stamp people sell and she’s made… an amount through it.

So we’re going to come up with something to do with making and selling event stationary: weddings, parties, Christenings, you know the shakes.

She’s going to make the stuff and I’m going to sell it – I worked in sales after school and until I started working in television. I was good at it, really good, actually.

I sometimes wonder whether I should have stayed in it. But oh well.

So, coming the next few months we’ll be attending a few wedding fayres to see if we can get some interest. If we make some money, all the better, but it’s really to exercise some creativity.

 

Hopefully this week will be a bit quieter. We’ve some work on, but nothing like last week. I’m going to be able to work on some university stuff, some house decorating, and, joy of joys, getting ready for my bloody tax return.

Oh, and I’m going to start running again. The high last night and the mood improvement I’ve had since then is amazing. It’s kind of reminded me of how good it used to feel to smash a 5k.

I think I’ll re-download Zombies, Run! an amazing running companion app. Check it out, it’s on iOS and Google, though the Android version used to be quite unstable.

I’ll let you know.

 

P.s. Thanks to everyone that is following and liking this. I don’t know what you like about it, but I really appreciate your affirmation.

Best foot forward

With all the family drama and spending so much time either at work, at university or studying (or crashed out, knackered on the sofa), I’ve not been spending much time with my dog. Quality time, that is.

Today, I had lunch with my mother, did some shopping and when I came home, the little guy was bored and listless.

So I did a few miscellaneous things that needed attending to around the house and took him for a walk.

A good long walk, that turned into a jog.

My first jog of 2020. Which is nice.

I’m am hideously unfit again. I am and always have been very strong, but I’m not built for cardio – mainly due to so much of my substance being made from pastry and pizza. A few years ago I did couch25k and started running a lot. I got good, faster and healthier, but stopped when my bad knee (from a sports injury) started to flare up.

And when I got home from today’s run, I was keenly reminded how closely my mental health is connected to my exercise.

I’ve been back hours now and I feel good. Not great but good, which is a massive improvement from my resting meh state.

So I think I might keep this up. I know I need to and I currently really want to.

I am having a big lie-in tomorrow, though. With tea first thing and tomorrow is also a day off my intermittent fasting schedule which is going well.

My wife and I have a whole day off together for the first time since New Year.

But I will be doing some stretches, I will at the very least walk the dog, I may run a bit. I don’t want to tempt fate with my bad leg, but I won’t let it stop me.

I need to discuss my intermittent fasting thing soon.

Just a short entry today.

Saturday-ho!

The work is done.

And what a thankless, dirty, rain soaked and exhausting week it has been. But it’s been a good earner and it’s over.

My father and the dog are both home now.

She has a bad case of pancreatitis, most likely due to her being a few kilos overweight. It basically causes pain, diarrhoea and vomiting and puts them off food and drink.

With our old lady (she’s not old but acts like a grumpy grandma) All of the sympoms hit together in the space of a few hours.

Causes

Dogs are at higher risk of suffering from pancreatitis if:

  • They’re overweight
  • They’re unwell
  • They’ve recently had surgery
  • They’ve recently eaten some high fat foods (e.g. pork, cheese, butter).

Thanks to the PDSA for that. Worth keeping an eye on your doggos.

But she’s home and my mother is giving us very regular updates. She’s quiet and out of sorts but eating again which is good. The old man is going to struggle to change gears and keep her to a proper diet.

Which he can’t even do for himself. He’s now been told that his weight is a major factor in his hypertension and that he needs to take it easy.

This morning he went out twice for several hours, once to visit a friend – a heavy smoker – and again to get the dog from the vets, which I could have done.

He’s pretty much made the choice to get on with the things he likes – he’s well aware that he needs to rest or he won’t improve, but is carrying on regardless.

So be it.

I’ve been talking to my mother, trying to emphasise that she needs to understand that he’s made a conscious, informed choice to do these things and he will have to face the consequences.

She understands this, but I think it’s hard for her to see him effectively choosing to die sooner.

He’s going to Wales tomorrow, a drive of about 70 miles to watch some fox hounds chase scents. It’s what he’s always done and her saying “it’s his life” is quite telling. He would rather go out and do that than spend time inside, recover and be able to spend more time with his grandchild.

There’s nothing nice I can say about that, so I’ll leave it there.

It occurred to me that some of you (some people like the things that I write occasionally) might be interested in what I mean by COPD, so you can check this link to find out more.

He’s had every treatment and therapy that he’s allowed medically and won’t make adjustments to his lifestyle, so our options are quite limited.

As for me, I’m ok, just tied from this week. I’m going to have a big lie in tomorrow.

Rebuilding.

Today bills were paid. Yay.

My wife and I have decided that we are going to go easy credit-free henceforth. So shortly before finding out that she was pregnant we decided to pay everything off as fast as possible. I own my own car, my old faithful, but my wife has hers on lease, so she’s keeping it until the lease is up and might buy it or get something else.

We’ve cleared a lot of stupid things like credit card debt we were just sitting on. I’m almost religious about not paying interest, so we’ve never had to pay so much as an extra penny for our CC debt, but it’s good to see it go, even though the savings account takes a knock.

I’ve restructured some investments, sold some where it looked like a good time and we’ve now paid off most of what we owe other than the car.

We’re very much an “our” couple as opposed to a “mine and hers” couple. I know it doesn’t work for a lot of people, but it’s good for us. I’m so thrifty I’m almost a miser and no one could accuse her of being wasteful.

I realise that the world is built on easy credit and debt, but I don’t want out kiddo coming into the world with this weight resting on our shoulders. I don’t know if we’ll be fully clear – we definitely won’t be getting rid of out student loans any time soon – for a while, mainly due to the fact we’ll be spending lots when (s)he arrives, but we’ve made good progress so far,

I’m pretty pleased.

In other news my father is home, so peace is over with the business as he will doubtless be sticking his oar into things soon. We’ve gotten so much work done this week without him it’s really been staggering.

He’s been told that he’s being given an oxygen cylinder for their home because his disease has reached the point where the drugs don’t work well enough any more. They don’t make you worse, despite the claims of The Verve, but this is a bittersweet symphony.

Their dog is apparently suffering from severe pancreatitis – I thought they’d come back with a diagnosis of diabetes, but apparently this is something that’s been coming for a while. When she gets home she has to go on a proper diet appropriate for dogs, not tea and biscuits and all my father’s leftovers.

She needs to lose about three kilos (about 6.5 lbs) which doesn’t sound a lot, but considering she is currently only ten kilos, it’s quite a bit. I’ve called the breeze block or loaf for a few years now, so it’s time for things to change for her. She’s only 7 years old so is, with luck only about halfway through her life.

Hopefully the old man will see some parallels between their situations and cut back himself.

I am not optimistic.

Changing gears.

We’ve broken the back of this job, we will be completing on Friday, 3 days ahead of our deadline – booya.

Another full-on day of discovering loads of extra little bits that the job required like reinstalling half a line of fence that had been partly eaten by hedges. Prickly hedges.

I was so tired when I got home that I had a nap, I haven’t slept in the daytime for ages.

My brain is very full but I’ve sorted everything quite well. So tomorrow feels like a bit of a reward.

Tomorrow is lecture day!

I lecture in music and digital media production with a local-ish college. I enjoy it, but let’s say that 1 day per week is enough for me in this place. It seems horrendously badly run, understaffed, under equipped and I’ve had so little introduction to the place, the institution and the course I’m teaching that I’m pretty much acting as a mentor for the couple of dozen youngsters under my care.

It pays fairly well, but nothing to write home about and it gives me a good chance to get some other work done while the kids work on their stuff, though tomorrow I need to sort out payroll, my email and all the normal necessaries of working there. It’s more than a little silly.

This reminds me about my fears for our education system (the British one, naturally, let’s not get started on the American one), which I might write about tomorrow.

For now I’m really tired. Bon nuit.

Request… pending.

I am shattered.

It’s been a tough couple of days, but after this week, life should return to a kind of normalsy.

I’ve finally had a reply from my university regarding extensions for my assignments, because I just don’t have time to work on them right now. It’s eight pm now and I just got home. I’m up again at 0600 for work, so after a shower and collapsing it doesn’t leave a lot of time. I never expected to have to put my father’s declining health as a reason I haven’t finished an assignment.

I really do regret 1, not doing this Masters’ 5 years ago 2, doing it at all.

I love my subject, but I just don’t have the mental space to do it all. I can’t run a business AND be a lecturer AND do a masters’ AND do everything that needs doing in my house so I can get it ready for the arrival of a new person.

Yesterday, owing to work, I walked 23,500 steps and today I did 18,00 which is quite a bit more than usual. Feels good, except my legs are wrecked. I regret getting out of my car.

Tomorrow should be a shorter day, then Thursday I have 6 hours of lectures to deliver then popping into the office in order to finish off some paperwork. Friday is back to the grindstone. It’s driving me crazy.

I need to start meditating again, I think. I’m going to head to bed a little earlier and see if I can hit nirvana before I go to sleep.