Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Deadlines and Aliens...

I stay at home, I write and I study... (and in between I do a bit of parenting)...

But this week all three of the above have managed to interfere with the fourth - or maybe the fourth has interfered with the other three - it depends on where my priorities lie at any given point in time.

I knew I had a difficult assignment to submit this week - I'm studying an Open University course in Psychology, although I'm sure most parents, particularly those with adopted offspring, are already at doctorate level in that area. But I left the first three days of this week completely clear - I was not going to blog, write, maybe a bit of studying - but that was it. Uniforms were washed and sorted out into piles, lunchboxes pre-prepared and dinners pre-planned - it was all going to be fine. But...

On Monday I was asked to write a piece for BAAF - something inspirational for LGBT Adoption week was my brief - happily I agreed to then be told they need it by Friday. Then I was asked by a magazine to write a short piece for them on being gay parents of mixed race with white children - thats not an easy thing to put together but again I agreed - deadline tonight - and, finally, my youngest son decided that last night was the time he would like to tell me that school are having an alien dress up day on Friday and, no I can't just put him in a fancy dress outfit and paint his face green - school have decided costumes must either be made or hired. (I'm guessing they have the press in - which makes no difference to TJ as we have media restrictions in place). He should have told me last week - but forgot.... great!

So I'm halfway through my assignment - which is all about statistical reports(!) I took psychology so I could legitimately be nosey and pry into other people's private lives - don't they know that! Not so that I would actually have to study things I have no interest in, like maths!

But I was diligent - I researched everything, I stayed up doing online tutorials I downloaded from You Tube - I wrote everything up. Then I got stuck. I needed help - fast. Last night I couldn't work out the final figures for the analysis - not just couldn't work out - couldn't even find... I went into a blind panic.

Then my dear partner suggested I actually open one of the tutorial slides that the online tutor had sent me to 'help' with the assignment and there it was - the exact formula I needed laid out in a step by step fashion, along with everything else I needed to complete the assignment - I really should read those things more often.

So this morning I completed it - I emailed in my assignment, and I am now working on the rest of the stuff, which no longer seems so daunting now I have the statistics out of the way, and then this evening we can get to work on the alien outfit.

Who knows this week might turn out to be quite fun after all - until the next assignment is due in of course!!!!!

Friday, 7 February 2014

'Weighty' Issues...

As any stay at home parent knows the issue of weight is an ongoing battle.

In my previous life as an actor I was constantly being told to 'lose weight, stay thin and remember this is a weight conscious environment in which you are working' - that nugget was passed out by my then agent - whom I still love dearly, even though the last time they saw me they just smiled and said, "I see married life suits you..." single person code for "You're really fat!"

Then I gave all that up to have the boys. I stayed at home - well I couldn't possible earn the kind of money Papa does - not as a struggling actor - but I could teach part time, do a psychology degree and start writing again. Brilliant. But all of these activities seem to be mainly sedentary and when you add in two children the weight just seemed to pile on - literally!

I thought having kids would make me thin - everyone said to me, "You'll be exhausted chasing those two around every day," and they were right - it was exhausting. But suddenly I was spending my entire afternoon, from 4pm onwards cooking. Firstly I cook the boy's dinner - and then usually eat a little something with them and often end up eating half their leftovers as well - I was brought up in a house where waste was a sin. My Mum had a board game of Snakes and Ladders - which was a moral version... I kid you not - if you were good and ate all your dinner you got to go up a ladder - if you were bad and wasteful it was down a demon snake. So it's ingrained in me that waste = bad!

After that Papa would come home and do the boys' bedtime routine whilst I make dinner for the two of us - usually whilst opening a bottle of wine - "Well," I convinced myself, "I need it because I've had a hard day running around after two boys."

Then Papa and I eat, more wine is consumed and we then take the bottle into the sitting room where we consume the remainder. Now, upon the consumption of more wine in front of 'proper' TV, (anything that doesn't involve cartoon animals without pants), the idea of a family bag of Doritos suddenly seems like a good one - followed by a small piece of chocolate, well maybe a bar... and a bit of a biscuit before bed.

In the two years since the boys came I managed to put on 10kg (around 20lbs) - I have no idea what that is in stones.... but it's a lot and nothing fitted me anymore. But that was okay because I was a Dad now and didn't need to be glamorous anymore, the thought of trousers with an elasticated waistband was quickly becoming an attractive proposition.

Then at Christmas my eldest said, "When you came into school today my friend asked me why you were so fat - and I said, 'my Dad might be fat but he gives great cuddles'."

I was distraught - Papa told me to focus on the positive - on the 'gives great cuddles' line - I couldn't... I just heard the 'f' word.... Eventually Papa's sympathy ran out and he just said, "Right for your birthday I'm buying you a gym membership."

I was a bit shocked by that but reluctantly agreed - well, I had asked for it.

Anyway, I decided to give up the booze in January - and signed up to the Cancer Reasearch Dryathalon. Which I did! Then I went to the gym and signed up with a trainer from hell - a small American lady who seems unable to talk in an 'indoor voice' (A term I use a lot with two small boys) - but she makes me run - one day I will get away from her but the damn treadmill keeps bringing me back! Personally, I think the reason she is so thin is because she spends her day exercising her vocal muscles at a pitch known only to Mariah Carey and some small dogs.

Then today, after nearly 6 weeks, I weighed myself.

Yes, I do the trick of moving the scales around the bathroom to find the tile upon which I am obviously lighter - but today I didn't need to.. Today the scales informed me that I have lost a total of 5kg!!!!

I am over the moon and will be wearing my best 'Dafydd the only gay in the village' pink rubber tube top and matching hot pants when I go and collect the boys from school later - then KC's friends can see just how much weight I've lost - although my son may never speak to me again let alone ask for cuddles!!!!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

All the C's - Chinatown, Casualty and Casinoes!

Well, it has certainly been an eventful weekend.

On Saturday we took the boys up to Chinatown in London so they could see the New Year celebrations  - they had a great time and we seemed to follow lots of different lion dance troupes - TJ took great delight in making sure we saw all the different colured lions and the boys both loved it when two groups came together and the lions had a 'dance off'. Then they got to throw gunpowder snaps (which I'm sure had some health and safety officer in convulsions) before we went for dim sum at our favourite restaurant. Papa and I realised that this was now the only reason we came into Soho nowadays - no more gay bars and clubs for us...

We then bumped into two old friends in Waitrose, of all places. luckily Waitrose has a bar so we ended up sitting there chatting about Christmas over a couple of bottles of red - well, it was the first of Feb and my dry January was finally over. The boys read magazines and drank ginger beer - it suddenly sounds like an Enid Blyton novel - whilst our childfree friends bought them chocolate and then swanned off to dinner leaving us to drive home with two sugared up kids in the car. (not that we were jealous as we saw our friend's Facebook updates chronicling a lovely meal, a few more drinks and then finally a trip to the casino - whilst we watched Casualty and a late night movie).

Sunday was a lovely family day and then on Sunday night TJ decided to have the biggest asthma attack I have ever seen him suffer. It was painful to hear him coughing and wheezing. I went online and followed all the guidelines and eventually got him settled. It was touch and go as to whether or not we went to A and E - but with it being the weekend I thought that hospital emergency may not be the best place to take a little boy - plus it would have stressed him out. When he was last ill in Brighton we took him to the local hospital which has a dedicated childrens area - which was brilliant and the hospital was amazing. Our local hospital however, leaves a lot to be desired - it's one of the worst performing in the country and its not hard to see why - it is filthy. My bonkers cleaner would have had a field day in there - although she would have subjected everyone to her loud europop music - but that would be better than the state of the casualty department (not at all like on tv). I really is postcode lottery - it makes you want to move to Brighton.

Anyhow, Monday morning came and TJ was still wheezing so I called the local GP - luckily we got an immediate appointment, I bundled him up and off we went.

We got to see the locum (I don't think we have ever seen our actual GP) and he wanted to put TJ onto a nebuliser - apparently we had done everything right and he didn't think a visit to A and E was a good idea either. So off he went to get the equipment - except he didn't have it. It had gone to the out of hours clinic next door. Not to worry, "Why dont we just collect it from next door?" I asked. The doctor looked at me aghast, "But it's not out of hours," he said, "We can't access that building until then."

I took a moment to realise that he was actaully saying that a piece of life saving equipment was unavailable as we were 'in hours' - so to speak. "If he's still ill after 3pm then give reception a call and we'll send him to the Out of Hours clinic" said the doctor reassuringly, "I'm on call this afternoon so I'll see him there." Was I going bonkers or did that just defy common sense?

So rather than send TJ to hospital he pumped him full of steroids, gave hime a 10 pump burst on his inhaler and told me to keep him still for the next couple of days (he obviously doesn't have an 8 year old boy).

So today we are sitting on the sofa - I am typing this instead of doing my OU assignment and TJ is playing on his DS - screen time limits are abandoned for a couple of days - its the only thing that keeps him still!