Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Any Chance You Could Expire Quietly?

Dear Reader,

There is a viral infection that's working its' way through our household. It started with me, it hasn't finished with me but I am much improved. Now it has worked its' way to my Dear Lady Wife. I don't know if it is the same infection, but, the symptoms are certainly similar. This/these infections have had a profound effect on all members of our household, not just the sufferers. Because of the symptoms of this infection the cats have been effected. Potential guests have also been effected. A number of changes to the house routine have been required. We have been coughing. As a result:
  • My good self and the dear lady wife no longer share beds.
  • The cats never sit near either us for any length of time.
  • All but one of the cats no longer share beds with us. 
  • When guests phone begging a bed we tell then to fuck off.
  • There is a big red X painted on our front door.
  • When a man comes round dragging a cart shouting "Bring out your dead!" we generally answer the door.
The more astute amongst you may have realised that the last two bullets were a teensy bit exaggerated. This is, however, how this household feels. The more cynical amongst you may be saying "It's not viral, it's Man Flu". To the more astute I say well spotted, to the more cynical, well, read on. One last thing to the more astute and all those other groups I missed out, you should read on as well.

So let's deal with the Man-Flu thing first. A definition of Man-Flu is required, so here it is.

Man-Flu: - A short-term infection, normally a cold, that is snatched upon by the suffering male. It should be noted that the diagnosis of Man-Flu is not made by a doctor, but normally by a female. Let me re-phrase, this diagnosis is always made by a female.

So, I was seriously ill for three weeks, I am now six weeks in to this and am still not right. This is not Man-Flu. This is not Girl-Flu. This is not any flavour of trans-gender alteration-Flu. This is a viral infection. This was confirmed by a Doctor. I actually got an appointment at my GP because I was not used to being ill for so long. He confirmed the following with the aid of special instruments:
  • My lungs had not collapsed. He did this by listening to them.
  • My heart had not stopped. He did this by listening to it.
Then he said (after all of this spectacularly advance diagnosis) "you have a virus. Ride it, live it, enjoy the consequences. Come back in a while if your symptoms have changed dramatically". "Yip Yip". I said. If my lungs collapse or my heart fails, to be sure, you will be the next person to call after the undertaker. So I'm largely done with doctors, it's the Winter and they have no idea how to deal with the newest and shiniest viruses floating about. They probably have no idea how to deal with the oldest and dullest viruses floating about. Lesson learned, the flu jab may have helped.

My Angelic Cough.

In the interim the Dear Lady Wife has picked up something. A close variant to my virus. Like  mine, it goes on. Like mine, there is coughing, lots of coughing. Unlike mine, the coughing is almost constant. My coughing came in groups of three, and then stopped for a  couple of hours. Dear Lady Wife wants her own way. Dear Lady Wife wants to cough all the time. Dear Lady Wife only wants to pause for breathe. This is clearly bad for her, but it is also bad for me. I am trying to reclaim sleep, but it is being robbed by my Dear Lady Wife.

Evil Wife Cough - Can You See The Difference?
This is also bad for the cats, who have no tolerance for coughing. As for guests, sorry but we are ill. Did you not see the big red X painted on the door. Go away and come back when we are better.

As for Dear Lady Wife? I have been sympathetic, but I am not on leave anymore. I am trying to work and sleep.

Should I put her out of her misery?

Your comments gratefully appreciated.

More soon Dear Reader.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

A Valentine's Day Massacre

Dear Reader,

So, it's that time of year again. If you don't have the time to be romantic with your dear lady love for the rest of the year why not be forced into it by greeting cards manufacturers, rose sellers and desperate restaurant owners. Notable mentions should also go out to jewellers and numerous other retailers for whom this day is a bit of a goldmine (pun intended). Valentine's Day is here.

Some flowers.
I was curious, what came first, the day or the greetings card? It would appear that Valentine's Day came much earlier, initially honoring a number of martyrs named Valentinus, first recognised in 469AD. However we have Geoffrey Chaucer to blame for the association between the date and the romance. What is clear, is that Chaucer's court was not short of romance. Roses abounded, confectionery and greetings cards were presented (no doubt on bended knee). All that was missing was a mass-market postal service and a whole card-board based industry would be born.

A truly lovely Valentine's Day Card.
Which brings us, after the consumption of much nice food, wine and chocolate to where we are today. Valentine's Day is an event, during which any couple, married or otherwise is obliged, nay, compelled to book into over-booked restaurants, purchase roses, presents, champagne, cards and all manner of other things just because some people died in unfortunate circumstances 1,600 years ago. The more astute amongt you may have picked up on the words "obliged" and "compelled" in the previous paragraph, as a result you may be sensing negativity to the fine and established event that is Valentine's Day. If you did, well spotted. I do have some problems with this occasion and I am not alone.

The following statement may sound like anti-romantic blasphemy to some, but to myself and the Dear Lady Wife it makes perfect sense; we choose not to celebrate Valentine's Day. To us it is just a normal day, cards are not purchased, roses are not purchased, restaurants are not booked, gifts are not exchanged, etc etc. There is a reason for this. Romance, surely, should be spontaneous, not prescribed by a date in a calendar. If I follow this logic to it's end when else would I be able to be romantic? Birthdays, Christmas? How about whenever I feel like it? What could be wrong with that?

Consequently Valentine's Day is a little bit different for me. It is actually a little surreal. The normal ebb and flow of people through my local supermarket is wrong. This year Valentine's Day fell on a Tuesday. I have previously noted that Tuesday is a quiet day because a local Pizza vendor has special offers on that day. This has been coined the Domino's effect. This Tuesday is different. Our local supermarket is busier than it should be. Men are exiting from the shop with nothing but flowers. Men are hovering around the greetings card section of the shop. Men are clustered around the Rom-Com section of the DVD shelf. I need to get out, this is freaky, my Tuesday shopping experience has been sullied by some weird religious cult, or maybe an alien invasion.

I get home and all is normal. Dear Lady Wife is on a conference call and our cats (all boys) just want food, not flowers, thank God. Later I am sent on an errand, to procure the evil cigarette. Wine has been consumed, so I walk to the garage. The garage is in the middle of being restocked with petrol, which for some inexplicable reason means that nothing can be sold. So I go to my local pub, this being the next nearest potential supplier of the evil tobacco. Being a polite soul I procure an alcoholic beverage and ask for change for the cigarette machine. This gives me a few minutes to survey the demographic of the pub on this y strange day. Things are not as they should be. The pub is full of men. There is not a female to be found, except for behind the bar. Scientific analysis is required. These men are either:
  • Single / Divorced.
  • In so much trouble for not fulfilling their Valentine's Day obligations they have been thrown out, which means they are heading towards Single / Divorced at high speed.
  • Like me, which means being in a pub on your own is perfectly acceptable.
I was tempted to ask these men which bucket they fell into but some of them looked grumpy so in the interest of science I guessed instead...
  • Single / Divorced .- 70%
  • In so much trouble for not fulfilling their Valentine's Day obligations they have been thrown out, which means they are heading towards Single / Divorced at high speed. - 23%
  • Like me, which means being in a pub on your own is perfectly acceptable. - 7%
So, single girls listen up. On Valentines's Day go to the pub. You have a 70-93% of pulling if you are in the mood. Science has proved this. 

More Soon Dear Reader.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Blogging From A to Z

Dear Reader,

Foolishly, I have embarked on a blogging challenge. The challenge revolves around the alphabet and the month of April. During the 30 days of April this year I will post 26 times, one for each letter of the alphabet. To find out more about this check out the A to Z Challenge website.

Last year was my busiest year of posting, amassing a spectacular sum of 33 posts for the entire year. On that evidence attempting to prepare 26 for just one month sounds a little ambitious.

Of course a challenge such as this appeals to the Idiot in me. Within my psyche there is a generally ignored piece of my character that pretty much stays quiet but occasionally causes me an inordinate amount of irritation. The Idiot in me changes my life, but because of the nature of the Idiot, these changes come as a result of significant effort. 

An example... 

When I was 17 one of my colleagues suggested I should take part in the local half-marathon. There was only about  four weeks to go to the event, I was unfit, unprepared and spent most of my evenings drinking and smoking. What I should have said to my much fitter and better prepared friend at this point was "No. As much as this sounds like a jolly jape, for me running 13 and a half miles through the city of my birth holds about as much appeal as smashing my head repeatedly with a lemon wrapped round a house brick." What I actually said was "Yes, why not, sounds like a giggle. I will buy some shorts or something." This was the Idiot talking, who was incidentally, not the easiest to dissuade. Because of the Idiot I ran three half-marathons, all of which were long painful experiences that I have tried to suppress from my memory. My much fitter and better prepared friend always finished  in front of me, a long way in front of me. That being said, I did get slightly quicker over time. If the Idiot had not spoken I would never have completed a half-marathon.

The Idiot has made me do many things in my life and this blogging challenge is just the latest in a catalog of endeavors that I must now complete because the Idiot in me said "Yes." 

At the end of April, when 26 posts are done I might say something along the lines of "Viva La Idiot!" Currently, however, it is early February and I have been fighting a chest infection for over two weeks. I don't feel like saying "Viva" anything. 

I spoke to the Dear Lady Wife who thought that the challenge was a little bit like revising for exams. When pressed further it becomes clear that revising (and by extension any other sizeable project) cannot begin without the ingredients listed below.
  • Graph Paper
  • Highlighter Pens
  • Acetate Pens
  • Biros
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Tape Measure
  • Saw
  • Screw Driver
  • Tin Of Tuna
  • Torch
Armed with all of the above you are ready to embark on a "project", and a project this will certainly be. I have been to the stationary shop, the DIY shop and the supermarket and I am prepared. I've actually bought several tins of tuna, some for the cats and some for me. I hope I have enough, the cats suffer rapid sense of humor failure when tuna supplies are threatened.

The real purpose of this whole endeavour is to do something for the wider blogging community and to support this a new tab will appear on the blog shortly after this post. It will list all of the blogs that are taking part in this years' challenge. Click on some and take a look, you may find something you like.

More soon  Dear Reader.