Category: Family (page 2 of 3)

Woof!

Well, I haven’t posted any pictures of muttley for a while, so what better opportunity than during a blogging challenge?

Saber is about 14 or 15 months old now and she has more energy than the Duracell bunny.

She eats like a horse and is costing a small fortune to keep.

But, she’s also dragging Mrs Masher and I out of our armchairs and onto long walks… which can’t be a bad thing.

Aaaahhhhhtchoo!!

It’s that time of year, again.

As a child, I never suffered from hayfever and I would ridicule any of my school-friends that did: “C’mon”, I’d say, “It’s only a bit of pollen!”

When I reached adulthood though, it suddenly hit me and I fully understood the torment that my friends had gone through.  I then suffered with it for many years.

As I got older, the symptoms started to reduce slightly each year, and nowadays I only really get it if the count is high and I am on my bike: pollen up the nostrils at 60mph, is bound to have an effect!

This year though, I have started suffering from it quite badly again.

And I’m not alone, as both kids also have it pretty bad.

Today, I have made the first of – what I am sure will be – many trips to the chemist, for some much needed relief.

The price of these medications seem to go up each year, but, as I’m sure any fellow sufferers will agree, it’s a price well worth paying.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

It’s been a tiring old weekend, with lots getting done and we needed to kick back a bit.

So, this afternoon, we had some family over for a barbecue and a few drinks.

And then a few more drinks.

Now, I’ve liked whisky for a long time and our sideboard has many bottles in it, that have been bought me over the years.

And whilst I’m partial to a nice scotch, I find Irish that bit smoorther.

This one was unopened and was shouting out to be uncorked… Mick and I didn’t want to let it down.

A fair afternoon’s work, I’d say.

Hooray, hooray, the first of May. Again.

Today – as young Bren was keen to point out to me, ridiculously early this morning – is my birthday.

So, how old am I?

Very old.

At least, that’s what my kids are always telling me.

But, age is just a number, apparently.

However, it’s a number that my head disagrees with and my knees complain about… constantly.

I do exhibit many of the tell-tale signs of advanced age, though:

I have no idea what is number 1 in the charts and I doubt I would recognise many of the artists. The best decade for music, of course, was the eighties.

We all know that.

I have no idea about many of today’s ‘celebrities’ – they’re just unfamiliar faces on the front page of the tabloids, as far as I am concerned.

And I fondly remember sloppy disks; diskettes; Compact Cassettes ; VHS, Betamax and Video 2000; Laser Disks; Walkman(s); Fred Housego; Anneka Rice; Kenneth Williams; The Goodies and Bless This House; Stingray and Joe 90 and much, much more.

Better times, I reckon.

Maybe.

The times they are… have changed

“Learn anything good at school today?” is a question I ask the kids almost every night when I get home from work.
Most of the time, they can’t remember what they learnt and reply just with a surly grunt.

“Learn anything good at school today?” I asked thirteen year-old Harry, when I got in, this evening.  “Yep”, he replied promptly. “I learnt how to put a condom on”.
Well, that stopped me in my tracks, I can tell you.

“That’s, er, good” I said, trying to look unfazed and be cool about it. “I take it you didn’t actually put one on, but used a banana or cucumber?”

“Oh no”, he replied, “we used a dildo” Again, that stopped me in my tracks and I decided to leave it there.  The current Mrs Masher, however, was keen to hear more and pushed for more details.

“Well, we also learnt about various sexual diseases, like…” and he rattled off the names of several STDs.

“Anything else?”, Mrs M asked.

He thought for a moment. “Oh yeah, they showed us a femidom and showed us how that should be used and also, they showed us a plastic sheet that you put over your bum if you want to have anal sex.”

I got up out of the chair and went to make a cup of tea, leaving Mrs M to continue the interrogation.

I can remember the sex education that we got at school, back in nineteen filthy-lie. 
We were made to watch a video (a short film on a projector, as it was back then) in a darkened school hall, where we all giggled as naked pictures of men and women were shown to us, each with arrows pointing out their respective sexy bits.
Then, back in the classroom, we were all allowed to ask just one related question – anonymously, to save any embarrassment – by writing it on a piece of paper for the teacher to read out. I can’t remember exactly what my question was… something to do with breasts.

But I do remember the teacher reading it out and then looking straight at me as he answered it! 

And I remember going bright red with embarrassment.

I think I would have just curled up and died, if I’d been told to put a condom on a dildo!

Birthday girl(s)

Today is Amelia’s birthday.
She’s fifteen years old.
Crikey! Where did that go?
I can remember writing about her birth on this very blog – albeit in its previous guise – and it doesn’t seem all that long ago.
But it was.
Fifteen years.

Last week, the dog had her first birthday.
She’s one.
And yet, it seems like we’ve had her forever.

Memory is a strange thing.

Watching paint dry

I mentioned last month that we had finished decorating Amelia’s bedroom.

Well, now we have almost finished doing Harry’s.

Similar to Amelia’s, he has new fitted wardrobes; new carpet; a new bed and new furniture.

And it all looks very nice.

But there is one thing we have recently discovered, during our decorating activities.

Mrs M always used to help out with the decorating, but the bulk of it was always done by myself. 

That has now swapped around.

Because, it turns out that Mrs M is actually a pretty good decorator and, though it pains me to admit it, her painting skills are much better than my own.

I’ve tried slapping it on quickly and I’ve tried putting it on slowly, but however I try it, I always seem to get runs and drips when glossing the woodwork. Doors, especially.

But Mrs M’s doors are always pristine: evenly covered and not a run in sight. It’s quite annoying, actually.

But, it’s an annoyance I am happy to put up with, because it means I don’t have to do it.

And, much as I hate decorating in general, my ego is quite pleased that I still have the edge when it comes to doing the wallpapering.

Doggy Style

Having a dog again has made a significant difference to my life.

Some good differences and some not so good.

Of course, overall, the good outweighs the bad, or we wouldn’t bother having a dog.

Just like with kids, I s’pose.

There are the negatives:

  • like having to take her out for a walk twice a day, whatever the weather
  • or not being able to go out visiting people so much, because we always “have to get back for the dog”
  • or being woken in the early hours because she’s growling at someone who had the temerity to just walk past the house
  • or every coat that I own having all the pockets permanently stuffed with poo bags

But there are also positives:

  • like taking her out for a walk twice a day –  if it wasn’t for that, I’d probably just be lounging on the sofa watching telly 
  • or not being able to visit people – sometimes that can be a blessing
  • or being woken up because she’s growling – let’s face it, twice she has been proven right
  • or every coat that I own… actually, I haven’t found a positive for that one yet.

Caveat Emptor

We all get spam emails.
And occasional nuisance calls.

Mrs M has been subjected to these recently and has been treating them with the disdain that we all do.

Except, it turns out that these have all been coming from one company. A firm of debt collectors, who yesterday, finally managed to get hold of her.

Why should this be?

Well, 14 months ago, she bought something online – can’t remember what, or from where.

As a thank-you for buying from them, this company offered Mrs M a free pot of face cream… all she had to pay for was the P&P – £3.99, so she accepted and sent off her money, via credit card.

A short while later she received the face cream.  It was from a company called RegenesLift.

It was alright; nothing special, but fine for 4 four quid.

Mrs M put it in a drawer and forgot about it.

And then she changed banks.

It was shortly after this that she started getting the calls and mails, but she didn’t connect them with anything, so she just ignored them.

The calls, she ignored: not recognising the number and assuming them to be PPI or some rubbish like that.

The mails and texts mentioned that she should contact them at her soonest as her “account was overdue”.
Very spam-like, so she ignored those too.

But – to cut a long story short – it turns out that  the face cream offer had some small-print attached in the Terms & Conditions  at the bottom of the website, that stated that by accepting the free offer, she was agreeing to having money debited from her account each month for further supplies of face cream.  I hasten to add that no extra pots of face cream were ever received. If they had, we might have been alerted to what was going on.

Fortunately, she had changed her a bank account straight after, so the company (American, btw), had failed to debit her further.

But what they did do, was hand it over to a debt collector to sort out. The debt collector told Mrs M that she now owed £390.00.

Three hundred and ninety quid!

For face cream that she never received and never asked for.

Mrs M spoke to various people, including the Financial Ombudsman, who was incredibly helpful, as he was already aware of this particular rip-off as many others had similarly complained.

A quick web-search has thrown up several sites exposing this as a scam, such as this one.

Anyway, after some hasty email exchanges between all parties, Mrs M has had her “account” closed with the American company and the debt collector (whose website mysteriously disappeared a few hours later) agreed to stop chasing her for money.

 A result in the end for Mrs M, but I wonder how many others didn’t fair so well.

Nobody reads the small-print, do they?

Maybe we need to start giving it at least a cursory glance.

Painting the Forth Bridge

I think I mentioned earlier that we are in the throes of decorating Amelia’s bedroom.

It’s just about finished and it looks wonderful. She is well chuffed.

And so she should be: new fitted wardrobes; new carpet; new furniture; new bed; new lights; new everything.

It’s cost a small fortune, hence no holiday this year.

And now that it’s finished, we get to start on Harry’s room next month. Hurray!

Of course, I’m damn sure that once those two bedrooms are looking all spick and span, Mrs M will want ours doing, to match.

That just leaves my playroom (AKA Masher’s Man Cave) and the bathroom to be done, so that the whole of upstairs is all fresh and lovely.

Of course, if you are going to do all the upstairs, then…

And repeat.

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