Saturday, 22 December 2007

Why is Christmas so difficult?

You know that when you love someone very much, you would just love to give them a special gift on Christmas day that would make their eyes light up and convey to them something of how much you love and cherish them? Why then is it so difficult to find that gift? What if they are not into presents and owning things? What if they keep telling you that the best gift you can give them is your love? Beautiful - but not very helpful if you feel that you would be being cheap if you gave them no gift on Christmas day.

Have I bought the consumer notion that you need to buy presents at Christmas and compeltely forgotten the true purpose of Christmas which is to reflect on and thank God for the gift of his Son? Possibly, but I would still like to find that perfect gift for Ken. His only really wish right now is for a programmable battery charger....

Angus is so much easier - he would be happy with a neverending supply of crinkly stuff and cardboard boxes. Oh - he is really crawling now and getting into every thing.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

On the move again...

Okay, so we spent the weekend cleaning up all the c*** from the house that wasn't ours. I had wanted to be decorating a room for Angus since he didn't get one the first time around as it seemed unlikely that we could rent a house with a boy's nursery! Instead we were weilding buckets, vacuum cleaners (which had to be repaired since they left it broken), and dusters (after buying the polish.. so maybe someone did some polishing whilst we were away.) We did strip the wallpaper off his walls but that just made the house depressingly dirty again and appear even more transcient and less ours. But eventually we moved in, the removal guys turned up and unpacked all the boxes taking them all with them. That was great even if it did mean that we had to unpack all the cupboards and draws to put stuff where we put them...

Why do we not do things in a simple way? Why do we try to pack too much into too little time? By the Saturday I had sorted the house, chosen paint and carpet for Angus's room, had a haircut, shopped, packed all the Christmas pressies, written and posted all our cards, been to a friend's for dinner, and done more shopping. Poor Angus was a little unsettled but fortunately he just keeps going and smiles. I do feel sometimes that I take his good nature for granted. Hhow would I cope with a child who was less complient?

So, Saturday evening Ken and I are frantically packing to fly to America to spend Christmas with his sister and her family. Jo has four boys so she has a lot of experience! So far we have enjoyed the snow - and lamented the lack of snow that we had in Germany. It is good being over here as the children are so much fun (!) but it would have been far more relaxing to have stayed at home and known that we had more time to sort the house out and put down our roots again. In the New Year... after the in-laws have gone... once Angus's room is done and we can try to establish some kind of routine... Will that ever happen?

Friday, 7 December 2007

Going back to our house...

Just come back from checking out our house after the tenants have moved out. The Letting Agency said that they had checked it and that the oven, microwave, fridge and toilets were not clean, and that they had not wiped out the kitchen cupboards. DID THEY EVEN GO AND SEE THE HOUSE? The house was FILTHY. The carpets are covered in dog hair, there is still food in one of the kitchen cupboards, the carpets have not been vacuumed, there is dust over many of the surfaces, personal items have been left in drawers and cupboards including a load of computer games, the kitchen is filthy and they have left a deep fat frier in there with roasting tins and a baking sheet covered in a layer of baked on grease, there is a large water stain on the surface of my book shelves, and THEY HAVE BEEN SMOKING IN MY HOUSE. And outside we have an alley way from the front to the back of the house that is literally full of rubbish bags and furniture. Literally full.

I am not interested in whether or not we keep the deposit. I am not interested in paying for a cleaner, but I am furious that people moved out of our house and left us to clean up their dirt. I am furious that they treated our house with such contempt and therefore us with such contempt and such a lack of respect. How dare they assume that it is okay to walk out and expect someone else to clean up after their slovenly lifestyle.

Okay, I am furious. I am really angry. I will be explaining this very clearly and possibly very loudly to the letting agency tomorrow. I will also be finding out exactly why they didn't do a proper inspection on my house. I am therefore also furious with them and possible going to demand recompense from them as well.

I will let you know how it goes. Ken, bless his cotton socks, is round there right now with the saintly Mark, a bucket of cleaning stuff and rubber gloves while I have been left to put Angus to bed. Big hugs all round.

Back to the UK

So, we all made it back okay. I spent my last few days in Germany visiting Christkindle Markts with friends and Angus whilst Ken and Mark, a good friend of Ken's from way back, went skiing with Blue. Angus and I did have a rather stressful last hour though! Not all went according to plan - we were both staying with Vicki and Denali and having a lovely time in Nurnberg Children's Markt, trying all the rides with Angus staring mesmerised at all the lights. We had been keeping a track on the time but suddenly seemed to loose half and hour. Not a problem, said Vicki, as the airport is only about 15 minutes away from where we have parked. Well, 15 minutes normally, but not when there is an accident, with several ambulances all heading in the opposite direction, traffic at a virtual standstill. I was getting a little stressed, to say the least. The flight was due to leave at 7.25 pm and we made it to the airport a little after 7.00 pm. There was not a hope of making the flight, particularly as I would have to check in car seats, buggies, and all the rest. The check-in chap looked at me and said with a smile, "Don't worry, the plane is 45 mins late and they are not even thinking of loading yet. You will have loads of time!" Hallelujah! Never has anyone been so happy that there was a strong head wind.

I haven't actually had much of a chance to talk to Ken yet, as he only arrived yesterday and was to blank to say much about anything. I couldn't even get a sensible answer when I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea! But I was certainly tearful waiting beside the plane and walking up the stairs. I have had such a wonderful year and met some wonderful people who I will miss enormously. There are so many people who have made our year special and people who I really hope will stay in our lives. Some I feel will sadly pass by the wayside as we don't have enough in common now that we are home, and some where the level of friendship hadn't passed the point where you are truly comfortable with each other. But there are others who I know could phone or email in five years time, and we would be able to pick up where we left off. For those, I truly thank God.

Coming home has been strange. We are staying with my mother, who has moved to just around the corner whilst we have been away - sneaky! She is so keen to be a participating Grandmother and not just an occasional one. But we are just around the corner of our house. The rental agency phoned this morning to say that the tenants have moved out and that our house is okay although not very clean, so we can move back in when we want. But walking around the town has been odd. Nothing has really changed, except my perception. The people here look so pale and ill, their dress sense even worse than mine and so lacking in style. It is really difficult not to sound like a snob, but Macclesfield is still dirty, damp, filled with litter and lacking in any sense of refinement. Driving up the motorway (freeway/autobahn) I was struck by the litter all the way up the middle of the road and along the banks. And then you hear people complaining that England is a dump - like me! What about pride in your country and litter picking or weed picking like in Germany? I know that some people do, but it is such a shame that more don't. A bit of a Catch 22 - people feel negative and see litter so don't see why dropping more is a problem, which further drops morale and leads to more litter and negativity.

I want to go back to Germany!

Oh well, maybe I just need to start a counter culture. Anyone fancy litter picking up the canal with me?

Oh. Blue. Ken and Mark had a lovely time skiing with Blue in the Bayerisch Wald. They took him to the vets on Tuesday where he was checked out and vaccinated. They drove to the ferry, booked him in, collected him the following morning and then noticed a huge hole in his side. Their initial impression was that it could have been caused by the ferry cage. We took him to the vets here and they said that this was caused by dental work we have carried out on him the previous week. The vets said that he was cold after the anaesthetic and they needed to warm him up - I guess they over did it. At least he was on antibiotics for a gum infection as the vet here said that it could have got very infected in the last week and even been fatal.

Will keep you informed on his progress which could take ages apparently.

Angus has been doing really well. He loved his trips to the Markts and the flight home. He was okay until Wednesday night when he went into meltdown at yet another place to sleep. He didn't settle until midnight. Last night he was awake for three hours between two and five. He seems to be alright at the moment but I would rather we weren't going to America so soon as this will be yet another disruption for him. We will just have to take it easy and give him loads of reassurance.

Got to go as Angus has just woken up from a three hour nap recovering from last night! Will attach a piccie of Blue's burn later - it's truly gross!