Can you un-twitch a twitcher or would the music stop?

My husband is one of those people who laughs a lot. So much so that if he has the opportunity to live on to a ripe old age, he will end up with deep laughter lines, forming crevices all over his face. Generally his laughter seems to be set off by me, or one of the children, or the dog, or a reckless politician.

Since Covid removed him from his actual office in the city and placed him in my our actual office upstairs, he has taken to retaking up an old hobby: playing guitar. My husband is many things: a laugher, a fixer of broken things, a dog teaser meanwhile he is also an obsessive person, and this new-old hobby of his, really is reaching new heights.

Not only do I find him plucking his guitar strings on the sofa, I also spot him strumming through meetings, while his microphone is on silent (shh don’t tell his boss) and hear him tinkling from the loo.

To top it all, he’s now started playing ‘air guitar’ except it’s not in the air, perhaps a more appropriate name for it would be ‘belly guitar’? He started this weird thing, right after dinner, in the midst of conversation, whilst waiting at traffic lights etc: of twanging his own stomach. I asked him, of course, what on earth he was doing, and he informed me that he needs to build up the muscle so he can play faster.

Jo has dated a couple of drummers in her time and what I’ve noticed is this; natural born drummers tap. They do it it intuitively, like they just can’t stop themselves. Actually, I don’t think they generally even notice that they are doing it.

Do intuitive guitarists twang their bellies or is it just my husband?

I do my best to be a supportive wife, really I do. But if you met my husband the thing he’d say to you about me is that I’m extremely honest. I just can’t help myself. I always have to spout the truth in every given situation. It’s like a compulsion. It just spurts right out of me. In that vein, when my husband started jerking his hand around on his full tummy after dinner last night, I erupted. Stop twitching, I said. It looks weird, I said. It looks like you’re having some kind of stroke, I said.

My husband being my husband found the whole discussion hilarious. And it seems I only spurred him on. Suddenly he realized there were endless possibilities of the belly guitar model: my head, my shoulder, my back, the dog’s head. To be fair, the dog seemed to quite like it.

Of course, my husband was greatly encouraged in his antics by our children. The autistic one, loves the ‘ists’ in conversation, especially when he’s being protective, which he regularly is. After a rummage around it was finally agreed between him and his younger sibling that I was being twitch-ist.

Here we go again….

God, I wouldn’t cope in a desert without any food or water for more than a minute. I’m on my third day of just a couple of crackers a day in preparation for my MRT later on this afternoon and I’m a shaky, wobbly mess. The MRT is a follow up to the tests from the last post.
Today I have managed to have a shower and put a wash on. And order some trousers on the internet. Hopefully correctly this time. Yesterday I accidentally ordered two pairs which were exactly the same and in the wrong size. I didn’t even realize my mistake until after check out. When it suddenly occurred to me that the bill was higher than the price of the trousers I wanted, especially considering I had both a voucher for 30% off and another voucher towards the costs. Evidently my brain was on low function mode.

I was also slightly distracted. Partially because as well as having eaten next to nothing (by then only for two days), it was also my lovely daughter’s birthday and she was just pulling up in the car outside. On top of that I was mentally preparing myself for my third dose of bowel emptying medicine in two weeks. I can happily inform you that I managed to convince the doctor to give me a totally different prescription this time. The last one erupted from my stomach in a volcano like manner. As in up the way, and not down the way, like it should. I was left somewhat perturbed about the sheer amount of fluids which rose from my belly, so much so that I questioned Doctor Google and when that didn’t quench my thirst for answers, I poked and prodded my husband awake, dragged him out of bed and showed him the relevant fluids, which I’d talentedly caught, in their entirety in a large bowl (I am pretty much always prepared). I’ll be honest, my husband was not impressed. But he did manage to convince me that I didn’t need to cancel my appointment at the hospital.

I can’t tell you much about the hospital appointment. It is somewhat hazy. I remember arriving and lying down on the comfiest hospital bed known to man, woman or child. I remember having tubes with oxygen pressed into my nose and thinking two things: oxygen smells very nice and really, this should not be up my nose, but up the nose of somebody in India. The next thing I knew I was waking up. Once I seemed a bit together a lovely nurse helped me down from the bed and into a cubicle to get dressed. Then she took me into an office to see my doctor. She also brought me a nice cup of tea, which I didn’t manage to drink, as once the doctor had entered the room, I didn’t want to expose him to my breath by removing my mask. Which was obviously not really thought through, as he’d just shoved cameras down my throat and up my backside and taken biopsies and I definitely hadn’t worn a mask during that time. I can happily tell you, there was no truth serum administered! Phew!! But I can’t really tell you what the doctor said. He kind of breezed in and out and babbled on about more tests and treatment. Hence I will go back there today.

He passed me on to his nurse, who passed me on to his receptionist, who made me an immediate appointment for a lung x-ray. She sat me on a chair and handed me some papers. I waited for a bit and then thought, where are the papers? I looked in my bag, in my jacket pocket, under my chair, on the floor. Then I thought, she must have taken them back off me again. I think I was still rather dazed, and to be fair to myself, I hadn’t even managed to drink my tea. She returned and took me to the x-ray department and then asked me for the papers. I told her blankly that I didn’t have them, which resulted in a bit of toing and froing, somewhat like in a puppet theater – “Oh yes you do!” “Oh no I don’t!”. But in the back of my mind I felt so guilty. I was pretty sure she had given them to me. But I hadn’t moved from the seat, so where on earth could they possibly be? The poor woman ended up leaving me outside the x-ray department while she retraced her steps through the hospital and searched all through reception. The papers had quite magnificently disappeared. Poof! Into thin air. So she had to start all over again, print out brand new papers and deliver them back to me so I could get my chest x-ray. She told me to destroy the papers if I somehow found them on my person. I’ve never found them.

Having a chest x-ray means removing both your top and your bra. Being British I’m well-known for my capabilities in the art of small talk. Seemingly the radiographer was a pretty chatty woman as well, which led to a slightly strange situation. I was standing there, bosom dangling, discussing all and sundry with a complete stranger. I do wonder, what today will bring…

Focus: and button it!

Tomorrow I will bare my bottom to a new gastroenterologist. I’ve done some of the necessary preparations already. Trimmed away at pubic hair with an ancient pair of baby scissors. I consider them, given the delicacy of the area, the safest method. Not that I’m proclaiming to have done a professional job. I snip-snipped while in the shower, you see. Which meant my glasses were on the side of the bath, not on my face. Without them, I wouldn’t trust myself to spot a looming vehicle under normal circumstances, so somewhat overgrown pubic hair was a real challenge.

At least I couldn’t see the grey.

Silver linings….

I am not really looking forward to it. They’ll shove a camera down my throat and another one up my behind. Not lovely. But the worse bit comes afterwards. When I wake up. My husband and my son recently reminded me that they will give me the ‘truth drug’. I’ll open my eyes and my head will be filled with all kinds of strange thoughts, which I will no longer be able to filter, instead I’ll just blurt out whatever idiotic comment comes to mind.

My son and my husband appear to be rather entertained by the idea.

And this time it really could get out of hand. At the last ‘down there’ doctor, the process was to ship patients in and out. You could actually compare it to being on an assembly line. My eyes would pop open, and hey presto, the nurse would have me off the bed and getting dressed and on my feet in a mere jiffy. Then dragged, with the help of a second nurse across to the waiting room to spout the rest of my nonsense in there. My husband, who’d been waiting throughout the whole procedure, beamed and helped me into a seat. Made me a fruit tea and kept me propped up until the doctor was ready to see me with any new news.

To be clear, I was never focused on any new news. I didn’t have a clue what on earth he was saying to me. Not only because he was a mumbler. But because I was fixated on other items in the room, like the comfortable looking sofa or just the pure whiteness of it all. So my husband would try to keep me buckled down like a slightly hyperactive child (luckily we have the full realm of experience there) while simultaneously listening to my diagnosis, then thank the doctor and retrieve any necessary prescriptions.

I wasn’t trusted to be left alone, so my beloved would take me to the local pharmacist, which was truly dangerous territory. Not just the walk there. But inside the actual chemist itself. Not only was there the risk that I might start inspecting things with my unstable fingers. But the pharmacist herself was an old, sullen, austere woman. And her shop was spick and span. Spick and span, I say. Except for some glass shelves. Which were rather dusty. My truth serum ensured I told her all of this, of course.

But this time there will be no factory assembly line. Normally, I would say that’s a good thing… But I have to wake up and then be observed for TWO HOURS! And in those two whole hours a lot of chaos could be caused.

I am still trying to prepare myself:
– don’t tell pretty nurses of their prettiness
– and certainly don’t tell not so pretty nurses that they are, well, not!

A little bit of strangeness can go a long way

I am becoming somewhat strange, I think. I continually find myself doing odd things. For example, I check my Corona phone app every single day (only after removing the glasses I need to wear to make sure that I don’t step on the dog or trip over the foot stool and placing them somewhere) even though I haven’t left the house in donkey’s ages. Then, once I am quite sure that I am not at risk at all, I start searching for my glasses. Which are often to be found on top of my own head.

I have started to dare to believe that I am actually getting sensible responses from the dog.

I, a person who doesn’t really know what make-up is, have started wearing lipstick to the occasional zoom meeting.

And a couple of weeks ago, I, the person who hates cleaning, the mother whose children used to ask when they spotted a duster “Who’s coming to visit?”, invited friends to an online cleaning party. My husband was thinking of staging an intervention at that point. Especially when I actually purchased stuff. I think he only left it because he realized I also bought stuff for the dog. And a foot spa.


*No dogs were harmed in this story – although my knee is somewhat the worse for wear, family members are keeping up the necessary walks.

How are you doing during lockdown?

2021 A changed life…

And just like that we’re deep in the bowels of 2021. Can you believe it? Where does the time go?
It’s after 1pm here, German time and I’m still in my pj’s. It’s not that I haven’t done anything. I’ve done the washing. Done the dishes. Read the news. Got annoyed with the comments on a news article I read (why oh why are there so many trolls? Don’t people have better things to do with their lives?) I’ve written up three recipes for the cook book I’m working on. I’ve chatted to the dog. Written messages and answered messages. Organised work stuff.

So why I am still in my nightwear?

It first struck me yesterday, when my daughter bobbed into the living room, returning from her first zoom meeting of the day in her dressing gown. I asked her, wide-eyed, but not so bushy tailed, “Did you go to your zoom meeting in your pyjamas?”
“Yeah”, she responded, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

As a side note, she also tells me continuously that she has a meeting, as if a kid attending meetings is completely normal!

Then she added, nonchalantly, “I also haven’t brushed my hair.”

So many of our responses are evolving…

For example, when someone rings the doorbell nowadays: instead of jumping up to answer it, bouncing through the hall, we all abruptly stop what we are doing, and stare at each other like startled rabbits.
We don’t get up. Instead we start to ask each other, in flabbergasted tones, “Who could that be?” And then we proceed on to making statements, like “I’m not expecting anyone.” And still, we don’t answer the door.

The ringer has to ring twice before we finally return to our polite senses and get off our increasingly flabby buttocks and proceed with much caution towards the entrance.

Still bewildered our next predicament is do we don a mask or not? We hop from foot to foot and only come to a decision after asking our intrepid visitor for their opinion on the matter. So basically, “Would you like me to wear a mask (too)?”

In our case, our valiant callers often arrive bearing gifts. Which leads to whole new problem in terms of etiquette.

Do we drop the precious offering like a hot potato, leaving our guest yawning half a mile from our doorway and scrub our hands in the little bathroom while loudly singing “Happy birthday to somebody!”?

Christmas greetings from lockdown

2020 what can I say? You have not been my most favourite year of all, that’s definitely for sure. I am so glad that we are now bounding towards the very end of the year and I am more than happy to embrace 2021 in just a few days. I’ll even give it a big fat, juicy kiss. From lockdown hard (as opposed to lockdown light – that was last month!) however, I concede, that that maybe somewhat difficult, given social distancing and all of that. I may just have to snog my husband instead. But I don’t think he’ll mind too much. I mean, I doubt it will be the worst moment he’s had this year.

But first of all there’s Christmas. We plan to eat, drink and be merry. Albeit the eating and drinking will be in separate rooms, as it means removing masks.

Christmas time…
Masks and wine…

We’ve hidden all of the presents. Not from the kids. From the dog. She is also fed up with 2020 and the lack of cuddles from the usual streams of visitors. So she has decided she definitely needs presents, and all of the presents must be for her. Some sort of compensation scheme, I think.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your loyal support. I hope you are healthy and your nerves are still intact.

Awww Betty

Betty is the main character. She is funny, odd, loves her dog and her kids (like me). She’s house proud, somewhat subservient at times and great at sewing. NOT LIKE ME.
Though my son, funny boy, did ask me when I was explaining her character to the family if, as Betty is a bit like me, that means I also let the dog go on the settee when nobody is looking…

I am supposed to be at 50,000 words by the end of Monday. Phew. I have a way to go.
Wonder what I will be doing this weekend then?
Apart from running up and downstairs with food etc for a young man in quarantine…


Just to let you know…

So NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow, and I am all excited and raring to go.

It was one of those last minute, split second decisions after a throw away comment from my husband, which encouraged me to go ahead with it.

Writing has taken a backseat for me the past few years, despite it being my passion. Of course, bringing up four whole children needed to take priority and then, as they aged and became more independent, I started up my own tutoring business and that took up another massive heap of my time. I have enjoyed doing that, I love kids, as you might be able to tell, with me having four of my own.

But then Covid hit and what with lockdowns and risk categories life changed for me quite fundamentally.
It meant that I had time to write again, but as my husband pointed out, what I really needed, to stop my procrastination, was a deadline.

Hence NaNoWriMo.

I’m ready to go, after much pondering. I know my main character well and I’m ready for her adventure.

To help me along my way with my target I’ve enlisted my family. I ordered asked my daughter to draw me a tortoise (otherwise known as Molly). And I commanded requested that my husband make it into a gif. He taught my daughter how to do it and she has quite literally spent most of her school holiday on the computer designing the graphics. Which he has in turn compiled, and all I can tell you is, when it’s uploaded onto my page, some kind of magic stuff happens.

Molly has way exceeded my expectations. I welled up when I was initially introduced to her. And now, of course, I am even more excited.

Molly will be available for you, from tomorrow, in the form of a sticky post (quite thrilling in itself as I’ve never had a sticky post before!!). So you can always check and recheck how I am doing.

50,000 words here I come.

Hue thanks to my hubby and Akasha!!

Specific rules for a specific fireman

Two rules seem to have been broken in our house today, as far as I can tell.

The first is the washing rule. Our washing rule is: prepare your own dirty garments before you put them in the basket. That requires:

  • Closing zips
  • Emptying pockets
  • Turning inside out items outside in

But I found myself pondering the question, this morning, “Why is there a toothbrush in the wash basket?”
I’ll admit, it was a less offensive surprise than the dead frog I once found in exactly the same basket. But I don’t think that was down to the children. I think that was down to the hole in the vent netting.
I believe to this very day that a random frog deserted the troops and found solace in our basement. Only for the poor chap to sadly discover that there was absolutely no sustenance to be found at all. Not even when he dived into the deep, dark realms of our dirty laundry.

But the second rule to be be broken, was somewhat more serious.

My husband disturbed my washing activity to pose another question:

“Are you aware that there’s a chainsaw in the bike shed?”

I shook my head and started babbling about the toothbrush in the wash basket. But my husband had that stubborn look on his face which said, ‘My discovery outranks yours’. And I knew, deep in my heart, that he was right.

Cleverly, he’d already broached the subject with our son. But our young man had answered, in his defence, “But I didn’t bring it into the house.”

I suspect, the technological wording of the ruling is down to me. I suspect what I actually said was, “There will be no chainsaws in this house…” Or something decidedly similar.

A few minutes later my husband returned. “And there’s a large axe in the small shed.”

I’m really sure though, that I hadn’t actually come up with an axe rule…

You might be led to believe that after 20 years of dealing with autism, I might have learned to be more specific. Evidently that’s not the case.