When going to a yoga class…. leave the dog behind

Everyone knows that dogs are mans best friend and research has said that dog owners are happier, experience less stress and are more relaxed than non-dog owners. To be honest I could live life a little more separately from Stitch but as his life goal is to spend every waking hour with me, I feel mean if I leave him behind.

On reflection perhaps I should have just been mean and left him behind when I went to my friend’s house for a yoga session. ‘It will be fine, he’ll just curl up on the rug’ I told myself as we headed out the door, 5 minutes late. He did not curl up on the rug until the very last part of our yoga routine. Instead, we began with a mediation, which I was fully throwing myself into, when I felt a nudge and lick on my hand. Trying to ignore him, I carried on and my serenity was only broken when I heard Ashna giggling. Clearly Stitch had gotten to her too.

Eventually Stitch got the message and curled up on the rug, we got on with the routine. No mean feat after a 5 month yoga break. All went well and the clip clop of his claws on the floor only slightly put me off the meditation at the end.

Either way. Perhaps I’ll leave him home next time I head to Ashna’s for yoga.

Think before you hit send

One morning last week I woke up at 6:40am. Not because I’m a natural ‘let’s get up early’ person but because a text had come through. It was a screenshot from a friend of a Daily Mail* article saying that this year, in all the country, my second son’s name is the least popular. Also included in the article of unpopular baby names was my step-daughter’s name. Ok I didn’t name her but it’s her name, she loves it, I love her, so all in all, not a great message to receive.

I know many of us can be judgemental when we hear names for the first time, whether it’s the name of a new baby or a new friend, names can evoke feelings and memories that we didn’t know we had. Everyone has a name that their parents liked above all others. Or was a family tradition and somewhere along the line it’s good to remember that. Sending a text with a screenshot basically saying ‘The whole country thinks your child’s name is shit’ may not have been intentionally hurtful but still isn’t a great message to send a friend.

*Please don’t judge me for having a friend who reads the Daily Mail.

Always check the rating before watching a movie with pre-teens

During a couple of conversations where I was feeling a bit ‘meh’ about life my cousin told me to watch the movie Bad Moms. It took me a while to get around it then last weekend I put a Star Wars ban on the evening and my partner (only slightly sulking) and I sat down to watch it. I loved it. If you’ve seen it and don’t like it, please don’t burst my bubble. As I’d left it a couple of years after release to watch the movie it meant that there was already a follow up movie out that I could watch at the next opportunity.

Tuesday night we sat down with my 12 year old step-daughter to watch it. I checked that she’d be ok with the content. She said a reassuring yep and told me she’d seen the first movie with her Mum and sister.

What neither my partner nor I were expecting was to be plunged into the first 20 minutes of the movie being full of references to sex. It’s ok I told myself. I am a grown up. I can watch this with my step-daughter here and as long as I don’t catch her eye we’ll all be fine. And it was. For me. I was aware of my partner squeezing my had every time a sex reference was made (approximately every 10 seconds). I glanced in his direction to see him bright red and muttering to himself. I asked him to speak up and he was mumbling about ‘inappropriate content’ and he couldn’t look at his daughter. Oh and he was worrying she’d be scarred for life. After about 10 minutes of enjoying his ridiculous reaction I addressed the elephant in the room and asked was everyone ok with the movie or should we turn it off? My step-daughter and I were in agreement that her Dad should just chill out and I whispered to him that most of the references would probably go over her head anyway. I don’t know if they did or not but I’m telling myself that they did so we can all sleep a little easier.

The rest of the movie was great. After the first 20 minutes there were minimal references to sex before the very end where my partner’s face turned puce again and once it had finished, we got down to playing some age appropriate games to ensure that my step-daughter’s childhood was still intact.

Whilst it wasn’t the worst experience and I am much less scarred than my partner, from now on I’ll be checking the rating of a movie before we watch it together and maybe try and stretch out the Disney movies for at least another year.

When it comes to DIY, call in the pros

I’ve written about DIY before and while it’s something that I’m quite good at. It’s equally something I have no interest in. I will do DIY to save calling in a Handy person and having to pay their fee and when it’s 11pm, I feel the urge to put up a shelf/build flat pack furniture and that’s it. My partner is a keen DIYer and isn’t daunted by projects, no matter how large or dangerous.

Dangerous is the word here; our gutters needed clearing out and my partner, in his usual bouncy way, suggested he get an extra long ladder and get clearing. I reminded him of the week where he tripped over his own feet walking into a room, 3 times and banned him from going up any ladders other than the one to the loft to get the Christmas decorations down (when the time comes – it is still November and our house is a decoration free zone barring the Christmas doormat my step-daughter and I bought in Aldi last week).

Luckily my neighbour Barry (I’ve written before about having the best neighbours in the world – he’s it) recently quit his job to set up a franchise of Hire A Hubby. Once I got past the distinctly twee and un-feminist name I checked out what they did and couldn’t think of anyone more suited to the job. Barry’s house is pristine with not a single thing wrong with it. He is constantly working on and improving it and occasionally I’m such a bad neighbour, neglecting my shabby house, that he comes over and works on mine too.

In a bid to not have to deal with an Ambulance and the literal fall out of my partner on a very long ladder I called Barry to sort the gutters. Apparently there was not much wrong with them, other than a tennis ball blocking the downpipe. How did a tennis ball get on the roof and in the gutter? No-one in this house even plays tennis. I’ll just put it down to living with boys and move on. Whilst he was here I asked Barry to change a light fitting in the hall which looks amazing but has highlighted how shabby our hallway, complete with dried out water leak and falling down artex, is. Maybe I’ll let (read nag) my partner take on this job. As long as there are no ladders involved.

When things feel chaotic do something calming

Weekends are time for R&R right? So why is it that weekends often feel more chaotic than the working week which is full of work, appointments, school runs etc? Last weekend was no different. With the boys safely shipped off to their Dad’s for the weekend my partner picked up his daughter and took her to…. work. That’s right, as he works in education this is the season of late nights decorating for Christmas followed by weekend ‘fun days’ – where it is compulsory for staff to sacrifice their weekend to go to work and create fun activities for the children they’ve just spent the last 45 hour week with.

My step-daughter and I decided to leave him to all the ‘fun’ and head out for the day on Saturday. It wasn’t quite the start we had planned, it was cold, wet, windy and with only a few weekends between now and Christmas, chaos on the High Street. We started the day with breakfast in the local cafe and as the dread of all we had to achieve over the next couple of days took hold, we decided to blow out all the demands and activities and head to the pottery cafe.

My bestie came with us and we spent a relaxing couple of hours chatting, painting pottery and thoroughly relaxing. At one point Ashna remarked ‘it’s cheaper than therapy’ and I have to agree. Possibly not quite as effective as therapy by you do get a lovely piece of pottery to take home with you (or collect a few days later).