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Life

It’s a Serious Business

Somehow it’s already the first of August. How the hell did that happen? You know how you’re about to step in a huge dog turd, and you notice at the last moment, and do an enormous step? It feels like the world did that between February and August.

For the first few months of lock-down, we saved SO much money – thousands – and then of course the cat got sick, and wiped out his own insurance, and all of our savings. I guess I can look back at the last few months and realise that I’m lighter and fitter than I was – although I haven’t run for the last few days. I really need to get out tomorrow morning for a run.

Today I seem to have the beginnings of a cold. I’m crossing my fingers that it isn’t. I’m wondering if it’s down to a friend visiting unannounced yesterday afternoon. Our entire house has been in lock-down since February, with only two small groups of friends, and my in-laws visiting throughout (and even then, they were all outside). Yesterday a friend visited, and sat in the lounge with the rest of the family, completely ignoring any sort of social distancing. I made myself immediately scarce, because I didn’t want to have the awkward “um, what they hell?” conversation.

Lots of hot tea, and an early night ahead for me.

In other news, we started watching “The Umbrella Academy” the other night – and even after one episode, I began thinking “here we go – another comic book story where the world is supposed to end, except they’ll save it just in time, and fight with each other along the way”. There’s a part of me that longs for a Star Trek episode where they crew meet something in the first five minutes of the episode that completely and utterly wipes them out, and the series ends, right there. The galactic version of the Spanish encountering the Mayans. That’s a bit dark, isn’t it.

I ended up re-watching the first few episodes of “Halt and Catch Fire” late last night – to remind myself just how good it was. I might have to go back and watch Mr Robot too – although once the suspense and misdirection has gone, a lot of it’s draw will be removed.

I’m still bitter that “The OA” got cancelled.

Over the past few weeks – while not blogging – I’ve carried on with the flight simulation idiocy. I’m a pretty proficient pretend Boeing and Airbus pilot now. I have no doubt these skills will come into play one day while travelling with work, as a gorgeous, panic stricken air hostess runs down the aircraft and asks “DOES ANYBODY KNOW HOW TO FLY A COMMERCIAL JET?”. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it while shaking like a leaf, with pee in my shoes though.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more tea to drink. It’s a serious business, this tea drinking lark.

Categories
Life

Has it really been a week ?

Has it really been a week since the last blog post? You would think the absence of pretty much anything from me over the last few days would mean an impending avalanche of thoughts, ideas, stories, and idiocy. The truth? I’m coming up blank.

I’m back working full-time now, although still working from home. I’m just taking a bit of a break to write this. It’s funny – as my world slowly returns to normal, I’m starting to realise how much we used to cram into each day – before the whole lockdown thing started. Every day was a sprint, filled with chaos and mayhem. I’m not sure I want to go back to that world now.

I finally got around to booking some holiday yesterday. Although I have been incredibly fortunate to carry on working throughout the pandemic, I looked at the calendar and realised I had only taken a few days off since the start of the year. Even though we’re not going anywhere or doing anything, it will be good to spend some time at home with the kids – to go on walks together, and maybe even start running again.

My foot is slowly healing. If you haven’t read previous posts, I managed to break a toe on my left foot a few weeks ago. There really isn’t anything you can do for broken toes, other than tape them up, and be careful. I’m now into the third week of it healing, and can walk on it without too much pain. I think another couple of weeks and I can try running on it.

I’m still losing weight. I know! I’m as surprised as anybody else. I suppose the main motivation is how annoyed I will be if I gain any weight. For the last month I have dropped one or two pounds every week – purely by not eating snacks between meals, and making sure meals are not ridiculous. According to the NHS body mass index calculator online (which I just looked at), I’m at the high end of the healthy weight range – I need to lose about another 14 pounds. Hopefully by the time my vacation starts, I’ll be getting close to that.

I drank a glass of wine the night before last – the first in several months. Oh my word – it went straight to my head. I actually wondered after drinking it if it’s really worth it – alcohol. There were things I wanted to get on with (I drank it with dinner), and was conscious it was affecting me.

I’m still playing with the aircraft simulator. I did a flight last night with my Dad and his group of friends – taking off from the mountains of Switzerland, and landing at London City airport. It was fun. I still need to study air traffic control procedures (hence the annoyance about wine having an effect), but I’m getting there slowly. My other half thinks the entire escapade is entirely pointless, and feigns a comical level of indifference if I ever mention anything to do with it. She’s probably right, but it keeps me out of mischief.

Oh – just remembered – the Eurovision movie.

We finally got around to watching the Eurovision movie earlier in the week – a day after everybody else went mad about it. We absolutely loved everything about it. I don’t want to go on and on about it, because you can go watch it yourself if you haven’t already – I will submit that I’ve been listening to the soundtrack album on Spotify all week though 🙂

Categories
Life

Out of the Loop

It’s Sunday afternoon, and you find me holed up in the junk room at home, forcing myself to empty my head into the keyboard. The broken toe is slowly healing – doing as little as possible throughout the last week has helped a lot. Fingers crossed, I’ll be back running again by mid August.

It’s incredibly frustrating – my fitness was at about the 5K mark when the accident happened. I imagine it will take a few weeks to get any sort of stamina back after doing nothing for so long. I have started to wonder about doing some upper body workouts in the meantime. It’s all about actually *doing* it though, isn’t it.

Did I write about losing weight? Throughout the lockdown I have cut out snacks and alcohol. To begin with it was to support my eldest daughter who is trying to lose weight, but then the cat ended up in hospital, and now we don’t have enough money for snacks or alcohol – so that kind of solved itself. In the space of a month, I have lost a stone (14 pounds). If I carry on at the current trajectory, by the time I start running again, I’ll be about the same weight I was 20 years ago.

Anyway. I titled this post “Out of the Loop”, because it describes the way I feel at the moment pretty accurately. It feels like I’m slowly falling away from everything I have clung on to for the last however many years. Last week I removed the vast majority of those I had connected with through Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook over the years. I guess the noise just got too much.

I really don’t like the polarisation that’s going on at the moment. Too many people seem to be standing on soapboxes and declaring that if you’re not with them, you’re against them. The easiest way to deal with it is of course to silence it – which you can do with the click of a mouse – and I have.

My email in-box has never been so quiet. I like it.

This evening I’m hoping to sit down with my family and watch the Eurovision movie on Netflix. I watched a clip from it earlier, and became unexpectedly emotional. Oh – completely forgot – I watched a wonderful movie earlier in the week, starring Morgan Freeman as a retired writer living for the summer in a friend’s house, and begrudgingly befriending the family next door. I love quiet movies about ordinary people. It’s called “Once More” – look it up.

Categories
Life

Life Support

It’s nearly a week since my last blog post. In terms of “falling off the blogging horse”, this isn’t so much “fallen off the horse”, as “let the horse free, and haven’t really thought about it since”. I guess you could say the blog is on life support.

Talking of life support, our cat is doing much better. After a couple of weeks locked in the house after two rounds of surgery – wiping out our bank balance in the process – he has had the “cone of shame” removed, and is allowed out in the garden once again. He wasted no time in establishing authority – bullying neighbourhood cats out of the garden one after another. Unfortunately he looks rather comical while doing so – with his back end shaved, he looks kind of like a poor excuse for a miniature lion.

Work continues on. I’m back working full time – although still working from home. For the last few days I have been running training sessions online – helping somebody build a proof-of-concept for something.

When not washing up, washing clothes, or hobbling around the house (my broken toe is getting better – but still hurts like hell), I have carried on playing with the flight simulator. My Dad chipped in to help me buy a new plane for it – knowing we are very very broke at the moment – so now I am busy learning to operate an Airbus A321 – the same kind of plane I have flown on to Germany so many times in the past.

I’ve taken part in several group “flights” now too – organised for the group to fly various simulated aircraft from and to different destinations – on Tuesday night my 16 year old daughter acted as co-pilot while we flew a Boeing 737 from Paraguay to Brazil. Her short term memory is much better than mine, which helps a lot with carrying out air traffic control instructions. For the first time so far, the entire flight went like clockwork – from “cold and dark” at the departure airport, through to power-down at the destination.

She hasn’t seen the Airbus yet.

I watched the horror movie “The Conjuring” with my eldest daughter last night – a supposedly true story about a haunted house in 1970s America. Apparently it’s the first of a series of movies about hauntings. Now I want to watch the rest (but not too late – I’ll never sleep).

Oh. More developments today. The car packed up (broken brake caliper), and my daughter’s car needed a battery replacement. Several hundred further into the red. We’re deep into credit card territory now for the first time ever.

Categories
Life

Rings, Rabbits, and Flying

I’m not entirely sure where this post is going to go. It’s three minutes until midnight on Sunday night, and you find me sitting in the dark of the junk room, typing like mad at the desktop computer, because I should really be in bed already.

I just spent the last couple of hours watching a wonderful video onYouTube with my other half – a Zoom meeting between the Lord of the Rings cast members organised by Josh Gad (you might know him as Olaf, the snowman, in Frozen). While in lockdown he’s been organising cast reunions of iconic movies, and last week was the turn of the Lord of the Rings.

It was so lovely to see the cast back together again, sharing stories of their time on set together, and reminiscing. I won’t ruin it too much for you – just go look up “One Zoom to Rule Them All” on YouTube.

In other news, I watched the movie “Jojo Rabbit” last night, and it’s been on my mind ever since. If you’ve not seen it, please – just do it. I’m amazed that it was ever made, to be honest – given that a US studio signed off on it. I posted on Facebook about it, and wondered if the studio just didn’t understand the message (you’ll realise what I mean when you figure out which studio paid for it, and their political leanings).

I think perhaps the biggest shame about Jojo Rabbit is that the people who most need to see it and realise it’s about them won’t understand or realise – which almost perfectly explains why America is in freefall at the moment.

Anyway. That got a bit heavy and judgemental.

I’ve been playing with the flight simulator some more, and my respect for airline pilots goes up each time I play with it. I’ve progressed on to a very realistic recreation of the Boeing 737. Tonight I “flew” from London to Groningen, and nearly killed all the passengers after missing some air conditioning switches during the pre-takeoff checklist. Thankfully the plane informed me via a violent klaxon while cruising at 20,000 feet.

I’m still not sure how real-world pilots handle the workload. Perhaps they don’t spend time looking for switches and buttons though – perhaps they’ve learned where they are, what they do, and why they are pressing them.

I really need to go to bed now.

This was a late night blog post on behalf of the “writing a blog post in ten minutes because you feel like you should” party.