Why I’ll Never Be a Dog Person…

Risky title I know. Huge potential to lose all of my blog followers (About seven of you. Most are family members.) And people are angry enough since the announcement of tier 4 and lack of ‘Proper Crimbo‘.

But if nothing else, I am an honest person, who is now a complete lockdown cliché of a dog owner and it’s my blog, so I’d like to give the backstory here…and hopefully some light relief. I’ve never sent one of my blogs out on a Sunday before, but Kate Hiscox always does and hers bring me a lot of joy.

So. Back to the dog…

I didn’t want a dog. Husband definitely didn’t want a dog.

Kids wanted a family ‘pet’ (read as: dog) and pestered us for the past few years. Aside from not wanting the responsibility of a dog and the fact that I have allergies, I was just a more of a cat person, having grown up with one. (I miss ‘Tiddles’.)

Lockdown hit and slowly but surely, ‘everyone’ was getting a pup. Whilst I still didn’t see myself as a dog person, I could see how much it would mean to the kids, not to mention a very good reason to just get out of the house, my husband and I took the plunge and put our names down with a couple recommended breeders.

NGL (my fave abbreviation), I was a little concerned about my allergies. When we were having work done on our previous house, we moved in with my sister-in-law for a bit. A couple of weeks into our stay, they got a puppy. Not just any puppy, but a golden retriever. The furriest, most heavily shedding pup of all.

I was completely fucked. Wheezy, red eyed. And heavily pregnant. Fortunately, I had a wonderful allergist and armed with a handful of the puppy’s fur and by that evening I was sitting on the couch stroking ‘Google’ the dog with no allergic symptoms whatsoever. Brexit is easier to explain.

This gave me hope that I could live happily with a dog around, although I still had my reservations about the mud, the poo, and that ‘dog’ smell in my house.

Finally, I got a text with a picture of the newborn pups and off we went, with a particular puppy in mind. Everyone said, ‘your puppy chooses you’, but we scoffed at such nonsense. ‘Definitely the girl. The really small, nice and chilled one’.

Hurrah for pups via Hurrah for Gin

Half an hour later we left the breeder having put down a deposit on the fattest and most boisterous of the litter. And it was a boy.

A constant stream of videos and picture updates from the breeder were shared over the family Whatsapp group with much excitement from all of us. Except husband, who was explicit in his feelings towards the puppy…

Zero interest

The kids assured me that they would help but I was under no illusion that I was going to be solely responsible for this dog as soon as the novelty wore off. At this point though, it was all very exciting and mealtimes were spent arguing thinking about dog names.

There was a lot of ‘essential buying’ and after years meandering the aisles of ‘Pets at Home‘ on many a rainy afternoon, at last, we could give back financially!

A lot of the people I follow on Instagram were at puppy stage too, blogging and spamming their feeds with dog info. I spent far too long searching for ‘vibrating pet brushes’ having seeing one influencer in her stories brushing with this amazing tool. After a fruitless search and a DM to the lovely Chloe Loves to Shop, I was informed that it’s just a normal pet brush and that the noise was coming from the builders in the background. *approaches Dragons Den with incredible vibrating pet brush concept*

This blog almost serves as a diary to remember the blur of those first few weeks – from collecting him, to the constant visitors (“Ohhh.. he’s a fatty isn’t he?!”), the first few sleepless nights, to accidents – there really was so much to learn about our new boy, ‘Bear’.

Bear ‘Fatty’ Collins

By day four, husband was converted and I think Bear likes him the most. I think the feeling is mutual but husband still feels it necessary to announce to all that will listen, “If the dog went tomorrow, I wouldn’t care.”

It’s a sound I manage to block out.

And talking of sounds, and the reason for this blog, the reason for why I will never be a dog person.

I walk him. I pick up his poo. I feed him. I wash him. I play with him. I groom him. (We are talking about the dog here – not my husband, just to clarify.)

I’ve not had any real allergy issues except for a couple of foolish errors of playing with him and then accidentally touching my eyes. Best eye drop are Hycosan if you’re interested.

So the reason I will never be a dog person?

I can’t the do “the whistle”.

Not the double hander. Not the one hander. Not even the mouth only version.

My only method of recall is shaking his treat box like a loon and shouting ‘look what I’ve got for you!!!’ It’s basic, but it works and I know I’m not alone from the cries of ‘chicken!’ and ‘cheese!’ that I hear in the park.

Maybe I’ll use this Christmas gift of yet more lockdown time to learn said whistle skill, but then again, in March I said I would learn to do proper pull ups and I’m yet to manage more than two unassisted.

So to all the whistlers out there, I envy you. Especially the Queen of it all, Holly Golightly.

Iconic.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. Or Covid.

Me and my Bear

x

There’s a Poop in the Pool…

As Soul II Soul once said, back to life back to reality.

My Summer fun is pretty much done and I can almost smell Rosh Hashana in the air. (In case of confusion, that’s the festival celebrating Jewish New Year which usually falls around mid-September and you can just smell an Autumnal change in the air).

After a few weeks on the Costa (Mill Hill-on-Sea), I am most definitely home, trapped (albeit happily) in my utility room, dealing with the wash load upon wash load that is a sure sign of a good holiday. You can spank money on the hotel laundry service all you like. You can hand wash to your heart’s content with your travel wash from Boots. Fact is, it will never convince me it looks or smells good enough, so I usually end up re-washing most of it. Although I did return home with a much hyped (on Facebook’s My Best Product Ever (#addicted) fabulous cleaning spray from the local hypermarket:

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For cookers, cars  ..and clothing

No two summers are ever the same and a big plus for 2016 was that both of my kids were fully swim proficient and could handle their own on a Taylor Swift-style inflatable. And this year it was definitely all about inflatables: crocodiles, unicorns, lemon slices, swans – I saw it all.

On top of the variety of inflatables this Summer, the ice cream consumption was off the clock. Like an enormous flash card, we all stand and point at the ice cream board and readily hand over our Euros. (A reward card would be nice, Walls. Just sayin’.) Yes, there are Peanut Butter Magnums, Negratons and Fantasmikos, but Sandwich de Nata is still my favourite 6pm sampler. Biscuit. Marshmallowy-soft ice cream. Perfecto.

 

Every day starts much the same – a promise to do some cardio just to ‘keep things ticking over’ – maybe a You tube Pilates video (“Hi I’m Christy, let’s work that booty…”), or some lengths in the pool? By 11:30am I’ve done half a pack of rice cakes (the ‘healthy snack’) and I’m like quality control on the kids’ crisps. It’s a job – somebody’s got to do it.

This year, I said to myself that I would be the ‘Mum that said yes’ when it came to the kids.

“Will you come in the pool with us?” Yes. And this time I wore goggles. Not my best look but I leave that to the messy bun, fresh-faced, slick of clear gloss brigade.

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I know who I am…

I borrowed eldest’s spare pair as I have super-sensitive eyes (cataracts, detached retina.. but that’s a whole other blog). Plus, if you saw the colour the pool water turns our swimwear, it’s no wonder my eyes sting. Chlorine catastrophe. Diving competitions, handstands, roly poly’s and the occasional pool evacuation for poop. Sometimes it was a stone. Sometimes it really was poop. Mass hysteria as we try to ignore the fact our kids are swimming in 90% urine as it is.

“Will you come in the sea?” Yes. And this time I wore my beach shoes as Marbs beaches can be rocky. It always fascinates me that I am on the ‘edge of land’. Like, literally right on the edge of Earth’s surface. Stepping into the blue bit of the light-up globe in my kids’ bedrooms. You get my point.

Once all the activity and excitement is over, Mama deserves a chill out with the grown ups. That’s when the inevitable ‘Dragons Den in the Sun’ begins. What can I invent to make me millions whilst lying here aiming for some semblance of a tan?

Post-it notes? Done.

Towel clips? Done.

Even the sure-fire winner of a suncream applicator booth was veto’d as apparently, according to Facebook (gospel).. done.

We were getting nowhere fast and it was time for a break (ie. more snacks). You know that programme Springwatch? Well, move over Bill Oddie. Round my pool, at a certain ‘time of the month’, it’s ‘Stringwatch’. Girls have all got each others backs (or fronts..) and give a knowing ‘nod’ as we palm one of ‘Mummy’s special carrots‘ and head off to the ladies.  I just wish the boys could look out for each other more. The amount of times I had to avert my eyes. You might think you are modest in your swim shorts, but with your excessive manspreading on your sunbed, the netting bag of ‘fresh plums’ is still very much on show.

Plum_Punnet

Close your legs, gents

I shouldn’t be unkind as I am most susceptible to ‘pitminj’.  I don’t think I need to explain, but most of my photos require careful editing.

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My armpit. My pitminj. My god…

Right, back to the ideas board for 2017. I’m hoping for something a bit better than my tan if I’m going to get that call from Peter Jones. “I’m in.”