The penultimate week of the programme, Christmas is just around the corner and overall I am feeling happy. Not feeling quite as festive as last year but last year was the best Christmas ever. It was so good that I suffered post-Christmas depression in the January (that is a joke, I don’t know if there is such a condition, but I was sad when it was over). My goal is to get into the Christmas spirit more by overloading my eyeballs with classic Christmas movies such as Die Hard and Gremlins and spoiling my ears with my very own Christmas playlist which all you lovely people can listen to on Apple music. Feeling very drained energy wise due to work and illness, I wasn’t expecting excellence from this week and this is coming from a five time 3E’s Lincolnshire Co-Operative award winner (3E’s stood for Exceeding Everyone’s Expectations). There is a secret to why I won five awards; was it because I was a fantastic employee you ask? Nope, was it because I was a nose straight up the Managers butt kind of guy? Most definitely not. I had my own set of 3E’s to achieve; make it “Extremely Easy to Exceed”. I spent eight years constantly lowering everyone’s expectations so that it was, as my own set of 3E’s states; extremely easy to exceed. With this logic, expecting this week to suck massive donkey balls might make it a good week? Let’s find out.
Day 71 – Monday 17th December 2018
Still feeling rough from working last week, having a chest infection and general life, Laura was off today so she took Brooke-Haze to school. The MINI was due to be collected and I was feeling a little nervous about it. The wheels had recently been refurbed and thanks to Mark and his polish I was able to polish out some white marks that were on the offside rear door. The inspector finally arrived just after 1pm. He inspected the car as I nervously watched through the front door window like a weirdo. He noticed a scratch that I hadn’t seen, luckily I still had Mark’s polish and he allowed me to polish it out. After all that we went to my Nan’s for lunch and to collect the car we had stored in her garage.
Laura picked up Brooke-Haze from school as I drove her crappy, deflated, slow-mobile back home. We all had a normal, calm evening. I did a little of the push workout but had to modify it as my body wasn’t up to the stress of the full workout. I ended it by doing some of the stretch exercises. Stretching my body (especially lower body) feels painful but so good. My calves and hamstrings seem to always feel tight at the minute so I am constantly stretching them throughout the day.
Day 72 – Tuesday 18th December 2018
Tuesday was a better day. Laura took Brooke-Haze to school and my auntie picked her up. This meant I could wake up slowly and naturally which my body desperately needed. My lower body still felt tight so I did a mix of balance and stretch exercises to help loosen my muscles and ease the pain.
A different plasterer was coming to fix the mess the previous plumber’s and plasterer had left. However, like always, Palmers’ communication was as good as my Mum at getting milk; it’s not happening. He wasn’t told the full scale of the job (same as the plumber a few weeks before) so he was unable to complete the task. I did like this plasterer though. He was professional, knowledgeable and instilled confidence in me that he was going to fix it the right way and is coming back in the New Year. A job that was supposed to be completed by the 1st December is now going to be finished over a month late on the 3rd January; shocking isn’t it.
Again, I did a modified version of the workout. I admit I am a little nervous to push myself this week for two reasons. Firstly, I want my body to work as well as it can for Christmas and secondly, my body is so drained along with my mind I am scared I am on the brink of a relapse.
Day 73 – Wednesday 19th December 2018
I took Brooke-Haze to school at her request, which I loved. Laura was off again and she went off shopping for a few bits. Me and Ember opened her new painting set which is apparently a non-running washable paint. After school Laura is taking Brooke-Haze on a play date to a play area with some school friends whilst I take Ember to her nursery to go see the guy who shakes his belly like a bowl full of jelly; Santa! At lunch time though I was blessed with one hell of a migraine. It was so intense; my eyes were in so much pain. I took my new migraine tablet which should be better than my old one and I felt it did nothing. My head was in agony and not long after Laura left to pick Brooke-Haze up, I was sick, I vomited, blew chunks.
I took some more paracetamol and ibuprofen and took Ember to meet Santa. Ember was very cute, I thought she might be a little shy and apprehensive without her big sis, but she wasn’t. She spoke to Santa, answered his questions, said thank you and wished him a Merry Christmas. After our visit it was teatime. Laura was eating with Brooke-Haze and as we drove past a place we have eaten at before, Ember asked if we could have tea there. As I am a kind and caring Dad, I obliged and we went out for tea (it also meant I didn’t have to cook or clean up). Me and Ember had a nice pleasant meal together. Ember is growing up so beautifully and despite my migraine it was a really nice day. After having a migraine and being sick I only did my balance workout; but it counts.
Day 74 – Thursday 20th December 2018
My auntie came around for a little bit in the morning to see Ember. I spent the morning doing my balance exercises. I tried to take it easy as much as possible as I was feeling the aftermath of my migraine. Overall a very quiet day.
Day 75 – Friday 21st December 2018
I had a terrible night’s sleep which was so annoying as Friday was Brooke-Haze and Daddy day. I am going to show you what you can achieve on around four to five hours’ sleep when you have the right amount of resilience, defiance and love. We got up, got ready and dropped Ember off to nursery for her Christmas party. Me and Brooke-Haze went home to kill time before we set off for the cinema (for you American readers a cinema is a movie theatre). We had an early lunch and off we went to watch Ralph Break the Internet. 12.20pm was the time it was supposed to start. I appreciate they never start on time, especially with adverts etc. but, the actual film didn’t start until 12.55pm. I was uncomfortably sat for over half an hour before the film even started. The film was good and I will admit I found it quite emotional. I also admit deep down I am quite a sensitive and emotional person. I won’t spoil the ending for all the hardcore Wreck-it Ralph fans out there, but I will say it was a feeling of things to come for me.
After a deep, emotional Disney animated film, we went to a few shops for Christmas gifts and then Brooke-Haze convinced me with her beautiful eyes, adorable face and politest asking, to have a milkshake. This was no standard milkshake; this was a chocolate ice cream with chocolate chip cookies and a Cadburys Caramel bar. But it did not stop there; she had it topped with cream, marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles and chocolate sauce!! It was the quietest town visit I have ever had with Brooke-Haze. We were walking down the High Street and Brooke-Haze spotted the one and only Mickey Mouse. She dumped the milkshake and ran over to Mickey to give him a big hug. She is so kind and so happy go lucky, I love it and hope she never loses it. They were collecting for a homeless charity (same people who I had a photo with Batman and a Minion a few weeks ago). Brooke-Haze wanted a photo, but I didn’t have any cash on me and I felt uncomfortable asking without donating. So, we went and got cash out, went to a shop and brought something for someone then went to find Mickey for a photo. This gorgeous bundle of love had her photo and then said bye and wished Mickey a very merry Christmas. She is truly my little hero. She inspires me every day, thank you Brooke-Haze.
After town we went to pick up Ember from nursery. She had a great day of making lovely Christmas items, playing Christmas party games and lots and lots of dancing. We all went home and to end a nice day Laura picked up a cheeky takeaway (don’t tell Dom). It was a lovely day of reminders of why I am very lucky. Yes, the day was hard and had left me hurting and exhausted; but it also created wonderful memories that will live on in both mine and Brooke-Haze’s memories and that is much more powerful than any pain or exhaustion I will ever feel.
Day 76 – Saturday 22nd December 2018
Saturday was a funny day. It was just me and the girls in the morning and it was a typical Daddy daughter day. As the morning progressed, I had this niggling feeling that I was supposed to be doing something. I had done the washing and cleaned up; I just could not work out what it was. As the girls were chomping down the delicious lunch I made for them, I decided I would ring my Nan. I spent over an hour talking to her and I could hear in her voice how much she appreciated the call. We said our goodbyes one hour and twenty minutes later; I looked at my phone and had messages from my hairdresser; whoops! I was supposed to have my haircut at 12.30pm, forty five minutes ago; that was the thing that had been niggling at me all morning. My hairdresser being the awesome hairdresser that she is let me rearrange for 4.30pm, thanks Bekki.
Once Laura came home, we all went on a nice family walk around our village searching for elf doors. Every day of December a new elf door had magically appeared on one of the trees in our little woodland walk. The girls enjoyed searching for the doors and there is nothing more important that quality family time.
Day 77 – Sunday 23rd December 2018
Me and the girls got up quick to go out and beat the Christmas shopping madness. We went to three shops and was back home by 11am to see my brother Neil and his two boys; that is impressive ladies and gentlemen even, if I do say so myself.
It was nice for Brooke-Haze and Ember to see Lucas and Jamie before Christmas. If anyone has followed my journey, me and my brother Neil aren’t exactly close; I won’t go into details but I have always said I will keep it civil. We talked a little and it was pleasant enough.
We just chilled as a family when Laura came home and a nice relaxing evening was just what the doctor ordered.
What I have tried to do over the past few months is to improve my perspective on things. It is not easy and takes constant practice. It is easy to look at situations negatively. For example, my day with Brooke-Haze; I could easily think “it’s not fair that my body pays a price for spending time with my child”. Being honest, I sort of do look it at it that way because it isn’t fair. But that’s life, life is not fair. Every single person in some way or another life has been cruel, cold hearted and unfair. A father might be able to enjoy a day like I had on Friday to the fullest, with no physical pain, but he might not get to put them to bed every night. The point being we just don’t know what others are dealing with. I am now trying to stop my brain when I get down, anxious or frustrated and think for a second to appreciate what I have got instead of thinking what I haven’t. I am learning every day more and more to appreciate my life, the people who I once knew, the people I have lost and the people in it now.