Monday, 25 February 2013

Targets for the weekend - update

So how did my weekend go? A little crazy! Nothing new there.

On Friday I shared with you my targets for the weekend. Well, as always, lots of things came up, and I did less than I planned. Here is how my list looks now.

1. Pack away pet stuff, including disinfecting first where appropriate. Started, but not yet completed. Everything is now clean and ready to be packed away, but the packing has not yet been finished.

2. Pack all non-essential books (we have lots of them!). Completed!

3. Pack overflow kitchen cupboard (this mainly contains bakeware for special occasions and should not be needed before the move). Started, but not yet completed. There is more in there than I thought!

4. Find out if we are keeping/leaving the dishwasher (we need to negotiate with our landlords!). Pathetic excuse, but I never went to see my landlord!

5. Check all plants that are being moved. Done!

6. Clean car (inside and out!). Ah, now this is one of the reasons my weekend didn't go to plan - the car is being taken apart by the garage and we haven't seen it since Wednesday last week. So no progress here!

7. Clean windows (inside and out). No progress here either!

So that looks pretty pathetic right? I will however let you know what else I achieved (apparently I'm good at doing stuff, just not what I really need to do!):

8.   Check heating oil level.
9.   Clear leaves from garden.
10. Quick tidy up of garden.
11. Sort out recycling (this was a big job!).
12. Take meter readings.

OK, so that still looks pathetic. Oh well, lots to do this week then!

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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Farewell my Brambly Apple

I mentioned on Friday that our lives had been a bit crazy recently. Well one bit of news, which I have decided I should share with you dear readers, is the loss of my wonderful little Bramble. Readers first met Bramble last September when I introduced the 'cat kit'. Unfortunately last Friday evening (15th) we came home to find out that Bramble had been hit on the road while we were at work, dying instantly.

Wee Bramble, when he was just a few weeks old.

On the Saturday we made the decision to take our other cat, Lavender, to my parents until after we have moved. We also took along our dearest Bramble and buried him in my parents garden. We planted a tree on top of him which provides berries in the winter for the birds (oddly appropriate because we know how Bramble liked to be near the birds). Unfortunately, Lavender did not seem to be coping very well. When we first got home on the Friday and heard the awful news, we took Bramble into our kitchen and put him on the floor. Lavender came over to see what was going on, and then tried to clean him up. When we stopped her she ran off and refused to go into the kitchen again, even after Bramble had been moved. When she saw us burying him on Saturday, she came over and wailed  at us, almost as if she wanted us to stop. She sniffed the box he had been in and wailed some more. I know she understands he is dead now and it is heartbreaking. Thankfully I heard from my parents today that she is now playing with one of their cats, so fingers crossed she will be OK.

My favourite: Lavender finally accepts that Bramble is staying and is prepared to sleep next to him.

This probably sounds like I am overly worrying about Lavender but we have good reason. The worst thing about this whole situation is that one of the reasons for our move and the location we are moving to is the dangers of the road we currently live hear. 12 months ago we lost our other cat, Smudge (Lavender's brother), to the same road. Afterwards she went into a three month period of what I can only describe as mourning. She stopped talking to us (she meows and chirrups and purrs all the time normally), and wailed whenever we left her alone. We finally got a kitten, Bramble, in May last year, and she instantly perked up. It was very clear to us that she needed cat company, even though at times Bramble drove her mad because he was so boisterous. Thankfully it looks like being with my parents cats is helping this time, even though I miss her like crazy.

Our new house will be 3 miles down a single track, very quiet road, so hopefully a lot lot safer. At Christmas we questioned whether to leave Lavender and Bramble at my parents for the rest of the time in our old house, keeping them safe. We were planning that they would go there for the actual move anyway as it reduces their stress. However, we decided it was kinder to keep them with us until mid-March. Now I am regretting this. I keep telling myself we would do that again. They are our cats, not my parents'. But my heart now aches.

So the house is oh so very quiet now. No Bramble and no Lavender. And I will never again be able to call another cat 'Brambly Apple' .

He was so much bigger than this in the end. Nearly double the weight of Lavender (who is a very petite cat when not in the same picture as a kitten). Unfortunately he was four weeks away from his 1st birthday when he died.

One day we will have more cats again... and hopefully not too far in the future. But first, we shall move home and Lavender will come home and I will hold my kitty once again. Better still, Lavender will get her very first cat flap in her own home, rather than only getting one while on holiday with her grandparents.

To our dearest wee Bramble, we will always love you and you will always have a place in our hearts. Lots of love Mum & Dad x

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Friday, 22 February 2013

Targets for the weekend

So what have you got planned for the weekend?

After a few weekends being written off by various events in our lives, the PTC household needs to get its act together this weekend to get back on track with the big upcoming move.

So here is my task (or should that be target?) list for the weekend. I'm not going to kill myself getting everything done (along with the usual weekend rush), but I'm going to see what can be done.

1. Pack away pet stuff, including disinfecting first where appropriate.

2. Pack all non-essential books (we have lots of them!).

3. Pack overflow kitchen cupboard (this mainly contains bakeware for special occasions and should not be needed before the move).

4. Find out if we are keeping/leaving the dishwasher (we need to negotiate with our landlords!).

5. Check all plants that are being moved.

6. Clean car (inside and out!).

7. Clean windows (inside and out).

So that's us for this weekend. Hopefully we will do most of this list, but I am already behind on my usual tasks, having been away unexpectedly last weekend. I have a stack of laundry and ironing to do (oh how I hate that iron) and meal planning and such. Nothing like a challenge to get you raring to go though hey?

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Diet and health

I've wondered quite a lot whether to write this post, but I've decided it is time to share in case this helps anyone else.

You might have noticed that I've been quiet (again) for a few weeks. Well life is crazy, I'm exhausted, super busy at work and running around trying to get *everything* and more done. More than anything though, I'm bone weary tired, and so is Mr PTC. This just gets us down. OK, so now I sound like I'm grumbling, but I promise, this will become clearer in a few moments.

So back to the title - diet and health. My family, and Mr PTC's have a history of dietary issues. My mother is a coeliac, my sister is lactose and cow's milk protein intolerant. On Mr PTC's side, his father is a coeliac, his mother can't have dairy (there is no conclusive evidence as to which type of milk problem it is, or if it is both as full testing has never been carried out), and his brother is in the process of possibly being diagnosed as a coeliac too. Mr PTC himself can't have cow's milk protein (and therefore any product made with cow's milk) - other milk types (goat, sheep, buffalo etc.) are fine. So basically, complicated families!

Now Mr PTC had his gall bladder removed in 2010 after a couple of really painful (are they ever not?) gallstone attacks. Ever since then he has had a 'gloopy' tummy. Now his tummy has always been very communicative (as I like to put it), but this was somehow different. However, we didn't really notice as it has been a gradual decline, with just a gradual increase in the propensity of 'uncomfortableness' since the operation. Nothing conclusive, and he has a loud tummy anyway. There is also always the risk the 'contamination' with milk - he can be quite off-hand in restaurants and with shop bought food about possible milk risks. He has a fairly high tolerance for milk these days so that he just gets uncomfortable if there is a tiny bit of milk product in his food (for example, a restaurant serving buttered potatoes and plain potatoes with the same spoon would cause him to be 'gloopy' rather than full-on 4 days of sick).

The other change, which I have just put down to our lives is his tiredness. Mr PTC is not a natural early riser. He loves bed (hah so do I!). But when we first met Mr PTC regularly got up before me at the weekend (I'm a slob when I don't have to get up). These days he can sleep all day unless I drag him out of bed. He is also more grumpy, which I've put down to work stress, being together for longer (the honeymoon period doesn't last forever, right?) and the tiredness he is experiencing.

So we just continued ignoring all of this. We discussed on and off doing a 'trial' of no dairy at all or going gluten/wheat free, but we just never got on with it. Well January was hard around here. I was properly sick for the first time since I was a kid and Mr PTC clearly had a milder version of it to. We were wiped out. Work was getting on top of us, the house looked like a bomb had hit it and we weren't packing ready for our move. So we decided to go gluten free, I'm not sure why. It just seemed like a good idea.

Well on Wednesday (20th) we stopped after three weeks of gluten free. Now nothing earth shattering happened in those three weeks, and nothing earth shattering has happened since. It certainly is nothing like the experience of my mother or father in law who experienced really quite extreme improvements in health during their first few weeks of being gluten free, or the awful effects of a subsequent 'accident' once they had been glu-free for a few weeks. However, since Wednesday Mr PTC has been exhausted, more stressed and more grumpy. His tummy has also started complaining - oddly though he hadn't noticed it 'clearing up', but having thought about it, he is convinced he had less 'glooping' during those few weeks of gluten free. I also noticed that I was less tired during those few weeks, though things are less clear for me (I was also not as careful about gluten because the test wasn't really for me).

Now I'm not going to jump to conclusions here. This is by no means a massive change in health. We've also had ups and downs at work and in our personal lives (we lost a cat, and our neighbour had emergency surgery - but those are posts for another day), and the change in diet also coincided with me making more home-cooked food (fewer nasty ingredients), and using up the freezer contents, which right now is mainly joints of meat. We have probably therefore, accidentally been fairly close the the 'paleo' diet that everyone is raving about online. See it is murky territory!

So for now, we are continuing with eating an all inclusive diet and making sure Mr PTC ingests some wheat/gluten everyday (as my dad says 'a glu-full' diet). Mr PTC is now taking this to the doctors and hopefully we can convince them to take this seriously given the family history. Diagnosis of gluten-allergy in the UK seems to depend largely on how good your GP is! Unfortunately, for a full clinical diagnosis in the UK a blood test for antigens is not sufficient; instead a biopsy of the bowel is required. This also means that Mr PTC must continue eating wheat/gluten for the time being until the biopsy is done.

Regardless of what happens, we will be changing our diet, at least for a short time. We will wait until the doctors do what they must for diagnosis. If the results come back negative we will still try going gluten/wheat free again, and I might join in properly this time. There seems to be a lot evidence that even if you do not have the autoimmune response that is present in people with Coeliac disease, that wheat is not great for us. While I love my food, I also love having energy and more than that I want Mr PTC to be happy and well. So after doctors appointments and moving house in April we will go on some sort of detox. I'm thinking the paleo diet having read so much about it, but I'm still researching to find out what I think is best. Whatever happens though, I have a feeling that a full re-evaluation of our diet/lifestyle is well overdue and may be one of the best things to start afresh with the house move. We will have space for growing our own vegetables and maybe that is just the incentive I need to move to a healthier, less refined, diet. I love growing things, and I do so love to eat too!

If you have any experience of dietary issues, trying different diets or the paleo diet I would love to hear from you and share your experiences. I am acutely aware that one in three people with Coeliac disease in their family will develop Coeliac disease. That means there is a fairly high probability that Mr PTC and/or I will develop it or even already have it! I'm also aware that my mother and my father in-law were left undiagnosed for years, and in some ways have never fully recovered from the damage done before diagnosis. I don't want this to happen to Mr PTC and me, or anyone else for that matter.

Let me know your thoughts!

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Friday, 1 February 2013

So how did January really go?

So I've given you all an 'update' on January in the form of what I've been telling you about. But how has it really gone? I want to know what you have been up to. So I'll start by telling you how things have been going round here!

1. 2013 started with the big house move news. You can get all the helps and information I am compiling here, but I thought I'd let you know how it really is going.

Well the letters scheme is going quite well, I have written down most of the mail that needs to be re-directed, but I am sure some has fallen through the cracks... I mean who's perfect? Part of the reason behind this blog is to help me hold myself accountable and be more organised! Fingers crossed telling you guys that I haven't been quite as diligent as I intended I will now be guilt tripped into catching up!

Packing has taken a hit. With being ill I did nothing for about two weeks, so I have thus far only completed 6 boxes. Oh dear. That is one task that will be taken up this weekend.

2. I attempted to have a cash-free January. I will admit this was somewhat easier because I spent most of 2 weeks in bed. It is so easy to not spend money if you are in bed - unless that is you use the credit card online. Despite various mishaps 2013 has started out fairly cheap. I'm not sure it will last!

Talking of mishaps, some of the events that I haven't shared with you in the last week (and hence being so quiet for a while):
a). I broke my glasses. They did so well for 4 years and then I smashed them by head-butting my laptop! Who knew macbooks were so vicious? That was one expensive mistake! I can't believe how much new glasses cost these days.
b). My macbook broke. OK, firstly not 'really broke' and secondly it has nothing to do with item (a) above. In fact it is just really misbehaving and has been since before the glasses incident. There is a CD stuck in the drive and it will NOT come out, however much persuasion is provided. Luckily Mr Lappy is still under warranty and going to the shop tonight. Alas that means temporary laptop and slightly unhappy me. I'm also worried that everything will be wiped, even though I've backed up. Silly hey?
c). I keep loosing and forgetting things! Yesterday I put my handbag in the fridge - which is quite an achievement because the handbag is really quite large. On Monday I tried to fill the food processor with water rather than the kettle. Maybe just maybe I'm not 100% better yet.

So anyway, moving onto more pertinent things.

3). My planner for 2013 is still only in its January states - apparently printing and filing are beyond me at the moment. This might explain why I keep forgetting things (see note above). Sorting out the rest of the planner is my priority for this coming weekend. Oh and packing. I keep forgetting the packing!


4). Despite my  series on how to deal with housework when you are ill I have a stack of ironing up to the ceiling. OK, not quite to the ceiling, but it certainly feels like it. There are shirts that I washed before going away for Christmas still to be ironed. I'm not entirely sure what Mr PTC has been wearing to work recently, because I'm sure it hasn't seen an iron.

How terrible is that?! I'm actually quite shocked, but between car keys and handbags in fridges and water in the food processor rather than the kettle I think my ability to do housework is just rock bottom. Last night was the first night Mr PTC and I did any form of useful housework except put on the dishwasher and do laundry for about 10 days. Believe me, the house was not pleasant.

So do I prioritise housework over packing and planners now? Looks like a busy weekend.

5). Anyway, January finished on an up as yesterday our mortgage was fully approved. I do believe that basically nothing can stop us moving now, unless the sellers do something crazy like set the house alight. 

Fingers crossed for a calmer February!

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