Is it just me?

A question for you. Why is it when you get a calf cramp during the night you lose all sense of dignity and relationship to time and you just want to scream out for your mommy? We all get cramps and they are never an enjoyable experience but why when they hit you in the middle of the night do they feel even worse? All you can do is grab your leg and cry out in pain. The leg grabbing doesn’t actually help it is just pure instinct and the crying out is primal? It feels as if a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys has a hold of your toes and is trying to press them back far enough to meet you shin!
Why does this happen when you are safe in your bed sleeping? You are in a blissful dream one second and the next…agony. Then after it has finally passed and you fall back to sleep you forget it ever happened that is until you take that first step in the morning and bang the soreness in your calf hits you like a brick. This is one of life’s many mysteries I guess.

A Real Treat

I’ve now been the US over a week and this is my first trip somewhere other than work! I came to a local mall to do shopping before flying home. As I was walking around I found an old style diner and I am sitting here having a chocolate malt! It is such treat. For the first time on this trip I feel comfortable. I have lived in UK for 13 years now and it amazes me how different things are. There pros and cons to everywhere you live.

Pro for the US – Chocolate malts

UK – Tea breaks

US- Space 

UK- Real Ale

The list can go on but I’m happy with my choices and I am ready to go back to the UK and my home

Day 7 in the Big Brother Go-Live Room

Today is my last day in the Go-Live room.  It is obvious that it is a Saturday.  All ties and suits are gone along with any sense of formality.  The room is dominated by hoodies, tennis shoes and stubble (not mine of course).  Four different people brought in doughnuts today and we actually had Danishs that individually could feed a family of five!  The canteen may be closed but there is enough sugar in this room to sink a battleship.  Thank goodness Dunkin Donuts do these awesome boxes of coffee.  Yes, I’ve seen boxes of wine but never coffee.  They have been an invaluable source of energy when the hours have dragged on. The Comic is in rare form today and others have now followed in his silly footsteps so we are on the verge of giddiness.  When I finally get released tonight I will organise a trip to the mall tomorrow just to be among normal society.  So when I return to the UK on Monday morning the men in the white jackets might not be waiting for me. 

Day 6 in the Big Brother Go-Live Room!

It is day 6 and we have some new arrivals to the Go-Live room.  It is interesting how the dynamic of the room has changed with the departures of several key individuals and the arrival of our new residents.  We went from a calming influence in the face of challenges to a more…how should I say this…Chicken Little approach. 

I have come to know these people and their habits so well.  We have the Pepsi Addict the Coffee Feind, the Gum Chewer, the Voice and the Comic to describe just a few of the residents.  The first three are failry self explanatory. The Voice is that person who no matter where you are, what you are doing or how hard you are trying to concentrate The Voice is always there.  Loud, droning and supremely annoying!  The Voice wil not be dismissed, if the room begins to go a bit quiet The Voice will fill the space.  Most of the time I could not tell you what The Voice is talking about because it has become like Tinnitus…it is everpresent.  The Comic however, is always a good laugh.  It is his place to find the humour in all situations.  His role is vital in this room and I can only hope that when it comes his time to return to normal society that someone of a similar ilk takes his place. 

I only have 2 more days in the Go-Live room before my release.  This experience has refreshed my memory in terms of what Go-Lives are all about.  They are not so much about the technology or systems that are being deployed it is about the people behind those systems that make it work.  Around the clock if necessary, normal everyday routines suspended.  Things like showers, eating proper meals and other personal hygeine are sacrificed all for the greater good.  So, when your systems are running slowly and you are cursing your technology remember those who suffered to bring us the systems we have come to rely on. 

Day 5 in the Big Brother Go-Live Room!

I had forgotten how interesting go-lives could be.  This is my day 5 but for some of the guys it is day 8.  Some of the Business users came in yesterday to start working on the system and they brought with them a can of Lysol and antibacterial hand wash!  They said the room smelled like a university dorm room, Stale pizza, doughnuts coffee and tea smells.  The floors had not been vacuumed in days as every time the cleaning staff comes in someone is on the phone working an issue and can’t have the vacuum running in the background.  We are down to one male still wearing a tie everyone else has given in to sleeping that extra 5 minutes rather than fuss over appearance.

The canteen staff know most of us by name now and what we all like to eat and drink.  I went to the shop yesterday to get some snacks and it was like a flock of vultures as soon as the team spotted what I had in my bags!  The snacks were wiped out in about 15 minutes.  If you snooze around here you will certainly lose!  We arrived this morning to a pleasant surprise, the room had been cleaned top to bottom and all refuse had been removed.  The stale food smell was gone and the trash bins were empty. That was about 5 hours ago and now it looks pretty much like it did yesterday.  Oh well, this is our life for a few more days.  Next up Italy in July.

Is a Number Just a Number?

When it comes to ages and milestones I have only struggled with my 28th prior to this one that is. Strangely, I am 48, turning 49 in the summer. I had forgotten about my 28th year and how difficult I found it. I guess the only good thing was that by the time I hit 29 I was over my growing older crisis. Now at 48 I find myself in a similar situation. This time however, my worries and I suppose fears, are not centred around what I have not yet achieved but on the things I don’t want to change or lose.

I have finally found my place in the world and that only came with finding my one true love. I know how lucky I am to have found this love and I appreciate the fact that so many people never will. But this is also the root of my rediscovered fear of turning another year older and another year closer to the next milestone age.

I have a beautiful family that is quite large now due mainly to my two lovely and prolific brothers as well as my fantastic step children. I want to take a snapshot of my life right now and then say “this is where I want to stay, right here, right now.” Because I have never been more safe, more loved or more content than I am at this very moment. If it is not possible to stay here then at least slow the clock down, make every minute last a bit longer. Let me enjoy every moment with these people who are my life. My gorgeous Pamela who captured my heart over a pub lunch. My grandma who is well into her 9th decade spanning two centuries. My parents who taught me how to love and still show me be example every day. My brothers, who will always be “the boys”. My eldest brother and his pride of having kids in 4 different decades and two different centuries! My step “kids”, their partners and our granddaughters. Also my 10 month old Labrador. Now maybe you can understand my hesitation in taking this next step along the road to 50. I know for some this will seem old already but for others you will be thinking ” only 50…I wish!”

Wherever you are along your road I hope you take a snapshot too and look at where you are, what you have achieved and appreciate every moment. If you are not yet at that perfect place in your life and you are struggling to achieve just remember, as one of my new favourite lines in a movie goes, “it will all turn out in the end and if it doesn’t turn out then it is not yet the end.”