I Crastinate like a Pro 

I hate my days off.

Up until a month ago my wife and I had the same days off work; Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  However, her shift changed and now she has the traditional Saturday and Sunday off.

To many,  the thought of having time off work without their significant other is a dream come true,  but there’s only so much I enjoy doing alone…and it’s getting really sore.

Now,  I hate to be sickly sweet here,  but my wife and I have an awesome marriage.  Spending time without her is like watching anything with the Kardashians in it; a pointless waste of time.  In addition,  Tuesday is the day I Skype my family back in England so my wife is missing out on that too.

I would love to say something hilariously sarcastic and biting about in-laws and how she’s dodged a bullet,  but alas…she really does love my family and vice versa.

I’m telling you, anyone looking in on our marriage from the outside is usually reaching for a bucket.

So,  today is Tuesday,  my wife left early for work,  and I Skyped my family at the normal prearranged times.  Due to the eight hour time difference,  the Skype calls are very early in the morning so,  historically (well,  for the last month at least),  I go back to sleep afterwards.  However,  instead of having a nap for a couple of hours,  I usually end up sleeping for ages and missing most of the day.

Either that or I end up down a YouTube rabbit hole and still end up doing none of the things I had planned to do.

Yet I always seem to end up sore.

This is all made worse by a fuzzy head usually brought on by oversleeping or concentrating on a screen without blinking.

Well,  today was going to be different.  Today I was going to do some washing [laundry],  tidy up,  go to the gym and get my hair cut. So today I set myself an alarm to only sleep for an hour.

Genius,  right?

Wrong.

Instead of only sleeping for an hour,  I decided to snooze button my way through four hours of sleep.

It’s become another typical Tuesday…or,  should I say ‘Snoozeday’? Huh?  Get it?  Snoozeday?  Anyone?

(holds up hand for a high five he will never get, and all that can be heard is the sound of crickets as a lone tumbleweed rolls by)

I don’t even have the time or the energy to get my hair cut.  This is an activity that involves me sitting down on the way to the Barber,  sitting down while they do all the work,  and then sitting down all the way home…and I still can’t be bothered.

Instead I’m slouched in bed,  looking at the clock and justifying to myself that I simply don’t have the time to do anything.

Well,  except write this post.

Priorities.

Now, where’s that box of tissues?

Wishing the Mile High Club was an actual bat!

A week or so ago my wife and I took a trip to Venice.  In lieu of our upcoming move to Las Vegas we felt it wise to visit some places in Europe while they were still pretty close by (and a lot cheaper!)

Plus, as we are moving to sin city, I thought it was a good idea she see what Venice REALLY looks like, rather than basing her ideas on The Venetian hotel on the strip.  We’d already visited Paris the year before and she’s already been to New York, so the only one left – that the Las Vegas strip had ripped off – was Venice.

And before you mention The Luxor, friends of mine have been to Cairo and apparently it’s a shithole; so fuck that.

Anyway, I want to tell you about our trip.

But, Headinablender isn’t a travel blog, nor will it ever be unless something weird, wonderful or funny happens.  I’m not about to go on and on about the beautiful canals, the crippling expensive food and drink, the amazing architecture or the overpriced gondolas driven (driven? Is that right?) by uninterested Italians with an oar in one hand and their phone in the other.

No, i’m talking about our actual experience of getting there and back; literally ‘the trip’.

There are certain moments in life when you realise you’re now ‘a proper grown up’  These include hosting a dinner party, paying rent/mortgage, choosing curtains and, in the case of our trip, checking in at an airport.

I remember going to the airport when I was a kid and just following my parents around while they organised tickets, passports and luggage.  It was just a thing they did until it was time for all of us to sit on the plane.  I never considered the effort that had been put in before we’d even got to the airport.

The thing is, no-one pulls you aside at school and shows you how to book a holiday, you just ‘wing it’.  Nowadays it’s pretty much all done online.  There seem to be two types of holiday companies; those you’ve heard of, and those who are cheaper. Either way, you select your holiday, type in some stuff, pay some money and it’s done.  Apparently.

No tickets, no paperwork.  That’s it.

Then you find out you have to go to the airline’s website and enter your passport information and pay extra if you want to take a suitcase.

Still no tickets or paperwork.  Just faith that all will be OK when you get to the airport.

So, when we arrived at the check in desk and the clerk took our passports, checked us in, took our luggage and handed us our boarding passes, I felt like a proper grown up.

I felt like turning to an imaginary 5 year old me and winking, but I decided against it as I didn’t want to appear twitchy or weird and I wanted to actually be allowed on the flight.

franco wink

Anyway, fast forward to the departure gate.

We were walking down the tunnel to the plane and there were a lot of people in front of us, and more coming in behind us, including one couple who had a little boy that kept running up and down the tunnel.

“Elliott!  Elliot!  Come back here darling.  Elliott!  Elliott!”

His name was Elliott.

After we (and a lot of our fellow passengers) had enduring Elliott’s delightful stomping and kicking of our hand luggage, shins and patience, we finally boarded the plane.

Then, after waiting an eternity for people to put their hand luggage in the overhead lockers and actually sit their fucking arses down, we took our seats and relaxed.

This relaxation was short lived as, sat noisily behind us, was Elliott and his fucking family, comprising of mummy, daddy and younger sister Imogen.  How did we know their names? It was all…..we fucking heard…..for the duration…..of the fucking……flight.

Mostly from ‘Daddy’

“Elliott, try not to kick the seat in front”

(my wife’s seat; Elliott was playing a very dangerous game)

“Elliot, please sit down”

“Elliott, please let Imogen look out the window”

“Elliott, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, let Elliott have a go with the colouring book”

“Elliott, please don’t throw the pens on the floor”

“Elliot, please try not to kick the seat in front”

(this was a popular one.  Notice the word ‘try’)

“No Elliott, you can’t sit by the window now, we’re about to land.  No, please stop crying”

And then, once we’d landed and taxi’d to the gate, we were treated to this moment of absolute fucking lunacy…..

“We’re here!  I’m going to get you an ice cream for being such a good boy”

You had to be shitting me!

Once the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign had been switched off we stood up and joined the rest of the plane, who had already stood up a long time ago, to retrieve our bag from the overhead locker.

baseball riot

This was my opportunity to turn around and get a proper look at these people who had made our two hour flight feel like ten.

The parents looked like death.  Gaunt, tired and dead behind the eyes.  They almost looked grey; drained of all the colour in their lives by the little prick jumping up and down on their laps.

So that made me feel better.

To be honest, the best part of the flight was shortly after the wheels had hit the tarmac.

We were sat over the wing, so as the plane was still hurtling down the runway we were able to see part of the wing lift up; creating more drag and slowing the plane.

I smiled, turned to my wife and said “Flaps”.

Ryan Reynolds grin

We both laughed.

It was all we could do not to strangle (H)Elliott with his seatbelt.

Speaking of seatbelts, have you noticed the crew walk up and down the plane to ensure you’ve fastened it, and THEN show the demonstration of how to fasten your seatbelt?  It seems as redundant as showing a pregnant woman how to lose her virginity.

Anyway, we left our woes at baggage claim and went on the have a great time in Venice. What a beautiful city.  If you ever get the chance to go, go. Photos don’t do it any justice, it truly is stunning.

Venice

By the end of our stay we were looking forward to our flight home.  We had chosen a late night flight to ensure we got as much time in Venice as possible and we could also enjoy a nice sleep on the plane.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We had the ONLY drunk person on the plane sat behind us, sprawled out across three seats kicking us both in the back for the entire flight whilst he snored like a baboon being sawn in half.  We lost count the number of times the cabin crew had to show him how to use the seatbelt.

If anyone needed to pay attention to the safety brief and seltbelt demonstration, it was this guy.  Mind you, he was having problems blinking both eyes together so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to successfully operate a life jacket.

Silver lining.

Also, we were lucky enough to have three incredibly noisy Italian kids on the row behind him who were the ONLY people on the plane making a noise; everyone else was sleeping.

This is the reason they don’t allow guns on planes.

Still, two amusing things happened during our stay in Venice that i’d like to share with you.

My wife really wanted a new purse/bag, so I said I’d buy her one.  Big mistake.

I was dragged into almost every bag store in Venice, and when you consider that shops in Venice only sell either Bags, Gloves or Masks (yes, masks)…..that’s a lot of fucking shops.

I noticed a lot of the bags had ‘Vera Pelle’ written on them.  Never heard of her.  This designer was everywhere!

vera pelle

My wife pointed out that ‘Vera Pelle’ means ‘Real Leather’ in Italian.  I could be forgiven for my mistake, but i’m half Italian!

Twat.

And the second funny thing was this:

ARS Liquid

Nuff said.

This Conversation Literally Moved Me

This morning my wife and I attempted to sleep off a weekend hangover on the train.

We’d just managed to start snoozing when a loud mature American couple boarded at Gatwick Airport.  Not only were they talking loudly to each other, it seems they’d also struck up a loud conversation with a loud Canadian student who had boarded with them and they had all taken a seat (loudly) on our quiet carriage.

This will go down well.

Not only was their conversation loud, it was boring…..its way into my skull.  They were talking about how old the student looked compared to her actual age.

“Oh my Gaad, you do NOT look 31 years old does she Bob!?”

“No Fran, she does not!”, turns to student, “You do NOT look 31 years old!”

They asked her what she was studying (Accountancy), where she was from (Calgary) and even drew comparisons between her and their children.  If I’m honest, comparing this 31 year old Asian girl from Canada to Bob and Fran’s 25 year old Caucasian daughter felt a little shoehorned into the conversation because, god forbid, Americans don’t talk about themselves.

In fact, an American’s favourite word is ‘I’…..oh, and “fries”.

It was at this moment my American wife became a full bonefide Brit.

She turned to me, rolled her eyes and said “let’s move carriages; I can’t deal with this shit, especially first thing on a Monday morning”.

It worked for me….just like the ‘fanny packs’ and socks/sandals combo didn’t.

USA tourist

Buddha, broken legs and bell-ends

There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**

It started with the loud group of lads who boarded the train at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud examples of British testosterone…in shorts.

Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.

As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all been there.

What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.

Where’s the sense and logic in that?

The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?

Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?

Maybe they’d fallen out and argued on their holiday resulting in that awkward silence the rest of us were so desperately hoping for.

Nope.

They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.

It’s OK guys, feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy to just sit there and admire the pretty words.

As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.

“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?””

“Oh yeah!” (said the other four, in unison)

Yeah? What about him?

Nothing. That’s what…nothing.

Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters also discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.

And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.

Ah, bliss.

This meant I could sleep.

But wait, no it didn’t.

You see, the woman in the seat in front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus continuously bumping the seat.

I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep her head still while she talked.

It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.

“That’s a really good point”
*bump*
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
*bonk*
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
*donk*
“Don’t you?”
*thud*

It was non stop.

So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.

I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…

*thwack!*

…but instead I somehow managed to fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.

As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture.  My brain registered that it was actually the back of someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.

Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!

Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.

In fact, we both did.

His was sincere.

just shut up

* loathe

** idiots

*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women.  I swear one of them had shaved arms.

 

Sleep, snot and testicles…a normal morning’s commute.

This morning’s blissful snooze on the train was disturbed by a man stood right next to my seat.

It wasn’t because his junk was unnervingly close to my shoulder, threatening to bump into me every time the train driver applied the brakes; it was because he kept sniffing.

Very loudly.

It sounded exactly like someone sweeping the road with a very hard bristled broom, using short and ear piercingly sharp strokes.

“Shhhhnniiiiifffschhkk!!”

Every 12 seconds, for around 35 minutes.

That’s 175 times I just wanted to punch him or shoulder barge his balls.

Eventually the train driver did it for me.

(shudder)

broom up ass

 

An alarming tale…about bloody time!

I have two alarm clocks.

Aside from being a notorious snoozer, there is a sane reason behind this.

In the past I have overslept and been very late for work due to random power cuts in the night; resetting my alarm clock and leaving it entirely redundant by disabling the very important functions of ‘alarm’ and ‘clock’.

Is there anything worse than waking up and being taunted by the L.E.D. display flashing the time that has elapsed since the power cut occurred?

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 12 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 13 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 14 minutes ago!

(Flash) Ha ha, I was reset 2 hours and 15 minutes ago!

Yeah, cheers.

Now how do I set the time on this bastard again?

To combat this power cut issue I bought a battery powered digital alarm clock as a backup, although I couldn’t completely replace my alarm clock in case the batteries in my new one died in the night; creating the same problem I was desperately trying to remedy.

So I kept both.

I surmised that the chances of a power cut happening on the exact same night as the batteries dying were very slim.

Then again, this is ME we’re talking about.

Oh wait, hang on; I have my phone alarm too.  Dammit.  Ok, let me start again…

I have three alarm clocks.

Aside from being a notorious snoozer, there is a sane reason behind this.

I usually set the alarms on the two clocks slightly offset from each other so they don’t both go off at the same time. I figured I was more likely to wake up if there was a constant abuse of sound from which I couldn’t recover. However, I soon discovered that I now just hit two snooze buttons instead of one; and I’ve become quite good at it, with ninja like precision.

Pa-chow!!  >click<

However, for some reason my phone does a better job at waking me up than both my clocks do.  This might have something to do with the overly complicated process of snoozing it by sliding an icon across the screen in a particular direction whilst holding it upright and singing the national anthem of Hungary or something.  By the time I’m done snoozing the little shit I’m wide awake and angry.

As a result I’ve kept my two alarm clocks as they act as a ‘heads up’ that my phone will be waking me up soon.  They’re like the appetizers before the main course or the shit warm up act at a show.  Plus, I get a massive sense of satisfaction from pressing snooze on my clocks and then nuzzling back into my pillow.

Except for this morning.  This morning was an epic fail.

Let me tell you why.

My alarm clocks had been set thus:

  • Mains powered alarm clock – 6:00am
  • Battery powered alarm clock – 6:04am
  • Phone alarm clock – 6:15am

As we had to be out of the house no later than 6:45am.

I woke up shortly after 6am due to the usual ear piercingly harsh beeping from my alarm clock.  Well, I say ‘beeping’, but it’s more like a “BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!” as if someone was fisting Wall-E with a goat.

I suppose that’s the point.

I reached out and pressed the snooze button, ready to nuzzle back down when I realised it wasn’t snoozing at all, and now neither was I.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! Baa!(Eh?) BLAARGP!”

I reached out again and pressed snooze.  Nothing.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!”

Ok, what the hell is going on?  I lifted my head (getting serious now) and looked at this mutinous little turd as he Blaargp’d over and over, no matter how much I pressed the snooze button.

Pa-chow!!  >click<

Pa-chow!!  >click<

Pa-chow!!  >click< >click< >click<

It was at this point I flicked the button to actually turn the alarm off.  This is the button feared by severe snoozers like me as it can often result in days being lost, sometimes weeks.

Nothing.  The sound of mechanical goat love continued.

“BLAARGP! BLAARGP! BLAARGP!”

My wife had woken at this point and sleepily asked, “What’s going on??”.

“I honestly don’t know!  I can’t turn my alarm off! This has never happened before!”, I paused a moment before having a brainwave “Wait, I know what to do!”

I reached down and smugly unplugged the clock.  Ha!

The alarm was still going!

“What the fuck?  How is tha….oh, wait, it’s the wrong alarm clock.”

My wife laughed; mockingly.

I plugged the clock back in, snoozed the Blaargping offender and laid back down to nuzzle into my pillow.

“What time is it?” I heard from behind me.

I lifted my head again, ignoring the flashing L.E.D. that was saying ‘Ha ha, I was reset 2 minutes ago!’ and fumbled for the offender.

“6:11am.”

“What? It can’t be!”

“It is.”

“Are you sure??”

I checked again as it was possible I’d misread it.  After all, I was tired, I had eye bogeys, I wasn’t wearing my glasses, it was dark and I was checking the time on the offending clock using the light from my mobile phone’s screen.

“6:11am, see?” I said, showing her the clock this time.

“You’re kidding! How is that possible? Shit!”

My wife was up and out of bed like a shot; the sound of “Shit shit shit” following her out of the bedroom, along the hallway and disappearing behind the bathroom door.

I was starting to wake up a little at this point, so I decided to set the correct time on my recently reset clock to match that of the offender.  I then reached for my phone and checked the live online rail services to make sure our train was running on time this morning.  I love rushing around to get to the station only to find the train is cancelled so we can spend 27 minutes on a cold frosty platform waiting for the next one instead of spending that time all warm and cosy in bed.

The train hadn’t been cancelled and was running on time.

Damn.

This was when I noticed something weird; the website wasn’t showing our train despite the fact it was due to leave in 45 minutes.  In fact, it was only showing trains up to 6:30am, including ones that should’ve left half an hour ago, presented in future tense.  That was when I noticed that the time wasn’t 6:11am; it was 5:11am.

Oh shit.

Shit shit shit.

I bolted out of bed and rushed to the bathroom, but I was too late; I could hear the sound of the shower behind the door.  I gingerly stepped inside.

“Baby?” I said lightheartedly, hoping to set the mood for the conversation.

“What?” she curtly replied, setting the actual mood for the conversation.

“You’re not going to believe this”, I continued, rolling my eyes and chuckling slightly as if she should find the following piece of news ironically funny in some way.

“What is it?” she replied, not picking up on any of that whatsoever.

“It’s actually 5:11am.”

“I hate you.”

Fair enough.

I closed the door, went back to the bedroom and got back into bed.  It was then that that thought dawned on me; if it wasn’t 6am yet, why did the alarm clock go off?  I looked at the offender and it did indeed say 6:17am.

What the…?

The clocks don’t go forward for another 3 weeks or so.

I checked my phone; 5:17am.

I got out of bed and checked my watch; 5:17am.

I even went downstairs and checked both the kitchen and lounge clocks; both 5:18am (it took me a minute to get down there)

So why was my battery operated alarm clock an hour fast?  It couldn’t be a mechanical fault with the hands or something because both clocks are digital.  It must have been changed; but by who?

Also, it’s a bitch to change the time on the battery powered clock, so it couldn’t have been done by accident.

Hmm.

And yet, despite being awake a full hour earlier than we were supposed to be, we still left the house late and had to rush for the train.

groundhog day bill murray smashes alarm clock

Miss taken identity

I’d been on the train about 20 minutes this morning when a guy got on and sat opposite me.  He was short, dumpy with glasses and was wearing a big anorak.  To be honest, he looked like Benny Hill.

I sat there for a while with my eyes closed in an attempt to get some sleep.  However, I could feel a bat in the cave and desperately needed to pick my nose.

The train stopped again at another station and I open my eyes briefly to see if any women had joined Benny and I before donning my mining helmet.

No women. Just Benny watching something on his tablet.

In went the finger.

Oh yeah, that’s it; that’s what I’m talking about.  Don’t run away.  Where are you going? Come to daddy.  Come on you little fucker….

I opened my eyes again for a second to see if there were any disgusted females around.

Nope, still just Benny.

On I went, like an 80’s ZX Spectrum classic prequel to Jet Set Willy.

(Nerd reference)

Once I was done I settled back in my seat to comfortably drift off to sleep.

After a few minutes I was woken by Benny and his rustling anorak, which was officially the loudest coat I’d ever heard.   As he stood up to remove the deafening apparel I got a face full of boobs.

Boobs?

Holy shit, Benny was a Jenny!

He…sorry, she then sat back down and went back to his…sorry, her tablet.  I decided it was probably best to close my eyes and continue to ‘sleep’.

In all fairness I could be forgiven for mistaking Jenny for a man.  She had short man-hair, a stocky man-like build, unflattering jeans with big man style boots and, when the guard announced that our train was being terminated due to technical difficulties, an ability to let out a massive “Farkin’ ‘ell, what the fark’s that all abaat?” for all to hear.

I suppose it had to be loud to be heard over her coat.

She didn’t care.

She had balls.

benny hill