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Saturday, 2 June 2012

When being a trailing spouse sucks

Not everything is coming up roses
Each week my experience as a trailing spouse evolves. Sometimes the experience is enjoyable - the semi naked plumber last week, sometimes the experiences are educational -  I now know that cockerels can indeed fly, even if only for a short distance, sometimes the experiences have been thought provoking – is the Dutch medical system really better than the one we have in the UK?

The week my experiences sucked!

Firstly, after a week of being treated to meals out and indulgences by my very generous mother, Mr Sunshine and I decided that enough is enough. Talking about losing weight hadn’t actually had any noticeable effect; neither had cutting toe nails before easing my way onto the scales. However,  I did find if I placed most of my weight onto my left foot while leaning ever so slightly over the bathtub I could shave off a couple of lbs. Actual shaving on the other hand had no tangible effect.

The time had arrived; we have less than eight weeks before our jollies to Turkey and a rather substantial amount of weight to lose if we weren’t going to wander to the beach as a rather flabby, flaccid middle aged couple who obviously don't own a full length mirror.

Okay, so my scales will NEVER
give this reading, but its a good photo.
Drastic action was call for: Mr Sunshine has sworn of booze and I’m surviving on fruit and pureed cauliflower - I’ve been happier.  But it’s paying off; I set myself a weight loss goal of 18lbs (8.2 kilos) and by Friday had lost 5lbs.  I suppressed the vision of myself becoming the new weight loss queen; Oprah Winfey already claimed that title several times. Besides, I know myself too well, maintaining a diet beyond a few days is for people with will power, not me. I’ve tried muttering Kate Moss’ famous phrase ‘Nothing tastes so good and being skinny feels.’ Health reasons apart, that phrase is full of holes.  Has she eaten homemade carrot cake, Champagne ice cream within a white chocolate case, or chocolate fondant filled with toffee? I rather doubt it, if she had, she’d keep those ridiculous statements to herself.

Dieting sucks.

Secondly, this week Mr Sunshine had a chance to relive his youth.  A quick train ride to Amsterdam after work had him meeting up with his friends from his days at Manchester University. He was home early though (not trusting the trains in the Nederlands) to tell me all about his great evening of reminiscing and curry.
He didn’t ask me about my evening!

Earlier that day, Alfie and I met up with friends in the forest, Sally and Maggie (Canine Miss Breda). Maggie usually looks and behaves like a princess, however once in the forest she develops a passion for swimming in the blackest, sludgiest water. Alfie on the other hand, stands on the edge of the sludge watching in confusion as Maggie contentedly doggie paddles back and forth, only her nose and eyes jutting out of the sludge. I couldn’t help but feel thankful that Alfie doesn’t like the water; at least I wouldn’t have to bath him that night.

Fate doesn’t like me to feel thankful though.  Later, I started to notice an unpleasant, shit scented odour following me around the apartment, it was everywhere, or more actually everywhere that Alfie was.  Our perfect little dog smelt shockingly of shit, I could smell it on him, but not actually see it – that was until I lifted his ears! There they were, two nice sticky lumps, one each side, somehow Alfie had managed to lift his floppy ears and press the side of his neck down into the fresh excrement of another dog, much the same way as I dab perfume behind my ears. Hiding under the table wasn’t gonna help him this time, I armed myself with super strong shampoo and dragged him under the shower.

Not a dead sweetcorn at all
And that’s when it happened. Clinging above Alfie’s left eyebrow was the ghost of a sweetcorn, a grey lump that wobbled when flicked. Five minutes on the internet searching for ‘grey sweetcorn kernel stuck on my dog’ revealed distressing information; it wasn’t a sticky vegetable but a tick!

Finding ticks suck.


Ticks and dieting might suck, but they paled into insignificance by my final experience. Opening Facebook one morning I was delighted to see a message from John my youngest son. This is what the message said:

Hi mum,
Just updating you, I was in A & E last night, I have pneumonia. I have antibiotics, so should be fixed soon.

There is nothing that sucks more than being a trailing spouse and hearing one of your children is ill and several hundred miles away. It doesn’t matter, that your child is a grown man, and that your child is more than capable of looking after himself. All that matters is that you ache, really physically heart wrenchingly ache to be there.



  1. I thought that with the lack of urgency in the message you would of realised that it wasn't a life or death matter but simply a matter of taking anti biotic's

    i guess i should of known better

  2. I had no idea you read these :-)... I did sense the lack of urgency, which is why I didn't catch the next flight back, however it doesn't stop the worrying.

  3. I can't decide which amused me more - the knowledge that someone else was rather startled by the presence of a tick (I had one firmly embedded in my midriff earlier this year, and despite being a (former) nurse, I had a complete meltdown) or the fact the your son is communicating via your comments section..

    Yes, being a trailing spouse does sometimes suck, but you are in very good company, and I'm thoroughly enjoying you sharing..

  4. Hi Rachel..
    Thanks for the comment... You're right about ticks they are driving me insane, I went to the pet store yesterday and found out they drop off when full, have a little wander around the apartment and hop back on again as soon as they're hungry again. Needless to say, I haven't taken my shoes off since and am taking Alfie to the vet this morning for a full check up xxx


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