The last week or so has been a bit shit. It shouldn't as we've spent a really nice time with friends and have now made it to Chamonix where we're staying for several weeks to reconnect with friends and enjoy the mountains, but one way or another my mood has been dreadful. I'm impatient with the kids and any minor setback is likely to send me into a downward spiral.
My dearest wife of course has been very sympathetic: "You're bringing all this upon yourself with your bad attitude!"
I won't deny it's likely, but still.
In addition to the sympathy Ali also decided that this was the perfect time to add to our numbers and get a dog.
I wasn't anti getting one (in time), since assuming our Wales plan goes through, with that much space it would be a shame not to have one. But right now while mainly based in the bus common sense would suggest waiting a little while. So of course we now have a dog.
With the aim of missing out on the training/floor wetting/cost, Ali looked into rescue dogs and we ended up with the aptly named (pony sized) Goliath.
It was clear from the first meeting that he had a fantastic temperament, very calm gentle giant who was great with our kids. We were also assured that he was well house trained and other than a penchant for chasing cats had no issues at all. Of course the latter was total bollocks! He is requiring an unbelievable amount of our time and attention.
Perhaps I should have expected it, rescue dogs however well looked after will need time to settle into a new environment, but I didn't. The first few days have been really rough; trying to figure out how, where and when he might do his business, trying to settle him into the chalet when he won't climb stairs and is too heavy to carry, waking up in the middle of the night scratching at the door, and running away at the first opportunity. Things that were easy like going to the shops, or going to the playground are now so much more difficult.
I don't feel like I signed up for this. While I didn't use my veto, I thought I'd made it clear I thought this was the wrong time, and had voiced more and more concerns as we approached the day. Ali was adamant though and a mixture of not wanting to say no to something she really wanted and trusting that her intuition was right about the timing meant we went ahead.
Three days in, after a tough day in town with Goliath I started mentally reliving the last few days in an effort to write this post. In the process I got riled up and instigated a blazing row with Ali. You can't always control when you explode, but it was a shame that it happened then, since things had been improving, he's sitting when prompted, he's a lot calmer and hopefully progress will be even faster now that Ali's has had some help from a dog trainer (who embarrassingly witnessed the first salvos of our argument).
According to the trainer, as long as we work hard at training him over the next few weeks, we should have a wonderful companion since his underlying character is so good. Fingers crossed he'll soon become a playmate for G, a source of responsibility for F, a minder for D and a good excuse for a walk for all of us.