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Friday 1st December 2017

I continue with my new post-50, post 15 years of blogging trope of remembering stuff that I should have put in Warming Up the other day. I didn’t remember it this time. My wife told me that she was surprised that I hadn’t put it in. I think she may have been wrong.
But when at the dentists, the receptionist had asked us about how we would be paying and my wife said that as she had just had a baby she gets free treatment. The receptionist congratulated her (on the saving or the baby- I am not sure), but then I said, “Well I have just had a baby too.”
“Nice try,” said the receptionist. 
But you know, it’s not fair is it? When’s international men’s day?
And it was much harder watching it than doing it.

Today I was back at the dentist, this time to go for my hygienist appointment (which you don’t get for free if you’ve had a baby or seen someone else having one). I just accept that you go for hygienist appointments now. But when did that start? It’s a made up job right? They didn’t have them in the 1970s. Maybe people just knew how to clean their teeth then. Or people’s teeth fell out so fast that they didn’t get the chance.
I quite like going to the hygienist though. Because I am bad at brushing my teeth and so it’s nice to pay someone to do it for me every six months. If I was a billionaire I would employ my own hygienist (and buy them all the stuff to do their unnecessary and invented job with) and make them clean my teeth every day. Sure, it would use up half an hour rather than the four minutes a day I am meant to brush my teeth (actually maybe 15 seconds on average, but it works for me. I only have two fillings- until next week when I will have six), but it would mean my teeth always felt amazing. 
My new hygienist had no shame in doing her “job” and took me through how to clean my teeth really well and also put vegetable dye on my teeth to show me where I was and wasn’t brushing (weirdly I am mainly missing the front ones). It was like going to the Science Museum. My teeth were purple. And then she used a toothbrush to show me how to clean and the purple came off. This could be a variety act.
I mean it made me feel like I was 6. But I didn’t mind. I didn’t get a free lolly though.

I was in Hitchin to drop my wife off for the train, have my teeth cleaned by a grown up, do some shopping and have my eyes tested. I had both kids with me, but they were being looked after by a more responsible adult who can clean their own teeth. They were going to soft play, but Hitchin on a Friday is impossibly busy and there was no space in the car park, so I dropped them off near where they were going and then drove to the dentist, hoping to find a spot there. Luckily I did, but could only park there for an hour, so after my appointment I drove to Waitrose. But their car park was full too. The only space I could find was a family space for parents with their kids. Technically I was with my kids, but they weren’t in the car and I was planning to go shopping in the store, but again, the kids would probably not be with me. The kids would eventually be joining me in the carpark to be driven home. Was I technically allowed to park in the space? And would I get into trouble if anyone saw me getting out of the car alone?
It was a moral maze and one I struggled with for the rest of the morning. I mean, it was wrong, surely that I was going to park there at all, when I wasn’t just going to the supermarket. They have a ticket system in place, but I have never once had my ticket checked, even though I always get it stamped. Clearly everyone else was abusing the system. There were way more cars than customers. But I was also arguably fraudulently using the family spaces. They aren’t for anyone who has kids. The kids have to be with you when you’re shopping. But I was lining up the fact that i did have kids as an argument for why I was using the space. There was nothing on the car park that said the kids had to be there. 
My eye test went well. After the debacle two years ago at Boots Optician, where the staff wilfully ripped me off and gave me much too complicated glasses that cost me over £500 and that I couldn’t get my head (or eyes) around, I knew I would never use Boots again. There had been a point where one staff member told me I needed varifocals and another staff member seemed to start to question that and he more or less shushed her. They had seen their mark and they were going to milk me. And they did. But sure that heist went well, but it meant that not only would I never go back to that shop, but I will also be very insistent to every person I meet that they shouldn’t either. I will bring Boots the Optician down, but not the Chemist bit. I still like them.
And Boots were foolish to make an enemy of me, because nearly every other shop in Hitchin is an optician (I am not even really exaggerating), which says a lot about the age of the people who live around here. I had so much other choice. And I went to Specsavers because I should have gone to specsavers last time, clearly. There was a clue in the advertising slogan.
And the eye examination was professional and efficient and I got two pairs of non-varifocal reading glasses for £89 (and a free eye exam). Two pairs of glasses for £89 is better than one for £500. At these prices I can actually afford to start feeding all my reading glasses to my dog.
So that was a victory. 
And I then went and did my shop, put my bags in the back of the car, terrified someone would ask where my children were, planning to say, “Wait there” whilst I then went and got them. Which would have taken 20 minutes. But I could say they’d been in the toilet. They often are.
But I got away with it, then went and picked up the kids and then put them in the car and drove off and no one checked my ticket. The perfect crime.
Let no one say that life in the countryside isn’t exciting. Don’t use Boots Opticians. Specsavers can have that advertising slogan for nothing.
Loads more happened today, but I have to save it up for another day.

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