Thursday, 19 March 2015

Here and yet Forgotten

I have just found myself at a bit of a loss, I cannot get out as we have workmen here at the moment and the dogs will bark at them if I am not at home. I decided to have a look to see how long ago it was that I wrote my last blog, I was shocked as it has been over a year. I would like to say I have been busy but I probably have less to do than I did a year ago, so I have no excuse apart from the fact that I do not seem to have the same relationship with technology that other people do. I only look at my laptop about once a fortnight to check Facebook, I must admit I find it a tedious chore. I have developed a pet hate for people who post their every emotion fishing for attention, I can't work out which of the pair in this relationship is the most disingenuous, the person who craves to be the centre of things or the replier who can appear caring and wonderful with the minimal effort of pressing a few keys.
   Perhaps I have become even more cynical in my older years, for although these postings are annoying they seem to be a way to say things that perhaps people find hard to say face to face. How many times do we feel utterly miserable but if asked how we are today, inevitably reply that we are fine? Is it that we do not want to appear weak? Or maybe we do not want to share our problems or burden others with something that we are struggling with. I have always been in the keep it to yourself camp, work it out alone and do not bother others. I find it hard to say what bothers me and on the odd occasion that I have tried to "share" have not felt better but have been left with a guilty feeling that now I have upset that person. I sometimes wonder why people always tell me their problems, they seem to overflow with private thoughts, feelings and deepest regrets. I seem to know all the deepest fears, secret affairs and aspirations of neighbours, family and acquaintances but I sometimes wonder if they know anything about me.
   The last year has been quite tough and I was not expecting that. A year or so ago life was changing, the death of my FIL had suddenly left us able to have a holiday, the kids were finding their place in the world and I was looking forward to taking up long abandoned hobbies. I have been having a tough time with the menopause for a few years but nothing had prepared me for how hard it would be psychologically, trying to control moods and hold back a depression that at times can be crushing, is exhausting. I have always been extremely strong mentally and have been able to compartmentalise problems and deal with them no matter how large. Some of the greatest traumas in life I have been able to realise I will never be able to come wholly to terms with and have managed to live around. If asked I would probably describe them as giant meteors that came hurtling down into my beautiful garden causing devastation. On finding that they were too heavy and dense to ever remove I just carried on planting around them until they became a permanent part of the landscape. The silliest thing I have found is that it is the most insignificant thing that can upset me the most, a chip on a favourite cup, finding an old toy that I have fond memories of discarded in a waste paper basket in one of the kids rooms.
    After losing Sophie, our eldest daughter, I spent every hour making sure our children felt total parental support in everything they did. I never missed a play or parents evening, I worked in the nursery school until my youngest felt able to be there without me, I became a disability one to one helper and baked for bake sales. I have had no close friends, interests or hobbies in the last ten years, my children have been my whole world. I have listened to their problems, tended to their every need and been beyond proud of all they have achieved. BUT I am starting to think that maybe I did such a good job at being everywhere and doing everything that I painted myself invisible. This is where I start to understand the postings on Facebook. People do not want to be forgotten, they are all shuffling to stay above the surface, vying for a position in a busy world where you can so easily blend into the background. I want to stand up and say that sometimes I feel overlooked, unappreciated but I do not want to hurt feelings. I know that I am loved, I know they understand that they have had a lot more support and time given to them than some of their friends but because I can't tell them and they do not see when I feel taken for granted, it goes on.
   I was forgotten on Mother's day. My eldest son was going to text me but was busy and forgot. My daughter didn't get round to getting a card, even though reminded, until the day after, my youngest son was reminded to get a card and was going to order a present online but forgot. It is these things that matter when you are a mum. Mothers' day ended up being like any other, cooking cleaning and shopping. I don't know if I took it harder because I am hormonal at the moment, I know that I reacted in a way that was so unlike me. I cried hard and long and couldn't stop. I could not control my tears and started to get scared when this carried on while I walked my dogs, there was a feeling that the glue that held me together was failing. It took everything I had to pull it together. I am still upset, disappointed but I have to move on. Life is hard, it looks like it is going to get harder.


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Changes,Health Freaks and Arm Wrestling.

It's nearly 5 O'clock in the early evening and already quite dark. The dogs are snoozing after their afternoon walk, whilst they wait for their tea. I found myself with a few minutes to spare, something that doesn't seem to happen lately and thought I would grab a chance to write a quick blog. After one of the best summers that we have had for a long time(relaxation, holidays and time with kids not the weather) we are fast approaching winter. Christmas is not long away and trying to think what form it should take this year is preoccupying my mind lately. We are quite unconventional when it comes to Christmas, only a few traditions are observed, such as the tree and lights. I must admit I do not think I would miss it if it was cancelled but hubby definitely would. The kids are quite indifferent to it too. Cicely is probably the only one who will celebrate it when she moves out.
  This summer has seen transformations to our kids. Eldest son suddenly decided to have his hair cut short only a few days after he had been telling me he probably would not cut it for years because " it was part of his identity". Youngest son has lost weight and gone from being in front of a computer all day to running and going to the gym. I think he has started to notice girls. Our daughter after years of diets and frustration and hating exercise is 45lbs lighter, working out every day and seems quite happy for a teenage girl. Unfortunately this means that there is no chance of sweets, cakes and anything naughty for hubby. He has become used to brown rice but he has held on to his butter and a private stash of crisps. Every fat gram and protein gram is analysed and counted. Punch bags, exercise equipment and weights have taken over the house. I have dropped 25lbs so far and am cycling again. God knows how long the other 30lbs will take but I am slogging on under duress not really enjoying it but feeling compelled through guilt living in a house of health freaks. Who would have thought that this could happen in our house? Hubby is still free to eat whatever he likes and keeps sweet things at work. He is in great shape so does not have the same guilt as I do.
   After doing weights all summer, deadlifting 100 kilos and more, my son decided to challenge me to an arm wrestle. Back in the day I was quite muscular and could usually beat your average man or woman from years of farm work growing up. Thinking I was now old and feeble my son sat down oozing confidence, I guess building sheds, fences and digging over the years has kept me quite strong. I don't know who was more surprised when I beat him. He was quite put out and has challenged me to a retry at Christmas now he has worked out which muscles I must have that are more developed than his that allowed him to be taken out by his mum. He says he will work on these muscles and I will not stand a chance. I haven't laughed so much for ages. I am in two minds whether or not to put in some serious secret training form now until Christmas to make it really hard for him. Cruel I know but I am quite competitive.
   Well it is time to cook the brown rice and beans to go with the low fat chicken and salad. Until next time. Mrs. R.C.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Grieving and Clearing House.

I have been absent from blogging for quite a while, the time has run away from me. Although we have been extremely busy, I think it was an accumulation of several different factors that have kept me offline. One was falling out with my brother through facebook which soured the whole getting online thing. Another I think was that I have never blogged or been on facebook at a difficult time of year for me, which marks anniversaries of the demise and deaths of my parents and my daughter.
 I find it difficult to share the feelings I experience each year as that time comes around again, especially about my Sophie. It seems strange that eight years on I still struggle because of the time of year. My parents deaths are easier to deal with because they had full lives and leave lots of memories behind, but with my daughter every year brings a new milestone that she will never reach. Several of my friends are grandparents now, their children went to Primary school with Sophie. Her little brother is now older than she ever was, my other daughter is now the age Sophie was when she became ill and died and our youngest towers above her height on the wall where we measured them through the years. Time moves on and she stays frozen in time.
I recently encountered a woman out on a dog walk, who had lost her only son to cancer, he was twenty. There was an instant recognition that we were alike, as though we knew each other, it was easy to talk to her about Sophie dying because she knew. When she told me how her son died and what it was like to slowly watch that happen I felt it and understood. It's like a club of people who  no longer belong in normal society and only feel "normal" when amongst their own kind. Losing a child forever changes you, your ability to connect to others is never the same and people find it difficult to befriend you when they know.
We have recently been clearing out cupboards, sheds and the loft to clear some of the clutter that builds up when so many people live in a house. Our big shed that I built, insulated and wallpapered when the children were little had become a store for furniture and old toys. I got the boys to help me and now it is a study come art room with sky tv and a day bed, I hope to get back to painting and drawing this year. My small shed has finally fulfilled it's purpose and is now a tool shed and not a store for things that might be useful for building projects. The rabbits have a new run that only takes up a half of the space that it used to and is much easier to get into to clean them out. Out in our front porch we had a large walk in brick cupboard that had held tools since we moved in, as these now had a home in the small shed it was time for a new lease of life. After putting up shelving I now have a cool, walk in larder/pantry. It has room for my Christmas china to be stored as well. I intend to be able to buy things when they are on offer and have somewhere to store them, so hopefully saving money in the long term. I have put a store box for chocolate in there as with our healthy eating there has not been much of that in the small food cupboard in the kitchen and that is taking it's toll on poor Rock Chef who needs his treats. He refers to it as "things from the top shelf".
Today I rang the travel agent and was told that our tickets for Malta are now ready to be picked up. I didn't want to pick them up on my own so we will go together in the morning. I have got the suitcases ready and am hoping I haven't bought too many outfits to fit in them. I have never owned as many shoes as I do now. I now have only to stock the cupboards with food for the kids, I have had them coming on dog walks every day to get used to the routine. I have been working in the garden, trying to get brown before we go as the sun there will be just too hot to risk getting a suntan.
Mother in law is healing well after her fall, getting her shopping has forced me back on my bike, so I was pleasantly surprised at the weekend when we went out for a bike ride how fit I was again. Maybe I will be able to survive one of Rock Chef's "short cuts" in Malta. Life continues to test us, Rock Chef lost his old band mate to a brain tumour, just two weeks before we had seen him play at a gig in Ramsgate. My last Aunt passed away after a long illness and my sister is having all sorts of tests for an illness that as of yet is undiagnosed. She has had to give up work and has basically taken to her bed.
It feels good to have got through the last couple of months more or less sane for another year, although the members of the household do suffer as I work my way through it, clearing, cleaning and changing everything. But now with an art room, tool shed, rebuilt garden and pantry in place they are happy. The garden is lovely to sit out in now, we have new neighbours with a little girl called Freya, I love to sit in the sun and listen to her sing and play in her world filled with fairies, ponies and magic. She has made up a song about me that she sings in the garden, it's great. She has benefitted from our clear outs with tents and music boxes, she reminds me of ours when they were little and could make up stories and pretend play for hours. Am hoping for a couple of quiet weeks now, holidaying and camping.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Funeral for a Fiend

This week has been one where the stories in the news have brought feelings of nostalgia, anger and sadness. We had the funeral of Baroness Thatcher. When me and RC were growing up, this was the most hated figure by the youth and working class in our country. When we were at school the boys all knew which apprenticeships they would take up at sixteen. They were the future engineers, mechanics, plumbers, electricians. Overnight apprenticeships disappeared and college courses for which you had to pay came into force. The earn as you learn way to progress into a trade became pay to learn if you can. For those of us who now had left school with no job lined up(unemployment was very high) we were forced onto work schemes. When RC left school 3yrs before me these were placements in non profit organisations, but by the time I had left this had been expanded to all businesses. This meant a business could take on a 16yr old and make them do a full weeks work with no obligation to train them and the best bit was it was free. The government gave you £25 a week, you were contracted to this placement for 6 months, you had to find travel costs out of this too. If you refused, you could not claim unemployment benefit. You worked a full 42 hour week which made it impossible to look for a real job, as everywhere was shut by the time you finished for the day. Some kids were treated like slave labourers, they were mistreated, bullied and given dirty and dangerous tasks with no health and safety risk assessments.
As a sixteen year old I was sent to a day centre for the elderly and mentally disturbed, during my six months I was left with deceased clients at their homes to wait for police and doctors, told to assist in laying out bodies, attacked by a mental patient who had a knife, sexually harassed by older workers and clients at the centre and treated like a servant by the manager. I was sent out on the ambulance with Peter, to pick up clients from their homes, Peter was doing community service for tax evasion, running houses of ill repute and taking money with menaces. He came to work in a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, I told my dad who my ambulance partner was and he was worried because Peter was a well known criminal who was known to be extremely violent if crossed. Years later he shot his wife and her friend when she tried to leave him. There would be a national outcry today if 16yr olds were put at risk like this.
I hated my time there and found a job as a nanny as soon as my time was up. A lot of kids from school didn't find work for a long time, if at all, the local dockyard closed and there were even more unemployed. All these young guys from school who had thought they would have jobs and trades like their dads were now hanging around the town centre sniffing glue or sitting at home doing nothing.
When I moved to the coast at seventeen for a job in a computer parts factory I was the only person with a job amongst a large number of friends. When I have watched tribute programmes to Mrs.Thatcher this week I don't recognise the country as they described it on television. I think if you were above a certain income then life was very profitable and you must have been either disinterested or unaware of what the rest of the country was going through. My father kept a bottle of whiskey for nearly thirty years waiting for Thatcher to die. The year before he died he decided it was wrong to celebrate someone's death and gave it away.
I cannot believe that after all the country went through, that the government were surprised there was resentment when it was announced that she would get a state funeral, paid for by the people. We have had other politicians and prime ministers who have achieved great things and do not get this treatment. I think the worst thing is that the whole funeral was planned by Mrs. Thatcher when she was alive. She expected a state funeral, pomp and ceremony fit for royalty and she secured a promise that her wishes would be carried out many years ago. It is wrong that at a time when we are in recession, when payments to disabled are being cut, medical treatments are being withheld because of lack of funds, families are struggling to meet the cost of burying their relatives that an extremely rich family can have £10 million pounds of tax payers money to fund an egotistical display of sheer class arrogance.   

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Moving Pipes and Dreaming of Sunshine.

The new boiler has been running really well now for a while and it was time for the inspector to come out and view the quality of work and check if there were any problems. He asked a lot of questions, checked gas meter, temperature of water heated, pipe work and typed away on his report. The system was working perfectly I was told but unfortunately the flue pipe that vents outside would not pass inspection as it was 20mm too close to the window. This means I will have to have another crew in to bore another hole through the wall in order to move it again. Luckily I was allowed to keep the boiler going and they promised to have it done by the end of the week.
 The crew turned up the next day, apologised profusely for the inconvenience and within an hour it was done. I don't think Cicely was too pleased as she was still in bed and the kitchen is just below her room. I now have to wait about two weeks for the inspector to pass the work, so that I can redecorate, as this boiler is a lot smaller than the last one.
  The weather seems to be trying to change. I have seen the sun on more than one occasion, but it is still way too cold for this time of year. The garden looks so unloved at the moment but there is no point in potting up any plants as it is too cold and we have had some thick frosts and freezing fogs the last couple of days. I'm usually working in the garden at this time of year getting a nice early tan.
 Still I have Malta to look forward to and can almost feel hot sun on my skin when I think about it. I'm hoping to find time for some swimming. I used to do a lot of swimming when I first moved to the coast. I would swim from our town to the next as RC and the dogs followed along the beach. One of our dogs, Max, was the worst swimmer and capsized a couple of times trying to follow me in the water. We used to walk miles when we were first together and arthritis willing, I am hoping for some epic walks in Malta. However, I will be avoiding anything that RC refers to as a short cut, as I would like to be back at the hotel before nightfall or the restaurants close.
 I am already thinking of all the preparations for our trip, camping after and anything the kids need while we are away. Once I have made up all my lists I will be lost in organizing heaven much to everyone else's annoyance. It is so nice to look forward to something nice for just us to do. I have constant butterflies, waves of guilt but mostly I am so excited, it's almost like running away together.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Planning a Honeymoon with Zombies and Vampires.

Having survived my identity interview,without being arrested or deported, I was ready for a long lazy weekend, to try not to think about whether I had passed or not. Friday I decided to go to town,to get supplies for the weekend,so we wouldn't be forced to tackle Saturday shoppers. I had walked the dogs and it was still quite early so I thought I might have a bath whilst everyone else was getting they're breakfast and the bathroom was free for a while. The doorbell went while I was in the bath and I lay there listening to the dogs barking wondering when one of my three children,who I knew were all awake,would answer the door. I heard the door open and close,after I called out in not so lady like fashion,for someone to please answer the door.
   When I got downstairs,I found an item not delivered card on the table, for a recorded delivery. This meant nobody had answered the door in time. The package would be unobtainable on a van,for the rest of the day. Worried that it may be notification about my passport, I went online to try to arrange a redelivery. They would not be able to get it to me until Monday or Tuesday. I didn't know if my stress levels would allow the relaxing weekend hoped for if I was anxious about this. So I decided to call the delivery office, to see if I could pick up the package from the main post office later, as it said on the card.They couldn't guarantee that if I travelled an hour on the bus to the post office that the package would actually be there, it could mean two hours travel for nothing. Curiosity was killing me, I had to know if it was about my passport. I told the guy on the phone that the reason I had not got to the door in time was because I had arthritis in my hip ( this is actually true). That the driver was gone before I could get there and I was worried that the package contained travel documents, for a flight I was on the next day. Yes, I know, I was weak. However the lovely guy at the post office promised to track down the package and make sure it was delivered the next morning. Lots of profuse thankyous  and I was free to go shopping.
  I told RC what I had done on the phone and he said,between laughs, that I was a very bad person. When RC got in from work that evening,he found a package addressed to me,in the porch. It was from the passport office, but I couldn't bear to open it and carried on getting tea ready. Later I did open it and found my new passport. It had only been two days since my interview, not 7-10 days I had been told to wait, just to hear about it. We were full of praise for the post office, getting it here so quick. The next morning the real package arrived, certificates for my daughter from college, when we looked at the passport envelope it showed it had come by courier not post office.
 Feeling rather sheepish but very happy to have a passport, I went to the travel agents with RC Saturday morning and booked our honeymoon. I am a bit shell shocked. I am going to Malta! I went into the clothing store next door straight after and bought a couple of things for the trip, to make it a little more real. I have terrible butterflies now whenever I think of it. My OCD will come to the forefront now as I obsess over every detail to make our trip and the kids stay at home run as smooth as possible.
 Bad mother guilt is already making me nervous. We have never left these kids with anyone before,apart from when I was giving birth, when my parents or sister watched them for a couple of hours. Arthur keeps telling me how he doesn't even live at home anymore and is more than capable of coping. RC's mum comes in every day and his little brother is five minutes away if needed, Ira keeps telling me how his friend's parents do this all the time and he thinks we should go. Cicely sees it as an opportunity to see what running a house is like, as the thought of growing up and moving out scares her a bit. The thought of never moving out scares her more!
 So roll on summer. RC is very excited about our holiday and has a long list of sightseeing trips already compiled. Sunday was a much more relaxing day, especially for RC who didn't appear until late morning and spent the day in PJ's writing the great Maltese Zombie horror. Whilst I,having finished the house work and in between dog walks, watched numerous episodes of Trueblood. I'm not sure RC is very impressed with my dvds, he kept peering over the top of his laptop as we sat on the sofa together and enjoyed some of the blacker humour but mostly was absorbed in turning Malta into slaughter central. What a strange couple we are.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who Are You?

As Hubby RC and I had recently decided to have a long overdue honeymoon,I required a passport. This would have been a simple matter of filling in a form, getting a photo done, getting a friend to sign the photo and sending it off, a few years ago. Six weeks later you were ready to go. Not anymore.
   I filled the form,had the most awful photo taken( that scared looking, middle aged woman was me), found a responsible person who had known me for many years to endorse said photo and added long since forgotten documentation. Off I headed into the town to the post office. I didn't want to send it off with any mistakes,so paid for a "check and send" service so that my application did not get held up because my photo was the wrong size or I had forgotten to sign something.
   I have since had a request from the identity and passport office to come and see them for an interview. Apparently, some applications require you to prove who you are by being interviewed, so that you can reveal things only the real you would know.
   RC said he would come with me as the train journey would take three different trains.He had made this trip a few years ago, when he did some mapping work for the Police headquarters there. We left early as it was snowing and we didn't know if it would be worse inland. It only takes an inch of snow here to bring public transport to a grinding halt, sometimes. We made good time and managed to look around what had been a lovely medieval city,RC had his trusty camera with him.The shops were interesting and we found a department store that was closing down, who were selling off Le Creuset sugar bowls below half price. The purchase of this item was solely to calm my nerves before upcoming interview.
   RC needed feeding if he was going to have to sit around in a waiting room all afternoon. We found him a Burger King as I do not allow MacDonalds (a story probably best if never blogged about). I was a bit nervous so decided on just the burger but RC wanted the whole meal. He was going to "go large",(I didn't know they did that in England). But then imagine his joy when he found they also super-sized it. Curiosity got the better of him. With no ice in his giant cup it was like a bucket of coca cola.The caffeine and sugar crash would be a doozy.
  The walk to the identity office was quite nerve racking, what if I give the wrong answer?, What if I fail to prove it's me?Jokes about probably being deported to Romania were not helpful. When we got to the office I felt guilty, like a criminal. I asked RC in the waiting room if they would expect me to know my mobile phone number. He said that nobody knows that. People came and went and eventually I was called.
  The lady was very nice, but what unnerved me was the way she just nodded and said," ah ha, umm, ok," when I answered as though she was just humoring me. She took notes and kept circling things as I answered and then would click and scroll her computer to check what I had said. Most were personal family and relationship questions, birth dates,death dates, events and finacial banking stuff. One of the questions was about phones, mobile phones, such as what your number was. Obviously I had no idea. It's strange when you're nervous and you draw a blank. After answering rather well on names,places and dates to do with my first marriage that was nearly thirty years ago, I was asked when me and RC had gotten married. It took me a couple of minutes that felt like an eternity to work it out through house moves, childrens' ages  and then I remembered. I felt like an idiot. I know this. It is me who remembers this stuff at home.I came out not knowing if I had done well or not. I will hear in 7-10 days time. I told RC what I could and couldn't answer and he felt I had done well, then he told me he didn't know any of those dates. A good job it wasn't him doing the interview or a pizza parlour in Romania would be geting a new "Deported Chef".
   I wanted to go straight home, lucky for us as it turned out. We had a long journey and RC was contemplating a trip to a supermarket first. But we went straight to the station, RC did get coke from the shop outside. We had just reached our home town station when they announced the next train was cancelled, due to trespassers on the line. So we would have been stuck for hours if we had gone shopping. So now we wait for notification that I can have my passport. Then it will be honeymoon booking here we come. Fingers crossed!