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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Friday, December 28, 2007


That's me,coming back down to earth.


I couldn't understand why I felt this way, I have never been this miserable coming 'home' before, I always like to come home. Then I realised that this is the first holiday I have ever had, real holiday, no worries, no work, no stress, time to please ourselves and money to spend on whatever we choose.

Then we came home.

The flight was great....we had a full row right at the front of the cheap seats, so we had leg room and more leg room and no-one on front to worry about, you know with Isaac and the touch screens and the lap tray. Heaven. HEAVEN.

I was worried, I can tell you now, about H. Long story short ( may have already written about it) H's ex wife was on benefits when he was at university, so he had 3 years of non payment of child support, which with interest was so much it was impossible to dent, he paid a huge amount back and even then, it looked like an impossible mountain to climb. The stupid laws in California mean that if there are arrears of child support, the man's drivers licence is suspended and passports are revoked.

When I came back to the UK, H worked like a dog to pay as much as he could off this balance, his tax return after a bumper year of selling with ADT then made a huge dent in it and suddenly, even though the balance was still terrifying, he received a letter to say that he was now eligible for a passport, he applied, received and kissed his passport, immigration was done and he arrived here the day before I went into hospital to have Elijah.

We have never stopped being grateful that he was able to get his passport and felt that the angels were with us. I ( because I am so good at worrying about everything) had visions of us touching down in the US and the security people saying " Aha! There you are!" and then tearing up his passport because the interest had made his balance at the child support place astronomical again, the plan was that we apply for his English passport and all would be well, H is a procrastinator extraordinaire, he didn't get the papers in on time, so he travelled with is American passport.

Marvellous, we sailed through every stage of the trip out there, holiday done....worry time again ( what if they didn't mind him coming back INTO the country but would take umbrage at him trying to leave) Phew, took a LONG time to check in, grumpy woman at the desk read every word in every passport, checked and double checked our faces and I know I didn't make it up, but she definitely checked H's passport twice ( he said she didn't but he wasn't sweating and praying and worrying, he was merely depressed at leaving his country and coming back to the Land of no sun) Still, long time but no trouble , we went though security ( with removal of shoes and scanning of MANY bags, took 1 suitcase, 2 holdalls and 2 back packs with us.....came back with 7 suitcases and 6 backpacks, I kid you not, I paid my uncle to drive it all down here because there was NO way it was ever going to fit in our car. ) Isaac's backpack screened as suspicious.....he got some night vision goggles for Christmas, they looked scary under x ray!! Cool to see the swabbing and testing for explosives!) then we went to the departure lounge and waited 3 hours ( have lots of pictures but have yet to download, maybe tomorrow) Eli was happy to be going home.


H? Not that he would ever say, complain or whine.....but I had the most enormous lump in my throat because I KNEW how he must be feeling, if I had ever come back here for a trip and then had had to go back to live in the states....I'd be feeling it too. I just downloaded some pictures.....this one actually made me cry a bit, it's at the airport, about 2 hours in and just before we were going to board,


Seth wasn't too happy about leaving grandpa either...


Settled onto the plane and were enjoying the moment of watching tall people squash their legs into the cramped spaces allotted them whilst we stretched and showed off, because we had the front row, with masses of leg stretching space and the big screen TV, tutting and rolling our eyes at people having the nerve to walk through our space to get to the aisle on the other side. ( see that huge man in the background, he sat behind H.....he was SO tall and his legs must have been so cramped, shame)


Just as I was thinking that things were going beautifully and thinking that maybe I wouldn't need that diazepam after all, along came a flight attendant shouting " Do we have a Howard ******* on the plane? Howard ****** !!!"

HE put his hand up and she asked " Are you Howard ******** where is your passport?"

Can you imagine what I went through??? Turns out that he was showing as checked in but not boarded, somehow the boarding card didn't register, Al was well, my heart was allowed to keep beating.
We arrived back in England, ( raining and sort of cold but not painfully so) and drove in Barry's car (with trailer) to his house.
I am ridiculously tired and so can't remember whether I wrote about Barry's house before, skip this is I did.
Uncle Barry is dad's older brother, he is now either 74 or 76...he lives in the house he was born in. My Nan loved her house and lived there her whole married life. She gave birth to her sons in the bed they were conceived in, it is still in her bedroom, the same bed, same mattress and probably, the same pillows. OH MY GOOD HEAVENS. We slept there. Also, there is no heating.....apart from a gas fire in the teeny tiny lounge. The floor still has the original lino on it, with various old rugs. Same bathtub, same taps, same tiling, same doors ( same paint I suspect) it is a living museum. It is SO cold. We made beds on the floor for the boys ( but the wind is blowing under the bed and hurting may face!) we wrapped them up and they had blankets and hot water bottles and were asleep in minutes. I went to bed moments after H....he was lying very still, with the 15 blankets and eiderdown ( original, itch itch) up over his cold. I got into bed, want to know what time? 8pm HA HA! Tired isn't the word.....we fell asleep of the boys woke up to use the bathroom, I took him and looked at the clock.....I was SO sure it must almost be time to get up. 10.30. Bloody hell. Back to sleep ( remarkably warm feather bed once that damp chill wore off, with 3 hot water bottles, socks and a husband) suddenly the light went on What the HELL? Elijah, apparently had woken up, been downstairs, eaten whatever he could find in the fridge, played with his toys and when he was bored, woke us up to play with him. 2.30am....ever had one of those nights that just keep going??
Seth woke up and so I dragged myself down to sit with them in the 6 x 9ft front room, put the fire on and sat...and told them to be quiet ( 3am our time, 7pm Californian time) they ate and played and without any warning, both at the same time they crumpled to the floor and lay very still. HOORAH! Took them back upstairs, crawled back into grandmas feather bed ( let's not think about 80 year old bed bugs) and fell asleep...until 8.30.
The drive back, oh dear. I decided I would follow Barry, rather than try and find my own way back. Mistake!
Barry has a theory, why drive on a motorway or a dual carriage way when there is a pretty back road?
He drives at 60mph, always, hell and high water 60mph. HE stays behind cars in the slow lane until he gets one that is driving at 58 mph, then he swerves out, overtakes and then right back into the slow lane, he doesn't overtake 4 trucks at a time, he overtakes one, back in the slow lane, overtakes the next one, back in the slow lane.....when I was following him, I had no idea if he was getting back into that lane because we had to leave the road and take another one, whether this was where we'd stop to in and out and back in again.
As soon as I knew for sure where I was, I drove off into the perfect distance, wending my way home, for about 24 minutes when we hit traffic. It would seem that for some reason, Stonehenge ( bloody old pile of big rocks, what's the big deal?) was very popular and for over an hour we crawled along at 5 miles an hour......good view for a long time of bloody old rocks as we drove so slowly past.
Much muttering was going on, dear little boys were so weary they just stared ahead and made scarcely a sound the whole trip.
Oh the joy when I saw signs saying we were 34 miles from home, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open.....I actually felt myself nod off and opened my eyes just as I was about to hit a wall...I had to stop and clear my head, with Seth saying " we'll be here an hour, I know it, I want to be at home, please don't sit here PLEASE!"
Elijah saying " Oh but I want to be at home right now"
We made it home.
No Sophie, with the key. Called her and got her answer phone, called my friend who had the other key, she said she could bring it soon but was at work. Jordan called and said he would go and find her, he was right outside where my friend works and so he went and collected the key from her and got a taxi over here, in we came, there she was, asleep on the sofa, the house was a pigsty, dishes everywhere, laundry everywhere, bottles and cans overflowing in the recycling bin, kitchen bins overflowing and get this, Dan hired a van TWO WEEKS AGO, and drove all her stuff here, it was still in the KITCHEN and the HALLWAY and all over the damn place. It took me FOUR hours to make her move it and she still hasn't done the dishes.
Welcome home.
Last night I bought fish and chips for dinner.....cost me more than lovely meal for us all in a nice restaurant in the states.
Washing machine is broken.
No one made my bed this morning.
Had to buy bread and toilet paper.
Lovely hot bath ( when did I have a shower last? It feels like weeks ago but really it was on wednesday. I most certainly have been washing in between, even in aeroplane toilets, using paper towels) I stood in Barry's freezing bathroom with the bath that doesn't work and wondered what that metal bucket filled with water was all about, my teeth chattering as I strip washed, I felt a bit like a maid in olden days, standing on cold lino washing my nether regions.....if I'd had to use the water bucket the scene would have been complete. I have no idea how some people can go days without a shower or bath, I must have at least one a day, change my underwear at least twice a day or I feel I ought to stand a great distance from everyone else for their sake. The bath I had when I got home was heavenly. My hair was so knotted ( I didn't even comb it this morning, would have made me cry with the cold and ripping knots out of my head, hell, some things have to just get left out on mornings like this one!)
My own bed.
Half a room of chocolate.
Have 14 lbs of skippy peanut butter in my cupboard, 5 huge jars of parmesan cheese ( Kraft)
So many bottles of Excedrin, Nytol and kids Ibuprofen that we look like drug addicts ( can only buy Tylenol in boxes of 14 here, you can only buy 2boxes at a time and if you do buy 2 boxes, don't even TRY to buy some childrens' Tylenol at the same time because it is NOT ALLOWED! Stupid law started to stop people killing themselves with an overdose, if you're that determined to kill yourself by taking paracetamol you'll just walk from one shop to the other until you have enough.) So, we had fun buying bottles with 500 in "LOOK.....500 in this one!!lets buy 3.....HA! they LET me!" ( seriously we DID that! And found it fun!!)
Have my own laptop back with lovely blogs in the favourites and my own buttons and stuff. ( as soon as I can stay awake long enough to read them I will, I missed reading you while I was away. I have fallen asleep twice while typing this.)
I am tired of eating, really tired of looking so fat ( H took pictures of me while I wasn't looking, darn it that he bought a camera, am horrified and yet determined the way I was 2 years's hoping it works again, even if I lose it and gain it back, well better than just keep gaining, isn't it??) I am truly a fat person, not chubby or a bit overweight, I am a real huge blobby fat old lady. Darn it.
Slimfast is half price.
Shops here do loads of buy on get one free, real bargains in the grocery department.
I have a nice home, which could be fantastic, I intend to make it breath taking this year, watch me and Ebay work miracles.
I am going to move more. I don't mean house ( although that may well happen soon enough) I mean myself, I want to be well. I am not well, at all.
While I was away I had, the most horrendous case of strep throat, blisters and pus covering the whole throat and mouth. I had cold sores, I had the itching thing and then, just as my throat started to heal ( 10 days into the holiday) my hands went crazy, argh, blisters upon blisters, swelling like you wouldn't believe. They started to clear up on the day we were leaving, they are now merely thick skinned with nails down to the quick ( strongest steroid cream made and prescription only, that I took with me just in case!) the skin is now peeling off and well, you can imagine how beautiful I feel as well as look can't you?
Marilyn had some cream that was miraculous, it soothed my splitting skin and began to heal it almost right away. I sort of hated how it felt on my hands for about 10 minutes but it really works, REALLY.
So, when grandpa gave us quite a lot of cash, the day before we came home, H and I determined that our holiday would end with a think for a second we were going to bring back that cash, change it into pounds and halve it? Use it for what bills? Food......sod off...we were going to spend it, every last cent, watch us and see we said, he went one one, I went another with Marilyn and we darn near did it, he came back with nothing but change and I had $74, I decided I was going to Nordstroms and buy me some of that horrible feeling cream that would make my hands smooth. Off we went, hmmmmmm hand cream and also some Acne moisturiser that would make my skin look nice and clear......yes, I shall buy it because I have to spend this cash, ......Thankyou lady.....except Marilyn bloody well paid for it! "You bugger!! Thankyou" I said and then "well now what? Take me to Babies R us, I got me a grandbaby coming so let me at it!" Oh we had such fun and I almost bought the dandiest wing seat thing that swivelled and rocked and did it all...but I stopped myself, I had bought myself some lovely jangly necklaces and already had my beautiful leather handbag and new Fossil wallet, new clothes and shoes and more crocs, what else do I need.
My grandbaby got a big old pile of clothes ( And some pink ones fell in there, 3 weeks and we'll know if it can wear them!! ) I bought all kinds of gadgets I have never seen here too. This thing that washed pacifiers if they fall on the floor, slips into the nappy bag and what do you know? Wash them germs right off ( only Dan had a dummy out of my babies and I used to suck them when they fell on the floor, how sanitary!!)
I bought mats that go under the high chair, hooks that go on the stroller handle to hang your shopping on, load that pram up with your bags of shopping. I bought handy straps to put the drinks bottles in so the little git can't throw the juice away, books and toys and every kind of natty thing. Things that hang on the bath to keep flannels and baby wash in, one to hang on the cot for nappies and wipes etc, gas drops, a bottle that has a syringe in it, you draw up medicine and then it goes into the teat ( nipple) so the baby sucks it instead of spits it.
Snot suckers ( why can't we get them here?) I love this little blob baby, as much as I ever loved my own. I love being able to buy it things that sometimes, when it's your baby, you can't buy because you have to buy nappies and wipes and milk. I think that's a Nan's job. I got a T shirt that said " I didn't do it, you didn't see me do it and I wanna call my Nana"
Anyway, we're home.
I just unpacked the cream and moisturiser and damn it to hell and back, the stupid lady at Nordstroms gave me the TESTER for the moisturiser, I went to smooth some on my poor old weary face and it was all gloopy, ewww then I could hardly get any out and noticed it was the almost empty TESTER bottle. The saleswoman told us she usually worked on the Estee Lauder counter or something and was in a tizzy anyway, so she must have just grabbed that one and put it in the bag. If only I had had the chance to look at it while we still there!! Can hardly take it back and complain and get a new one. We got back just in time to throw it in a case and leave. Pttttttthhhhhhhh.
Also, H had one of those decal things made for the car, Dad, Mum and 3 little boys, one with a basketball, one with a guitar and one dancing. We left it behind and can't explain to grandpa what he should be looking for. I know it has to be right there in the front him it may just have looked like a piece of paper left behind, I bet he threw it away.
Otherwise, all is well, all is back to normal and that, my dears, is as depressing as hell.
So, what we have to do is sit and make a plan, something to work towards and really set our sights on. I am forming a plan. Very good.

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Anonymous Lacey said...

Oh it's good to be home and also not. I do love to sleep in my own bed, but back to reality is always harsh. I am so glad you had a good time. Been so sick here. Ear infection and pinkey and Lyric is just starting the pinkeye and feverish. Has been going on for a week already. Enough I say! I had so much fun on your vacation, but I am glad you are back too.

12:45 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I had fun on your vacation, too, Helen! Hope you get some good rest and can start feeling normal again.

4:40 pm  
Blogger TheAlbrechtSquad said...

Welcome Home! What adventures you had and thanks for sharing them with us!! So fun!!

6:10 pm  
Anonymous Julie bo said...

glad you made it back safe and sound.. sounds like it was quite an adventure!

7:33 pm  
Blogger TN said...

Welcome Back..... Glad you are home, everything will be O.K. in a few days. I enjoyed your vacation!

9:50 pm  

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