Are you ready for this?

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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!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The customer likes to surf the internet for 2 hours every day, watch soaps and go out with friends from church..

Yesterday Or last week or some time recently, I received a copy of all the paperwork that has been sent to the tribunal about my incapacity benefit, £35 a week in my benefits, given because I was deemed incapable to work. Last June I had to travel to see a random doctor, one I have never seen, heard of, or spoken to in my life. In august they stopped the £35 a week.
I had to go to Exeter which is 14 miles away, my appointment was just after 1pm so I left just before 9am, to drive 14 miles because I might get lost, or very lost, or so lost I would never get there.
When I arrived, I was called into a non descript room with a desk and some chairs. One side of a desk was a man, small in stature, who looked bored. He was ordering new tyres for his car while I sat opposite him and waited.
He asked some set questions that I answered in my own rambling way.

Q.Are you able to watch television?
A. Well yes, as long as it's rubbish, soaps maybe, I can't watch films or anything with a plot, I am completely unable to follow documentaries, so I suppose if I watch television it would be soaps or something that doesn't matter, that has nothing in it that requires thinking or concentrating.
( customer likes to watch soaps)

Q. Can you drive?
A. Yes, in fact I only feel safe in my car and my house, my space, the 2 places that I choose who can come in and who can't. I can drive it's when I have to get out of the car that the worries begin.
( customer is able to drive without problem)

Q. Do you have friends, can you enjoy going out?
A. Well, yes I have one or two friends that I have known since I was little, they understand me, if I can't talk, or talk too much, they understand. If I can't remember what a plate is called or where I parked the car, they help me laugh about it. I see them once or twice a week and if they ask me to go out, I can go, with them.
( customer enjoys meeting friends from church once or twice a week)

Q. Do you go on the internet?
A. Oh yes, the internet has saved my soul. I have a blog, it has been my saving grace. I write whatever I feel on that and tell complete strangers my deepest fears and saddest secrets, I can tell them because there is no pressure, they read, they sometimes say nice things and they are able to continue on with their lives without feeling obliged to help or solve my problems. My problems can't be solved but I can manage to express what I feel and feel some relief, it helps me get through another day,
( customer likes to surf the internet for 2 hours every day)
He wrote that ELEVEN times in the report. ELEVEN times.
First of all, can I say CUSTOMER? What? What am I buying? What service was I trying to obtain? Some kind of understanding about how my stupid head works? A modicum of compassion for how much pain is in my head and heart every single day I wake up and keep breathing?
Well then is there a customer services that I can call and complain because I certainly didn't get what I was after, did I?
When I got that letter, back in august to say that Dr Random had deemed me fit to work and that he had diagnosed me as mildly depressed, I was so incensed. So righteously indignant. I want to explain why. I wonder if I can.

I probably have to go back many years.
Back to when I was so gloriously ignorant, when I thought that the world was a nice place and terrible thing were in newspapers and in other peoples' lives.
In 3 months I had a baby, lost a husband to his need to find himself and have a selfish phase, moved house and had 2 children abducted and abused.
18 years ago, get over it.
You don't, get over it. You learn to accept it and force yourself to do every single tiny thing that life makes you do. Or you can curl up and die.
Most of me did die.
I have worked through so many ghosts and worries and in many ways I am better. I have come to accept ( though not like) that my head does not work the way it used to . Every single thing I do is enormous.
I do everything I should do, I do what I need to do, I do some things I want to and every single thing I do is an effort.
I have chest pains all the time, the cardiologist is sure that they are all due to stress, I agree. When I am worried about something ( which is all the time, every day) I hold my breath, I don't realise I am holding my breath until I do that exploding GAH! sound, ouch, hurts, must remember to breath.
For 5 months now, while I have been living in that stinking house with it's boarded up windows where some creep tried to break in the very first night we were there. I have been holding my breath, breathing in tiny little quiet breaths because then I will be able to hear.
My child woke me and told me someone was trying to get in. My child. What if he didn't hear? What if he didn't wake me, what if we didn't scare the creep away? What if, what if, what if?
So for 5 months I stay awake until 3 or 4am because then I know H will wake up soon with his poor neck, if he is awake I can sleep because then no-one will get these little boys.
While I am awake I breathe so quietly, so softly and take those gasping little breaths and I hear every sound. For 5 months.
When I moved here, I started to breathe again. Not consciously just did it, great big painful gulping breaths, but my lungs can't seem to get enough air in them and my chest hurts so terribly. My back hurts so badly. I can't breathe enough. No matter how hard I try.
And I am still doing. Still talking, still cooking, dressing, watching television, driving, making phone calls, even going out with a friend and thinking about that damned man who said I am mildly depressed with unkempt grooming . Unkempt??? When I read that little nugget yesterday, I was mildy annoyed and mildly entertained, today I am incredibly insulted. Stupid curly hair, can't help that although I try to tame it into a ponytail.
Also, he ticked the 'average build' box. Average my arse. I wish.
Who was he looking at? Who was he listening to?
Why do I mind so much that he didn't hear ( or care) what I obviously failed to say. I think because I don't want to be like this. I don't want to get through every day as though it is a battle. I don't want to be afraid of everything and everyone, I wish that I was mildly depressed and just blagging the whole unable to work thing. I wish it was as simple as that.
I am so good at convincng everyone that I am fine, that I am average and managing. I wing it, every day I do it I pat myself on the back and high five myself.
My body is trying to prove it's all a sham. When I grit my teeth and get through another crisis my skin erupts, the form says Urticaria, posh word for itching. If I don't take medicine every day, twice a day this happens.

and this


How about a bit of this...


Or some neck itching...

And the shoulder...

So, urticaria.
I have to go to a tribunal and have an oral hearing. Maybe I will be able to explain what my life is like, maybe I won't. I just know that my life is hard for me, even when it's good. I am endlessly waiting for the next nightmare. I might convince everyone I meet that I am hunky dory and just as peachy as can be. I just can't convince my own stupid self. Enough to make one mildly depressed I imagine.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hoorah! We're done!

The old house is done, finished, ready to mail back the keys, we are going over at 4 to take down and hand over the trampoline and then the key is going in the mail to Landlady. H and I feel really good about the way the house looks for hand over. We hope that she will feel moved to return our deposit and if she does that we will be laughing, if not, we'll be annoyed and that's it, we'll let it go, move on and live our lives knowing that we did what was right, we will be able to enjoy this new home without any feelings of regret or conscience.

The front room, with it's leaking ceilings and crummy floor, clean and bright.

The hallway, that was ankle deep in rubble when we took the house over, that took 2 black sacks to clear and had 6lbs of sand in the carpets, clean and fresh now.

This room is the one that is most changed, the dog shit room, the one that had dog shit and vomit so soaked through the carpets that we had to rip them out and put new ones down, this floor has been scrubbed more than any other floor I have ever walked on! We stood and marvelled at how this room looks now. I still hate it though, it still feels bad in there.


Look at this bathroom, the one that was quite literally black, the whole shower was black and fluffy with mould, the walls, from top to bottom were covered in human pooh. I actually got to love this room, with candle light baths and the fresh smell,new toilet seat and sink. The sink she had in there was cracked, badly cracked and the cracks were filled with black mould, we put in the new one and the taps. We put the lino down and painted. It looks so much better ( couldn't look worse could it?)

The kitchen that was a great size but so impractical, everything in the wrong place, no electrical point for the washing machine, awful stove.


I did like the dining area, for what that's worth!


I am thrilled that it is done and we can now move on.
There is so much to do here with all the boxes and stuff, we are looking forward to all of it, we can take our time and really enjoy making it just as beautiful as we can. We have great plans for this house and all the time in the world to achieve them. Happy days indeed.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 2.

Day two is never any fun. Ever.
Day one is fun, all that excitement and moving and exclaiming and hoorah! New house!
Day two is always Oh, now where is? Have you seen? Where did you put?? OUCH bloody thing, who left that there?
Also.......the old house, the house that was horrible anyway but now it isn't even remotely home and yet still we have stuff there. Not much left now, just one last car load of crud that we can't live without, apparently.
I went there today, just to collect the drinks bottles and shoes that somehow managed to escape and hide in the old house.
I took another boot load of crap to the tip, I have been there often, obviously too often because one of the men there today said " We'll have to give you a full time job here any day, man you bring a lot of stuff here!" why yes, how lovely to be recognised, what a pity it was at the tip.
While I Was there, H was here waiting for the Virgin Media man to come and connect us.
I had internet last night, wonderful suprise, stealing someones cyber space and enjoying a surf at someone else's expense. It was very slow though and although I didn't like to complain, I did. Only to myself though, no-one else was awake.
Mutter sigh kept turing itself on and off too.
Anyway, H was here and wanted to find his glasses. When I came home I saw that he had pulled at least 23 boxes out of the workshop, they were in the yard, the landing was filled with all kinds of stuff, he'd set up the Imac upstairs, things that had been so neatly stacked were now all over the bed, floor etc. It was very hard to be patient but I was, because I know that he always clears itup, just in his time and his way, which is hard on a control freak type person.
True to form, when I came back from picking up the boys, he was completely orgainsed, all tidied and knowing where everything was, he cooked a lovely dinner and is firmly back in my good books again.
We have had visitors of the popping in kind, lovely, even lovelier when they come bearing cake.
Sophie came tonight, loud and happy and having been to the doctor, hopefully she will be on an even keel again soon.
She is so beautiful....and so loud
I love it when she dresses like this, she just looks so beautiful.
She has a boyfriend, the one that she truly likes, he is doing all the right things, taking her out for the day and giving her presents, I so hope she can allow herself to enjoy it and not run for the hills. Time will tell.
Tomorrow H and I are headed back to the old house to finish up, it is pretty much done, just a few more bits and quick sweep around. I found myself talking to myself today, packing up the car and as I left each room, vacuuming and saying goodbye ( and good riddance! I always say goodbye to houses, make sure I leave good feelings and take my heart with me) I started to clean the bathroom...
" what are you doing? It's alright as it is, it was covered in pooh when you moved here, why clean it for her? PUT THE BLEACH DOWN!"
"look, whatever she gave to you shouldn't enter into it, you have to look and ask yourself how you would like to find this house and just do it"
"yes BUT..."
"just do it"
So I compromised, I certainly didn't get on hands and knees and polish up a storm. I did, however make it clean and presentable.
I am proud of how that house looks, that is, quite honestly how it should be. I can go around in circles saying how I shouldn't have to clean etc. etc. but in fact, we have to do whatever feels right for us. The only person making me do this, is me.
H has the right attitude to all of this, he just does what he does, he is always so measured about things. I am always struck by how different we are, I did actually take on some of his ways thismove but on the wholeI am a planner, I am ridiculously preoccupied with what must be done, must do it, plan it, think about it, do it, do it some more.
H is completely unruffled,like still waters, nothing apparant on the outside, he waits and waits, routine is never interrupted. Steady as you go.
Me run, run, run, worry itch.
H, plod, work, nap, plod.
Tortoise and the hare.
Guess who wins?
Yes. He gets as much done as me, he gets it done as well as me. I think by the time I am 76 I might have adapted and learned a few of his tricks. At the monet it just annoys the hell out of me, I am yet young excuse me.
The boys are happy. They are at home, they sleep and laugh and I know this is the place for us to be.
Isaac had such a rough time with this move, we had many tantrums, much door slamming, lots of crying and shouting and telling of how he likes THIS house.
I brought him with me to this house a few times last week, when we had the keys. He opened and shut doors ( a lot) he explored and used keys, then he opened the front door, the back door and both workshop doors and he ran...right through the house, out the back door, into the yard, in the workshop, out the workshop and back in the front door ... 3 times, then he stopped and said " Ah. Now I like it." So be it.
Atthe old house, the very first night he woke up afraid and then we discovered we wer being broken into. He woke up several times there and would say he was afraid.
I was afraid the whole time. It's not until I was away on holiday that I realised just how badly I needed to get away from that house and it's dark and oppressive feelings.
Now we are here and I feel the difference ( already) Isaac and Eli's room in particular is wonderful. I love their room, they love it too.
I am sure that this is the very best thing we could have done. We all keep stopping and then thinking of how different things are going to be, how bright the future is looking.
amazing how 4 walls can make such a difference. I absolutely believe that houses hold spirits, they retain the essence of the emotions that have been there.
That last house had too much bad and miserable things in it for me to overcome. I felt it every minute I was there. I would drive into the driveway and feel such sadness at the idea of having to go in. Only once did I walk into the door and feel as though I was at home.
I never got used to the smell, this house already smells like home! What a relief.
Julie Bo put some money into my paypal account last week, today I bought on ebay the most sumptuous curtians for our bedroom, I made the bedding at the old house in an effort to make it feel more like home.

The windows here are huge ( bay windows, love them!) and I can't face making curtains to fit...So I bought these.
Thankyou Julie, I shall think of you every time I look at them and shall thank the internets for you everyday!
On that note, I am off to curl up on my sofa and be cosy with the fire on. Heaven.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

One. More. Sleep.

And we're almost ready.
Much busy-ness, much yelling ( me) laughing and ignoring yelling ( everyone else)
Am excited for it to be tomorrow, more excited for it to be wednesday when the keys to this house will be on their way to Bridgette will she give us our deposit back when she sees how clean and shiny her stinky house is even though she says she is keeping our money and didn't care that we had to shovel dried on pooh and furry vomit when she gave us the keys landlady. Hooray.
I had to drag myself away from my new kitchen with it's rug and pretty things, it's brightness and many cupboards, I stood and looked and then looked again and had to tell myself that tomorrow I will live there.
I wish I could explain how it feels to walk around the house, with the soft, clean carpets, with the cosy feel and the honest to goodness homeliness of it all. I wish I could but I can't because as soon as I start to try and think hard enough about it, my head turns to flub, within seconds I am a
That's it, it's lovely. That's enough isn't it? Lovely.
Thankyou Lord.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Awwwwww NUTS!

If it's not one kid, it's another. Being a mum never stops, even when they are 6' 5", have their own home and are about to be a daddy. I was particularly wakeful, still up and emailing with Cathy at 2am! Then my cell started to ring! For heavens sake, I knew it was Sophie....answered to hear Jordan sobbing on the other end, really crying and saying over and over " Oh MUM! Oh mum!"
My heart sank and immediately I was worried about Mel and the baby ( always such a light and cheery soul, thinking the very worst at every opportunity!)
Then he said " Oh mum, I have the worst pain, really bad pain, please help me!"
I asked him where it hurt and told me " My balls, oh my balls, mum and my belly, please help me!"
Off I went and picked him up, to see that lanky streak of water, walking like John Wayne after an Epic cross mountain horse trek made my mother's heart ache and my mean mouth laugh....quite a bit.
He got in and couldn't sit or bend his legs..picture that if you will, he had to bend his legs because, you know.....half his height are those long legs of his!
It took us 15 minutes to get to the hospital and when we got there he hobbled his way to the reception and said " My balls REALLY HURT! Oh and my name is Jordan *******" I taught him so well, manners and decorum even in times of pain and fear.
HE went off with the Dr and Mel and I sat in the revolting and shameful NHS waiting room.
I was horrified to see that waiting room ( that was actually empty apart from us) it is being remodelled but that is no excuse for how filthy it was. Appalling and as I said shameful.
We made the best of it and had a picnic from the machines and Mel's handbag, she may have been in a hurry and worried about the possibility of future children with her most beloved but she had time to collect crisps, magazines and a baby name book! That's my girl!
We chatted about how she thought the middle of the night will be best to go into labour ( no traffic, marvellous) read every name in the magazine and laughed about the drunken youth brought in by 4 policemen.
Just 18 ( Mel knows him) face smashed up, clothes torn, only one shoe, grimy black socks and drunk as a skunk. The policemen left him and within seconds he slumped over, lifted his legs and head in a puddle of cold minestrone soup ( we hope, empty sup was beside it and some napkins next to it) and he slept. He looked the picture of what is wrong with this generations youth/ country / world....he lifted one arm across his bloody face and we saw that he had his surname tattooed on his inner forearm. Never have I seen a name so ill fitting. It could have been what he wishes he was but sadly, isn't.
Mel told me it is his surname and it was lucky that he was so passed out because, as we were so tired ( 4am at this point) we became very loud and hopelessly silly as we made up captions to go with the photo we SO wanted to take and post on my blog. We'd say his surname and then snort as we said " or NOT" or perhaps " AS IF!"
His surname ......NOBLE.
We didn't take a picture, though we could have as he was so drunk he would never have known and there wasn't a soul about, I just managed to grasp that little bit of human kindness and stop myself because surely that would have been against some kind of human rights or something.
I think I am almost saint like in my reserve because this example of what is wrong with Britain today has some kind of grudge against Jordan and apparently, whenever he is out on the town and drunk ( most days) he feels that his 5' 4" scrawny frame is a good match for the splendid boy I gave birth to.
Apparently he taunts Jordan and picks fights with him every single time, in fact even when he is sober, but in his flat which overlooks the road Jordan takes to work, he will jeer and shout unbecoming names.
Jordan came out to tell us what was happening, saw this kid lying flat out in the waiting room, looked down and said " Very good" and walked on by.
Anyway, at 5.30am when Jordan's twisted and painful testicle had miraculously just untwisted itself, I left because I was very giddy, thinking how miserable I was going to be when I had to get out of bed at 7.30am and Jordan had to wait for a surgeon to get out of the operating room. At 6am Jordan and Mel got weary of waiting and he was allowed to go home, he has to check in with his GP and get checked out and if the pain starts again he has to go right back in, it's very unusual for this to just correct itself. So we'll see.
This morning I went and paid the last £670.50 and the house is ours, we took H's woodworking stuff over and walked around feeling happy, ate lunch and I went for a nap because I was ready to rip some heads off and cry like a weary toddler.
H has done a mountain of packing while I slept and I feel as though we might actually get this done.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Pictures, don't you just love them?

This was my front room last night, at midnight.


I dragged all the laundry, clean, ironed, unironed, not even folded, clothes, bedding...all of it into the front room because I could iron it and pack it, in handy rubbermaid type boxes and put it all right into the laundry room / airing cupboard/ middle of the hallway at the new house. Such a good plan.
Then H came home with the keys to the new house and that was SO much more exciting, must go NOW, must leave and have fun in the nice house, leave this cruddy old stink hole. So I did.
By the time I got back at 8pm, my bones ached, my hair hurt, my disposition was less than cheery. So at midnight it was still like that.
Today was a new day, filled with much business and stuff.
The only difference between last night and now, is that we have added dirty and discarded school uniforms, a few pairs of shoes and yoghurt splops.
The new house is lovely though. It wasn't so lovely, especially the cooker.

See what I mean, I know I am wont to exaggerate at times in order to make a dull story sound thrilling, or funny but I wasn't when I said this stove was revolting and cross making. Why do people not clean their stoves? I mean no-one likes doing it but what makes people think someone else will enjoy cleaning it when they have made it look like this?
Also, do you know that when your oven is dirty it throws your cooking all out of whack. Bake a cake in a dirty oven and it'll be uneven and burn in places and be raw in others. There now, that was almost a public service announcement on behalf of the renters who have to clean up after dirty buggers association. You're welcome.
But now...well now new house is pristine and beautiful and shiny. I set the heating and worked out the boilers, my husband and I worked in quiet coupledom making it gloriousness itself.
Look!! On the side in the kitchen


Safety check certificates, you know, like you're supposed to get when you rent a house!
This evening Isaac and I took a whole load of boxes 'round and filled the kitchen cupboards, brought the boxes home to fill up again.
Tomorrow,I am paying the final £670.50 and we can keep the keys, which means we can go for broke and take as much as we can fit in our car around, making monday all the more smooth and unstressified ( can you imagine what spell check makes of my blogging effort?)
H and I have decided that when we are on lovely new home we will come back here on tuesday and have a clean, not a scrub fest but a vacuum and floor swiping day. Several good reasons, we want to hold our heads up high, know that we behaved with integrity, we also think that when she comes over here to check it out, she is much more likely to feel obliged to return that deposit than if we leave a mess behind us.
What we won't do, is work to make it smell good. I want her to be hit by this acrid stench when she walks in. I want her to know what we have had to live with. I want her to see little puddles on the floor ( although we have had 3 blissfully dry and sunny days, ) I want her to have to breathe through her teeth when she walks in the hallway, bathroom and especially the playroom.
I am going to strip the lino out of the bathroom so she can't pretend that rotten hole isn't there.
I am leaving the oven because I am all black and baked on grimied out. This one is just not worth cleaning.
So, happy day. May there be many more of them.
Oh before I go, Jordan and Mel were looking at funny T-shirts the other day, trying to find one they had seen somewhere ( that was on a baby's shirt and said ' Spit on that tissue and I am so calling social services) and they found this one.....I am so easily amused, this had me laughing for, well so long I am still laughing about it.


I had an email when I woke up this morning from Jenn, who is my friend.....the title was 'why I like you' and she listed 5 things that she likes about me. Now that is a great way to start the day, it kept me on cloud nine all day. Thankyou Jenn.
Thankyou Julie, who is one of the sweetest and most generous friends anyone could ask for. She sent a gift that made all the difference. People are kind and things like that make me remember just how we have the opportunity to change lives, with even the smallest of gestures.
I believe that when we do what is right, or even when we do what we think is right, things have a way of working out for the best. Sometimes it is SO hard to stick to what is right. It just feels so much better to give 'em what they deserve. It would just be so much easier to go with the knee jerk reaction but we only grow when we fight against what comes easiest.
I am ready to start giving more. We go though phases in our lives when we have and some when we need. I am relieved to report that I think we are about to enter a period where we are in a 'have' phase which means we are able to give back some of what we have been given. What a relief that is!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Second verse.....

Ha! You had that sinking feeling, didn't you? That 'oh no, she's going to say " same as the first" feeling'. I could but, well. BORING.
So, I shall tell you about how beautiful my new home ( not house, oh no, home thankyouverymuch) smells. Not even a whiff of acrid damp smell, not a hint of stink.
Now anyway.
H and I got the keys today and we scrubbed and shampooed, we washed and soaked. Lovely and beautiful and citrusy, fresh and lung fillingly emotional.
I am emotional ( could you tell?) I am relieved and have that feeling that comes when you are 10 steps away from the end of a marathon ( I imagine, as if I would know, really, what that feels like. At school I was always picked to run the 800 metres race, purely so that everyone else would know for sure that they wouldn't be the last to cross the finishing line.) I can see that I am this -> <- close to being at the end of this horrible experience but my legs hurt ( for real, actually not just hypothetically) and my lungs are bursting and OH IF ONLY I could just not have to do this last bit. If I could sneak away and come back on monday night to see all my things in that new house and sigh.
I went back to the house this evening, all alone and I can't tell you ( but you know I'll have a damn good try) just how peaceful I felt. The carpets are the most splendid of quality, the ones here are the cheapest, thinnest, no underlay crap. When you walk, it feels as though you are thumping along on concrete. The new house? I can't wait to walk on them in my bare feet. H shampooed them today ( the carpets, not my feet) lovely clean kirby shampoo smell, beautiful, clean bright carpets. Old fashioned and especially the front room one, sort of ugly but give me good quality ugly over cheap plain, crud any day.
The new home had a very faint smell to it, only a bit of empty, dusty unloved smell, not the dogshit, vomit, damp stench of this one. No oozing black or fur, not even when I looked ( and you know I did!)
Not the unrealistic grandness of the barn ( I will always be happy about having lived there for those 8 weeks, I felt like a posh gal for a while and as though I was someone else, truth be told I think I have delusions of grandeur, I felt more at home in the barn than anywhere else, although I knew it couldn't last) This is home. with all the possibilities of home, of settling ( oh please) with the little things that will annoy and the marvellous things that will wrap me around and make me feel secure.
I can imagine people just dropping by, I have dreaded people coming here, really hated it, I don't like being here myself, why would I expect anyone else to suffer it?
The barn was the other extreme, we entertained the whole time we were there, wonderful ( and unrealistic!)
Now we can just be. We can breathe ( clean fresh air...such a treat) we can relax, we can enjoy and we can share.
We are walking distance to everyone and everything.
Sophie? Well, she's Sophie. She has been a bear today but she is worried. There are things I can do, more that I can't. I can't be ill anymore. I know it isn't going to be as simple as saying ' stop being ill' but I want to believe that I can change something.
It is time. Yikes.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bad day. Good thinking.

In fact I can't even write about it. Suffice to say that my mother's instinct wasn't so far off with Sophie, not quite being sold as a sex slave but it's not the most far reaching scenario.
I am worn out, without reserve.
This time I have to stand behind her and catch her if she falls, I have to whisper in her ear and then push.
I can't carry her, I can't save her.
She has to do it. Feel it, want it, work for it, feel it and DO it.
The first step is that she says she wants it. She wants to stop. I've heard it before.
I told her I love her, she believes me now, I also told her that I have to help her, not do it for her. I will help..when she makes the effort.
I will tell her what she needs to hear, not what she wants to hear.
I will love her and support her but not help her kill herself or lose herself.
I don't know what I could have done, doesn't matter, I didn't do it.
I don't think about how things could have been, they weren't.
I can't change what made her so sad, I do think that it wasn't all me.
I try to show her that where we go NOW matters, what we do NEXT is what counts. We can all wish things were different, they aren't though, are they? Things are as they are, we have to change them or accept them, get on with it or alter it. Go forward.
I wish that there was somewhere to turn. I don't know where to go. Who to see. What to do.
I am one person. Just one ordinary person and yet I have to deal with such exceptional things.
Many people I know have one huge deal, some 'thing' that tests them, something that alters who they are and shapes who they become.
I really don't know anyone else who has faced such a catalogue of disasters. I know this all sounds like melodramatic hysteria and self pity, well so be it, my blog, my party and I'll cry if I want to.
Ha...said I couldn't write about it...liar liar pants on fire ( although that could be the hot water bottle, if I put it on the very bottom of my back it helps the damn restless legs thing)
Sophie is back to drug taking, grey face, ratty hair, musty smell, bad tempered.....a new phase and she came to me again for help, all good signs. What isn't good is that we've been there and done that, here we are again.
I want to shake her until what brain she has left rattles, I want to scream in her face and make her SEE who she is and what she is wasting.
I do see that she is listening. I can believe that this time, the desire is there to change, when we sent her away last time, she was just mad that we stopped her having her 'fun'. Now it's not fun. She is in trouble and she knows it.
I don't want her to die, I can't live for her. She has to live and she has to fight for it. This is what the fight in her is for. From when she was 5 I have told people that I know she has this feisty nature for some good reason that at some stage in her life she was going to have to fight hard for something. This. Is. It.
She has got a fight on her hands and she has to win it. I can't fight for her, I can only stand in her corner and shout her on.
She came into the front room this evening, ready to go out.
I wasn't looking and heard Jordan say " Soph. Did you forget to put your clothes on or what?"
Dear life, she had shorts on that were so short they were shts, the rest got lost somewhere along the way. She had very pale tights on underneath and she went to sit down next to Mel.
Mel reached over and grabbed the tights, ripping one leg right out, Mel said " Whoops!" and Jordan said " oh, shame, now you'll HAVE to get changed"
She took it from them and didn't fight, no shouting.....she'd have raged until the walls caved in if I had done anything like that.
The good news is she went for a job interview today, wore Mel's clothes ( meaning clothes, rather than hankies or bits of string with a square of stretchy stuff somewhere around her boobs but not quite covering them) I will pray that she gets the job, it will help her get out of the rut she is in. It is NOT in a pub or a bar, I will pray HARD that she gets the job.
She likes a boy, who likes her. He works and lives at home, he hates drugs and everything to do with them. She is afraid to like him because he may hate her and make her sad just as she allows herself to like someone. I will pray that he likes her enough to make her believe him, that he likes her enough to stick with it even if she panics, that he likes her enough to make her like herself.
I have told her that she can spend her whole life avoiding good and happy things to avoid being hurt. She will never be happy that way. She surrounds herself with low life, with dark and miserable people and things because she is able, for a nano second to feel superior, then the low life drags her down, so she has to find something lower, darker, more miserable.
If she keeps doing what she is doing, she'll keep getting what she is getting.
I love writing this blog, it is better than therapy, as I write answers come to me and I am beginning to see what I can do.
I think she has to be loved until she can't stand it anymore. I have spent too long trying to teach her and show her, I think somewhere along the line, I forgot to just love her. She has been such hard work. It's so hard to love someone when they are screaming WHORE at you, when they spit and fight, kick and swear. It has been all I can do to not beat the living crap out of her, I have felt almost saintlike for not doing love her in an outward and affectionate way was just too far out of the realms of possibility.
I have been able to love her, openly for a while now. Actually want to kiss her and stroke her face, to say the words. I am ashamed at how she soaks it up, like the littlest of girls she leans in for more. It is probably what she has been yearning for for years, the whole time she spat and hissed, swore and ran away, she probably just wanted to be loved.
While I have been teaching her and setting boundaries, fiercely and relentlessly fighting her cause, battling against my husband on her behalf, speaking with teachers and doctors about her, I should have just been hugging her.
Every slap should have been a stroke.
I am so sorry.
All these years that I thought she should know that I was fighting for her,while she was fighting with me, I forgot to TELL her that I was doing it, I forgot to love her in a way she could see.

She never heard me speak up for her, she heard me tell how difficult she was.

She never saw me battle for her to be treated the same as other kids...she heard me say how different she was.

I have heard for years how hard she had it.....from her, this twisted version of a life none of us could ever recall, until right now....if I look through her eyes I can see what she remembers, I can see why she see things that way.

It's hard to kiss and snuggle with a little girl as she falls asleep when you have spent 6 hours trying to get her to lie down.

It's impossible, most days, to sit and read a book with a child that has spent the last 2 hours charging around the room terrorising her brothers.

It was more than I could manage to be a gentle and loving mummy to a little girl who would talk all the time about how she only wanted a daddy, just a daddy, where's MY daddy? I want my DADDY!

How can you tell a 6 year old that you are happy to be home and hug her, when she headbutted the babysitter and split her lip wide open, while you were gone for 2 hours, at a meeting, heaven help it had been for fun?

How to reassure a 10 year old that she IS still loved and still important when she has kicked and bitten and spat at your new husband, simply because he loves her mum too?

How to convince a 14 year old that even though there will be a new baby, she will still be the only girl and still much loved when she has kicked your pregnant belly and said you should keep your
F*****g legs shut because all you can make is stupid boys?
I am not superhuman, I am just me. Just. Me.

The list could go on, but what for? I see what happened and the challenge now, is to see what can be done. I don't believe it is ever too late to love someone, no-one I have ever known has been beyond loving. Sophie isn't, she is still all but begging for that kind of love that she thinks other people had and she didn't. She has been loved more than she will ever know, but not the way she has longed for. It's time to do some of what she longs for.
I know it, I can see it....but can I do it?
H has said that he's not sure he will ever be able to look her in the face and forget what she has done to this family. I don't blame him, but I wish he could try. I have felt everything for his son that he feels about Sophie, if Rob were to turn up on our doorstep my very soul would scream in fear.
He has said though, that he will not stand in my way as I do what I need to do to help her. That is an enormous step. He is keeping his word, although I can feel his panic when he wakes up and she is here asleep. I am not giving in and I am not going to allow her to live here again. Right now I just have to let her see that I love her and that I want for her to be safe and happy.

Dear Lord, please let me be able to do it right.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drug lords and slippery chickens.

Phew, saw my girl today and was so happy to see her. She has been 'missing' for a week or so, not really missing but her phone was off ( and also, I had been calling her old number for 3 days!) and she wasn't here, or calling me and talking and talking. When she is here, rarely a visit goes by without me saying at least once " SOPHIE! Please be QUIET" and then I imagine that she is run over on the way home and how sad I would be that I told her to be quiet so I tell myself to enjoy her and I do for 12 minutes and then SHUT UP WILL YOU??
Today, although I did have to tell her to be quiet 3 times, ( you have to be here and know her to understand that it IS necessary to say shhhhhhhh to this gob on legs) I enjoyed her being here and looked at her a lot, I kissed her once or twelve times as well because I'll let you in on a secret.
My imagination had taken over, man with tattooed face was a drugs baron, he had locked her in a room and pumped her full of drugs until she was a wasted little heap, in the evenings he was selling her poor emaciated body to his smelly and aids infected cronies and she was unable to get a message to me.
I knew that she thought she loved him and was staying away from me on purpose.
She laughed when I told her how relieved I was that she hadn't been sold as a sex slave, and said that Ange is moving and anyway she hasn't seen him for days, also she rather loves someone who is 2o and has a face devoid of tattoos and lives with his mum, and no pit bull terrier. He sent several texts to her to say that he thinks of her all the time and that she is gorgeous while she was here. I think I love him too. He has some whacky name as well, heaven forbid she should ever meet anyone called John or Rob or something. I forget his name, but I love him anyway. He is a tree surgeon, sounds good, all outdoors and healthy and probably gets up before 3pm as well, just keeps getting better!
Had a good day today, went to the agency to pay some money and ask for keys to clean stove and carpets, had a nice chat with lovely Sally, who told me that the landlady did give us a reference and such a one that the referencing agency thought a guarantor unnecessary, well. Food for thought, wouldn't it be great if landlady's heart has been softened enough to pay us back the deposit? Shan't hold my breath but I will allow a tiny bit of hope to linger awhile.
The boxes are taking over, we gave the boys a box each and that kept them occupied for a good while, they packed their treasures and labelled them, closer to the wonderful day when we leave this all behind us and start the happy times to come.
We have all the help we can need for monday and swapped the trampoline for the vehicles and services of some lovely people, so trampoline has a new home and we don't have to find the money for the van and such. Life has a way of working out alright, if you just believe it will and live a good life. Usually.
Turns out that yesterday was the most miserable day of the year, I didn't know that but for me ( and Isaac, oh yes, definitely Isaac) it most certainly was. All day.
Today has been a refreshing change and my Isaac has been a joy. Much appreciated too, yesterday was rotten, am very glad it's over and all up hill from now.
5 sleeps and we'll be in our new home.
Ha! There is a documentary on right now about 2 doctors who are travelling through Africa, looking at the way ailments are treated, 2 sisters who feel depressed and think they have been cursed ......treatment? Tie them up, cover them in oil and make them hold a greased chicken. H looked up from his laptop and said " yes, well, if you're treated like that I imagine you'd be amazed at how quickly you'd get well"
Then I took over and said " Quick Noreen, put a bloody smile on your face or they'll have you trussed up and holding that slippery chicken again" ( side note, wonder if any perverted googlers will be sent to my blog after that last sentence?) oh the possibilities abound.

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Just as it seemed I had it in the bag!

Bad morning, dreadful morning even.
Isaac is having a hard time about the move, he can't go to sleep, can't wake up, can't stop telling me what he likes about this house. ( count to 10, 10 times, an hour) I understand, I really do, it's tough on all of us and for him, this is just horrendous.
I forget sometimes that he thinks very literally, I forget a lot of things lately. On friday, after meltdown 647, he said " I don't feel well, can I stay home from school tomorrow?"
" Why yes," I said " In fact, you can stay home for TWO days" ( ha ha, clever me!)
" Two days? I can stay home for two days? "
I convinced him I meant it and he was happy, even when he realised that it was friday and what a hoot! No school anyway.
Until this morning, because I lied, I said he could stay home for two days, I didn't say he could stay away from school for 2 days, I said he could stay home, and yesterday he went to church.
Oh. Bugger.
He might only weigh 46 lbs, he may only be 6, he might only come up to my chest but this kid is stubborn. He means it when he sticks to something that he is promised.
He wouldn't get dressed ( What do you MEAN he wouldn't ?? He's SIX ...MAKE HIM!) he is incredibly strong and he stood, arms gripped so tightly by his sides, head seized in one position, legs locked at the knee. He wouldn't eat, he needs food, if he is hungry he is awful, as bad as his daddy. He wouldn't drink. Just stood, staring and saying over and over and over " you said two days, you said I could stay home two days, I went to church, that is not staying home I am staying home two days, today is the two days"
( count, woman count, your head won't really explode, count.. what comes after 5? dear Lord,please help me not throw him out the window!!! )
Eventually and only just in time but actually a bit late because there are roadworks and we are going to be late and if we get there and the gates are already open the SKY WILL FALL DOWN BECAUSE THE GATE IS OPEN AND WE HAVE TO GET THERE BEFORE THE GATE OPENS! Open the car door, ack Isaac's door won't open, seat belt is caught in door, won't open and won't shut and " ISAAC, kick the door from the inside! KICK it, as hard as you are mad, give it hell boy, just kick it open!"
Seth kicked it, I wish I could have kicked it, preferably with someones head in between but Seth did it, hoorah, is open, get in QUICK!
Nothing. Dead car. Not even a Click. not even a click.
Trying to be like Jesus or not, that deserved a swear and it got one, bloody arsehole piece of crap, so much for bargain freecycle my arse.....damn thing.
Isaac is HAPPY! This is fun! This means the BUS.....what could possibly be miserable about a bus ride on monday morning? Who wants to stay at home when you can go to school on a BUS?
£72. Battery. Not the alternator, thankfully, the battery has been a bit pathetic from day one and when lovely man from the RAC arrived ( yeay for £18 a month for breakdown coverage that includes at home start, clever me) he took great care to show me the numbers, 1.2 V after he charged it...LOOK when you open the door it goes down! Tut, look what happens when you turn the radio on..but never fear the alternator is charging it so that's good, just replace the battery, they'll fit it at Halfords for you lovey, you got one just down the road there, they'll see you alright"
Went to Halfords. Left car running ( am quite knowledgeable about these things, old crapheap car taught me stuff) ran in and enquired about battery and would they fit it? Young man came out with me and checked the battery, " no problem, you can turn it off now, we'll fit one of those no problem" You know what's coming don't you? Yes, he COULD fit one, no problem, IF THEY HAD ONE, which they didn't.
Kwik Fit did, and they fitted it relatively Kwikly too. £72.
Why this week? WHY THIS WEEK? Next week, I would have had the money, next week we wouldn't need the car. This week I thought I just about had the £1470.50 we have to hand over to the agency for the new house.
Now we don't. Despite eating the most revolting concoctions from the freezer, despite freezing and turning off the heating every chance we get to save on gas, despite....oh all of it. Still need a bit more. If you're tired of hearing about it, I am truly tired of thinking about it.
The tenancy agreement arrived this morning, which made me happy because it really means that we have the house, our names all officially typed on it and all. Also typed is that figure £1470.50. SO much money, worth it ( apart from the darned fees, £70.50 for the tenancy agreement, tell me how those 5 pages are worth £70.50. £141 for the search fees. What did they search? I gave them copies of all our income, they didn't get a reference from money keeping landlady who does no repairs......ptttttttttth) I shan't mind a jot NEXT week when we are in the house and can breathe a sigh of relief, this week though, it's all a bit much for me.
More boxes packed though, freezer is all cleared and kitchen is 1/3 done.

When I collected Isaac from school, I saw he had a sticker and commented on how he must have been a bit nicer at school than he had been at home in order to earn a sticker, he got it because he got 100 out of 100 in his RM math today. Clever boy! He was delightful this evening, he is having trouble going to bed and he needs his sleep as much as he needs to eat at the right times. He's having a really rough time of it lately. I hope I can be more understanding tomorrow.
Sometimes it's just hard to remember how hard this is for him.


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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Superwoman, indeed.

Well, where did THAT come from? I am a jittering, weak bowelled wreck today. We are moving in a week, I have done so little that I suddenly feel as though it is all beyond me. I know we'll do it. Of course, we always do don't we? I just can't quite think where to start. When I walk through the house taking it all in ( and I HAVE done that a lot...oooh look, that won't take long to pack, but don't do it etc) There actually is very little that can be done. This week ( when else?!) I must get some boxes for the kitchen stuff, that's the big deal, the kitchen and all that STUFF. Food and pans and plates, stuff and more stuff and we will be taking it all , I am very done with throwing things away and giving things away, I have to give away ( or sell, please) a beautiful leather sofa that makes me happy to just look at, but it will not fit, not even if I cry about it or cross my fingers, it won't. It has to go. I keep telling myself that it's a small price to pay, it's a sofa. Just a sofa. It's just that we have had to keep dumping things and freecycling, giving away and selling and it's like my soul is being chipped away.
I work hard on making my home beautiful, we don't have tons of money and so I have to weedle and watch, search and save and when I do it , when I secure a 'find', bring home that hard worked for piece of home, it is a part of me and I am so happy to have it. Then we move, start again and I have to leave a little bit of me behind. Such nonsense when I read back what I am writing.
9 times in 8 years, this is the 10th. Hell.
I do keep getting a thrill at the idea that it IS only a week. Just one more week, new beginnings and all that jazz. When it's done this time, ( please Lord) it is done, I am absolutely unpacking EVERYTHING this time, books in bookcases, videos and toys, clothes and all the trappings of home, unpacked, getting a place to live. I almost can't wait, we just have to get through that one day, that one hard day of lifting and loading, driving and unloading. Just that one day.
The new house is on a street that is going to be difficult to get a big van outside of, all those little things that I know we will manage, will be able to sort out but are crowding down on me in a stupidly claustrophobic way and making me want to howl and run, far away, just until the 29th when it will be over and done and I can drive home and it be there, finished and organised. Then I can play and froo froo, fluff it up and make it beautiful and smell good ( oh to have a home that smells good again!)
Just get me through this one last week. Please.
Thank goodness for the Eli boy being full time at school, what a difference it all makes when we have 8 clear hours to get things done. I bet if I put my mind to it, I can do the kitchen tomorrow. It's not as if I plan on cooking much this week, cooking whatever is in the freezer, throw it on a plate and don't anyone dare complain week, that's what we're in for. So nothing stopping me packing most of it all up tomorrow. Is there? Ha.
I am torn between moving all our stuff out and walking away, you know, what the hell don't owe her etc and moving all our stuff out and then just cleaning enough that it looks nice and I leave being the bigger person. Honestly 50/50 on this, my head says " hells teeth woman what are you thinking? Leave it to her to clean", my heart says " you have never yet been able to leave a mess, why start now, let her see that you have pride and integrity"
Will have to let you know what decision I make in the end because I think it will be one of those on the day decisions. I do know that oven cleaner will not enter into the mix, neither will carpet cleaner, we did that 4 times over when we moved in, that's more than any house or landlady deserves! Just a vacuum and floor mop and whatever cleaning fluid we have to hand, I suspect I shall have a quick whip around and leave it looking acceptable.
Blogs are marvellous things, I was so despondent when I started this post and look, have talked myself round until I am sure it can be done and am once again convinced that I am superwoman. Yes, indeed.
Oh and just when you think it is all hopeless.......clean out your handbag, because you just might find 2 cadbury's cream eggs in there that you can't even quite remember buying. Suddenly life is looking up.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Well that's that then.

Today was the day!
The discovering of Nana's baby, boy or girl. Such excitement was there last night, Mel couldn't sleep and Jordan couldn't sleep and every time I almost went to sleep I'd think again about seeing that little person on the screen and get to know it a bit more, so then I would wake up again. Because it's all SO thrilling, this Nana business, being a step apart from it, without the weeing and the heartburn, no puking or burping ( actually, much burping but that's just me, can't blame an innocent fetus) Watching my gangly great boy hold the tiniest babygro and see him melt a bit because he is going to be a DADDY! Girl or boy?????
I keep forgetting that I don't already know it's a girl and I have bought pink and made girlie things, then I drag myself back to earth and tell myself that they didn't have THE ultrasound and I DON'T know what this baby is.
Funny that from the moment it began, this baby was what it was, no wishing or praying, no hoping or sending pick or blue vibes would change it, it is what it is and not by any accident.
SO much discussion about whether to find out or not. Knowledge or surprise? Which is best?
I had 3 of each, 3 stretches of nine months with wondering and hoping, feeling sure and then not having a clue. Suspense and such excitement when that moment comes and someone will declare It's a BOY....Oh..a GIRL! Twice a boy and once, just once those 'It's a girl' words. Shaking legs and spinning heads, unbelievable high as you try to take it all in, this new person and that incredible joy, exquisite joy.
The great thing about not knowing what you are having is the thrill of knowing you are so close to finding out, that the excitement pushes away a huge portion of the fear. Whenever I walked into the hospital to have my babies I would smell that hospital smell and my bowels would turn to water, such was my fear ( except with Daniel, ignorance was such bliss) with Jordan and Sophie, the idea of knowing at last whether this was a son or daughter....would help, take away that terror.
3 times, I found out, when the possibility of knowing was there, I grabbed it, I WANTED to know, NEEDED to know.
Of course, with Seth we were told that he was a girl, 5 times...right up until the day before he was born it was a girl. Phoebe Ygnacia ( after H's mom, phew for Seth then!) pretty dresses, pink sunhats, the whole shebang. Whoops!
Then with Isaac and Eli no doubt that they were boys, sad for 2 weeks that there wouldn't be a girl baby with H, I so wanted a dark skinned brown eyed baby girl and call her Ruby, it was not to be and now we thank the Lord for that, we think that we have exactly what we can deal with. A teenage girl when I am galloping towards 60? Oh dear.
So, today was the day.
Early appointment and I just made it in time, just as I arrived they called for Mel and we went in.
I will never tire of seeing those miraculous sights on the screen, flesh of my flesh, evidence that God exists and that generations will continue, knowing that this is a real person and we can catch a glimpse long before we should. Wonderful.
We saw that little head, beautiful arms, little hand on top of the head. Eyes and lips, tiny cheeks and perfect feet. Sleeping. Curled up and peaceful and still.
Tucked down in mummy's pelvis, facing backwards. Tiny heart fluttering and little sleepy wriggles as unaware, the sonographer measured and captured such perfection and beauty.
Patience as we sat and watched, waiting for the moment. At was the moment, breath held, straining to see on the screen........there it was, that place that we needed to see.....with the umbilical cord RIGHT BETWEEN IT'S LEGS! Little stinker, fast asleep with it's gender covered and NOTHING was going to wake it up, move it, get that cord out of the way. S/he slept.
Oh such disappointment all 'round. We wanted to know so much, so badly and we had such fun planned, buying pink or blue, just knowing and being prepared. In truth, with shame, we forgot for a moment that we had seen and been told that this was a perfect baby, strong and healthy. Gah......stupid sonographer, naughty baby, pppppptttttthhhhhhhh.
The shopping trip was a flop because we are bored with cream stuff and green stuff, we want PINK or blue....just to KNOW!
But we don't, it will be fine. There is talk of a 4D scan at 28 weeks, even then we may not see. No matter, before we know it we will have that little person here with us and all this frustration will be behind us. When we see that baby, will will feel as though we always knew that this was exactly who s/he is. This will be a story to tell at a 5th birthday party, the way we remind Seth how he fooled us into think he was a girl. He laughs so hard when we tell him that story, he tells us he did it on purpose because it was such a funny joke.
I couldn't pick up anything blue, I just forget that I don't know this is a girl. I am particularly bad at guessing the gender of babies, I got it right with Dan and that's it, I am always wrong. I should probably be making blue things and looking at sailboat onesies. I adore baby boys, when I see this baby I will be thrilled and head over heels.
( but I really hope it's a girl,right now, for a moment)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

When you're weary.....

I suggest that you walk right past anything that looks remotely like this.....

And you make something like this, homemade leek and potato soup, with real cream and nutmeg and serve with wholemeal crusty bread and butter.

And if it is still raining and cold, when the kids are in bed and life is looking grand but missing a certain something, have a slice of this...

Which is lemony and light and made by myself, such cake makes ones soul sing and toes will curl in a happy and guilt free way because something that tastes like this, is absolutely and perfectly good in every way.
You will be impressed to know that as well as eat this food today, I did absolutely nothing with regards the move. Nothing. In fact I had the most horrendous headache so I slept. What a marvellous and unproductive day. I rock.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This way, that way, forward, backward.....

Ever had that feeling that everyone wants a piece of you and they want it NOW? It's been one of those days. Not necessarily a bad thing altogether, exhausting yes.
With Sophie, it is always emotionally exhausting. She is a mare. She will make it all sound so dire and she will rub everything in as though this is ALL.MY.FAULT. She did that today but I am learning just how manipulative she can be, I caught her out today and was able to turn it around and show her that sometimes, things are only the way she sees it , because that is how she chooses to see it.
It started with a phone call.
"mum, where are you because I am locked out and cold, Ang is sleeping and no-one is answering the door, I am tired, come and get me and then bring me back here later" ( please? Of course not)
"Soph, I'm right in the middle of baking, I have a few things to do and in an hour I will collect the boys, either you can walk over here and I will run you home, or you can wait and meet me at the school, have dinner here....."
"Forget it, I'll just freeze, I am so cold and what do you care?" Hung up.
'I haven't been this angry in a long time hope ur happy, can't believe u wudnt do something that simple for me'
Text back
'well, I am baking, getting dinner ready, trying to pack to move again, have to collect the boys in an hour, have no petrol money for extra trips, not so simple is it?'
Her text said that she was tired, why couldn't I just do one thing for her...
This went on until I just got tired of trying to explain that she isn't the only person that needs me and although I loved her, she was welcome to come over but I couldn't just drop everything blah blah......poor Sophie, pout in torrential rain, alone and unloved.......when I finished the cake I was making and had everything organised here, the texts were still coming in fast and furious, I drove to the school early ( had a magazine with me) the house she is in is on the route to school. Little bugger wasn't even there! This whole time she was actually with her friend in town!
So glad I have somehow mastered the art of only worrying about those things I am able to change or fix.
She came back with me for an hour or so, played with the boys and then went again.
Then Jordan and Mel came over.....look where my grandbaby is growing....


In there, that teeny tiny little bump has a perfect little person inside it. I think it looks like my leg, with a bump the size of my fat knee.


I've had gas bloating bigger than that. So unfair that people can have these little tummies and then when the child comes out, SNAP right back down again. Unlike my blown up, let down overstretched balloon belly.

Uncle Eli says hello.

And the daddy,


So we looked up names, they love Ellena Grace for a girl, which is really Helen isn't it? After me of course. I told them that is what I would be telling people, so if it is a girl I imagine she will be called Chloe, so as not to confuse me and make me feel overly important, because I could, quite easily turn into hovering Nana, with namesake baby. Given a chance.

We are burying our heads in the sand as far as packing goes, not a bit done, yet. Although having said that, what can we do? We have a massive 11 days to do it. Which is a long time when most of it is still packed from last time. When we came home from our holiday I went through the clothes and took 3 black sacks of stuff to the recycling place because no-one wears this stuff, the boys are weird little same outfit wearing people, 2 sets of clothes, over and over again, while bags of stuff sits waiting to be ironed and put away and never worn, just pulled out, creased and left there. BYE BYE! Gone.
What we have left can be carried in the dressers, or ironing baskets.
We could pack kitchen stuff and tomorrow, maybe we will do just that. Maybe, on the day I will throw it in laundry baskets and drive it to the new house, and then put it straight away. Maybe I will recruit everyone I know to drive here, pack a black sack and drive it to the new house. 57 cars each doing one trip...sorted.
I am so laid back about this whole move I almost impress ( or worry) myself. 11 days, gah! Plenty of time.
All I can say is this....TV, phone and internet are sorted, what more can we need? Beds will take 30 minutes to take down ( so used are we to doing it) we will have all kinds of people to help and carry, van is arranged, I am going to the agency on monday to finalise the last details, can't do anything else there until then. My goodness, I am completely ahead of the game.
Dan has the chance of a great job down here.....wouldn't that be the icing on the cake??
I am about ready to curl up in bed with my splendid book, sleep is still coming easily and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United States of America for somehow curing my insomnia and glory of glories, since we came home, all 3 boys sleep through til 7-7.30 every morning. No more 5am wake ups, truly miraculous.

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Only a week and a day.

That's how long it took school to suck the last of the baby out of Elijah.
That little goofy toothed, thumb sucking blob of messy haired gloriousness has become a regular big boy.
He walks like a big boy and he talks ( actually, maybe not) like a big boy. He struts and follows Isaac ( Ides) he has hands in pockets and he does 'Nuffin', at school. I asked him what he had for lunch because HE eats the hot choice, the lunch that mummy has nothing to do with, he can choose what he eats from a menu that makes H drool, freshly made at the school, with things like side salads and fresh fruit salad, home made pizza and roast chicken dinners. We have persuaded Seth to have the hot lunch on fridays because it is Fish and Chips and he loves that.
So, I asked the boy what he had for lunch today, "Nuffin, acherly it isn't lunch, it's school dinner and I had nuffin, but I did have bezert, " He so DID eat his lunch half of it was still stuck to his sweatshirt and bezert must have been a yoghurt because that was smeared all over his sweat shirt too.
He loves Hannah and I am told that they are pretty much inseparable, he told me that he strokes her hair ( "but I don't pull it, I duss only stroke it and sometimes she does this face" as he shows me a stern, glaring type expression!) he only needs Hannah and he sits with Hannah, he plays with Hannah and Hannah is his best friend.
He has done remarkably well with the 2 full days he has had at school, I am amazed he has stayed awake until 7.30 and is still a very nice little boy to be around ( unlike his brother Isaac, who has driven me almost to distraction with his surly and aggressive behavior this past week or so. I think he may well be feeling the strain of yet another move as well.)
I took his stroller to the tip, such a HUGE statement. I just can't justify keeping a pushchair for a boy who goes to school, I can do all my shopping when he is at school, no need to keep that scruffy old thing in the boot of the car 'just in case'.
It's official, no more baby for me.

UNTIL MAY! Then my grandbaby will be here ( maybe June because the due date is May 30th) On friday we go for the scan that hopefully will show us whether I will be a girl Nana or a boy nana. I have been longing for a girl grandbaby, this week that familiar old feeling of imagining a boy person has made me feel a bit weepy and awwwwwww. Whatever, I get to do all the fun stuff and none of the night time, what's the matter with it OMG what do I DOOOOOOO? stuff. Lovely.
Am going to bed, except I just got hiccups, ow, hurting hiccups..hate those sort, make you feel like you might puke. Am also very itchy tonight, poor H, no wonder he gets up just after I go to bed. HIC, scratch, snore, HIC!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Come into my parlour......

BEcause I went to MY new house today, with a camera and tape measure, so I could walk around MY house and see what furniture will fit.
Most of it and the rest? You know our crap that I love and am tired of dumping every 3 months, we can take it because LOOK!

HUGE loft with ladder and empty so we can fill it with boxes and stuff and whatever we like.

And we have patterny carpets that I love because I am almost a Nana ( and in 3 days time I will know if I am going to a girl nana or a boy nana and can life get more exciting or not????) But those curtains? I will never be old enough to love those curtains! We shall immediately replace them with beautiful and tasteful ones.


Lovely bay window in lounge, that isn't big enough to take all our sofas and chairs but who cares??
Very ugly fireplace that will wither away into the background once our things are in there.

but oh, LOOK


Lovely, lovely kitchen, which is lovely and mine. SO many cupboards and such light and dirty cooker. Dear Life, does NO-ONE ever clean the damn cooker when they leave these houses? How come I always clean the stove ( but not this time, oh no. Not even a wipe)

And stairs and banisters

Shiny banisters, lovely stairs, without creaking boards and stained carpets, with no smells and itchy feet making stuff.

For some reasaon, everywhere I needed to stand to take a good picture, the estate agent boy ( who was no older than Jordan, I am so old) was in the way, so these pictures are just good enough for me to look at and remember how much I need to be there, they aren't good enough to convince anyone else that it is truly a haven from the world.
They came out dark because the flash didn't work half the time and none of the rooms is shown in full, just lumps of room. My favourite part ( apart from the kitchen) is the hallway and young, why isn't he at school, does his mother know he is out on his own estate agent boy was IN THE WAY! So I just could not get a picture of how grand and wide and beautiful it is, just a very unsatisfactory one of the wrong bit, looking all tired and old lady-ish.

The upstairs landing though.....all wide and spacious, with lovely skylights that open and will let heavenly breezes in during the hot summer evenings that we WILL have this year.


And ooooooooh, CLEAN and shiny shower in new bathroom which has cupboards and shelves.


And bedrooms, with fireplaces.


And bay windows.


( and awful carpet, ask me if I care!)

Workshop for H who makes things, and is happy with such spaces where he can whittle and saw, with ear phones in and a song in his heart. ( but not his ears because MUSIC? On his iPOd, I should jolly well think not, pod casts and interesting discussions. Indeed.)


It does have some antwacky old things in there, but to me, they add character ( apart from the ugly glass sliding door at the top of the stairs which hides the ugliest mirror STUCK to the wall, with pictures of palm trees on, in fact I almost wish the mirror had Elvis on because at least then Isaac would appreciate it, this mirror is SO UGLY, even with my rose tinted glasses I can't like that mirror.)

So, I made a decision on the letter, landlady and I are done and dusted. 2 more weeks and this shall all be a memory.
I got a lot done today, with my littlest boy at school all day. I do believe we can get all this done.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

More for my benefit than entertainment, maybe!

Whenever I lie in a hot bath, I find myself having such thoughts that make me almost hurry and get out because MUST BLOG..must remember that and write it down so in 3 years time I can look back and remember and laugh ( or cry) then, by the time I have finished my ablutions, dried my tired but clean and refreshed body and put some comfy PJs and soft slippers on, I have forgotten what was so intruiging, so hysterically funny, so unbelievably important that I must document it for posterity. Not surprising because if I forget in btween legs to shave the second one,when all I have to do is lather up and rinse the razor, well, of course I'm going to blank out and blink hard in an effort to remember after 25 minutes of activity aren't I?
Today though, I was thinking about how I must sound so whiny about the endless ' must find the money' situations we are always in. ( Blimey, in a totally different train of thought, it's raining so hard I just had to turn the TV up! Better move the sofa over there while I'm at'll be rained on in about 3 minutes)
So, whilst soaking away my cares just now I was thinking about the ways we are saving money to try and gather together the shortfall for the newest move. Typically, because this is so boring for anyone else but will be one of those " Oooh listen H! Remember when we did THIS?" moments in our lives ( for me, because H? When I do that in 3 years times he will nod and smile while trying not to let me see that he has his ear phones in and his iPod on and cannot hear a single word I am saying) Anyway, typically etc etc I can remember that I wanted to write this down, so here we go.
We have a card for our gas, every week we put on as much as we need and plug it in....instant warmth and hot water and no bills, marvellous, bugger if you forget and it runs out and then you have to dash out and finda garage that is open at night ( which never happens because I am organised and remember these things because every THURSDAY we must do that!)
Right now H and I only have the heating on when the boys are at home and awake, when they go to school, we wear jumpers and use blankets, when they go to bed and when they are fast asleep and toasty, we use hot water bottles and blankets and I use him when I go to bed and his side is warm and my side is hurty and cold.
We are ( again) eating what we have in the cupboards and freezer ( unless I go out with Jane and we see lime and hinger fish goujons for £1 a pack and MUST EAT THEM, which we did and YUM.) I am making £5 a day feed all of us every day and even feeding other people sometimes ( but not often)
My lovely free car is saving us a fortune, when the old one gave up the ghost it was doing 23 miles for every £10 petrol I put in it. OUCH.
The new little, zippy number that turns on a sixpence and even sings to me while I drive, ( still not over the joy of RADIO, while I drive MUSIC.....marvellous) anyway, new one, this week did 86 miles on £10 of petrol HOW FABULOUS IS THAT?? It has no clock though, which drives me batty.
I hope that tomorrow I hear that I have sold the trampoline, that would knock £100 off that lump I can't yet find.
I gave away some stuff on freecycle this weekend so the reading / dog pooh room is pretty clear so we can start putting boxes and cases in there as we pack them. I did a run to the tip and cleared a bit more space.
I had a letter from Landlady saying that she had spoken with the council and they had told her that indeed she should have invested that money and should make attempts to do so immediately.She said that she would invest ourmoney immediately ( for 2 weeks???)
I'm not sure how to feel about that, the fact that she spoke with the council worries me as that would be the very place that she could cause trouble for us.
I let go of the anger I felt when we were told that we couldn't take action against her in case she caused trouble for us for a stupid mistake I made.
I realised that she can keep £750 and then we are free of her and this house, troubles over. Her troubles are going nowhere, she has several houses that are not selling, can't be rented because they need repairs she can't afford. Most of her actions are done out of fear and ignorance, she is sinking and the £750 she can keep that belongs to us, won't even begin to help her out.
I am sure we will find what we need somehow and then we will be fine, we start again and we have what we have sought all along.
I drafted a letter to her that I will probably send tomorrow, I want her to have written notice that we are moving because the letter she wrote sounds as though she doesn't think we are actually going. She didn't give us a reference and I suspect she thinks that has stopped us being able to go. She has no idea that her word isn't of any value anyway as her reputation preceds her, especially with the agency that we are working with on the new house, our reputation however is in good stead.

This is the letter, I would appreciate your views..unless you read this mid week when it will be too late!

Dear Landlady,
Thankyou for writing and explaining about the deposit, after our conversation last week I was left feeling frustrated and somewhat disappointed.I know pretty much what is 'within our rights' and also what legally, you are entitled to do.
Due to experiences in the past, I have made it my business to know exactly where I stand and have been accused of being a little TOO obsessive about documenting and taking pictures, making sure that I won't get walked all over. I do do my homework and usually have a good knowledge of where I stand.
Since we first became your tenants, up until quite recently, I felt that we had a mutual trust and respect, both helping each other out and trying to do what is good and right. Moving to this house changed a lot of those feelings.

This house has been a bad one to live in, the appalling condition when we took it over, the sheer volume of work and expense ( and I DO appreciate that you did compensate us for our expenses, that has been the only thing that kept me from completely losing it while cleaning and heaving my way through the filth.)
Moving is incredibly stressful, horribly expensive with all the hidden expenses, cable vs freeview, BT vs cable, deposits, money up front ( that calor gas was a killer for example) vans, petrol, cleaning stuff.
This house has so many extra costs, the new toilet seat, replacing the sink ( while the sink was free the new tap, pipes, sealant etc weren't ), putting on padlocks and repairing the door and window after the attempted break in too, the list seems endless.
To move from the Barn after only EIGHT weeks was unbelievable, I was so tempted to just put my foot down and say no, but I didn't. I retracted my instructions to the estate agents and once again we put aside what would have been better for us and accomodated your wishes.

In lovely town house that we first rented, when we had every one and his aunt telling us to sit tight, force an eviction, go through the courts, we refused, I even went as far as seeing a solicitor to prevent having to put you and the new owners through that.

We were very grateful to move to the barn, we hired expensive equipment to get through that paddock and make it wonderful, we put in hours of work getting it looking lovely and we enjoyed our time there,we cleaned, we dusted and washed, we fixed the gates, we did everything we could to keep it nice. We didn't complain about the broken shower, the broken dishwasher, the fridge door that kept falling off, we just fixed what we could and forgot about the things we couldn't. We believed you when you said you would refund us the £160 for the gas in the tank, we were disappointed to hear that you wouldn't do that because 'you aren't using it ', neither are we, we don't have access to it, we have no way of making up that money.
We tried to let that go, but when we are living here, with the smell of damp, with the rain coming in the front room, having to move the sofa into the middle of the room to avoid being rained on, being magnaminous is very tough. That was the turning point, that was what made me decide that it was time to do what is best for my family.
The floor in the bathroom in this house is so much more than an inconvenience, it is dangerous, the whole floor gives when we walk into the bathroom and now the landing floor is 'bouncing' too. The smell is intolerable to me, the wood is completely rotten.
Whilst we have infinite sympathy for your plight, with empty houses and the terrible housing market ect, it really isn't our problem, we have tried so hard to be patient and understanding, not be whiners and endlessly trouble you to repair and make good.
We asked in September and again in October about the floor, when you said that you simply couldn't afford the repairs we understood and decided that the only thing we could do was move, find a house that we could hope to stay in longer than 6-12 months, that was safe and affordable for us. £750 is more than we can afford, we are given £612 a month, having to find that extra £138 every month, from benefits, for a house that has made me physically ill and the rest of us just plain miserable is just unacceptable to me. You aren't able to work with us on that and so we feel we have no choice but to leave.
So, we have found a house, perfect for us, back in the town and in our price range, parking and outside play space for the boys. We are moving on January 28th, we are happy to be able to do this and look forward to being able to settle and get our family back into a routine and contented again.
I understand that legally, you are entitled to keep £750 of our deposit, I accept that, whilst the idea that you WILL withold that money disappoints me and for a while made me furious and indignant, I now feel that to allow myself to continue to feel such anger and resentment does nothing but harm me and cause feelings of contention that I can well live without.
So, I leave the ball in your court, I do trust that you will take into consideration what is right, as well as legal. I am saddened that what used to be a mutually helpful and friendly aquaintance seems to have fallen to unhappy levels of 'what I am entitled to,' incredibly unhealthy and certainly unhappy for all of us. You can decide what steps to take next.
When we leave, I will mail a key to you and leave the rest in the house, we will leave the house relatively clean and tidy ( though don't bank on a gleaming cooker again, that stove is beyond cleaning.....even so, it is 300 times better than when we moved here! ) Although the tenacy agreement says we should leave the house in the state in which we found it, allowing for wear and tear, in all conscience I couldn't do that to another human being. ( sometimes sticking rigidly to a signed agreement isn't always called for and is, in fact a beneficial thing)
I cried every day for 5 weeks over having to move into this house, I would never expect anyone else to feel that badly.
I will contact you when we are settled in our new home, until then, after the 28th if you can contact me via mum's address that I sent you before we went away ( nice new house that makes her happy).
I hope you manage to sell / rent your houses soon, I do understand how worrying the situation must be for you. If you decide to re-rent this one I suggest you really get it repaired and made safe before any new tenants move in, it would be foolhardy to expect anyone else to be understanding under such circumstances.
So, unless we speak before then we will be out of stinking misery house on the 28th January, Yours sincerely . Helen.

I do know that it should say faithfully but I don't have faith in her and I am being incredibly sincere, so there. Also I replaced address and names with flippant comments, the original letter is more formal ( although, how I would love to write 'stinking misery house')
2 weeks, that's all until we leave this house for pastures new ( again) I feel calm and happy about it and because I just couldn't in my heart, accept that we would have to stay here, there is little packing to do because it's all still packed!
I am either numb to all this stress and suposition OR I have learned that we need just enough worry to get us moving, get the thingsthat need to be done, accomplished and no more. Worrying and wringing ofhands gets us nowhere, I can either worry until my skin falls off, or I can get on with things and sleep well ( oh glorious Nytol, my new and faithful friend) I can suppose and wonder and fret or I can Not. Think. At. All. Lovely, not thinking. I recommend it to everyone.
Do what you can, shut the door on it and see what happens. All that wisdom and only 45. I wish I could tell you some of the stuff that has led me to such blase acceptance ( and in fairness I have told most of it but some of it? Gosh darn it all, can't write it here......but ha! How liberal and laid back I am these days)
So, new week, with my littlest boy staying at school all day tomorrow .8.40am until 3.30pm.Long day for a little chap who still sucks his thumb, pees himself when very busy ( oh, never mind, it don't matter) and who falls asleep if he sits still any time after 1pm. He really IS still such a baby to me. I keep thinking about what needs to be done and saying, to myself, " Ha! I shall do that on monday /tuesday/wednesday/ thursday / friday when the boys are at school" H and I are giddy with the idea of what we can achieve, but also ( don't tell anyone) there has been a lot of talk like " when I was at the job center last week" and " When I went to such and such a place and asked about teaching in this country"
and then ( from me) " Where? Sorry? Who? When...did you? Pardon?" That sort of talk. Yes. Me too. Bloody hell. ( oh dear, was definitely going to work on my swearing and language etc but then, well bloody hell!)
So, all kinds of things going on. Indeed.

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