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!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Patience is a virtue...

Patience is a virtue, find it if you can,
Often in a woman but never in a man.

Or me.

I am not patient, I can be patient, to start with, I am all ' It's fine, all is well, this is fine, lovely...' and then, usually in the last stretch I turn into a toddler with all the stamping and pouting and sighing, plenty of sighing.

I want my car. NOW. THIS WEEK, tomorrow or even yesterday.
This week is one of much to-ing and fro-ing. Isaac has a school play and he says he is in it, he has taken his costume ( which was meant to be a suit, shirt and tie but became dark jeans, white shirt, jacket and I don't want to wear a tie because I am being Jeremy Clarkson and he doesn't wear a tie and Ms C says she is so thrilled that he said he will do it and has actually done the dress rehearsal and even said words and everything that she doesn't care about the tie and ISN'T THIS MARVELLOUS? ) So the play is tuesday lunch time, tuesday evening, wednesday evening. So, home from school, eat and right back to school and then home again. In torrential rain, because YES if we haven't had torrential rain every single day, bar one, since the old car said goodbye and died on us. More rain forecast for the next 48 hours, wouldn't you know it. I suspect the sun'll come out next week, when we have a car and no-one has to go to school. Which in it's own self is glorious because we shall travel and marvel aloud at how spacious our new car is and how shiny, aren't we LUCKY? It would just be lovely if the car was already here, that's all.

Did I say that I sold the old car? I forget, I might have been a bit quiet about it because paranoia set in about the whole malicious bidder thing, WAS IT YOU? Did you read my listing via FB and decide I was far too cocky for my own good and needed bringing down a peg or two ?
Who could possibly hate ME so much ( apart from her and also, her) don't think I haven't made a mental list and put a cross next to your name!

I did the paranoia for about 30 minutes and became so exhausted by it I stopped, life is a bit short isn't it, to carry around hate and misery, some people do it and you only have to look at their pinched faces to see how that is working for them to know it's not a good idea.
So, I sold the car to a family who are so excited about it and they have someone who can mend it and then, well then they will love it as much as I did. Couldn't be better.
I also decided to file a non payment strike against idiot who 'won' the auction on Ebay, purely so that in my mind, on wednesday, it will all be closed and done with, I can move on and put that sorry experience behind me.
So, the whole point of this entry is to say that I WANT MY CAR NOW, in the hopes that I can avoid being a whiney brat in real life.
Just a few more days of walking in the rain. I hope.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Cast your bread upon the waters....

..and it comes back buttered.
That's what my auntie Margaret used to say, she wasn't really my auntie but I knew her from a little girl, she was always there and I adored her. She was easily 50 years older than me but we were friends. When I was a single mother, with 3 little children we, auntie Margaret and I would go out for jaunts every wednesday, I would drive and she would pay for the petrol and we would laugh like drains the whole day.
I wonder what a sight we must have been, a sad and nervy 27 year old with a crippled and laughing old lady, she was a big woman was auntie Margaret and she loved to feed people, I think I caught something from her because darn it, if I'm not getting more and more like her the older I get!
We would go exploring and always visit places we hadn't been before, we would eat lunch and she would tell me stories of her childhood, charging kids on the street to come and see her dead baby brother, a common occurance back in the day, in the tough streets Auntie Margaret was raised in. Different men who would come in and out of her mother's life, dead babies and horrible abuse. The stuff of novels and epic movies, but every word true. She had experienced things the worst nightmares are made of and she would sit and wipe the tears from her face as they spilled like rivers down her plump cheeks. Then she would laugh about something until she cried again.
She would see homeless people on the streets and take them home, she would feed them and clean them and wash their feet. She would love them to within an inch of their lives and then she would set them out, to start new and prodcutive lives, forever changed because she had taught them what real love was.
She always called these people 'My' My Dave, My Colin, My darlin'.
She never mentioned what she did for people, she would just wink and say " They'll be alright, you see" and usually, they were.
She would say over and over again "cast your bread upon the waters and they come back buttered" and then explain that if you share what you have and do it with real love, you will never be without, she would tell me that if I ever had money and I tried to hold onto it, hoard it, selfishly hide it, I might keep what I had but it would bring nothing but misery. Because I have a mother who has always lived by the same rule, only my mum has never had anything much to share, it wasn't hard for me to know and see the truth of her words and I never have had to think about what to do with my money.
I don't have lots of money but I have enough for all that we need and some for things we want. I feel blessed and I think of Auntie Margaret and I hope she can see that I listened.
I'm not going to say what I do because the right hand should never know what the left is doing. It isn't important, I mention it only because, without fail whenever I do something for someone else, however small, it comes back to me 10 fold.
Sometimes I laugh because darn it if I can't get rid of the small 'extra' I have!
This week has been one of enormous gratitude for me.
The car died and I cried, then I took a deep breath and knew that this was a minor setback, it is a THING for goodness sake, things are always replaceable.
I set about selling the old car and I started a half hearted look for a 'new' one.
I never seem to look for things for long, I decide or am told that I need something and suddenly, there it is..that's what I need, fancy that! The same thing happened with this car. I saw it while trawling through cars online and "That's it!" I saw the price and took a 2nd look and couldn't imagine how I would find that amount but I knew this was the car and knew somehow I would do it.
It was £2, 695. That's a lot of money when you live week to week and manage to squirrel a tiny amount away for an emergency. I went to see it and opened my mouth and the words " I'll have this one" came out. I handed over £700 which was all I had in the world and I walked away with a receipt and a tiny flutter of panic.
I knew this was a good car and I was particularly thrilled to learn that with it, comes a lifetime warranty on the engine, all the expensive bits that go wrong right when you can't afford it for as long as I have the car or until I do a million miles. Sold to the lady with £700 and a huge dollop of faith.
I have almost done it. I hope that by next week it will be paid for.

Shiny, isn't it?

How did we do it? Well I just kept doing what Auntie Margaret told me.
My bread came back buttered and then someone put jam on it.
I'm not saying someone came along and paid it all for us, that isn't the case, although someone did send a generous gift along with all her love and I am hoping beyond hope that she gets her bread back toasted and filled with all things delicious.
H's dad is so generous and he used to help us all the time, since we came back to England and he has been to visit, he has seen that we don't need his help anymore, I love that he knows we are OK, sometimes though he surprises us with his generosity and he really did that this week.
We have budgeted and cut things to the bone to find the money for the car and we have been helped and the most striking thing I feel about this week is that if you feel something is right, if you believe that you can do something, then you should go ahead and try.
I also have a stronger than ever conviction that you should always share what you have, you won't ever suffer if you do that, you won't lie on your death bed and say " Oh I wish I'd held onto my stuff more"
It doesn't have to be a grand gesture, sometimes you will suddenly think of thing and feel so compelled to do it, I remember once, when my sister Julie and I were out in Plymouth, it was the middle of a beautiful hot summer and we were by the sea eating a delicious 'Opal fruits' ice lolly, ice cream covered in real fruity icy. As we walked along, a lady at church popped into my head and I said " M needs one of these!" Julie looked at me and told me I was losing it and I said " No, really, we have to buy one of these and take it to her" So we went and we bought a box of 5 and we drove to this ladies house, she opened the door and I said "Oh M, you are going to think I have lost my mind but I suddenly thought of you when we were eating a lolly and I knew I had to bring you some they are SO GOOD!"
Her eyes filled with tears and then she told us ( have goosepimples just remembering that moment) that she had been having chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer and she showed us how her whole mouth was filled with sores and ulcers and then she said " My husband has been away on business for 3 days and I have turned my freezer and all my cupboards out trying to find something juicy to eat, I couldn't find are the answer to my prayers!"
£2 for a box of lollies was the sum of someone's heartfelt prayer. I often imagine if I had ignored that bizarre thought I had..that was no thought, that was the still, small voice of the spirit whispering to me so that I could be the answer to her prayers. The Lord uses other people to answer our prayers whenever He can, He gives us countless opportunities to love one another and to serve each other.
I am so sure that we will be blessed when we do what we can for others, He doesn't want us to go without, He doesn't expect us to suffer in order to help one another but I truly believe He expects us to do what we can with a smile on or faces and love in our hearts.
I am so glad that I am able to share what I have, be it my time, my experience, my substance or my heart. I have been taught well by my parents and by people like Auntie Margaret, by others who come into my life just as I need them, who quickly become so important to me that I can't remember a time when they weren't there.
They help me when I need it and I always promise them that when an opportunity comes my way I will pay it forward and it is always a joy to do just that.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've had better days....

I'm glum today, all sort of crumpled and weary.
I don't like feeling this way and so have tried to get over it. I'm sure I will get over it but it didn't happen today.
The Ebay auction went well, lots of people watching and taking interest, lots of people read the page and some emailed me.
I showed the car to a few people, answered questions, replied to emails.
The winning bid was for £385.90, which for a broken car is a great price, huge help towards the new car. I opened the email from Ebay giving me details of the winner and immediately felt uneasy. The winner had 0 feedback, oh well, we all have to start somewhere but buying a car as your first ebay experience? Iffy.
Lives hundreds of miles away. Buying a broken car when you live several hours away? Wouldn't that be a stupid move?
I sent an email saying congratulations and asking that she pay within 3 days.
No reply.
No communication at all.
This morning, I called the phone number sent by Ebay. It was a business, the person on the phone had no idea what I was talking about and knew no-one by the name I was given.
I googled the address, it's a fake one, again a business address.
All this means is stress, hassle, time and energy and even money wasted.
I am now supposed to wait 4 days, then I can file a complaint and a non payment action. Then I am supposed to wait another 4 days to see if the winner will respond to the communication from Ebay. After 7 days I can relist the car.
Why? Why would anyone take so much time and effort to make someone else miserable? The only reason for this was to cause me trouble and inconvenience. What makes somebody so bitter, so miserable that they feel this is a way to cheer themselves up? What a pathetic and hopeless life this individual must have.
I am relieved that I have a buyer for the car, I won't believe it until it has been picked up and paid for.
I have tried to not let the whole car dying thing get to me, it is a huge deal. I do not have money enough that I can just shrug my shoulders and buy another one. I have 4 weeks to find £1,800. I believe I can do it and making that money on the old car would help enormously....I am just so sad that someone felt the need to be so spiteful as to make it all harder than it needs to be.
I am trying not to go down the 'why ME' road, I am assuming it is an anonymous person with too much time on their hands, someone who has no friends and little joy. I keep pushing away the thoughts that it could be someone that specifically wanted to hurt ME...I hope there isn't anyone that feels so badly towards me personally that they would go to these lengths to vent their spleen.
I am astounded by how much I rely on a car, I should probably be horrified but I'm not.
Incredible how much more planning has to go into every day living just to do what we need to do.
I really never took too much notice of how many steep hills are involved in getting to the places we avoiding those hills and my legs are screaming with displeasure and discomfort!
As if that wasn't all bad enough, yesterday, dare I say it? We had a RAT in the house, in the front room even, in broad daylight.
I just felt as though that was the perfect end to a revolting day.
I do wish I had seen the performance in the front room with H and Sophie.....she saw it, he got a long stick and was trying both to sweep under the sofa and jump to avoid the rat and scare it out of hiding!
It ran over Sophie's foot ( oh so glad that wasn't ME!)
They then blocked off the hallway, opened the front door and scared it right out of the house!
Today I went and bought these, I hope they work as the reviews say they do because I simply cannot do that whole rat thing again. I can't.
We have no idea how that thing even got in, the holes are blocked, they haven't been opened again, no new holes. I'm not thinking about it anymore. Gah.
So today has been a glum day. Not depressed, just glum.
The rain doesn't help, endless rain, thankfully we had sunshine on Sunday as we walked to church, apart from that it has rained and that does not help with the misery of walking everywhere, not at all.
Tomorrow I shall endeavor to pull myself up by the bootstraps ( is that the saying?) and cheer myself up, carry on and calm down ( should be carry on and keep calm but for me, calm down fits better because you can't keep calm unless you already ARE calm can you?)
Today I wallowed as we all ought to be allowed sometimes. Happy that the day is almost over though.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

All in a day's work.

Well, who'd have thought seems I bought a new car today! I say new and I mean new to us, I say bought and I mean paid a deposit. I now have 4 weeks to find the balance.
It is more money than I knew I could find but I do know I can find it, it will mean tightening our belts and living on the food we have in the pantry. It will mean that I will be saying 'no' for a few weeks to things that I usually don't have to think about.
I like doing this, it is great for me to have a challenge, I know I can do this and when it is done and we have our new car outside our house and it is paid, in full, I know I will feel enormous satisfaction.
It's a Chrysler Voyager, in a very pleasing Aubergine colour.


I have listed the old car on Ebay, do you want to see what I wrote?

I wrote this...

I am listing this car with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, what a lovely shiny car, starts first time, even when it snows.

I have loved this car and treated it well, I clean it and tell it often how thrilled I am with it as it ferries my children and me from A to B. Because I love it and am a kind owner I booked it in for a full service, before I booked it in, I even googled what to expect from a full service and I recommend should YOU google this, you not omit the word 'Car' when asking what to expect from a full CAR service, not adding that word may well result in you throwing your hands up in horror and exclaiming OH!!! Oh NO!!! I didn't mean THAT kind of service QUICK! QUICK get RID OF THAT PAGE!"

See? See how kind I am?

Anyway, I booked this lovely, clean, slightly scratched from narrow hedgerow roads and children with scooters and no cares in the world, in for it's full CAR service, telling the mechanic to treat it well and make sure he gives it whatever it needs to make it feel loved and happy to carry on ferrying me and my ungrateful children from pillar to post.

2 hours after leaving this lovely, well loved car with well instructed mechanics, I received a phone call to tell me that this car is very broken. How so? I enquired. It is shiny and clean and has an engine that looks hardly used, how is it very broken?

He began to list the things that render this car broken and I believed him.

The engine is great, the car body is great, unfortunately pretty much everything that holds the great engine in the great car body is broken.

I remember him listing the engine mounts, gear box mounts, steering mounts ( or was that column, my brain was beginning to freeze in horror by this time) the CV joint is split or cracked or whatever that thing does and has leaked grease where grease does not belong. The Wheel bearings are something, who knows, whatever they are it wasn't good, broken would probably describe it well enough.

He also told me that one of the tyres is terrible and dangerous and the brakes, well they are awful too and I am pretty sure it wasn't just the shoes ( shoes? Do brakes have shoes? ) well they are shot and he said the back brakes are leaking so I ought to be careful when driving this shiny car home.

The drivers window doesn't work either, it needs a new regulator and I already knew that but didn't care, I was looking out for a 2nd hand one, now I am GLAD I didn't fix it because look at how this car repays me for being so kind to it, serves it right if it has a broken window regulator.

So, here we have a shiny car, with scratches and a lovely clean working engine that has to go. I have to admit that I feel quite cross as I watch my neighbour in his scruffy old car that makes noises MY car would never dream of making, drive off in his still working car while my nicer looking than HIS old car sits laughing at me outside the house as I walk everywhere I need to go, in the rain.

I know that there are many mechanically minded people out there who will see my car and be EXCITED because HOORAY they can FIX IT or use it to fix cars just like it, so I am posting it in the hope that just one such clever person will see it and take it away and give me money for it towards a new car that will both look nice and work.

I am putting a reserve in it only to make myself feel better, I cannot just give the good bits of the car away and neither can I, ( literally,I actually can't,) take it apart and sell all the great bits that work so beautifully for what they are worth. Be kind to me as you bid and I will be happy to let you take my lovely car away and will try very hard not to throw myself on the road and cry as you take it away.

That got me some interest and a phone call from someone asking me if he could come and see the car, then he didn't show up, which annoys me so much, why can't people call and say they can't make it after all, so then, I wrote this....

just had a thought, that happens sometimes, I try to make the most of thoughts while they are still in my head, before they fizzle out and disappear along with my childrens' names and my postcode etc.

May I just say that if you bid and win this splendid broken car, I expect you to pay for it and take it away promptly, within 3 days. I once had someone click 'buy it now' on a car I was selling and then he never turned up, stopped anyone else bidding, cost me £30 listing fee and vanished, if I could remember his name I would probably name and shame him but I forget, which isn't surprising because if anyone asks me where I live I am oft found muttering and saying things like " Oh, hmmm, up that really steep hill"

Don't worry though because my husband has the memory of an elephant so when the time comes I will be sure to ask him what our address is and he will make sure you come to the right place.

You are more than welcome to come and view the car but if you say you are coming and then you are late, or don't turn up I tend to become very grumpy. If I can be on time for things and have the good manners to do what I say I will do, and I have SIX children then I am perfectly within my rights to expect the same from you. ( hang on a moment while I check my emails to make sure that man who said he would be here an hour and 12 minutes ago hasn't emailed me to say he can't make it....nope, no such apologetic email although there are 12 stupid forward emails from my ex husband, though why he thinks I am at all interested in those would be a whole other topic of conversation....) Oh LOOK! Am grumpy! How rude!

So, only bid if you really want this car and if you ask to come and see it, please do, or let me know that you can't make it, it's only polite after all and as Miss Crump always said " manners maketh man" I have found, as I get older, that good old Miss Crump, domestic science teacher of 1975 was rarely mistaken.

The bidding has already hit the reserve ( which was pitifully low) and there are 32 people watching it, the auction ends on monday afternoon, I forget how exciting it is to sell something on ebay. I enjoy that thrill but I am a humble soul and so easily pleased!

I have had another man come and check out the old car and he loved it, didn't seem phased by the repairs that need doing and wanted to buy it there and then, 2 bids had already been made on ebay though so he has to bid with the rest of them and take his chances. Oh I hope I get a good amount for it that will go towards the new car.
I am so excited that we have found a 7 seater car again. I know it will cost more to run, I will have to curb the trips I make but I love that we can fit a car seat for Joshua and when we go out Mel and Josh can come too, Mel gets so lonely when Jordan is at work so it will be great that they can come out when we go anywhere.

I have been aware of how lucky we are, I know that these things come along and it is always such a blow but for us it is an irritant and a temporary hiccup, we live in such a way that we can usually manage to sort ourselves out in a few weeks.
I love that H is as determined as I am that we don't borrow large amounts of money, that we love by the thought that is we can't afford to buy something, we can't afford to have it. There is nothing worse to me that having something and still find yourself paying for it long after the novelty has worn off.
I like that we have a great store cupboard so that when something like this happens, we can live on that food and avoid having to shop.
I love that I am a squirreler, I syphon money into various different places and earmark it for various things, I put all my change every day into a huge bottle and when we emptied that yesterday there was £258 on it! I have been putting money on a gift card for Asda and when I checked yesterday there was £100 on that.
I have rewards on various store cards and when I went to pick up some bottled water and toilet paper today I only had to pay 80p!
I already have all the stuff for the Easter baskets so no worries about that.
I always feel sick when I am about to make a major purchase and today I had to laugh when I went to see the car with my sister and called H, he told me to just go ahead and buy the car if I liked it. I can't buy a chest of drawers without H making sure it is 'right' he has such definite thoughts on things but a car? Meh, get what you like! He is so eccentric and unpredictable at times!
I panic when I sign on that dotted line and am immediately filled with every kind of worry and 'what if' I am getting better at telling myself that worrying before there is anything to actually worry about is a waste of energy, sometimes it works, sometimes, not.
Before I went to see the car I read every review I could find on it ( all pretty great!) I worked out how much more it would cost to run, I did bank checks and rechecked what money we have and what is coming and so I know that we can do it but as soon as I handed over that big, non refundable deposit my stomach lurched.
Oh but it's a pretty looking car! ( it doesn't smell as good as the broken one though, bother!)
I am so excited about the space, the leg room the fact that each boy gets his own seat and they won't be touching when they are in the car, no more elbowing and bickering if they are in the car longer than 15 minutes ( although the bickering might continue, my memory tells me that it is further away, diluted and considerably less annoying!)
I loved my recently dead car, I never failed to feel happy when I went out in it, I hope I will feel as thrilled with the new one.
I'm not sure I have the best luck with cars, seems I write about cars dying and having to be replaced more often than I would like but I suppose that comes with buying older cars, you can't have it all ways can you?
So, here was go again, old car leaving, new car on the horizon. Lucky me.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

My car died today, not just oh dear, that's a nuisance will need to get that fixed, oh no, not just that way. It has been 'off' for a while, the gear box moves when I accelerate, there has been a droning noise that could no longer be drowned out by Heart FM. The brakes were grinding and that worried me enough to think that perhaps I should get that checked out, so I squirrelled some money away, took a deep breath and today I put it in the garage f or a service, I thought I would give it a real treat as it has been such a splendid car and even though we have had it for 18 months or more I still feel happy when I return to it after shopping. It has been a great car and caused me no trouble, it starts first time, even in the freezing winter temperatures. I pat it often and tell it I am pleased with it and so, because I like it I was going to let it have all new filters and fluids, new brakes and make it feel all beloved.
It was with the mechanics for 2 hours when they called and told me, forgive me for not remembering everything they said, that the following problems were evident.
Engine mounts ...stuffed, broken, dangerous.
Gearbox above.
Wheel bearings ( all) knackered.
1 tyre was split and very dangerous.
Cylinders, all shot and gone to hell.
CV joint split, dead, leaking, hopelessly gone.
Steering mount, buggered.
I stopped him there with a feeble " That's not good is it? As in no point carrying on "
Then he told me that it would cost considerably more than a replacement car.
I cried, for an acceptable length of time, perhaps 10 minutes because after all, it is a car, a lump of metal, an inanimate object. It is my inanimate object though and it offers me such freedom. I loved that it was paid for and non worrisome, I never had to wonder where a payment was coming from and I like that in a car.
I do dream of a jazzy auto and will admit to more than a fleeting stab of envy when my uncle showed me his brand spanking new 7 seater, that he drives around with 2 of the seats removed. I would love to own a shiny car with leather smell and impressive extras but deep down, I like paid for much more.
I live in a place with narrow, bendy roads, more often than not I am shoved into a hedgerow by some road hog in a bigger, smarter car and the sides of my cars get scratched, I see those scratches and will tut and sigh and then shrug my shoulders because, hey it's 10 years old, it starts every time, it makes me happy and it's paid for, so what?
I have to park my car right up to the wall and every day little boys rush past with their scooters or bikes and more often than not they scrape the car. A new car would have me neurotic and shaking every time the possibility of a scratch or a ding, life is just too short to worry about lumps of metal that can't be scraped up a bit.
So, not a new car for me, no payments because even if anyone would give me credit I would just end up hating the car if it came to worrying about how to pay for it. So I need to find one that I can afford, that is economical to run and that I will smile at when I return with a full trolley of shopping.
That's a pretty tall order when you see my bank balance and look at the cars available. I think it might take a while, not a long while but a while nonetheless.
I don't think it will hurt me, walking is a good form of exercise, one that I hate must be said but I can do it and I expect I will save lots of money because there is no way I am stomping up this hill with bags of shopping, no way at all. I shall pick up what we need or H will go, my friend has chickens and she delivers glorious free range eggs and this very evening is bringing organic sausages and pork chops from her very own reared pig.
All the supermarkets deliver if you shop online.
The hardest part for me will be walking to pick the boys up every day, no sitting in my car reading magazines, but walking, up hills and down dales in all weathers, standing at the gate until they open and then waiting for the boys and following behind wheezing "WAIT!" while they shoot ahead on scooters. I won't like that and I'm not going to pretend I will!
I am always amazed at the things I see and hear when I walk somewhere. Walking behind a lady wearing corduroy trousers and hearing that 'zipp' noise.
Walking behind a young man and wondering how he would react if I stopped him to tell him he really ought to get some sturdy walking shoes because those flimsy canvas ones are damaging his ankles with every step.
I see houses I didn't know existed, hear all manner of conversation as people speak with loud voices, oblivious to everyone around them.
It has been glorious weather here lately, of course, today, as soon as I got that phone call the heavens opened and haven't closed yet, rain and more rain. Isn't that just sod's law?
I am sad that my lovely car is no more and I am a little puzzled about what to do with it, the engine is great, the mechanic told me, it still looks new in fact and works like a charm. it's the stuff that's meant to be holding it in that's useless. I hate to just scrap it, surely someone could make use of the beautiful engine and the splendid seats and such. This is when you need someone 'in the know' Someone who could say ' Take it here! ' they will help you.
Fat lot of hood it is having all these sons and all they can do is cook ..I know how to cook, why didn't they learn mechanics and manly pursuits like that?
Bloody chefs indeed.
Jordan cooked dinner for 157 mothers on mother's day and let me tell you not one of them was ME... blasted ingrate.
I am surprisingly calm about the whole thing, maybe at last I am learning the art of thinking that if there is nothing I can do about it there is no point fretting about it. That would be lovely and not before time.
I hope that when we can get another car I can get a 7 seater so that Joshua can come with us when we go out, if we can't, oh well.
I am feeling lucky that for me, it is the worry of how to buy a car while others are worrying about how they will pay for the roof over their heads, where the next meal is coming from and some are dealing with real life or death worries. My troubles are blissfully small and I am sure that given a little time we will have a car that will do for us what we need it to do.
Ask me how I feel when I have had to walk everywhere for 3 weeks.
OOOOOH Isaac's friend was here for tea, his mum came to get him and said that her husband is in the auto trade and she's pretty sure she can find someone that will buy the car for parts etc...that's be great, anything towards a new one will be helpful. Still sad at the thought that it will be stripped down and it's poor useless carcass crushed. But I'll get over it.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The one and only...

21 years ago, way back when, when I knew so much, when I had this parenting thing wrapped up and was filled with a sense of parenting superiority, when I could have answered any questions on what to do and how to do it with confidence, along came Sophie.

Sophie Alexandra Jean. My girl.

She was 8lbs 14 oz of rolling chunkiness. The midwife held her up, one hand under Sophie's buttocks, the other holding her head and said " would you just LOOK at that!" and we all stared at the rolls of fat from Sophie's neck to her knees, she was gloriously chunky and healthy.

Her first days weren't happy, apart from the elation I felt at having this girl child, this beautiful daughter, everything else was so sad and confusing. The first one was distant, in fact for 3 days before she was born, both he and his mother ignored me, when I walked into the room they would both pointedly turn their backs. If they were sitting, they would shift so that there was no chance I could sit next to them. If I sat near either of them, they would move.

There were many " will you be alright with *her* when I leave son?" and comments along those lines.

He left when I was in labour and made it back just in time to see her born. He came to visit twice, once bringing the boys and once bringing neighbours I barely knew, staying 10 minutes. He came to collect us from hospital, dumped us at the door and left.

10 weeks later I discovered he was having an affair, 2 days after I had major surgery and had a 9 inch gaping wound on my stomach, he left, to 'find himself' and live his life.

Sophie was so little and I couldn't pick her up, couldn't hold her, so she went to live with my mum 2 hours away, she came back when she was 7 months old. Used to gramma patting her back and rocking her to sleep, she was a confused and furious baby suddenly living with this frazzled, sad, physically sick person who didn't stand for hours patting her back or rocking her.

She walked unaided at 9 and a half months. She spoke, in sentences at 11 months right at the time when she learned to climb out of her cot and also, open windows.

Every upstairs window was tied shut, I did that after I had put all 3 kids to bed and went into the kitchen to clean. A beautiful spring evening I had the door open as I worked and I could hear a little voice saying "Hey! Allo TAT!" over and over and I thought how like Sophie it sounded but this voice was outside and I knew she was in bed.....curious I went outside and then I heard it again "HEY! HEY! TAT! Allo TAT! and my blood ran cold as I realised it WAS Sophie and her voice was coming from above me......I looked up and there was my baby, in her babygro, chunky little body ON THE WINDOW LEDGE outside the boys' room.

I ran upstairs praying "please don't let her fall, please don't let her fall" She was calling the neighbours cat.

Doors had to be locked and keys hidden, when the children were playing in the garden, we ...I mean I, had to make blockades with baby gates, laundry baskets, boxes, prevent her escaping.

She has always had a filthy laugh, from a baby she would belly laugh this deep rumbling guffaw, with a volume that would outdo a fog horn. She still has that laugh, it is quick to erupt and long to finish.

Wherever we went she was noticed, she commanded attention and she got it.

She was exceptionally clever, she flew through all her baby checks with flying colours. When she was 18 months old she had a check up with the Dr, he handed her a pen, to see if she would grip it I suppose, she sat on my lap and held the pen and after a few seconds, she did this shoulder shrugging thing, raised her eyebrows and said " Well? Paper?" I about choked and the Dr said " I don't think you have any worries with this wait, actually, I think you might have plenty of worries with her later, good luck with that!"

When she was 3, she espied a builder's bum on the gasman as he changed the meter under our stairs, his backside was protruding out of the cupboard door and I saw his crack at the same time she did, she was quicker than me, before I could grab her she ran over, shoved her finger right in that crack and yelled "HA!!! Would you just LOOK AT THAT!"

When she was 4 we got a cat, oh that poor little creature. We had a front room with 2 windows on one wall, in between the windows was a partitioning wall about 3 feet wide. I was sitting quietly reading while Sophie played upstairs and out of the corner of my eye I could see something flash past one window and then the next and every time I looked, it was gone. I stopped reading and stared at the window, determined to see what was flashing past. It was the cat, skipping rope through it's collar hanging from Sophie's bedroom window and being swung, she was teaching it to fly. That cat was taught to swim, it was smuggled into her back pack when she wanted to take it to school. It was painted with nail varnish. Poor Lily cat.

At 5, a few months after she started school, we noticed that she was falling behind, in those few months she went from being bright and ahead, funny and strong willed, to this crazy child who scribbled and stared ahead, who no longer listened to stories, she went from sitting quietly to screaming and kicking. She lost all ability to play with her friends and instead would hit and drag them.

At home she would stop mid scream and then shake her head, forgetting that she was mid tantrum, she walked into walls, she spat and hit, scratched and punched . She would stop mid sentence and smack her lips, then forget what she had been saying.

She ran into roads, saying she wanted to see what happened when a car hit her.

It got so that when she ran into the playground at school, every other child would run for their lives! She could clear that playground in a few seconds just by running and yelling " I am HERE!"

Everywhere I went I would hear " that is *Sophie's* mum" I got to dread hearing an adult say " Are you Sophie's mum? Could I have a word?"

My sister and I would sit outside school and wait for her to come out and we would hold our breath, we could tell just by looking what kind of day she had had and what kind of evening I was likely to experience.

She never slept more than 5 or 6 hours. Oh how weary I was.

She exhausted me and yet I was fiercely proud of her. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy and between that and the medication she had to take, at one time she was on the maximum dose for an adult, she became almost uncontrollable, we learned which fights to pick and which ones were not worth battling over, if she ran making banshee noises in the supermarket, we ( why do I keep saying 'we'? I mean me, I, just myself) counted that as a good trip, she wasn't biting anyone or headbutting them, she wasn't dragging things of shelves or breaking anything. I was so tough skinned, I learned to ignore comments about brats and how that kid needs a damn good smack. I stopped answering people who told me to beat it out of her, I was not going to break this child's spirit, I always felt that she would have a battle to fight one day that would take every ounce of fight she had in her, I didn't care do anything that made her lose that feisty spirit.

Somehow, while I was keeping Sophie alive, while I fought her corner and stood up for her rights, I raised 2 little boys who were patient and kind and understanding, to a degree of this littler sibling who would jump on their heads while they lay watching TV, who would delight in making them cry, who somehow managed to cut short any exciting trip we were on by behaving so outrageously that I had no option but to just take them all home.

I love that even today they are so protective of her, they watch out for her and once, when I really felt as though I didn't have the reserves needed to see her through yet another life threatening phase, they took over, they took her and they kept her safe and they loved her.

I never knew, in all those years, while we were fighting and struggling and bashing heads and clashing personalities, I had not even the faintest clue that she would ever be as glorious as she is now. I wish I had known, rather than just hoped, that she would be this loud, unashamed, laughing person. How much easier all that other stuff would have been if I had known just what friends we would be.

I am still raising Sophie, she is still learning and I think for a short while, she still needs to be here. She has a few years to catch up on, lost years that we are rescuing and making good. I see, every now and then, a glimpse of the woman she will be when she is ready to be on her own, without me to whisper to her.

I can't wait to stand back and see who she is, watch her in all her glory as she uses all the things she has learned as she lives her life.

She taught me things I never wanted to learn, she has shown me things I didn't know existed. She has made me be a person I didn't know I could be, shown me strengths in myself that I would never have believed were there.

At last I can love her and not hold back, at last I can enjoy her and relax as I see that she knows what she is doing.

I think this year is going to be a huge one for my girl. I have a feeling that this where she begins to really live her life and make it count, with all kinds of treasure waiting for her.

So many people predicted what Sophie would be like as she grew, many of the predictions were right. I don't think any of us ever realised just how much she has to give and none of us ever knew the extent of her splendidness. How lovely that we are all seeing just who she is, now she is grown.

21 years ago, I had no idea that in just one day I was going to become mother to this incredible person, never a dull moment in those 21 years, tomorrow, even though she isn't here ( sunning herself in Tenerife) I will truly celebrate the birth of my Sophie.