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melting but not down

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

back on the treadmill

Mum is a lot better and is probably going to be discharged today. I have asked the hospital to send someone from the care team to see her this morning, can't remember the proper name, in the hope that it won't all be down to me to make sure she eats/drinks/takes her tablets once she's back home. I'm exhausted. I still have a cough and the thought of several days sitting around at mum's listening to all the old gripes fills me with despair.

I know its a dreadful thing to say, but when mum looked at her worst before going into hospital this time, I hoped it was the beginning of the end. For selfish reasons, yes, but also for mum - she has constantly said she wished the stroke last year had finished her off, she doesn't enjoy being confined to the house with only my four visits a week to break the tedium, she does nothing to distract herself and is bored and lonely and doesn't want the responsibility of running a home but is adamant she won't go into a care home. She can't live with us - couldn't manage the stairs to the loo and doesn't want to be around my husband, to mention just a few reasons. She says she wishes she'd had a bigger family. Me too. Me too.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

the post with no name

because I'm too shattered to think one up. Went back to bed at 9.30 this morning. Didn't wake up until 4pm. Greeted by "I thought I'd been abandoned" when daughter and I visited mum tonight. She wasn't hooked up to the drip but was a bit confused - kept asking where different items were, as though she were at home, not in hospital. Still coughing but not as badly, I think. Still poor appetite and not drinking much (deliberately, so she doesn't have to ask the nurse to take her to the toilet). No indication yet of when she'll be going home. Dreadfully boring visit as mum not that chatty but felt we had to stay anyway. She expects me to take time off work to look after her when she's home. Goodness only knows how this is going to pan out. I am not looking forward to 2009. Bah humbug.

Thanks to all who have sent their good wishes. Much appreciated x

the longest day

And to think, I used to dread Saturdays for the tedium of a paltry few hours traipsing round Morrisons. Yesterday morning I returned to mum's. She was still in bed and looking pale and exhausted. She wouldn't eat and could only sip at cups of tea or a glass of Sprite. Trying to get her to take her usual medication (5 tablets) and an antibiotic was out of the question. My son and daughter arrived to add their support but not even that had the expected effect - mum no longer seemed to have the strength or inclination to chat, she just slumped into her pillows and dozed between coughing bouts.

I phoned the NHS helpline at 2.30pm. At 4.30pm an on-call doctor arrived and after examining mum, he called an ambulance to take her to hospital and receive treatment for her chest infection. The ambulance came about an hour later. Mum hated the idea of hospital but thought they were going to give her some magic medicine and send her home. The hours rolled by, interspersed by various members of hospital staff asking the same questions and jabbing needles in mum. Lovely daughter came for a while (beloved son had had to return to Nottingham to work a night shift) and mum had a chest x-ray and was attached to a saline drip. She coughed and complained incessantly. I didn't blame her. I was pretty cheesed off myself. We had to wait until after midnight to see a doctor - apparently two had phoned in sick and there were only three doctors covering A & E and all the medical wards! New antibiotics were prescribed and administered through the drip and a thoroughly fed-up mum was told she could not go home yet but would probably have to stay in hospital for a couple of days.

I finally said goodnight at 12.35 am. The taxi that took me to mum's to collect my car did not have a working seat belt in the front passenger seat. I was beyond caring. Home, where abandoned husband was waiting up for me, ah bless. Bed. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. And here we are again.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


i have diecided fdi shwalll t

Where is that damn scribbler? Ah good. Sit here and type what I dictate, keyboards aren't made to cope with talons.

The woman is too weary to update her miserable little online ramblings and I doubt she would give me full credit for the torments I have heaped upon her this Michaelmas so I have decided to do the job myself, again.

My first act of genius was to dash her hopes of an 'all the family round the table' Christmas dinner. With one tap of my life sapping finger, I sucked the strength from the mother and cast her into her cot, resisting all persuasion to attend the festivities. However, the woman was not sufficiently cast down by this; she made her mother comfortable in a warm bed, gave her life preserving tablets and made her drink soup before joining her husband and offspring for an enjoyable meal. She then returned with the grandson to cheer up the mother. Insolent wretch.

I upped my game. During the night I blew a rank stream of bile-laden breath into the mother's nostrils, it wound it's putrid way through the tunnels and caverns of her weak little body, destroying her appetite and loosening her bowels. The woman now has her hands full, attending the sick bed three times a day, dealing with dirty laundry, trying but miserably failing to persuade the mother to eat, all the time keeping up a cheerful appearance to mask the despondency beneath. See how the woman's heavy eyelids droop, how her chest heaves with each paroxysm of coughing.

The woman thought she could outwit me with a plan to make her mother feel better. Knowing the old lady could not stand under the shower but badly needed a thorough wash, she ran her a warm bath. I let her believe all was well until the old dear was in the water. Then I filled her thoughts with trepidation and made the smooth, hard floor of the bath press unmercifully into her bony bottom. The mother would not loosen her hold on the bath handles so could not wash herself and all the time bewailed her discomfort. The woman had the devil of a time ha ha ha! yes, you can leave that in, getting the mother out of the bath, she almost slipped through her soapy grasp at one point, who knew such a tiny body could weigh so heavy?

I could see I had a powerful adversary - the mother was looking a little better after the bath, refreshed, clean hair, warm and weary. While the woman returned home and the mother slept, I whispered in her ear 'you have no appetite, you will not rise' and so it has been. The woman prepares to return again to the sick bed. I shall relax now, and admire my handiwork.

That will do secretary. Fetch me a pitchfork and a sinner or two, I am in need of distraction.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me...

You're slipping, my spiteful little sprite. She has overcome her feelings of filial guilt and slumbers in the warmth of her marital bed.
So sorry Master. I will attend to it at once .... see, she wheezes and coughs and is driven from her bed in the early hours to escape her mate's stentorian snoring. She seeks solace on the sofa downstairs, wrapped in a nylon quilt.

Your plan has backfired, my poisonous little prankster. She finds comfort in the cosiness of the quilt and the cradling of the couch against her back. She may yet sleep.
Fear not Master, I have a plan. I shall wake the hound and fill it's mind with urgent need. She will have to rise to let it out and wait until it's return.

Very good, my little mischief maker. But she is now settling down again and I no longer hear wheezing like the breeze across a thousand rusty violin strings. You seem to be losing your touch. Perhaps I should find a less challenging subject for you, the fishmonger's cat, for example.
No Master, please, I beg you! Give me one more chance to prove myself.
Very well then, but I warn you, failure is not an option.

You will be so pleased with me Master. See how she sweats beneath the nylon quilt and rails against the torment of a thousand fire ants, see how she scratches until sore and applies unguents to no avail. She paces the floor, pale of face and bleary of eye. Soon it will be dawn!
You have done well, my malicious little mosquito. But tell me, what does she now?
She has taken an 'anti-histamine' tablet Master, and is making a cup of tea. See how wide awake she is!

Dim-witted demon! Incompetant imp! Does she cough or wheeze? Does she scratch or roam the house?
No Master.
And why do we not see these manifestations of my will?
She has turned on the computer Master.
Concentration on blogging and the tablet beginning to work is taking her mind off her travails, Master. But she has had only moments of sleep in the last 3 hours! Be merciful Master - I shall try harder!

It is too late. She will soon be weary enough to sleep. You have failed miserably. Make your way to Billingsgate.
Master, please!

(sigh) I suppose I shall have to see to this one myself. I'll let her dwell a while in a false sense of security until, in a few hours' time, she has to play the dutiful daughter again.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha


t'was the night before Christmas....

....and the plan was:

  1. hit the ground running Wednesday morning
  2. wrap Christmas presents
  3. visit mum, get her to eat some lunch
  4. go home and clean up the little bedroom for beloved son
  5. hoover and tidy right through
  6. go round to a friend's to celebrate her birthday
  7. back to mum's, shower and wash her hair ready for Christmas Day dinner tomorrow
  8. return home to greet beloved son's arrival
  9. chill

....and the reality was:

  1. gave up trying to sleep through wheezing and coughing and got up at daft o'clock
  2. Christmassy paper, sellotape, nowt fancy
  3. mum in bed, wouldn't eat but had a cup of tea. Opened and liked (!) her Christmas presents (a large bottle of Tia Maria, a box of Thornton's chocolates and a National Geographic calendar - she didn't like the wildlife one I got her last year, too many ugly animals)
  4. made a start on spare room but didn't get to
  5. or
  6. because mum phoned to say she was coughing blood. Phoned the NHS helpline before leaping into the car and gave as much info as I could but they wanted me at mum's to answer more questions. Christmas Eve traffic aargh!
  7. gave mum's symptoms and medical history and was advised I should take her to A&E as it could be either a chest infection or, much more seriously, a pulmonary embolism. Didn't mention the last bit to mum, I could hardly pronounce it anyway. Got mum dressed, drove to hospital and after interminable waits between booking in, seeing a nurse, seeing a doctor, getting an x-ray and seeing the doctor for the results, we were told that there didn't appear to be anything obviously wrong with her lungs. Antibiotics were handed over and back we went to mum's with the instruction to contact her GP to make an outpatient's appointment at the hospital for further investigation. Did I mention that she told me she had coughed up blood clots just this afternoon but admitted to the doctor that it had been going on for two days??!! She hates hospitals - she spent a long and horrid time in a few during the war undergoing primitive treatment for TB and her local hospital, the one we never seem to be away from, is the same hospital in which dad died. She dreads having to be admitted again. Its only a year since she was last in for a month, after a stroke. Long story short, she seemed brighter once home again. I have promised to go round tomorrow morning to help her shower and wash her hair before we join the rest of the family for Christmas Day dinner.
  8. Now this is a good one. As if all the above weren't enough stress for one day, beloved son phones on the morning to say he's getting a lift home from a friend and will arrive around 7pm. Then he phones to say that at short notice, his employer wants him on call for Boxing Day, ie a two and a half hour drive away, even though he had long since arranged to do a 48 hour shift over New Year so that he could have Christmas at home with us. Then he phones to say he will have to stay in Nottingham as the whole thing is just impossible. He is angry and tearful. I try to find comforting things to say. Then he phones to say that his boss has sorted things out and he can come home and stay until the 27th! He still gets his lift back but with all the stress, forgets to bring his Christmas presents with him. lol. bless.
  9. Have sort of chilled now. Tomorrow the madness starts again.

PS Am I a horrid person for not stopping with mum tonight? I feel guilty now. Seems like I'm always piggy in the middle...

mum<--------m_e__e___e____e-------->husband, son & daughter

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Rumours of my demise have been slightly exaggerated

I have spent the last couple of days doing my best zombie impression. Mustn't grumble - not eating and sweating glowing means I've lost two pounds! Phoned in sick to work this morning and finally got out of bed just before lunchtime. After a much needed shower went over to mum's to check she was still in the land of living. Lovely daughter stepped into the breach yesterday - mum had phoned to say she was ill (she has caught my flu) but I felt far too poorly to drive over. LD went in my place and made mum comfortable, what a star - and on her birthday too! (27 - where do the years go?) Mum was in bed when I arrived today but she didn't seem too bad, she was quite cheerful and I managed to persuade her to drink some tea and eat some toast. I bought her some Vick for her chest and back (we're both coughing like chain smokers) and a Gazette which she kept picking up and reading - good sign, I think. I put an extra quilt on the bed and turned the heating on so I think she'll be ok until I go round again tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

I opened the window and in flew ensa

How can something so pretty make me feel so rough? And I wish now I hadn't spent a couple of hours this morning trailing round trying to finish my Christmas shopping. I did try, really I did, but no-one wanted to sell me what I wanted or at least they wouldn't let me take the one in the shop away. They wanted me to order one and wait for delivery some time in January. Surely a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush in the current credit crunch? Oh well, guess Mr Universe will have to put up with the coffee table for a bit longer.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Once more into the surgery, dear friends...

Huband's chest x-ray results disclosed yesterday - nothing wrong with his heart or lungs! He says he can't believe it, they must have mixed him up with someone else. He is, however, officially a fat bastard, having a 20" neck and weighing over 18 stones. He couldn't believe that either!

I described husband's poor sleep pattern to the doctor who agreed it was a strong indicator of sleep apnoea, so now that's two of us with appointments at the sleep clinic! The doctor brought to our attention the government guidelines released to GPs yesterday that patients suffering from sleep apnoea and who may have experienced falling asleep at the wheel (both of us!) are required to tell the DVLA and stop driving until their condition is under control. Gulp. It only affects me on long journeys so I think I'll pass on that one, especially as my boss has said I can take the train for distant meetings. Husband is going to start working locally in January so I think he should be ok too.

Cough, cough. I think I have a chest infection, just in time for Christmas. To quote Mr C. Hell, esquire, bah feckin humbug!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Bits and pieces

Went round to look at the fire surround this morning. Dark wood with a turned rail and adjustable width. It was a little too wide at it's smallest so the donor is going to ask her husband to take about 3" off it for me. When its done, I plan on painting the fireplace tiles silver with a black mantelpiece and the hearth surround black. Trust me, it will be fine, lol. So far the ....Freecyclers I've met have been really friendly, interesting people. Restores your faith in humankind!

Mum was in a jolly mood tonight (thud) and has decided she does want to have Christmas dinner with us after all. Well thank goodness for that. I have resigned myself to cooking dinner next Christmas - I'll try to get a drop-leaf table from Freecycle for the back room and hopefully by next year, I'll have redecorated the kitchen.

I forgot to mention that of course the whole point of local Freecycle groups is to save perfectly good stuff from going into landfill and to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing duplicate goods with all the associated transport pollution. I offered a rusty set of fire irons today and four people want them!

what happens when you follow googled advice....

....on choosing a reputable acupuncturist (ie check their qualifications, ask how long they've been practising and whether they specialise in any treatments for particular complaints, ie arthritis.)

Me: Hello, I found you on the net. I'd like to arrange some sessions with an acupuncturist for my husband, its Mary isn't it?
Clinic: Mary's not with us any more, she retired. Anne has joined us now.
Me: Oh, has she been doing it a while, is she experienced? thinks - "that didn't sound right".
Clinic: laughing Well she isn't as old as Mary but she's a good acupuncturist.
Me: Does she specialise in anything? thinks - "OMG, that's even worse!"

In a desperate bid to regain a modicum of respectability I explain that my husband has osteo-arthritis of the spine so I was wondering whether Anne had dealt with that problem before. I decided against mentioning that the sessions were to be my Christmas present to him. That would have just added to the whole 'I'd like to rent a professional woman for my husband' wink-wink-nudge-nudge scenario.

Anne wasn't at work today. I said I'd phone her tomorrow. I'm not sure if I dare!

Monday, 15 December 2008



Its 17:41 and I'm still waiting for the carpet fitters to arrive. Wish I hadn't taken the day off work now. I've been assured that they are coming and will be arriving in half an hour. I just hope they aren't too shattered to make a good job of laying my carpet. Ah well, I have had time to do this to the front room ----->
(Must buy a good digital camera, the mobile just doesn't rise to the challenge.)
18:22 - still no sign.
18:30 - at last, four of them.
Now its bang, bang behind me and bark, bark in front - have shut the dog in the kitchen to keep her out of harm's way.
20:00 - sigh, stairs just about done, hall still to go. I made them all tea. Bang, bang. Bang, bang. Oh, and they didn't bring enough different types of metal joining strip thingies. So now I have one (old) silver one under daughter's door and gold ones everywhere else. And now its all gone quiet. I think they're all outside, 'avin a faaag. And I'm not the last on their list so some poor sod is still waiting for their carpet.
21:15 - they departed for their next job about half an hour ago and I've just finished hoovering up all the bits. Mum has given me special dispensation not to go round tonight so I might just get the avant garde Xmas tree and the banister garland and lights up tonight. Need a breather though. Watch this space (or probably the one above it).

should I be worried?

Just received another appointment for the sleep clinic. I was expecting the surgery to phone me and tell me to see my doctor for the results of the oximeter test but the hospital has called me back. Perhaps they were concerned by the leaps in my pulse rate in the first half hour ... I was reading Tractors and every so often had to reach for something on the bedside table/go to the loo/rearrange the pillows - I noticed that the pulse reading leapt whenever I did something even mildly strenuous! Hope the hospital doesn't think I was up to anything, ahem, stimulating.

lady (?!) in waiting...

...for the person who saw my cotton cones on Freecycle to call and collect them, any minute now, and for the carpet fitters to bring my new carpet and transform my hall, stairs and landing. I've turned off the TV so I don't miss the knock at the door (can't rely on deaf dog any more) and reckoned the quietest thing I could do would be to blog. lol. I've just offered a huge bag of mosaic tiles on Freecycle, they've been sitting all forlorn in the shed for years, victims of my fickle intention to rejuvanate an old table top which has long since gone to the tip.

I have lots to do today - put the Christmas decorations up once the carpet is down (the back room tree will look better in the hall, I've decided); make a flower garland for in front of the back room hearth to disguise its tattiness (until, hopefully, it can be replaced by the *Freecycle hearth surround*); clean up the kitchen and, if all goes well, go and look at the *...* before I have to go to mum's.

A lovely couple have just been for the cotton cones and took away the mosaic tiles! I am loving this caring, sharing community thing!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

I spit in the eye of rampant capitalist consumerism, I spit in it!

Do it! Its wonderful! The ultimate in green bargain hunting! I've just joined Freecycle - yesterday I offered 6 large cones of cotton thread that I'll never use and already somebody wants them! AND I found someone with a hearth surround that, if it fits, will disguise the tatty tile-free edges of my hearth! AND I've just put up a 'wanted' post of my own for a coat stand! I can see that some time soon I shall be in danger of thinking charity shops too expensive. (Only joking - will still enjoy rummaging and contributing to good causes.) There are Freecycle groups all over the world so you've no excuse. Sign up today and start de-cluttering!

mountains out of molehills

One of the many great things about my daughter is that she may be quick to take offence but she doesn't bear a grudge. She's too sunny to sulk. We had a laugh about the pudding incident this morning and balance has been restored.

I'm feeling brighter too. I hadn't realised how low I'd been over the last few years until I found myself getting quite enthused about decorating the house for Christmas - hall, front AND back room! I could never be bothered before and quite happily let others get on with it. This year I've turned into the Yuletide fascist and know exactly how I want it done and woe betide anyone who interferes. The hall carpet gets laid tomorrow and that will inspire me to start putting up the trees and garlands. I'll post pictures when finished.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly falalala-lah, falal-lal-lah!

I forgot to mention my latest charity shop bargains, snaffled yesterday. For less than £8, I bought:
- one gorgeous cut glass basket shaped vase, complete with glass stem holder
- a fully functioning wall-mountable telephone (to replace the existing broken one in the kitchen)
- a pretty little glass jar with a brass rim and handle, ideal for the front room with a tea-light inside
- a sweet little white pot of silk pink roses and leaves that go brilliantly with the chintz curtains in the back room

Saturday, 13 December 2008

ok. So I'm a crap daughter, a crap wife and now a crap mother

My lovely thoughtful daughter made the tea for us tonight and said she'd bought Xmas pudding and brandy sauce just for me and her dad. After the main meal I went to the fridge and found the pudding next to the brandy sauce. It was toffee pudding - I assumed (yes, I know) she had mistaken the packaging for Xmas pud. I nuked it, doused it and served it.

Daughter quite rightly outraged. The Xmas puds - 2 small ones - were on a different shelf in the fridge. She doesn't like Xmas pudding. The toffee pudding was for her. It must have felt like such a slap in the face and there was nothing I could do about it but apologise. It wasn't accepted which made me feel cross as well as guilty. (I have re-apologised and I think we're friends again. Phew.)

Do you ever have days when you can do nothing right? Sometimes life feels like such hard work and more and more I am thinking what a relief it would be to be out of it. Its ok, I'm hanging in there, but I can't help wondering whether I would ever get so low that I'd be beyond caring how it would affect others.

sinking feeling

For the last few years we've gone out for Christmas dinner. I find it a liberating alternative to getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day and planning the dinner like a military operation (most stressful - I'm not a natural cook) and bringing mum over to ours (even more stressful - I always anticipate disapproval and its awkward working out when to broach her going home). Mum always says she hates Christmas, can't wait for it to be over and wishes we wouldn't invite her to the dinner because she can't eat much and its a waste of money. The year before last I got so fed up with her claiming she'd rather stay at home on her own because ....

she had an embarrassing cough

such a tiny appetite

nothing to wear

her hair was a mess

(She later let slip to my son that the real reason was she didn't like my husband)

....that I called her bluff and let her get on with it, taking the kids to visit after we'd had our meal. The guilt ruined my enjoyment of mine though. Last year we brought her out of hospital (she had a stroke at the beginning of December 2007) to join us for Christmas Day. We didn't order a separate meal for her but asked for a plate and each contributed what she fancied. I'd planned on doing the same this year, despite her usual protestations.

Last night my husband declared that this was the last time he would go out for Christmas Day dinner. He just wants to be able to lie in and relax instead of having to get up and get ready to go to the pub.

Great. So next year its a choice between:
  • Feeling guilty because I've left my husband at home on Christmas Day so that I can have a relatively stress-free dinner with my mum (and son/daughter who will also have to make a difficult decision about which meal they'll attend) or
  • Feeling super stressed because of the whole cooking/mum at my house thing (and goodness knows where we're going to eat - there's only the kitchen which is cold in the winter and needs redecorating) AND resentful because him indoors will be in the land of nod while I'm rushing about like a blue-arsed fly

They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. (Philip Larkin)

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

going down

Still shattered and my eyes feel as though I left them out in the Sahara overnight. I have lots of time-limited stuff to complete today and I'm working until 8pm. I don't know how I'm going to get through the day without grinding to a halt. Tomorrow I have to drive to Leeds and back for a meeting. If I don't post any more, you'll know I fell asleep at the wheel.

PS The Leeds meeting has been cancelled, but not before I spent all morning writing the report I was going to submit in lieu of my absence. I'm so tired today that I asked my boss to excuse my dicing with death on the motorway tomorrow. I have special dispensation in future to use trains and taxis, wahey! Did I mention how knackered I feel? I decided I couldn't face working late and left at 4.30pm today, unprecedented for me - I'm usually the last to leave. My knees are feeling the strain too, climbing stairs is slow torture and I just twisted my right knee sitting down - felt like a chinese burn.

I went to the shops at lunchtime for some fresh air and food. I ended up joining the RSPB. No, I don't know either.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

don't know why I'm even bothering to post this

Tired, tired, tired.
Usual mix of okay and aaargh round at mum's. Escaped before she got into full martyr flow.
Ever tried a banana, fig and BACON sandwich?
Supervision for two hours this afternoon, I yawned a lot.
Delivered oxygen thingy back to hospital, wonder when I'll get the results?
Am going to put the kettle on, watch a bit of TV and have an early night tonight.
Yes I am.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Busy day

09:00 - Respiratory Unit at my local hospital. Filled in a questionnaire about falling asleep in different circumstances and was given this----->
to wear while asleep tonight. Because of course, I will have no trouble at all nodding off with a clothes peg on my hand. Hmph. Apparently this contraption measures the levels of oxygen in my blood during the night and can tell if I'm breathing properly or not.
Presumably if it comes off while I'm asleep, the computer will think I've died.

10:30 - paid the balance on the hall/stairs/landing carpet that will be delivered next Monday!!! (I tried to find a sample on the web but couldn't..its black with pale grey flecky bits.)
10:45 - mooched around B&Q looking for a tasteful stained glass window transfer/shoe cupboard/Xmas decoration for the back room....failed miserably.
11:00 - tried two blouses and a black leather skirt on in a charity shop (why are their changing rooms so awful? Mine was like a cupboard full of junk with barely fastenable louvre doors. Most disconcerting.) Verdict - too small, too dingy and oh dear me no.

11:30 - home for lunch and a bit of blogging.

13:00 - back to the shops and nearly had a coronary lugging a 7' Xmas tree from one end of the high street to a charity shop in the middle, stopping every 15 yards or so to lean it up against anything handy while I got my breath back. Not one person offered to help. Bastards. Anyhoo, deposited tree and a bag of surplus clothing at the shop and while there, bought Eric Sykes' autobiography as I thought mum might find it interesting. From other shops also bought some Mother Pucker lipsticks for daughter's birthday and a light fitting thingy for the one that got lost when the hall was decorated.

14:00 - had my hair cut! Bit startling, like Louise Brooks ---->
only with a lighter and slightly longer fringe.
15:00 - one last mooch then home again, washed some pots, generally faffed about, putting off the evil moment....
17:00 - went to mum's. Can't fault the good mood, could have done without the in-laws-from-hell stories, again. Its bizarre, most of these stories are at least 50 years old yet she tells them as though they all happened last week and she's still hopping mad. She curled her lip at the Eric Sykes book but I had a cunning plan. I showed her some of the photos and read a few funny extracts out. I could tell she was warming to it, especially when she saw the photo of him in his RAF uniform (mum was in the WAAF during the war). She decided it might not be so bad and was happily flicking through it when I made my hour-earlier-than- usual escape, pleading tiredness.
20:00 arrived home. Will stop computering soon, eyes tired. Think I'll have a cup of tea, put the mouse trap on my finger, go to bed and read a few chapters of Tractors.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

tail end rant

..and mum is not that keen about most of her own family. She's particularly scathing about her younger sister and her father, in fact I was an adult before I discovered that he had lived 5 miles away from us for the first 9 years of my life - I'd grown up with the impression that he had died before I was born. She did like her brother, my late uncle J - a great character. He was in poor health but always positive and full of fun and over the last few years I've grown very fond of his son, my lovely cousin D ------>
its been like finding the brother I'd always wanted. However, mum has decided she doesn't like him either, having chosen to believe that he lied about having the flu last Christmas as an excuse not to visit her in hospital. This has meant I haven't felt able to visit him and his family on my own, again because mum would take umbrage. Instead we keep in touch by text and e-mail.

You think I'm exaggerating/paranoid? A week ago D treated my husband and I to front row seats for a stage show of 'Allo Allo' in which he played Le Clerc (very good he was too). Foolishly I told my mum about this, after the fact. She was most put out, asking accusingly had I been going round to D's house without her and why wasn't she invited to the play? I could have said 'because you don't like him or my husband and would probably have whinged all night'. Instead I explained that she wouldn't have been able to hear what was going on or sit in an uncomfortable seat for 2 hours (let alone hang out in the bar for another hour afterwards. The Thornton's chocoalte bar decorated with 'Le Clerc' in white icing that D wanted her to have, is still untouched in her pantry, as is the apple from our tree I gave her 3 weeks ago.) I'm sure she still thinks I'm sneaking about behind her back, but then she's never really trusted me. Don't get me started on adolescence onwards!

I'll tell you this, when my mum has gone to the great bungalow in the sky, I shall get back in touch with my relatives and introduce them to my son and daughter (who have also been denied an extended family). I hope it won't be too late.

Speaking of 'too late', its 04:17... think I'd better go back to bed!

Prozac comes to the rescue

If it weren't for the magic pills I think I would have spontaneously combusted on Saturday. Lulled into a false sense of security by mum's good mood on Thursday I wasn't expecting the 4' 7" of fury that greated me on my arrival. She'd received her gas bill and was outraged at the amount due. *What had happened was that after several estimated bills (the meter reader tends to knock and run), I rang in the correct reading which was considerably higher than expected, which meant that the direct debit hadn't paid as much off the total as usual.* Mum was convinced that a) I'd read the meter incorrectly so it was my fault, b) the gas company was trying to fleece her and c) they were going to help themselves to the outstanding amount (about £180) from her bank account, none of which were true. Even with her hearing aid in, I couldn't get it through to her that a) I was perfectly capable of reading four numbers off a display and passing them on, b) her gas provider was not trying to diddle her - the bill was the result of *--* and c) the direct debits would continue as usual to chip away at the amount owed. There was much muttering of how her (now deceased) saintly neighbour (a man of course) would have sorted it out and a lot of 'everything happens to poor unlucky me' diatribe. I managed not to lose my cool but resigned myself to a miserable day.

What do you know - no sooner had we set off for Morrisons, than Mrs Hyde was replaced by Doctor Jekyll. Smiles and jokes and pleasant chat! I was used to riding out mum's moods but usually it took a lot longer than this, I was hoping it was a new development that would be the norm from now on. I relaxed. Fatal. Back at the ranch all was going swimmingly until the telephone rang. Expecting the usual nuisance cold call, I was pleasantly surprised to find my Auntie B on the other end of the phone. I haven't spoken to her since my dad's funeral in 1999. I haven't spoken to any of his relatives since the funeral. And not for decades before that. The reason? Mum can't stand them. When I was still a child, she stopped going with dad and me to nana and granddad's every weekend to meet up with the aunts, uncles and cousins. This meant that I stopped too, fearing her displeasure for choosing to spend time with them instead of her. Consequently I have been denied the pleasure and support of an extended family for most of my life. Anyway to get back to Auntie B. She was writing her Xmas cards and wanted to check mum was still at her address as she knew she had been in hospital this time last year. We had a pleasant chat and I went to put mum on the phone as she was hovering close by. When I said (shouted) that it was B and handed her the phone, she pulled a 'nasty taste' face and refused to say anything. I told Auntie B mum didn't have her hearing aid in (fib). Of course this brief contact from the other side started mum off on her usual rant against B and all the slights she imagines she's endured from her over the years. There was no appeasing her so I did the sensible thing and took my leave. I indulged in some calming retail therapy then went home and was in bed by 7.30pm, exhausted.

Wide awake again at 12.30 am, I've sorted laundry out, had a cup of tea and will eventually go back to bed when I'm all blogged out. Ah well, good day ahead - birthday Sunday lunch with about 20 friends, should be fun!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

portents of doom....

  1. My dog woke me up at 3am and 5am and I have two formal meetings today in which I have to sit in front of a judge and stay awake while others drone on for hours
  2. I still have loads of work to get through today
  3. Heavy snow is forecast
  4. My mother is expecting me tonight

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

snow go

I was going to take the car into the garage today, to find out why reverse and first gears have been sticking since October (!) but it snowed last night. That means I'd have to stand around in the cold waiting for a bus to work.

And I should get the car to the garage by 08:30 at the latest but its 08:04 now and I'm still unshowered and undressed. Not completely of course. Couldn't inflict that upon the dog.

My eyes are tired and sticky. I wish I could just go back to bed. I'd seriously consider retiring if I didn't think mum would expect me round every day, all day. Oh great, and now a hot flush. This is not going to be a good day.

Monday, 1 December 2008

putting a brave face on it

Its not that I'm depressed, the Prozac keeps me from falling into the slough of despond, I'm just not quite right. Hence the short posts, the wee small hours blogging, the finding it preferable to read the paper and watch TV at a gathering of friends yesterday which, telling in itself, I attended sans maquillage. For someone as vain as I, that has got to be a significant indicator of loosening grip. I'm also not enjoying work as much at the moment, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. Maybe its just the cumulative effect of too many broken nights' sleep. Have my first appointment with the sleep clinic in a week's time, perhaps that will sort me out.