About Me

My photo
melting but not down

Friday, 31 July 2009

with pleasure comes pain

11:00 - arrive at mum's to take her to Guisborough market as promised.
11:40 - find a parking place on Guisborough high street.
11:41 - "what are we doing here?..I don't feel like traipsing round the market."
11:42 - leave Guisborough.
12:00 - arrive at the pub near mum's for lunch.
12:30 - mum finally chooses something from the menu.
13:00 - return to mum's....Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde take turns every ten minutes.
15:00 - the plumber doesn't turn up as expected to mend mum's toilet handle.
15:01 - mum works herself up into a state of anxiety/indignation until...
16:15 - the plumber phones in response to a message I left on his voice mail and..
16:25 - arrives but the toilet needs a new siphon so he'll come back on Monday.
17:00 - take my leave, promising to return on Saturday.

23:40 - I am in the bathroom getting ready for bed when the phone rings.
23:42 - mum can't switch the CH off, the pipes are red hot, she daren't go to bed.
00:10 - arrive at mum's. The central heating is off, the pipes are warm.
00:12 - mum tells me off for shouting (THE HEATING IS OFF! ITS AFTER MIDNIGHT!!).
00:15 - I was going to leave but stay to write out some instructions for the CH controls.
00:20 - mum is muttering her will-have-to-get-help/speak-to-her-doctor speech as I leave.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Yarntastic Wednesday in Whitby

Despite mum's early morning call requesting my attendance to 'discuss something important' (politely declined - I'm going tomorrow, as arranged) and the constant rain that turned my straight hair curly (not a bad thing!), Mr Lily and I had a lovely day today. We went to Whitby and first visited an old friend on the headland, then we had fish and chips and a mooch around the old town and I bought 6 skeins of this gorgeous yarn:
and 6 skeins of this even more fabulous yarn:
(click on the photos to see the Colinette hand painted mohair in all its sumptuous glory!) from the old church craft market on the way up to the Abbey and I bought two pairs of Swiss Army tweezers (better than any others) and a quarter of Poor Ben aniseed and licorice sweets. Then we met up with another old friend (who has just started doing Ghost Walks for the tourists in Whitby) and bought some scrumptious home made chocolates from here (after nipping upstairs to see the owner's new tropical fish), followed by a coffee in a cafe and I had another look round the shops while Mr Lily and friend #2 had a pint. Then we drove to Ruswarp to see two more friends and their lovely lurcher before heading for home. I even had a pleasant 'conversation' with mum when I got back (her neighbour had left a message on our answerphone asking me to get in touch). It doesn't get much better than this!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

piggy in the middle

Just got back from mum's, note the earlier than usual time! This is because Dr Jekyll switched with Mrs Hyde somewhere between finishing tea and sitting down in the living room. All the usual stuff amounting to being lumbered with the worst daughter in the world and outright requests to move in with us "just until I find a flat", yeah right. I repeated the wouldn't-work-because speech and reminded mum of a recent conversation in which she made it clear how she felt about me. She flatly denied saying anything of the sort and accused me of making it up. I decided enough was enough and got up to leave, explaining calmly and pleasantly that I didn't want to stay for more insults but would see her again on Thursday. She tried to change my mind with the revelation that she was now "so depressed", I left anyway.

Now Mr Lily is dischuffed because I've promised to take mum to Guisborough market on Thursday and he wanted us to spend a few days away with friends.

Roll on Friday, beloved son is arriving with new girlfriend in time for the Stockton International Riverside Festival and hopefully will distract mum for a bit.

Monday, 27 July 2009

pick your own expletive

Went to mum's this morning. Took her a bath seat I'd found in a charity shop as she always says she feels wobbly in the bath, trying to keep her balance under the shower. Amazingly she seemed to like it.....for ten minutes. Then it went the way of all other good ideas, back in the car, with the complaint that it got in the way and instructions not to buy her any more gadgets. Had lunch, sorted out the gardeners who arrived unexpectedly and went to view the flat. I thought it was lovely. She hated it. The usual moans on the way back. Stayed a little while before leaving with a promise to return Tuesday teatime.

20 minutes after I arrive home, she phones to say she can't find her handbag - it must have been stolen while she was out. I tell her it will be in the house somewhere but she is adamant it is not. I check the car - not there. I leave a message for the retirement flats manager and set off for mum's, teeth gritted. 2 miles down the road Mr Lily phones - she has found the bag behind a cushion. I go into Yarm for groceries and eat 3 coconut macaroons one after the other as I drive home. Mum phones again to tell me the good news. I remind her I'm coming tomorrow teatime.

Mr Lily and I have decided to join friends on a 3 week cruise next year. We haven't had a proper holiday for years. Lovely daughter has promised to keep an eye on mum. I'm not going to tell her until the week before.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Saturday went smoothly, early start for the Morrisons shopping trip and fish and chips at noon. Mum says the neighbour I phoned yesterday didn't go round but mum went to her other neighbour's for help and she couldn't smell gas. This is good, my not dropping everything every time mum demands it means that she is seeking other appropriate sources of support. Time for a cup of tea and read of the paper before leaving to get ready for the wedding. Reminded mum I'd see her on Monday to take her to view the flat. Beautiful day, lovely wedding and reception.

Sunday morning. I am at the shops when my mobile rings. Mr Lily tells me mum has phoned to say she's lost her keys and daren't go to bed with the house unlocked. I smell a rat. We call round on our way to meet friends. The kitchen door is locked. She says she had lost but has found the key to the living room door which opens on to the garden. I see that it is where it has always been.

We spend time with friends and go for a meal, getting home around 9pm. The answerphone is flashing. Someone has phoned but not left a message. I don't dial 1471. Sigh.

Friday, 24 July 2009

the short-lived reek of mum's lum (inspired by Clippy!)

Well yes, it was a bit too much to ask, wasn't it. I was on my own in the office this afternoon and in and out quite a bit. Didn't occur to me to check the answerphone until tea-time. 5 terse messages from mama. Phoned her, explained why I hadn't picked up the phone until then and confirmed what time I'm going round tomorrow morning. "I've been depresssed all day, can you come round tonight?" Deep breath. No, too much to do to get ready for the wedding. See you tomorrow. She's not impressed. I'm feeling the strain. Aaargh, this is very wearing.

Guess what. 19:50 - mum phones. She can smell gas. She can't hear me offer to phone the emergency gas service (again). She is unwilling to ask her neighbour to come over. She should be put down, that would just suit some people. She has no-one to turn to. Reminded her I'd see her tomorrow - its always tomorrow she retorts. And yesterday laughs I, don't you remember I was with you yesterday? She chunters. I stick to my guns. She puts the phone down on me. I phoned her neighbour, explained the problem and the fact that I couldn't come as I had a head full of hair dye and asked her if she wouldn't mind going over to check for gas. That'll fettle her! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I'm expecting a telling off but to hell with it, two can play at this game.

tough love works yee-haa!

Wow, wow, wow! Mum phoned me at work yesterday to check whether I was going round last night. I said yes, she said she was really looking forward to seeing me!!!! Last night she couldn't have been nicer, I took her out for tea and did some shopping for her and she expressed her appreciation several times!!!! She had even invited her neighbour over yesterday and said she was getting on better with her, which is great because it means she has the possibility of company during the day.

Mum has changed her mind about the flat - she would like to look at it now so I'll uncancel the appointment today. However, she doesn't seem to have abandoned the idea of a retirement home altogether so I plant a few positive seeds whenever I can.

Going to a friend's wedding tomorrow so its all systems go from now on. Decided which outfit to wear last night, will do my hair and nails tonight and take mum for an early whizz round Morrisons tomorrow to be back in time for the wedding at 3.30.

Since things have started to improve with mum, I've noticed a distinct improvement in my skin. Coincidence? I'm definitely feeling better in myself and other people are noticing - one of the guys at work said I looked like a film star yesterday! (He didn't say which one, could have been Margaret Rutherford.) This week I even got the legs out for the first time in ages and believe you me, that takes some effort after months hidden underneath trousers!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

...and the darkest hour is just before dawn. Hopefully.

Wednesday was a roller-coaster of a day that has left me exhausted but cautiously optimistic..

Mum phones me before I set off for work - can I come round later, she has something important to discuss. I stick to my guns and politely shout that I can't as I'm busy but I will see her on Thursday night. She says she can't hear me. I speak as slowly and clearly as I can, reminding her that I'd seen her the previous night and had promised to make an appointment to view the retirement flats near me. She can't hear me. She says she will have to get her neighbour to phone Social Services. OK says I cheerfully, see you tomorrow. I have relinquished a tiny bit of responsibility for mum and it feels liberating.

11:00 am at work, I phone mum's neighbour and ask her to pass on a message to mum that I've made the appointment for next Monday. She tells me mum has just come over to talk to her (this is the neighbour that mum has hated with a passion for umpteen years) and that she knows how much I do for her and will help in any way she can. Yippee! (Just to digress a moment, this week I bought mum a rollator with a seat and a shopping basket as she has been complaining for a long time that she's stuck in the house because she's wobbly on her legs and would love to be able to go to the local shops. Unfortunately, it made her even more depressed because it reminded her of her infirmity. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after the amplified phone flop. The rollator is now in my bike shed. I plan on using it myself in my dotage - I can put my knitting in the basket and totter off.) Anyway.............

For once, I go home straight after work and look forward to a relaxing evening with Mr Lily. Ha. Mum phones...
#1 - can you come over, I'm so depressed etc etc. I explain I'm busy but will see her tomorrow. She is not happy. Neither am I - the tension had transferred itself to my knitting and I had to frog a few rows to get beyond the mistake.
#2 - same question and answer again but this time she tells me I'm hard as nails. Mr Lily makes a lovely meal, what a guy.
#3 - she can smell gas. (This has happened a few times in the past. Gas engineers have checked everything thoroughly and found no leaks.) I suspect its a ruse to get me to go over. I offer to phone the emergency gas service. She says she can't hear me. I suggest she ask her neighbour to see whether she can smell gas. She is getting very annoyed. Apparently I make her sick! This is an interesting, albeit upsetting departure from the usual civilised criticisms of my shortcomings as a daughter. I escape the phone by going outside to clean out my car. (I'm getting a new one this week - woo hoo!)
#4 - 22:40. She can't remember how to switch off the central heating, the pipes are boiling hot and she daren't go to bed. Deep breath. I go over. The heating is already switched off. I go through the instructions a few times to put her mind at rest. Oddly, she doesn't seem cross with me at all. I tell her about the flat appointment. She says she didn't know about it, even though in an earlier phone call she said her neighbour had advised her against it (wtf?!). However, and hold onto your hats here, this prompts her to say that she doesn't want to be on her own in a flat. I tell her that the only alternative then is to find a good retirement home. SHE AGREES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm on leave next week so I promise to take her to look at some homes.

Will she change her mind? I don't know. I hope not. What I do know is that no matter how difficult/stressful/aggravating, finally playing the grown up to my mother/child seems to be working. Interesting times......

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

the talk

I am in a strangely peaceful place. Last night I found the confidence, goodness knows where from, to be honest with mum. She had started on the 'I know you don't want me/I need to be out of here, what am I going to do' speech again and I found myself telling her that I didn't think she really wanted to be with me, that I felt she didn't think much of me, that I'd always felt like I was a big disappointment to her. I pointed out that she didn't like Mr Lily at all either so why would she want to live with him? (I stayed calm throughout, just stating the facts in a non-accusatory way.) She took umbrage, tried to deny she'd ever said anything mean about ML then fell back on the old 'its awful when there's no love'. And there was my opening. 'Do you love me?' I asked. There was a pregnant pause. Mum was clearly uncomfortable. 'Well, I did...' she said.

Strange what a relief it was to hear that. (I'm not even sure that she was telling the truth about once loving me, I'd certainly never felt it.) The revelation freed me from guilt and allowed me to be kind and deal patiently with each complaint and jibe as she struggled to regain the upper hand. I have promised to make an appointment for her to view the retirement flats near me.

After a while, she mellowed and the rest of the evening passed quite pleasantly. You would never have guessed a bomb had dropped in the living room. I'm going again tonight - shower and hair washing time. I hope I'm still feeling strong by then.


It was a doddle!

Friday, 17 July 2009

I just wanted to say thank you

to all you lovely people out there who keep me sane, who hold me up when I start to sag, who make me smile when tears are not far away, who do not judge but offer sound advice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

beam me up Scotty

5 fecking times the phone went this morning before 9am. I knew it was mum. I had been intending to have the day off work to give my eye a rest but the insistent ringing and heavy breathing on the answerphone persuaded me that going blind amongst friends was preferable to going mad on my own. Before I could leave, the phone rang again. Mum, most dischuffed that I hadn't answered before. I fibbed and said I'd been in the shower. She's run out of bread and knows I won't be coming tonight. Yet oddly she didn't remember my being there last night when she could have asked me to get some bread from the shops. Its not as though she'll starve, there's plenty of food to last her today before we hit Morrisons tomorrow. I have said I will take her a loaf at lunchtime. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I fucking hate this.

I debated about removing the last sentence, now that I've calmed down (its 17:40) but I guess if no-one's offended, leaving it in is a truer reflection of how I felt this morning. I went to mum's at lunchtime. I took 2 loaves of bread - her usual white and her favourite brown, a packet of jaffa cakes for her sweet tooth, a gazette for something to occupy her and fish and chips to make sure she ate something. 'Thank you'? Don't be silly. More doom and gloom. Clippy you're right. The time is fast approaching when I'm going to have to broach the dreaded retirement home plan.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

with one eye on the pot and the other up the chimney...

I overdid the seeing thing last night. Prematurely comfortable, I spent too long on the computer and knitting with the result that I'm back to cyclops today. Sod it, I'm going into work (ie running away from the phone).

Yup, mum phoned home 4 times this morning before catching me at work to check I'm going over tonight. My boss gave me special dispensation to leave work early to avoid straining my eye so I left at 3.30pm. I'm hoping either Mr Lily or lovely daughter will take me to mum's.

They didn't. It wasn't too bad. I left at 8pm, pleading poorly eye - not too much of an exaggeration. I've overdone it again tonight. Ah well, I could always start a new sick leave tomorrow!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


I'm still off work nursing a sore eye so this will be a quick post. Being at home is not as restful as you might think. I'm back to phone paranoia - 2 days running mum has been asking outright whether she can come and live with us. When I'm not at her's, she phones me to tell me how lonely/miserable etc she is. I'm just leaving the answerphone on. I am a terrible daughter, I know, but its the only way I know how to cope.

Alternatively....give in to the umpteenth phone call but take beloved dog with me as a distraction. Worked fairly well!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

no apologies!

Last night I got a gardener to come round to mum's and she agreed to take him on.

She has just phoned in a panic because a gang of gardeners have arrived two hours earlier than expected. It took me five minutes of shouting to make her understand that I wanted one of them to come to the phone so I could check the right gardeners were there before they started on the garden. (They were.) Then she phoned me back for reassurance, but still without her hearing aid so she couldn't hear despite how loudly or slowly or often I told her it was OK.

Why does she phone me and ask me questions when she knows she won't be able to hear the answers? Why does she complain that I don't phone her for a chat when its impossible to have a conversation with her? Why doesn't she use her hearing aid? Why wouldn't she try the amplified phone? Why am I letting myself get all wound up about this?


Monday, 13 July 2009

no comment...

...am biting my tongue for England - mum's reaction to my near blindness preventing my driving over? "Its awful having no-one to rely on, everything happens to me, I wish I'd had a bigger family, I'll have to start knocking on doors, I need help urgently - I must get a gardener (etc etc)". 5 times she phoned this morning before 7.30am.

Friday, 10 July 2009

useless doctor!

"All ok", my eye! By yesterday afternoon, my eye was really painful and the 'modern matron' at work said he thought it looked infected and I should go to the emergency eye clinic. I did and they discovered a foreign body - probably a flake from the tip of the eye dropper that I'd accidentally poked in my eyeball. Anaesthetic gel was applied and then the intruder was seized and scraped out WITH METAL TWEEZERS!!!!! That has left me with a rip in the surface of my eye which will need a course of antibiotic drops and then another eye ointment for 6 MONTHS to prevent it opening up again!

Good job I'm a touch typist - I only have to open my one good, but tired, eye every now and then to check I'm not typing gobbledegook. Can't see to drive so have had the day off work - every cloud etc! Its my friend's 60th birthday party tomorrow night - Mr Lily has bought me a rather fetching black eye patch so I'm going as a pirate.

Thanks for your concern folks. To be fair to the eye nurse, I think the foreign body must have been embedded in my eye, otherwise it would have floated out when she first put drops in and the rip was as much my doing with the original jab, as hers with the tweezering. I was so tired yesterday I didn't make it to the party. I still can't see very well or keep my bad eye open for more than a second or two and am really sensitive to light so I'm wearing sunspecs all the time - what a poser! At least it gets me out of going to mum's/work lol (lovely daughter is doing the Morrisons shift tomorrow).

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A fun day off work....

Mr Lily and I collected a kennel this afternoon that I'd bought from a friend at work. I reckoned it would be a good idea for our old lady (14 now!) - so much nicer in the summer to be able to let her roam in the garden and have somewhere to rest and shelter, rather than be stuck in the house. Also, its only a matter of time before her elderly bladder can't do the whole-day-without-a-pee-while-they're-all-at-work thing. Of course what I should have done was measure the side gate opening and the kennel before committing myself. Ah well, thank goodness for Mr Lily and next door neighbour (not the tree poisoner, grrrrr) who managed to lift it over the top of the gate without dropping it or giving themselves a hernia. I have already sat in it a couple of times, with my little hairy daughter, just to encourage her to use it. I know, barking mad.

Second piece of luck - got to see a doctor at short notice this afternoon. Poked myself in the eye trying to administer gel tears (my eyes are so dry I can hardly open them first thing on a morning) and was worried I'd done some serious damage. (I hadn't.) While I was there, the doctor gave me some magic shampoo that hopefully will sort out my itchy scalp.

Last but definitely not least ... these guys were brilliant tonight, especially the dude on the right! I love a bit of Ry, well I love a lot of Ry - if truth be told, I could listen to the man all night and then some. Couldn't believe my luck when his tour with Nick Lowe came to the SAGE at Gateshead - less than an hour away from home! Son of Ry wasn't half bad on the drums either, nor were the supporting act (Alex Lily and Juliette Commagere) who doubled as backing singers.

Thursday, 2 July 2009