Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Flapjacks and Flippers

My kitchen is full of them.
Flapjacks first. I made a tactical error last night and ate the biscuits I had planned to leave out for the babysitter. Not having time to run to the shops, Little Fish and I made emergency flapjacks. Very easy.

Take 8oz butter and 8oz sugar, and melt together in a big pan.
Now, if you're alone in the kitchen, just dump 12oz porridge oats into the pan once the butter has melted. If however you are trying to keep a small child away from the hot cooker, pour 12 oz porridge oats into a very special super duper extra important mixing bowl, add a large wooden spoon, and ask the small child to stir them
A suprisingly successful ploy. Stir in the oats, and then press into a baking tin.
Small child will probably object to you using her spoon in this way and try to grab it back. Oh, and yes, that's a silicone sheet covering an ancient mini roasting pan - it keeps the rust away. Side note - see that thumb? Yes, it's dislocated. Yes, both her thumbs do this. Yes, it does mean she shouldn't use her self propelling chair as much. Or her wheeled standing frame. And yes, she will need some kind of splint which will reduce her hand function. Sigh.
Bake at 180C until they look done (360F roughly I think. Doesn't matter. Cake heat. Just shove them in the oven until they're brown on top).

Take them out of the oven, let them cool in the tin for a bit before slicing them with a sharp knife (yes, that is how the roasting pan came to be rusty), then ease them out of the tin and onto a cooling rack, before transferring them to a plate and eating them.
You'll probably need to reshape them a little once you've cut them - they are very fragile and squidgy until they are cold. Very easy.

I can't tell you how long they were in the oven for this time - I can tell you it was the length of time it took my washing machine to go through its spin cycle, as I was having to hold the washing machine steady throughout the spin cycle to compensate for having it pulled it out from its hole. My washing machine only likes spinning in its little hole. When I pull it out to reach the back it sulks and goes all shy and silly and won't spin.

Why did I pull it out from its hole? Funny you should ask. I've been getting an error message telling me I needed to clean the inlet filters. The manual had very clear instructions on how to do this. I found my pair of pliers, eased the machine out of its hole, found the hot and cold water hoses, couldn't find the taps to isolate them so went for the mains stopcock. Couldn't turn that at all (note to self: get someone stronger than me to loosen it slightly so I can turn it in an emergency), so went for the 2nd stopcock instead. I don't like using this one; it turns the water off not just in my flat but in the flat upstairs too, which seems a little evil. However, they were all still asleep and I was estimating a two minute job, so decided to risk it. Turned it off - much easier than my own individual one -it has had some practice in the past when my neighbour has had leaks.

OK, over to the washing machine. Loosening the washer thingy (I don't do technical), water started sprinkling gently out of the sides of the connection. No problem, I thought there would be a little water in the pipes (as there is when I empty the outlet filter), so loosened it off completely, at which point my mind stepped out of my body to fully appreciate the sight of said body wrestling with what appeared to be a live water hose, gushing water at full strength, water which, I might add, was getting hotter by the second. I forced the hose back onto the connecting thing, forced it to tighten up, mopped my face, hands, arms, hair and knees, and took a deep breath.

I'm still trying to work out why I did what I did next. Which was to repeat the process, this time with the cold tap. Which gushed out with even greater force, covering the kitchen in a wall of water in seconds, before I wrestled it out of the catflap. I think I had some half-baked theory about how there would be more water left in the hot water tank than there would be in the cold tap. Actually I still think that makes sense. But I digress. Water is pouring through the hose and out through the catflap at high speed, hitting the fence at a velocity calculated to drench anyone standing the other side of it. I don't have time to hang about, I need to reconnect the water before my neighbours wake up, I need in any case to reconnect the water before the entire world is flooded again; I don't have time to find Noah and tell him to build a boat. So, gathering the leaping jumping writhing water snake, I pull it back through the cat flap and force it back onto the washing machine, hearing rather than seeing the water pummel holes in the new plaster, and registering with that part of my mind which has still left my body that Little Fish is now sitting behind me saying "Mummy shower, Mummy SHOWER, WHEEEEE" with great enjoyment.

Summoning the strength I usually save for things like picking Goldy up off the floor when she has fallen out of bed, or righting overturned powerchairs, I make the connection finally, and the wall of water becomes a sheet, and then a storm, a shower, a drizzle and finally settles to a drip. It is at this point I notice the two little isolating taps on the pipes which connect to the water hoses...

I turn the stopcock back on, noticing as I do how easily it turns, and how I seem to be able to turn it in both directions. I then, gently, turn the little taps on the pipes off, disconnect the water hoses, clean the filters as directed to in the manual, reconnect the hoses and turn the taps back on.
And start the mopping process. Pass the flippers (you were wondering where they came in, weren't you?
Gathering Little Fish, I then headed for school for wheelchair and orthotics appointments.

LF's wheelchairs first. Her power chair has been confiscated, there's a problem with the controller and it needs replacing. This would be a simple process, except that the power on her chair has been toned down, so the new controller will also need reprogramming, and the reprogrammer is not easily available. Her manual chair stays with her for now, but there is an agreement that it is hopelessly large for her. This is not good for her dislocated hip. However, it is the smallest chair currently supplied by the local PCT. So we now need either to investigate charitable funding for a super whizzy lightweight chair for her, or we need to change policy. Neither will be fast. See side note in the middle of the flapjack post for the new additional complication.

Orthotics for Mog next. It is agreed that she should not be cast for any more AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthoses), but will instead be given a pair of Piedro boots with a retaining heel strap, for use in her standing frame. As an additional complication, because our life would be boring if it were simple, it has been so long since Mog was standing (due to her operation) that her standing frame has now been commandeered by another child, so there is at present no suitable frame available. And no funding for one either. Sigh.

Orthotics for LF - one of her AFOs has been confiscated to be fitted with an additional strap. It is possible that this may help her foot position and prevent the need for surgery which would be nice.

Wheelchair for Mog, and for once things do go smoothly, her footplate is raised the necessary inch, and we are free to go.

Except that LF and I are not free to go. Remember that babysitter? She is due to meet Mog from school, as LF has an Orthoptics appointent (makes a change from Orthotics and Orthopaedics) at hospital. We still have two hours before the appointment, however Mog needs the door key to get in with her sitter, so LF and I have no way of getting back into the house. So instead we go and collect some bits and pieces from Argos, potter around a couple more shops, and are just thinking about finding a cup of coffee before the appointment when my phone rings. It is the orthoptics people. They have just noticed she already has an appointment with them at school in three weeks' time. So they'd like to cancel this appointment.

This does make sense. Except that now we have nowhere to go, still can't get in at home, and have booked a babysitter. What do you do under such circumstances? Head to the local fabric shop, that's what. Where, we notice as we walk through the door, there is a big sale on all craft fabrics. Not a bad way to spend time (and money).

We get home, having managed a Tesco run too, and it's on to teatime, bathtime, bedtime. Mog disagrees. She has been sitting up with me as I write this. We are weaning her off one of her anticonvulsants, and she seems to be waking more the less of the drug she takes. This is good during the day. Less useful at night. Tomorrow we start the next drop. This had better not wake her up even more!

She has however just started a seizure run as I type, so I had better down tools, up meds, and pop her into bed.
Take care,


akconklin said...

Oh, wow, awake at night is NOT good! I am sure hoping that the next drop in meds will not wake her up more at night, but rather allow her to be more alert during the day. It's such a balance beam, I know, getting it just right.

Isaac has been asleep since 4:30 yesterday afternoon. He does wake up, but then after a few minutes goes right back out. We have an appointment with his pediatrician on Friday for other things, but if he is still sleeping, I'm sure we'll be headed for a CAT scan on his shunt. :-(

Good news about possibly avoiding surgery! And OW! on the little thumbs!!! Obviously, she doesn't register pain with them???

Good luck on finding a standing frame. We have a hand-me-down, too. But due to lack of head control these past many months, we haven't used it either. It does have lots of growth left in it, though, so we'll be taking it with us when we move.

I'm thankful you didn't get washed away this morning! :-)

Tia said...

The thumbs thing is actually quite funny - it isn't a problem she is supposed to have since her arms are not affected by her Spina Bifida. It wasn't a problem before she came home to us either. But it is a family problem; I have loose joints and my thumbs dislocate at will, and my brother's elbow used to dislocate regularly as a child. My other brother is just amazingly bendy. So since this is a new problem which came after she was adopted, we're thinking it is somehow carried with our family Name, rather than in the Genes!



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