Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Happy Days

We interrupt this unprecedented blog silence to bring you all the exciting news that this is officially a Very Good Day.

Driving past church this morning, I can see the car park full of barriers and works vehicles and general organised mayhem. This makes me very happy. After long years of delay, after archaeological digs, and once the bats have flown, finally work has begun. The first thing most people see when they pass our church is a line of shoddy, gently undulating, beautiful but very closed and forbidding ancient (400 years old) barns. No, we're not knocking them down! We're rebuilding them, opening them up, turning them from leaky and slightly dodgy storage into a coffee shop and meetings place. The big doors which bar entry from casual passersby will be replaced with light and airy openings, and the musty damp aroma with the ever welcome scent of coffee. It won't happen overnight, but God willing, Spring 2013 we night have something rather special. Link is from this time last year, when we also thought we might be just about ready to make a start. It's really good to see the progress now.

Continuing my (ridiculously short but I was running late) drive, I make it to the Little Princess' school. Where more building works are being planned - to ensure that there is a suitably equipped Changing Places style disabled loo at the senior end of the school. Excellent. And, in the meantime, relatively minor alterations to tLP's school wheelchair are sufficient to ensure she can now sit without twisting, lessening the force of her windsweeping and increasing scoliosis. hurrah.

Home, and a terribly exciting parcel has arrived and for once actually been left for my arrival. 180 240 new-style catheters and a small mirror. Increased independence, here we come. The post arrives, and in it comes confirmation of continued respite provision for both girls at Helen House. Many cheers, and the desire to book as many visits as possible with a view to catching up on some serious amounts of sleep. A birthday card too, reminding me of my own obligations there.

And so a trip to the newsagent's, where, in common with all the other shops I've tried for the past week, I discover it is not possible to be a 4 year old boy or a 7 year old girl. Not if you want a card with an age badge on it, anyway. I find a "Birthday Girl" badge card and hope this will be acceptable.

Onwards, and time for the van to have its annual MOT. Which it passes, without even any advisory points. Excellent news! I fill up with diesel (let's not think too hard about the fact it cost me £105 to do so and instead concentrate on the fact that I can), and just happen to find my way around the first Ice Cream Snickers of the year.

And so, buoyed up with all the general Good Things, I decide to phone the powers that be about my boiler troubles (it has asbestos in it so no one will service it, but replacing it requires access to the loft which means going through my upstairs neighbour's house and needs permission of multiple agencies, all very complicated). And, after an annoying 15 minutes on hold and being charged for the privilege, I learn it is going to be even more complicated than I thought, and that I can do precisely nothing at all about it and nor can the people I was calling. My buoys have sprung a serious leak.

But, the sun is still shining, I don't need the heating for now anyway, and I have alternative access to hot water. And there's a kitten on my shoulder, and a Birthday present to wrap. And did I mention, the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day? It's almost enough not to be bothered by the lack of a boiler. Almost...


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Just Botiful

Happy Mothering Sunday
(even if she appears to have more than a passing resemblance to Peppa Pig)Clicking should bring it up bigger, but if not, then please know that I am as pretty as a flower, as friendly as a kitten, and as botiful as a buterfly.

Personally I think these two are all that - who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Would you rather

Have this for breakfast, lunch and tea, and everything inbetween?
Or this?
Live off this?
Or this?

Friday, 9 March 2012

Our week

Monday: back to hospital for another wound review: satisfactory progress and discharged for a fortnight. All signed off as fit for school. Much celebration. Training tentatively planned for school on Tuesday.

Tuesday: a long day respite. Coincidentally, a friend in town accompanying her daughter to a university interview. How can her daughter be old enough to be a mature student? She was 14 just yesterday, or last time we met. Lunch at the Nosebag (upstairs with no lift; an important ritual when I'm without girls). Memories of two daughters no longer with us, and of the day Goldie nearly got us thrown off a caravan site.* Training rearranged for Wednesday. Wound dressing changed; looking good and visibly smaller.

Wednesday: a very excited little girl all dressed up in school uniform and itching to get back to her friends. We are about to leave when the phone rings; training postponed until Monday, don't come in. Small one not consoled by going to Rainbows later on. Miss Mog meanwhile kidnaps a member of school staff to escort her to respite, as expected escort not present. All good fun. Wound dressing changed; looking even smaller. tLP decides she can't sleep because Mog is in respite and she should be in her own bed at home.

Thursday: The Little Princess and I decide a trip to IKEA is in order. We load up and go. She points out we don't have the bins. I go back and collect bins. We arrive, take a ticket and wait for Customer returns. tLP gives man at the counter a long and detailed explanation of my bin lid related idiocy. He swaps bins for IKEA card and looks amused. As does everyone else in the queue. We go upstairs to spend balance on card. Find a couple of things, grab a bin and matching lid (checking lid very carefully and realising that there must, at some point, have been a third sized bin since no lids match our flour bins). I resist a £159 rug. We eat lunch. We get to the checkouts, queue, and pay. It is at this point I notice a large hole in the new bin I am about to buy. We leave the bin and decide against replacing it. I am clearly not meant to own a nice cream bin with matching lid. Or not an IKEA one, anyway. Wound dressing changed; measurably smaller. Mog comes home, and laughs constantly from getting off the bus until getting into bed. At which point she screams and sobs for the next two hours, giving in to sedation and pain relief only extremely reluctantly. tLP decides she can't sleep because Mog should have two nights in respite. I am inclined to agree, but wonder if I could leave the girls here and book myself in instead.

Friday: Mog goes to school. tLP and I decide to do some baking in honour of expected weekend guests. We go to buy butter and eggs, and somehow end up with Smarties and Crisps. A good healthy lunch it is, then. We bake. tLP does the majority of the work; I do the majority of the cleaning up, which includes hoovering the ceiling. The hoover gets stuck to the wall. I consider the many situations I'd never considered finding myself in, and decide this is one of them. Wound dressing changed; wound is 1cm larger and 1cm wider than it was yesterday. Rats. Mog comes home from school giggling. Nurse attempts to smuggle kitten home with her. Grannie visits. tLP throws a wobbly over the utter outrageousness of being expected to eat a piece of fruit. Grolly decides to attack Benjamin. I decide I must shower brownie batter out of tLP's hair, and miss watching my friend talk about adopting her beautiful son from South Africa on BBC1 news. Early night for tLP who is exhausted. Miss Mog still smiling, so later night for her; I am hopeful this might help her to settle better. Sadly her later night still began 90 minutes ago, and she is still grizzling in bed, despite much conversation and cuddles, pain relief and repositioning, changing over the music and rearrangement of the lights, and despite enough medication to fell a small horse. Now Grolly is out, Benjamin is gleeful, the grizzles are still coming, and there's a bowl of sourdough starter bubbling over and ripe for baking.

Another week in the life of us.

Comment at some point during one of the many dressing changes from tLP. "Oh Goddy, Goddy, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh God, Oh GOD". A look from me, reminding her We Don't Say That Here and Sometimes Some Grownups Say Things Children Mustn't Say (It's a sort of Paddington Hard Stare but if you ask tLP, she'll tell you what it means. "Sorry Mummy, but I HAVE to say it, every part of my being cries out Oh God".

I think I can get behind that.

*a group of us met up for my God-daughter's dedication. One friend newly returned from South Africa still without her precious son. Another introducing her newly adopted baby. Wobbly walkers, twitchy talkers; at one point 27 of us were squeezed into our caravan. Goldie being obnoxiously loud full of the joys of spring, we banished her outside where she sang her songs of glee to the sun and the wind in the trees, and where we tossed her slices of cake which she crumbled and scattered for the squirrels (and smeared across her face and hair and wheelchair). All good fun. Until the manager of the site paid us a visit, to inform us that holiday makers in a neighbouring caravan had complained that we were mistreating a child who was screaming having been abandoned outside our 'van. To his credit, he told us to ignore them; he could see that she was having fun. But we thought discretion was possibly better than being reported to social services/having fireworks pushed through our windows later that night and stopped her party. Killjoys.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Keeping Busy

Shortly before Christmas, I had a long day off. Mum and I leapt into my bus, and zoomed off to IKEA - more square boxes to slot under the girls' beds, more storage generally, and mmmm meatballs.

I bought two enamel bins to store my flour in. Marvellous. Except that I somehow managed to buy small bins and large lids. Not so wonderful, especially as I only discovered this after I had carefully removed and destroyed all the packaging.

Earlier this week, I had a long day off. Finished helping to pack tLP's stomach with seaweed and then Mum and I zoomed off to IKEA once more. More boxes. Always more boxes. And mmmm meatballs, except oh wait? Duck Confit? Very nice, thank you. And then a cunning plan - buy two large bins with two small lids, get home and have a matched set of four. All set, short detour for fish paste and frozen meatballs, and home James.

To discover that I now have two large bins, two small bins, and four medium sized lids. These are the times which try men's souls.

I'm hopeful that tLP will be back in school at some point in the not too distant future. Anyone want a trip to IKEA?



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