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Posts Tagged ‘Dad’

  1. What I’ve been up to

    March 8, 2013 by superlative

    I haven’t written since Christmas about anything that I’ve actually done, so in order to try to get back up to date, and to make Lee shut his cakehole, I’m just going to do a little post now to cover what’s been going on in my life.

    Thing are going fine in our flat still. We have continued to make small improvements to it every now and then, including redecorating our guest bedroom. That’s the first bit of decorating we’ve ever done, and it came out quite well really.

    We have hopefully fixed the massive hump that we get in our hall floor during the summer too, which was caused by the poor laying of the wood flooring. Last summer it looked like the whole lot was going to split, so we couldn’t leave it any longer really. Chris has since lopped 5cm off the end of it with a massive chisel, and with a bit of luck he’ll have lopped off right bit for the wood to expand when it wants to.

    We may also have fixed the pigeon problem that was ruining our decked patio (they used to roost on part of our building’s fire escape and then crap all over our lovely decking). I got a quote ages ago from a bird control company about putting some netting or something up, and they laughably wanted £1,300 for it. So we thought fuck that, and after much deliberation and planning and sketching ideas on a bit of paper, Chris climbed up the rickety old cast iron ladder and we’ve hung our own net up there. It’s been four months so far, and there have been NO pigeons. The netting and the clips and things only cost us about £12, so I think that’s a big win for us and £1,288 I should be able to spend on presents for myself. We haven’t actually had any nice weather since we put the netting up (it was November), but I’m hoping that come the summer we might be able to use the patio a bit more now and maybe have a glass of wine out there on warm summer evenings.

    Noise from the flat above us has still occasionally been a problem, but we had a blissful period where it wasn’t rented out at all during January and much of February, and that was really nice. The rentals have started back up again now, but I am trying very hard to be more relaxed about it (because I’m so well known for being relaxed and easy going). Things I need to keep reminding myself are: the flat is often empty, especially midweek and in the winter; some people have noisy neighbours above them ALL the time, so we’re lucky ours is intermittent; many people who stay there are quite quiet; you can’t live under other people and have no noise at all (so I’ll never be buying a flat under other people again, but anyway); and we have earplugs for when it is noisy that are AMAZING. Seriously, they’re called Hearos, they’re American, and they are simply the best earplugs I’ve ever used or heard of. I can’t recommend them highly enough if you have noisy neighbours, and they’re so comfortable you barely know they’re in.

    I still get a little bit stressed about the noise, particularly if we have guests because I feel so bad if they get disturbed in the night. I also get annoyed if I think too hard about the woman who owns the flat because, nice as she always is to us, essentially she doesn’t really care if we get disturbed, she just wants the money from the flat (and at £125 a night she must be RAKING it in).

    On the job front, I am currently still working two days a week in my new and much more interesting web development role at the university, and three days doing my regular job. It’s still officially a ‘temporary’ arrangement though, and I’m hoping very much to get something more permanent agreed this month. The best case scenario for me I think would be to move full-time into the new role, but they may not have the money or the work for me to do that. Worst case would be to go back to doing five days a week in my regular job, which is increasingly boring. I’ve positioned myself fairly well in the new role though, and tried to make people think I’m helpful and produce good work, so I’ll have just to wait and see.

    I think that’s most of my news really. Mum and Dad are coming to stay again in May, which is a bit earlier than I thought they’d be back (it was only September last time), so I’m sure I’ll get a bit stressed about that as the time approaches. Dad has had some cardiac tests and investigations done, but still no news on why he blacked out those times. He hasn’t blacked out since anyway, so that’s something. And I’m going on holiday to Sitges again, with friends this time, at the end of May after Mum and Dad have gone. So that should be fun, and I’m desperate for some sunshine. I’m so sick of being frozen or soaked on my way to work on the stupid bus every day.

    I’m going to try to intermingle some of these posts about my life with other opinion pieces on news or things I find interesting  because it’s a bit boring just reading about my life if you don’t know me. My brother enjoys keeping up to date on what I’ve been doing apparently, but that’s probably about it. Feel free to write THIS WAS BORING in the comments box below and I’ll try to adjust accordingly.

  2. I always knew my Dad had no rhythm

    October 25, 2012 by superlative

    I wrote before that my Dad had been referred to the hospital after his faint/lake plunge, and since then he has been for his appointment at the neurology department. The neurologist consultant man asked him lots of questions, and then basically said “Why have you been referred here? It’s clearly not a neurological problem; your GP should be sending you to cardiology, not here.”

    To which of course my Dad could only say he didn’t know really and he was just doing as he was bid.

    The neurologist decided to give him an MRI anyway, just to rule out any brain problems, and he had that on Monday this week. He won’t get the results of that for another 10 days or so I think. I’m quite pleased that they are checking him out, as it’s reassuring just to know for sure there isn’t an issue there, but it’s also quite annoying that my brother had to take a day off work to accompany him to an appointment that only lasted 20 minutes and wasn’t really what he needs anyway.

    Dad went back to his GP with that information and told him that the neurologist felt he should be having an ECG, and then he went and had one yesterday. It turns out from that that he has an ‘uneven heartbeat’, I think slightly to the consternation of his GP who protested that he had listened to his heart previously and found nothing wrong with it. Well apparently there is, and to be honest we’re not satisfied that his GP is doing a particularly good job so far.

    He still isn’t sure quite how serious the arrhythmia is (I think that’s the proper term), so Dad has to go back AGAIN tomorrow while the GP checks with cardiology whether he needs to be referred, or how they should proceed.

    I’m not that worried about him still, because arrhythmia can be caused by a number of things ranging from minor stuff like too much caffeine all the way up to serious things like heart deformities. So until they decide what his actual issue is I’m going to bank on it not being that serious and hopefully he’ll be able to treat it with behaviour changes or medication or something.

    It’s all been quite a drawn out process though, and when it’s something vital like your heart and/or brain you kind of hope to get it sorted out quickly rather than just be left hanging around.  And when you’ve talked a reticent male into going to the doctors, it would be nice to feel like the doctor was actually doing their job properly and not just guessing.

    My Grandad has decided to casually mention that he’s always had an irregular heartbeat that he’s never mentioned to my Dad before, so it may well be congenital in some way. Information like that might well have been useful to the doctor, but never mind eh?

    I should get some more news tomorrow when he goes back. In the meantime I’m going to try not to think too hard about the occasional weird heart palpitations I get…

  3. Something wicked that way went

    October 3, 2012 by superlative

    I never got around to writing about how my parents’ trip to Brighton went a couple of weeks ago. They did come in the end, despite Dad’s black-out-in-the-lake disaster, and Mum did decide to let him drive because it was just easier.

    Their visit went fine, although the same as last year I found it quite stressful having them around and I was thoroughly worn out by the time they went away again. We didn’t have any major issues this year though, and I didn’t end up shouting “This is a fucking disaster!” at them in a pub like last time.

    We did a few nice things together, including going on the Brighton Wheel, having a walk on the pier, and going up to Devil’s Dyke for lunch. It was nice to see them really, and getting away from home for a bit seemed to do both of them a lot of good. Mum always likes the sea air, and I think it’s just good for their mental health for them to be in a different environment for once and to have some different company. Otherwise they’re just at home together the whole time, they have no real friends, and they drive each other a bit loopy.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted a picture of them on here, but this is what they look like if you were wondering:

    Mum is hiding under her hat, but you can sort of see them both.

    The worst bit for me when they visit really is my preoccupation with ensuring Chris doesn’t get too fed up or annoyed. He always says it’s fine, and when it came to it yes it was absolutely fine, but because I don’t want people to fall out I get quite wound up about it. Both times that they’ve come have been Sunday to Wednesday in any case, which means Chris is at work during the day, and he only sees them for a couple of hours at dinner time each evening so it doesn’t really have the scope to be that much of a problem. Nobody likes having their in-laws to stay though, even if it is in the flat upstairs, and that was partly why I was so glad when they got off safely at the end.

    The next two times I spoke to Mum on the phone after they left, she told me she was ‘not bad’ and then ‘fine’ when I asked how she was. That never, EVER happens, and is the most positive response I’ve had from her for years, so the trip really must have done them good.

    Dad has been alright too since his black out and hasn’t had any more. He turned all pale when he stood up and then sat back down quickly the other day apparently, but to me that just makes it sound even more like his blood pressure is just too low for some reason. His hospital appointment is on Monday and my brother is taking him there, so hopefully they’ll just scan his brain and rule out some of the more dire things we’ve been imagining it could be. I guess we’ll just see what happens.

  4. Further adventures of the gypsy curse

    September 7, 2012 by superlative

    I have written quite a few times previously about my parents’ gypsy curse, and if you flick back through my posts about it there are some quite amusing (sort of) incidents of bizarre and unfortunate things happening to them. They tend to have about, oh, one a month or something like that? And they range from the mildly inconvenient to the severely disruptive or expensive.

    This week they’ve had one of their more serious and upsetting ones, so of course I had a lovely phone call from my distressed mother about it on Tuesday night. I’m expecting her to ring me about it again in a minute actually, what joy.

    A few months ago my Dad got up out of his armchair, walked across the living room, and keeled over backwards onto the dining table having fainted. He bashed his back, but he came round fairly quickly and seemed to be more or less OK afterwards. I think he did see the doctor about it, because Mum felt he was on too high a dose of anti-depressants and that they might have caused it, and the doctor reduced his dose a bit and he seemed to be OK.

    Tuesday was a nice sunny day, and as Dad is unemployed (we’re calling him ‘retired’ now, as he’s no longer actually looking for work) and has no commitments, he took his bike out for a ride round at a place called Whipps Cross near where my parents live. I don’t know if he went through choice or because Mum wanted him out of the house for a while, but either way he went.

    He rode round for a bit, stopped somewhere, lent his bike against a tree, walked a few steps, and promptly blacked out. And fell. Into a lake.

    Now, it’s quite lucky I suppose that he somehow fell (I don’t know how this worked) backwards into the lake, rather than face first. And that he didn’t drown, or fall into moving traffic or anything like that. He doesn’t know how long he was out for, but he woke up in the water and staggered out and was helped by two passers by. He was wet from head to foot, and they wanted to call him an ambulance, but he said no he was feeling better now and dissuaded them.

    The silly sod then proceeded to walk the 15 minutes home, pushing his bike, ringing wet, and turned up there shortly afterwards. God knows what he must have looked like. I suppose he didn’t think he had much choice though – Mum couldn’t come to get him, he couldn’t get a taxi as he was wet and had his bike, and he didn’t want an ambulance. So he walked. At least it was a warm day.

    Mum made him go to the doctors that afternoon, which in typical male fashion he didn’t want to do, and he’s been referred to a neurological unit for some tests in October. We know he’s got low blood pressure already, and that he’s almost guaranteed to get diabetes at some point. My Gran found out she had diabetes when she passed out in a market at about the age of 60. So I think that’s a fairly likely explanation, but the doctor didn’t agree as his blood tests six months ago didn’t show any signs of diabetes yet. So I don’t know what’s going on really. I would rather it be the blood pressure or diabetes, because at least there are ways of managing that, instead of it being something awful like a brain tumour. I really don’t know what would happen if he died, as Mum can’t really look after herself. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    The doctor said he can still drive but should be ‘very careful’. Mum thought that was retarded, because he’s had no warning at all when he’s passed out these two times, so she worries he’ll just pass out at the wheel and plough into something. She has sort of forbidden him from driving on the motorway at least, but that creates its own set of problems because they were meant to be coming to visit me in a week to stay in the flat above us again. I don’t think they’d be able to get their money back at this short notice if they cancelled, and they’d been looking forward to it. So that’s a problem and I don’t know what’s going to happen about it. I don’t personally think he’ll pass out at the wheel because it’s rare to faint sitting down, but whether Mum will decide to relent and they’ll just come anyway I don’t know.

    So yes, the gypsy curse still rages on, and it’s a bit exhausting. In some ways I’d rather they both just got struck by lightning and have done with it, as at least that would be quick.

  5. Something integrated this way comes

    March 18, 2012 by superlative

    I am sitting at home today waiting for our new washing machine to arrive. About a week ago our old one went kaput, and as usually happens with washing machines it helpfully waited until it had got a full load of clothes soaking wet before deciding nah fuck it, I’m not finishing this lot, I’m just going to sit here not moving and making a little clicking sound every few seconds. I tried cajoling it, I tried kicking it (worth a shot), I tried restarting it on a different programme, but no. It was dead.

    It was the washing machine that was here when we moved in, and so I don’t mind that much replacing it. It’s quite manky looking, and for the first couple of weeks I didn’t like touching it because I knew it had had someone else’s pants and disgusting dog blankets and things in. So I sort of wanted a new one anyway, but the timing has turned out to be a bit unfortunate as we’ve just spent all of our (Chris’) money on a car.

    The sparkly new one is due to arrive today between 8am and 6pm. So naturally I’m six hours into the wait and there’s no sign of it so far. It’s a shame that we have all integrated appliances in the kitchen really – because although they look nice hidden away behind cupboard doors, they’re a lot more annoying to replace. They cost more for a start, as evidently making things slightly narrower must be cripplingly expensive for the manufacturer, and then the old ones are also wedged right fucking in there and won’t come out. I was worried it wouldn’t come out at all in fact, to the point that we’ve actually disconnected the old one and dragged it out completely, just to be sure that it would be possible. So we’ve done half the installation man’s work for him; he better be grateful.

    Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a post about washing machines. I’m waiting for a washing machine; it’s boring; I have a week’s worth of clothes to wash; hurry up Mr Washing Machine Man.

    Apart from washing machine-related tribulations, I have had an OK if manically busy week. I have settled into my new job in Marketing a bit more now, and got a bit better at managing the workload between my two roles. I’ve done about five weeks there now, so that’s 10 days in total, and I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable when I’m there. So far I have worked on two mobile web projects for them: building a mobile version of our courses database (which was like building a mini mobile website from scratch), and then optimising the main university website so that it displays a bit better and is more usable on a mobile device. I’ve never done anything like either of those before, so it has been a good learning experience for me, and I’ve been quite pleased with how both of them have turned out. The work on the main website was probably harder, because it was essentially trying to make a website structured and designed for a desktop browser display properly in a very different environment without touching any of the content code. I’ve still got a bit of work to do on it, but it turned out well enough to put the main parts of it live. I also got a nice email from the director of marketing saying how well I’d done it, so that was nice.

    The rest of my week has mostly been spent on trains. I had to spend five hours getting the train to Canterbury and back on Thursday for a two hour meeting, which was pointless and expensive and long. And then on Friday I got the train up to London to see Mum (a bit early) for Mothers’ Day. I just stayed the one night and then escaped at dinner time on Saturday.

    The visit was okaaaay, but as always happens I spent about three hours sat upstairs on my own ‘sorting out Mum’s computer’. Which just means doing stupid things like updating programs and drivers and sorting out error messages. I don’t mind doing it, but it’s every time I go home, and then I hardly see Mum and Dad because I’m sat in the bedroom the whole time.

    Dad has outdone himself by adding to his driving woes by receiving a fixed penalty notice from the council for turning right into a turning you’re not allowed to. He got caught on camera doing it (it looks like they had a special camera set up for just that reason), so he can’t exactly deny it, but he does protest that the signage was unclear and seemed to refer to the previous turning not the one he turned into. He can protest all he likes: it’s still cost him £65, incurred the wrath of mother once again, and made me wonder if he really should be driving any more. How many things does he have to have happen before we acknowledge that, at least in terms of his working life, he should give up on driving and do something else? He’d say he doesn’t have any other skills, but really I’m not sure he has this skill any more…

    He still hasn’t heard from the police about his accident, and he’s had no luck finding a job. Poor Dad. He has done six week course aimed at helping people get Olympic jobs which means he’s got certificates now in health and safety, food safety, customer service and manual handling. So that’s something. And he’s going to try to do some voluntary work he’s found on Wednesdays, so I think that looks good in terms of him being proactive and using his time while he’s unemployed instead of just sitting around. God knows if it’ll help though.

    It’s 2.45pm now and still no washing machine. HURRY UP YOU BASTARDS. They’re not getting a cup of tea now. Unless they’re hot, then they’re allowed tea. But only if they turn up in the next 20 minutes.

  6. Vroom vrooooom!

    March 7, 2012 by superlative

    I have had another rubbish month for blogging, to the point where I have actually received complaints about it. Who actually wants to read this stuff?? Well apparently you do, so you’ve brought it on yourself and I have no sympathy.

    I have been crap at writing on here because I’m insanely busy with work, and trying to do my normal job in three days a week plus a new job in the other two days is seemingly a bit ambitious. I’ve managed to get back on top of things this week, but it is hard going. I’ve also had quite a lot happening at home, so there has just been no time for anything, and blogging got pushed out.

    My main news from the last month is that we (well, Chris) have bought a new car! This is him, and his name is Thunderbolt:

    Chris has wanted a convertible for aaages, and he’s earning pretty well now so he decided just to buy one. Our old car (dear old Columbo, who I’m going to miss terribly) was on his way out a bit, so we knew he needed replacing soon, and in a bit of a whirlwind of activity Chris found Thunderbolt online, we saw him the next day, and test drove and then bought him the day after that.

    It all seemed to happen REALLY fast, and even though he’s second hand and wasn’t all that much money, and Chris was paying out of his savings so it wasn’t even my money, I found that the whole process made me insanely anxious and stressed. I was worried we’d get ripped off, that the car would have a major fault, that the garage wouldn’t do the work they’d promised to do on it before we picked it up, that it wouldn’t be ready on the day we were supposed to pick it up, that they wouldn’t take Columbo in part exchange once they had a closer look at him, ALL sorts of things. I don’t really know what’s happened to me in the last few years, but I have completely lost the ability to cope with change and my anxiety levels have gone through the roof. Buying a house, starting this new job, and buying a car have all been a nightmare, and I’ve worried myself to the point of feeling sick all the time. I really don’t want to be that person (effectively my Mum but not so haughty) and I need to find a way of nipping it in the bud now while I hopefully still can. I’m not sure what to do about it though. I’ve got a book on anxiety at home somewhere that I need to try to dig out, and there are various types of therapy I could try. When I’m in between big stressful events though I don’t feel especially anxious about things, so I end up not doing anything about it, and then something else big happens and I wish I had. Hmm.

    Anyway, that was an interesting (boring) diversion about my anxiety issues. Thunderbolt seems fine so far, touch wood, and we’ve had him nearly a week. The weather has unfortunately not been nice enough to have the roof down, but he is very big and comfy and Chris seems to enjoy driving him. I always refer to our cars as him, by the way. I hope everything stays fine and his big end doesn’t go after a fortnight or anything. What the hell is a big end anyway, and where does it go? Can’t they just fix them in place more securely? I might have to look into that.

    Other than that I have just been drinking too much, not getting enough sleep (while drinking), and thinking I really must cut down on my drinking. I don’t get wasted all the time or anything, but I had started to drink out of habit in the evenings a couple of weeks ago. It was just a cocktail or a glass of wine, so not loads, but it wasn’t very good. So now I’m cutting down a bit and only drinking when I’m actually socialising or for a treat.

    Mum is hmmm OK, not great. That’s about as good as it gets with her. Their gypsy curse this week has included: the downstairs phone breaking; the battery going on her car so it wouldn’t start and she had to get the AA out; a blind falling off the wall when she pulled it; and my Dad fainting for no reason and banging his head on the dining table. So pretty much par for the course with them really. Dad has been to the doctors already and been told he has low blood pressure, and now he’s having some tests done. I’m not too worried about him as yet, but I’m glad he is getting checked out.

    It’s just bizarre that they have so many stupid things happen to them though, it’s non-stop. He’s still waiting to hear from the police about his accident thing that he lost his job over and that he might get prosecuted for. If I wrote down all the unfortunate things that have happened to them over the last year I think it would make me want to shoot myself (or them, as an act of kindness). But it does at least make me realise, anxiety issues or not, I have a comparatively good and easy life and so I should be grateful.

  7. Poor old Dad

    January 5, 2012 by superlative

    Wow, my parents’ gypsy curse is working overtime at the moment.

    I mentioned before that my Dad had been suspended from his driving job for gross misconduct. Well, he got the sack, so now he’s unemployed again. His gross misconduct was that he clipped a parked car and didn’t report it, but he says that he left a note and thought that would be enough. He also says his employer never trained him on the procedure for reporting an accident (only about half his training was ever completed), and that most of the time procedures weren’t followed with any regularity there (e.g. when the sat nav got stolen from his van, they said not to bother filling in a form for it because it happens all the time). So technically I think his dismissal was unfair, but he hadn’t worked there long enough to be able to claim unfair dismissal. So they sacked him, with no notice, as of 30 December. He can appeal, but it was a horrible job that we all hated, so even his union rep said what’s the point in appealing?

    But now, as if that weren’t bad enough and as if Mum weren’t kicking off enough as it is, he’s had a letter from the police requesting his details so they can investigate him for failing to stop and failing to report an accident.

    Mum is freaking. Out.

    I don’t think he can be prosecuted for failing to stop, because he did stop, and he was there long enough to do a whole delivery. He can prove that much. The owner of the other car says there was no note though, and I don’t know how you can prove or disprove that you left one. What he should have done is report it to the police within 24 hours, but he didn’t, and he didn’t tell his employer either, because like most people he didn’t want to get into trouble. But now he’s in a whole load of extra trouble for not reporting it and it’s really got out of hand.

    The letter from the police is a standard letter, but naturally it is strongly worded because these are the same offences as if you’d had an accident at a junction and driven off or run someone over on a crossing and failed to stop. So it is quite scarily written, but at this stage they’re only asking for some of his details. Obviously his employer was insured and will be paying for the damage, and he isn’t denying that he did the damage now (nor, he claims, did he deny it at the time because he says he left a note. He says.)

    I’ve tried to do some research online and it seems likely that after he sends his form back he’ll get a call or a visit from a police officer, or he’ll be asked to go to a police station, so that he can make a proper statement about what happened. They will then decide which offences are applicable and therefore whether there is anything to pursue.

    It’s a fairly minor example of those offences, so his punishment is likely to be points on his licence and/or a fine. That’s if they do pursue it at all. I imagine they’d have to, because he definitely didn’t report it, and that’s definitely an offence, even if you didn’t know it was one.  Whether it would mean going to court to admit it, or whether they just punish you by letter if you admit it like they do for speeding fines, I don’t know. But either way it’s not going to be great.

    He’s such a stupid sod! I can understand that he didn’t want to get into trouble, but that has made the situation so much worse.

    I’m not sure he’s ever been the same since he had a bad traffic accident when he was a teenager. He hit a bus on a motorbike, lost a large portion of his memory, and for a time regressed to being like a child. My gran told me once he used to walk along clutching her hand and being frightened of everyone, and he was about 17 or something by that point. Then he got better after a while, or learnt to be normal again, but he doesn’t remember the accident to this day. And I think that’s affected him. I think he has something that goes wrong in his head if he’s involved in a traffic accident, because this is the second time (that I know of) that someone has said he was involved in an accident and he either denies all knowledge or his story has significant holes in it. It’s like he’s filled in the gaps with what he “thinks he would have done” rather than what he actually did, and his brain has blocked his memory of it. I don’t know, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about. I do worry about him though, there are times like this when I think he’s not quite right.

    Oh god, it’s so stressful. They always have such stupid and bad things happen to them, it’s ridiculous. I’ll support them as much as I can, but it’s hard to try to carry both of them, and they don’t seem to be very good at all at supporting each other.

    Poor old Dad.

  8. A bumpy Christmas, but better than expected

    December 30, 2011 by superlative

    Well I survived Christmas, which is good, and although it had the potential to be a disaster what with Dad being suspended, in the end most of it was better than I expected it to be.

    The first day back, on Friday, was horrible. That was my first day with my parents and they were in full-swing massive stress out mode regarding Dad’s job. As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, he has been suspended for gross misconduct, the details of which I’m not going to go into too much on here. Basically he has been suspended for two things, one of which he did but which is fairly minor, and one of which he claims he didn’t do, but his story is a bit woolly and Mum doesn’t believe him. He should be in his disciplinary meeting right now actually, and we don’t know if he’ll get a warning or get the sack or what.

    So anyway, Friday was MASSIVELY stressy. Which was odd, I thought, as this is a job that Dad hates and Mum hates and we have been urging him to resign for about three months. He hasn’t wanted to though, because he says he won’t get job seekers’ allowance if he resigns, so we said in some ways it would be better if he got sacked. Which is sort of what might happen now, so I was bemused that Mum was making it out to be such a disaster. It is true that the day before Christmas Eve isn’t the nicest time to be suspended, and that his manager most likely did that on purpose because she’s a cow and the things she has suspended him for happened in November. But aside from that, to my mind this was exactly what we’d been saying we wanted to happen.

    So I spent most of Friday counselling them (when did I become their fucking counsellor?) and trying to get them settled back down. As I said to them: if he just gets a warning, nothing changes; if he gets sacked, he doesn’t have to go back to this awful job that’s running him into an early grave. So it really isn’t that bad.

    “But he’ll never find another job, and then I’ll have him at home all day and I need to REST!” Mum wailed.

    Well, fine… That’s possible. But a) it’s his house too, so you’ll just have to deal with it, and b) why have we been telling him to resign then?? Where’s the consistency, mother?

    She was just catastrophising and being stressy, but it made being at home pretty horrible nonetheless.

    It also threw into doubt whether or not they would come to Chris’ Mum’s house for Christmas lunch the next day, because she was “too stressed”. I wouldn’t have been happy about that, so I urged them still to come and reminded them that being out of the house for a day, and being around other people so they weren’t just thinking about this and squabbling over it, would do them a lot of good.

    I spent Christmas Eve night at Chris’ house, and then had to wait until the morning for the verdict on whether they would be joining us or not. Thankfully, they did, and I was entirely right because they had a nice lunch where they talked and laughed with people (I can’t remember the last time I heard my Mum laugh), and it seemed to reset them back to a more normal level.

    I had a nice Christmas Day overall, and I got some lovely presents. I’m always much happier once my parents have gone home, because then I know for sure we haven’t had any disasters and I can relax. I’m really pleased they came though.

    Boxing Day was my day for seeing my Horrible Grandad, which I had complained about constantly in advance. Mum never ends up coming (she’s not up to it after Christmas Day), and my brother is on holiday, so I knew it would just be me and my Dad and my Grandad and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. He doesn’t know I’m gay, he doesn’t know I’m married, and he doesn’t know Chris and I bought our first home this year. I don’t care much for his company as he is hugely critical, and at times bigoted and spiteful. He has also always favoured my cousins over my brother and I as they are ‘good with their hands’, and he puts much more store by that than academic achievement. So anyway, I dislike him, and consequently decided many years ago that he doesn’t deserve to know me properly or to be given the opportunity to judge me unfavourably because I enjoy hot boy-on-boy action.

    I therefore went off to my Boxing Day meal with a fair amount of trepidation. I only go as a favour to my Dad really. But as it turned out, it was MUCH better than I was expecting, and was the best Boxing Day meal I’ve had with him in about four or five years. He was pleased about my secondment, he didn’t say anything mean about the infrequency with which he sees me or my Mum, and he actually liked and was grateful for the present I got him. Normally he just says something like “what am I going to do with that?”, or “I’ll put this on the pile of 10 of these I’ve got, shall I?” and I end up thinking well fuck you I wish I hadn’t bothered. But he LIKED his book this year and thanked me for thinking of him. You could have knocked me down with a feather. He also told me that one of my cousins’ current job (much to his disappointment) is Ditch Digging, which I found HILARIOUS. Yes being able to do things with your hands is so much better isn’t it?

    The lunch reminded me though that for all my bitching about him, he is a lonely, old, infirm little man now. I still don’t like him, but I am perhaps too harsh about him sometimes.

    And that was Christmas really. We saw some friends on Boxing Day night for drinks and giggles, and it was nice to do something normal with no family members and no stress, and then we escaped back to Brighton on Tuesday afternoon. It’s always nice to come back to my peaceful home after I’ve seen my parents, and especially so after Christmas. I’ve got a few days off left before I go back to work, and so far I’ve spent them slobbed on the sofa cramming chocolate things I was given for Christmas into my fat face. It is practically New Year’s Eve already, so the week is going pretty fast, but it has been nice to be off work, and overall I should be grateful for having a much better Christmas than I expected.

  9. So much to blog, so little time

    April 28, 2011 by superlative

    So much has happened since I last blogged on the 20th that I really don’t know where to start or how to write about it all. I’ll do my best though, as I’m sure all my thousands of readers are dying to hear.

    Item number 1 – we’re buying a house. Well a flat, but I tend to say house because it’s just easier and because ‘Do you want to come back to my house?’ sounds sweet and childlike, while ‘Do you want to come back to my flat?’ sounds sordid. But anyway, FUCKING HELL, we’re buying a house! We saw it on Tuesday last week, then saw it again on Wednesday night, and I put in an offer on Thursday morning. It was turned down, so I increased it by a little bit, and hey presto they said yes!

    I’m really pleased that we’ve actually found somewhere we both like, and that for the first time I feel reasonably comfortable about buying. I was always not quite keen when we made offers on other places, but this time I felt much better. The couple selling it seem very nice, and we got to have a good long chat with them at the second viewing that the estate agent didn’t bother to show up for.

    I really hope it will be alright. People have warned us not to get too over-excited as sales fall through quite often, so I’m doing my best, but so far everything has gone fairly smoothly.

    In a whirlwind of activity since Thursday, and despite two bank holidays getting in the way I have: had an offer accepted; commissioned a conveyancer; started a mortgage application from scratch, got it approved in principle, moved it on to full application, and paid the valuation fee; got quotes for surveys; and done some of the basic paperwork for the estate agent and the conveyancer. Not bad really! And now I’m just waiting to hear back about the next stage from the mortgage lender.

    It’s a bit scary, and the amount of things to do is quite overwhelming, but I’m pleased to have ploughed through the first bit, and I’ve had no major hiccups TOUCH VIRTUAL WOOD. Actually touch virtual wood sounds a bit pervy, don’t touch that.

    So that’s Item 1, and it’s a massive relief because we’re both absolutely sick of house hunting.

    Item number 2 – my Dad’s got a job! And at his first interview since he got made redundant too! He’s been applying and applying for things, stuff from the job centre and things we’ve found online, and generally he’s not heard anything back at all. Mum has frequently said he’s not going to find anything, she really doesn’t think he is, no one is replying, he’s too old, that’s it now until he retires at 65, etc. etc. And then a little while ago I found him an online advert for home delivery drivers at Sainsburys, he applied, and he got an interview!

    He was quite nervous I think, especially as he’s not had an interview for years, and I tried to encourage them not to get their hopes up too much just because he’d got an interview. But anyway, he went along, he completed a Highway Code assessment ON A COMPUTER (thank fuck he did that basic computer skills course recently – he didn’t have a clue before), had his interview, and they offered it to him straight away! Subject to references and all that stuff, but still.

    I’m SO pleased for him, and proud of him, and I know he’ll be really good at this job. And it’s Sainsburys, so hopefully they wouldn’t lay him off before he gets to 65 in a couple of years’ time.

    Item number 3 – I’m 30 on Saturday! Eeek! My birthday celebrations start tomorrow with a dinner out with friends and my brother, and then on Saturday we’re going to Go Ape for a foresty zip-liney terrified-of-heights-why-did-I-book-this adventure. I’m really hoping it won’t rain, because that will be crap and annoying, but fingers crossed the gods will smile upon my special day and it will all be alright. And I won’t get stuck up a tree in hysteria and need to be rescued via ladder.

    So yes, lots of things going on as you can see. And now it’s two MORE bank holidays this weekend, before everything finally gets back to normal.

    Right, I better dash because I’ve still got SO much to do.

    Further updates after the weekend, unless I’m still up a tree.

  10. Gingerly tapping on the spacebar

    January 28, 2011 by superlative

    My Dad rang me up last night. He never rings me, in fact the only time I speak to him on the phone is when my Mum is having a bad day (worse than usual I mean), and I ring home and he’s been placed under instructions to answer the phone and speak to me.

    But he rang me up quite deliberately yesterday because he wanted to tell me about his first day on his Basic Computer Skills course. He told me he had done typing, he had made his first Word document, he had centred some of the text, and then he saved it and printed it out.

    Honestly, it was SO sweet. I can imagine him there, with his huge clumsy hands, looking down at the keyboard so he can push a button and then looking back up to see if the computer screen (he calls it the VDU) had done anything.

    He said he had got on very well, and despite having missed two sessions (even though they told him it started yesterday) he had felt much more able than the woman sitting next to him. He found the mouse challenging, because the buttons are too delicate and when he pushes them the whole mouse tends to move (seriously, his hands are like breadboards), but other than that he sounded really pleased with himself.

    He also told me he had saved his document as his initials, so he would be able to find it again next time, which I thought was an odd detail to throw in.

    So BLESS MY DAD anyway. I’m really proud of him, and it’s nice for him to go out and do something on his own and to sound quite positive about something. Getting some computer skills might not help him find a job, but it will at least help him look for one.

    Oh yes, and the gypsy curse continues because their porch has rotted through overnight and is about to fall of the front of the house, and the microwave blew up when Mum tried to make scrambled egg in it. Well it can’t ALL be positive with them, can it?