Saturday, 15 December 2007

Don't make a drama out of a crisis...

I am going to leave my journey until after Christmas for fear of depressing my blogging friends and them leaving to read funnier, more unlifting blogs.

We have had success with the cat fleas at last, the Spot-On was crap, the flea collar was crap, although she is still wearing it as it doesn't seem to bother her, the flea tablets were fantastic for eliminating living fleas on her body, at that time, they fall off within 15 minutes, but they don't kill the eggs!! Front line was recommended, but the chemist said she had to be over 6 months, defeated I contacted the vet and guess what they had Front Line and you can use it from 8 weeks, one vial does 5 weeks, kills fleas on the body within 24 hours and any fleas that jump onto the body or hatch on the body are killed, again, within 24 hours. To good to be true, no, it works, I have combed her through, checking for droppings, fleas or anything else suspicious and she is flea free. Mission accomplished at long last.


My daughter celebrated her 8th birthday on the 1st Dec and had 4 friends to sleepover, I love children, I enjoy their company and I pride myself on bringing fun and enjoyment to their parties. The hubby took our son out for the evening so that we could have a girls night in, I bought the girls little make-up sets with nail varnish, equiped myself with nail varnish remover and started the night with food. I always give any children in my house rules, 3 simple rules, take your shoes of at the door, hang your jackets on the pegs and put your papers (sweeties or juice cartoons etc) into the bin, this keeps me a happy mum. The food was demolished, we had the cake, all the girls helped with the candles and the switching off of lights while my daughter waited patiently, we sang Happy Birthday and cheered, they had cake and sweeties and went to play for a while to let the food settle. By 9.30 they had all fallen out, my daughter was crying, 2 of her 'friends' were upstairs bitching about her, saying 'just because it's her birthday, she wants all the attention, this was the worst sleepover they had ever been to blah, blah blah' at which point I had to remind myself I was and adult and these were 8 year old girls, I called a get together in the living room to see if any child wanted to go home, the 2 bitching children who had never been to my house before said 'no' We played games, musical bumps, best dancer, musical statues and it was fun, all the girls enjoyed themselves, all the girls got a prize and a few more sweeties went round. At 10 o'clock I decided to blow up the air bed as they were going to have a pyjama party and watch a DVD, my daughters new Bratz The Movie DVD, I was in my bedroom, getting the bed sorted when I heared two almighty thuds, I entered my daughters room to find the 2 bitching children jumping from the top bunk bed, in all the years my children have had these beds they have never, ever, jumped or dreaped from the beds or any other part of the house for that matter. And the cheek I took from these children, under normal circumstances, had they been to play, their mothers would have been called and I would have spoken to them sternly and let them know their behaviour was unacceptable, but my fear was they would make fun of my daughter at school, tell her other friends her sleepover was a disaster, so for her sake and the fact it was her birthday, I jollied them round and we carried on. They watched DVD's, played in the room and at 1am I decided it was time for lights out, I informed them they could choose a book for 10 minutes and then I would be back to put the lights out. 2 children refused to get into bed, that was a big mistake, I spoke to them as I would to my own children, they got into bed immediately with the first book that fell into their hands. These children will not be back to play or stay or otherwise and my daughter has realised that a sleepover is not all it's cracked up to be, she has been watching too much of the 'All new sleepover club' Her friends left at 12 noon the next day, the other 2 children praised for their perfect behaviour and their mothers informed likewise and my daughter, she was asleep on the couch for 12.45, an exhausted little 8 year old. I appreciate my good mannered, well behaved children all the more now, they may play up with us, at home, but I can trust them to behave with any other adult and I am very very proud of them.

Last week was a disaster, my daughter had been complaining on and off that she didn't feel well, but she went to school just the same, my son was loaded with the cold, coughing and complaining of a sore head but still he wanted to go to school, the hubby he has full blown flu and not 'man flu' real flu, he has never been ill in his life so it is not going down to well, I knew he must be really ill when he recently refused sex, he continued to go to work but took the weekend off, quite unheard of in our house. The children had their panto visit with the school on Wednesday morning, I sent them with a pack of tissues and informed the school if they were unwell on their return I should be called immediately. They called me at 2.40pm! by the time I got the message I was on my way to school to collect them. I reached the school office and was told by the office staff that my daughters teacher had said, and I quote 'perhaps you could keep her off tomorrow as she has been to the office everyday this week' 'RIGHT' I said, 'bloody cheek' I mumbled. I do not normally send my children to school ill, but because of the panto they didn't want to miss it. I decided right there and then that they could both have the day off on Thursday, they were both quite ill looking when they came out of school. I had already done my Florence Nightingale that morning with my mother as she too was bedridden with flu, I had gone in armed with all the remedies I could think of as her car was in the garage and she was effectively stranded. This was my good fortune that her car was in the garage as my car was due to go in on the Thursday morning for a service, which meant I could drop my car off and use hers until mine was ready, so I left her house armed with a blank cheque to pay for her car. Upon realising the kids were so ill and going to be off school the next day I decided to go straight to the garage and exchange cars rather than dragging the kids out early the next morning and it was just as well I did, because on the Thursday morning we woke up to find the whole village had no water, I don't know which I consider worse, no water or no electricity, at least with water you can wash and make tea, ok you can't dry or straighten your hair without electricity but you can still boil water on the gas hob. The kids were quite happy not to wash and they had TV so their life was fine. I had taken the morning off and informed the hubby he would have to have the afternoon off as I was too busy to have the whole day off, he nearly died, he has never taken time off to look after sick children. He gets up and goes to work, only dealing with himself, even if the kids are ill he assumes I'll be there, because I always have been and thankfully they are not often ill and I have never had to take a day off work since I set up the business 3.5 years ago, it would be ok if I didn't work alone, but I do, so there is nobody to hold the fort. Anyway, shocked as he was he came home at lunchtime and I trotted of to work, mildy washed down with the little water that had been left, there must have been a lot of stinky people in our village that day! I got my car back that night, so I had to leave mums car at the garage and then we took a family trip to go and collect it later that evening, my mum stays about 10 miles away from us so we took the car back to our house as she was still to ill to drive it anyway. I feel all I've done is run about after sick people and coordinated cars and then there's the inconvenience of Christmas............

I appreciate the importance of Christmas itself but hate the commercialisation - is that a word, I don't know, but I'm sure you get my drift.

Until the next high drama I bid you goodbye.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Life goes on!

So that was it, it was all over, no more waiting, no more phoning. I cried for a while, but I cry when anyone dies, I don't remember if my mum cried. I called my best friend later that night to tell her and I cried harder. I was still going on my trip with the college his dying did not interfere with my life, there would of course be the funeral, it was sure to happen during my time away, but I had already made my mind up I would not be going. I think my mother wondered what people would think, although she always let me make my own decisions, I didn't care what people would think, they had not spent years of hell, anyone who knew us well enough would know why I was not there. I phoned Gran, it was the first I had spoken to her in over 18 months, I told her I knew he had died and that I would not be going to the funeral and that I was going to continue with my plans to go on the college trip, she didn't say much, 'I felt it was only right I phoned to let you know' I said and that was it I have never spoken to or seen the woman since.

The trip was enjoyable, certainly worth going on. I called my mum on the day of the funeral as she said she might go, she felt she should, but she decided against it and stayed home to grieve in her own private space, grieve for the man she married, the man who had fathered her child and grieve for the 20 odd years they had been together, remembering the happy times.

At last we were settled, it may sound cruel but we knew it was ok to be out and about, knowing that we would never stumble across him, never see him lying in a gutter. We were relieved, if the drink had not killed him he would certainly have become a 'down and out' We had many long discussions after his passing and it was only then we asked ourselves the question 'was he an alcoholic?' it will seem clear to everyone on the outside looking in that 'yes' he was but when you live with something for so long it becomes the 'norm' you assume everyone else lives that way, women stay at home and look after the children and men go to the pub.

One afternoon there was a chap at the door, I answered to find the ARSEHOLE standing there.

'Can I come in?' he said

'My mum's not in' I said

'It's you I need to speak to' he said

'You can speak to me when my mum's in, she'll be back in an hour' I said firmly

There was no way I was having this man in my house, I was 18, I had no idea what he wanted or how he knew where we lived, had it been any of my dad's sisters, my Auntie's, I would have let them in, welcomed them, but they had sent him or he had said he would come 'I'll sort it all out' being the dedicated son-in-law that he was, bullshit, he was an ARSEHOLE nobody liked him, the one person on this earth my dad hated, had fought physically with. Perhaps my Auntie's were unable to face me, perhaps they hated us, blamed us for his death. Perhaps if we had stayed with him and made sure he ate properly he would have lived longer, we should have looked after him, if we did would he be dead now or perhaps it would have been my mother, dead through stress or perhaps he would have killed her, who knows. He returned when my mum was home and explained that dad had money left over in his bank account and I was next of kin, I needed to go and see the bank manager and he would take me! 'I don't need you to take me, I'm quite capable of going myself' the audacity of this man. He also told us about dads dying minutes, how his family surrounded him, someone had been out of the room, but as soon as they were all together he died peacefully, of sane mind my father would, I'm sure, not have chosen to have the ARSEHOLE present while he took his last breath. Nonetheless it upset me. A friend of my dad's sister worked in the lab with Anna and so the family knew that we had been informed of his illness, none of them tried to contact me, they didn't have to deal with my mum, I was 18, but I was still a child really, still their flesh and blood, never to this day have they tried to get in touch with me, hear my side of the story, what we had to live with or just generally stay in touch, I wouldn't take anything to do with them, but I would have liked them to try, contrary I know. I feel disowned, through no fault of my own, I had 3 Aunties, 3 Uncles, a gran, a papa and 7 cousins.

I made an appointment to see the bank manager, I went myself. Dad had never paid his poll tax so that had to be deducted, plus the funeral expenses, the man had died an alcoholic, a poor sole and he paid for his own funeral, which included a lair, which takes 3 people, his father is now buried there and I assume his mother will go there too and his family, 3 sisters and parents, couldn't even club together for his funeral. How sad. I left with a cheque for £2100.

My mother was quite upset with the whole thing, when they had the house, there were insurance policies, endowments, they were both covered and would both be financially secure if anything happened to the other, the mortgage would be paid, the funeral expenses would be covered, the policies would have paid out and here we were only 20 months after separation and the house had been sold, the policies cancelled, the endowments cashed for under their value, living in a council flat and left with £2100, not to mention a dead father. This lead to ifs and buts, what if we had managed to put up with him a bit longer, we would still have been in our home, mortgage paid at the age of 44, plus a little bit extra. It's not all about the money, but it changes the direction of your life. If we had put up with him longer, he would have lived longer, maybe only a bit longer, but he would have been fed, looked after, but my mums life was under threat. Once I moved out of the flat, mum decided to move and buy a flat, she had to take out a mortgage until she was 65, this means working until the age of 65, she has had to struggle on her own to pay her bills, she never did imagine this would be the struggle she faced, but then what price is happiness.

A few days after being to the bank the ARSEHOLE called to see how I'd got on 'Fine' was my reply. 'We were wondering' he said 'if you would like to buy the headstone, we've priced them and they're about £500' I nearly died, not at the price of the headstone, but at the cheek, he did not know how much money I got, nor did I give him any indication, 'you do know that my dad paid for his own funeral and his own lair and of course there were debts to be pay, I'll have I think about it' I said. No fucking way, were the thoughts running through my head, back then I wouldn't have been so rude, he called back a few days later and I quite simply said 'no' it wasn't the money, it wasn't greed, had the circumstances been different then I would have done it without question, this way both gran and papa have a resting place and a headstone all paid for by their son, meaning no further expense to the rest of the family, let the dead man pay.

I offered the money to my mum, I felt she should have it, after all, it was the left over money from the sale of the house, she declined, said I should enjoy it. I gave her £100 to spend on herself and went out and bought granny a microwave, it was £99.99, she had never had one, she was delighted and grateful and gave me a row for spending money on her. I still have that microwave, through in the back shop, although it is past it's best! The man in the flat upstairs was selling a car so I bought it, my first run around, I also bought a TV and video and a hi-fi system for my bedroom. I did enjoy it, I had things I'd never had before, mum was pleased.

I have mixed feelings about my dad's family, I would like them to understand what we went through, so that they would not think bad of us, but surely they realised once he'd died at the age of 44 with cirrhosis of the liver, that he did indeed have a drink problem and not a wife problem!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Mother's Day 1991

Mum used her money from the sale of the house to make our flat a home, new carpets, suite, curtains, fridge and freezer, our bedroom furniture was brought from the house as it was in perfectly good condition. We loved it, the contentment was phenomenal.

Having done Avon in the past I decided to do it again, mum and I both did it, it was another small income, we got to know people this way and it got mum out and about, her confidence had been bruised, but she was now confident enough to tell people she had separated from her husband, for so many years she had tried to pretend life was rosy and that she was 'fine.' After a few months mum became depressed, weepy and snappy, all the years of running on adrenaline just to survive the mental torture had now gone, the novelty of the new flat was steadying and bang she fell to pieces. I was a teenager, by no means difficult, but I'm sure I caused her worry, going out at night, driving, coming home late. She tried medication, I think it might have been Prozac, OH MY GOD, the woman was mad, she stopped the tablets. She got over it, gave herself a kick up the bum and was thankful for what she had.

One day we were both out doing our Avon round, it could have been early evening or it could have been a Sunday I can't recall, I was stood at a front door on the corner of the main road and a side street, waiting for my customer to answer the door, my mum did the other end of the main road, the main road which ran past our block of flats. I was gazing around, looking at nothing in particular while I waited, in the distance I could see a male figure walking down the main road, the walk was familiar, the figure familiar, instantly recognisable, dad. What's he doing here?, said the voice inside my head. My Aunt and the 'ARSEHOLE' lived around the corner, but he would not have gone intentionally to see them, on account of the ARSEHOLE being there. I turned my back, facing the door, the customer was apparently not in, he walked right by me and round into the side street. Had it been anywhere else I would have stopped him, asked after him, but he was yards from our new safe flat. He might pester us if he knew where we were. I knew my mum would have felt uneasy so I decided this was not the place to be speaking to him. I went straight home, mum wasn't back yet, so I went looking for her, he may wander the street and come across her, she would get a fright. At that she came home, once we were safe in our living room I filled her in. We had questions in our head, had he got wind of the fact we were staying here and come to try and find us, was it coincidence and he was visiting his sister, this we doubted. It was unsettling. Shortly after this sighting, mum got a phone call from her good friend who worked in a hospital lab. 'Did you know Billy's in the hospital, he's very ill?' How he ended up in hospital originally, I'm not sure, his stomach was swollen and he was very ill, he had been kept in. Going without alcohol, which he had not done now for at least 15-20 years on a daily basis obviously didn't go down to well with his body and he had left the hospital, a nurse had tried to stop him and he had punched her, he managed to get out of hospital and on that very day was the day he had walked by me in the street. He had been picked up by the police and was found practically unconscious, where or by who I will never know, a quarter bottle of whisky in his pocket with merely a sip out of it. Anna explained to my mum that she had been passed his blood for testing and realising who it was felt I at least should be informed as it wasn't 'looking good' she explained his liver had failed and even a sip of whisky was enough to saturate it causing the same effect 8-10 drinks would have on us.

My mum called the ward and explained the situation and that her concern was for her 18 year old daughter, the nurse confirmed his organs were failing, he was very yellow with jaundice and he was delirious. The nurse advised it was up to us, but if it was her 18 year old daughter she would advise against it, far to upsetting she said. I went with this. If I thought for one minute he was of sane mind I would have been there in a flash, but we knew his sane mind had left a long time ago, left at the same time as my dad had left, he was my dad in body but that was all. Mum called the hospital daily for an update, it was clear it as a waiting game, still the nursing staff advised against visiting, I had made up my mind that my dad had died a long time ago and I had no need to go and visit, it wouldn't do him or me any good, I would be doing it purely for the sake of the rest of his family to show face. I did not feel the need to do this, mum did offer to come, she was very supportive. Mum's birthday was on Friday the 8th March and we had a feeling he might pass away on this day, haunting my mums birthday forever, but the day came and went, Saturday came and went, I was beginning to panic, I was going on a studying holiday with the college to France on the Monday and would not have been happy for him to have passed away while I was in France, I would have been unable to concentrate. It was selfish of me to want to go, but there was nothing I could do, I could not stop his illness, he had not stopped his illness, I had no intention of going to his funeral, that was clear in my mind, it would have been hypocritical, I could not stand to be there watching his family weep and wail at the death of a loved one, yes I'm sure they would be upset but they had done nothing to help him or us, I was bitter.

On Sunday I carried on, I packed, my mum made her usual call to the hospital at 3.10pm, she always called after visiting hour. I knew immediately by her tone and comments, it had finally happened, my dad passed away at 2.55pm on the 10th March 1991.

It was Mother's Day.....

Monday, 3 December 2007

Operation move out

So there we were locked in the neighbours house drinking tea, deciding what to do. Our options were limited, no house keys, no shoes, crying, but this time through both fear and upset. 'I can get in' I announced. Our front door, the one that was always locked, had a single mortise lock in the handle and a double mortise lock above it, the door was wooden with 2 glass panels, the keys were on one keyring and always hung in the double mortise lock. I had and still have the thinnest hands, wrists and fingers, the hubby calls me skeletor, I believe this to be a skeleton character from the He-man programme! I could try and reach the keys through the letter box, it was worth a try. I tried but couldn't reach in far enough, what could I use, we ended up with a 'big fork' the one used for carving turkey. I couldn't drop the keys, my mum stood beside me 'careful, careful' my neighbour took her away. 'I did it, we're in' I shouted. We got in, I got shoes and we grabbed some essentials, we left the keys in the front door and I took my back door keys, we left quickly just in case he decided to come back, although we doubted it. He knew we had no keys and yet he didn't care. We went back into our neighbours house as our friends across the road, who we knew would put us up overnight, were not in.

Mum decided we should go and see Gran, see if she would take him in, she thought if he had somewhere to go, he might just do that, stay with Gran for a few weeks until we sorted everything out. Until now we had always left, but now mum seemed to know this would be a permanent separation and why should we have to stay with Granny in a one bedroom flat when he could stay with his mother and father in their 2 bedroom flat, I could continue with my life. I refused to go, I think mum just wanted me with her, perhaps Gran would realise the upset dad was causing if she saw me in a state or perhaps her motherly instinct just needed me with her, knowing I was safe. I stayed with the neighbour and had a good cry. And Gran, she said it would affect her rent rebate if dad went to stay, that sums the woman up! The next day dad went to work and it was the start of 'operation move out' we were going to stay with Granny. We packed bags with clothes and essentials and left them hidden in my room, we stayed another night at our friends, he expected us to be at Granny's and called to speak to me, but Granny told him the truth that we weren't there. Papa suggested we go and stay with him for a while, but mum had to go to work and I had my boyfriend and my friends. The next day mums cousins, who we saw little of, came with a van and we officially moved out, taking my single bed, my pre-emptied wardrobe, a set of drawers and the bags we had packed and of course the hamster. Dad worked for our neighbour and his son, our neighbour came home for lunch and this put the wind up us a bit, he might tell dad, querying the goings on at our house, we went as quickly as we could.

We were now, all 3 of us, shacked up in a one bedroom flat again, as we had been so many times before, only this time we had an extra bed a slightly more storage space. Mum wasted no time in going to a lawyer, as I was at college, mum was told we had the right to be in the house as I was still in full time education, the problem was going to be getting him out. My job was to keep him sweet. I was now working in the Holiday Inn as part of my college placement, but I still did Avon with the neighbours, I would go to the house and do my Avon round and then stay for a visit, he would make soup. I never stayed overnight, I usually made an excuse to collect something from my room and try to sneak a few things out for my mum, her wardrobe was limited with the quick departure. This was a no no, in his mind if she wanted something, she should come and get it. We both had to attend the lawyers as I was old enough to give evidence and examples of his behaviour, the lawyer told us my mother had the biggest divorce file she had ever dealt with. We were granted by the courts the house to live in until it was decided through the divorce lawyers what should happen to the house, dad was not allowed within so many feet of the house. We moved back home. A Yale lock was added to the back door and a snip added to the front door, we felt better, safer. Life carried on as normal, in fact it was great, we were happy living in a peaceful environment. This was short lived as the house was to be sold, we would officially be homeless. Mum and I walked the streets looking at empty council houses that we might be offered. The house was sold and the entry date was March 1990, it was 2 weeks before we were due to move out before the council offered us a flat, in the next town!! This was my worst nightmare, I cried. However, the night we got the letter, mum, our friend across the road who had put us up and me, took the bus and went to find this flat, it looked ok, we didn't have keys but through the letter box it appeared fine. Our curiosity settled we went home and decided it wasn't as bad as it seemed, we accepted the flat.

Being a mechanic, dad had loads of tools, these were stored in the garden shed. It was arranged through the lawyer that he should come and collect anything he wanted before the move. When dad had been put out of the house, he stuck to his side of the agreement and never did come near the house or call. I had not seen him for 4-5 months, didn't know where he was staying, I took nothing to do with Gran after her refusal to put him up, she did sent me £10 that Christmas and I was going to take it back and tell her to 'shove it' but that would have involved a visit so I kept it! Later than arranged a young man came to the back door. 'I'm here to collect tools for Billy' I looked at him, disappointed that dad was not with him. 'Is my dad not with you?' I asked. He was in the car, waiting in the street, was he afraid to come in. I went out to see him. I could have died with shock, the first thing that struck me was the hat he was wearing, it was navy, a fishing hat I think, as he looked up to see me, his eyes were dull and small and lacking in emotion, he would himself have described them as 'piss holes in the snow' and the bags, I will never forget the bags, not dark circle bags but bags hanging below his cheek bones and fully wrinkled. He had aged about 20 years. 'You should come in and see what you want' I told him. 'I'm not allowed' was his sheepish reply. 'Oh for God sake, don't be ridiculous' all of a sudden I was the 17 year old adult dealing with the 44 year old child. They both went into the shed, I don't think he could have cared less what tools were there. 'I passed my driving test' I told him eagerly, he had come home with 'L' plates on my 17th birthday, 2 months before the split and he had taken me to Fine Fare car park, in my papa's Lada and I had driven round for about an hour in 1st gear. He seemed pleased. They gathered the tools and off they went, there were no arrangement to meet or no concern about where we were going to live, he just left.

The move went well, we moved on to our new life on 26th March 1990, our flat was great. Mum promised she would buy a car once we moved, I wouldn't feel so stranded then. In May of that year she bought a D registration white MG metro, it was a cracker, white bumpers and wing mirrors, grey interior with red trim and matching red seat belts. One day on my way to work at the Holiday Inn, I was passing through our old town and some edjit ran right across the road in front of me, I slammed on the breaks and realised the edjit was none other than my dad. I pulled in swiftly, tooted and got a mouthful of abuse. I got out 'dad, dad, it's me' he trotted off muttering to himself 'DAD' he turned and looked at me, gave a dismissive wave and kept walking. I was in disbelief, I ran after him, did he not recognise me, did he not want to speak to me, I was not letting him go, he had not seen me for 2-3 months and he thought he could wave and carry on, I don't think so! 'Where are you going?' I said when I caught up. 'Oh hello' he said as if he had just realised it was me. He was going to book a 'wee bus trip to Blackpool' I took him to Glasgow, he looked no worse than he had done the day he came to collect the tools. I bombarded him with questions, he responded but asked none about me, he was a car fanatic, he didn't mention the car. I dropped him at the bus station and he thanked me for the lift. That was the last conversation we ever had.

I carried on to work happy I had seen him, he was going on holiday, he was ok, I had heard through the grapevine that he was shacked up with a fellow woman drinker, she would be happy he had just secured £15,000 from the sale of the house, they could buy plenty drink with that and even go a wee holiday.