Sunday, 24 February 2008

Nosey or concerned

Manic Mother of Five recently mentioned the fact that she made a conscious decision after the death of Jamie Bulger to go with her instinct and if she felt that something was wrong or not right she would speak up. This got me thinking.

As soon as my children became toddlers and in light also of little Jamie I taught my children a very important phrase and we still stick with it. What made me really ill when Jamie was taken was the fact that he was apparently crying for his mum and people assumed he was with brothers and nobody stopped to ask, this must have ripped his mother apart, knowing people had seen her son and could perhaps have saved his life. Realising if children scream and cry for help people may automatically assume it was 'just a tantrum' I wondered if I would challenge an adult with a tantruming child, the answer is NO, what gives me the right to interfere with someone else's life? With this in mind I taught my children they should indeed scream and shout but they should shout 'This is not my mum/dad!' hoping this would make someone challenge the situation.

I have found myself in 2 situations with my neighbours where I had to decide would it be nosey to see if they were ok or was I just concerned. The first incident was during the night, the hubby was on night shift - surprise, surprise and I wakened to hear next doors smoke detector going off, there was screaming and shouting for water. I immediately worried for my own family, should I wake the kids and get out, we are in a row of terraced houses, should I phone the fire brigade, should I get the ladder to help rescue them? I went out of the front door to see if there were flames raging from the building, there weren't. I went out the back door and checked, no sign of flames. Should I go to the door? I didn't know what to do. Had there been flames raging I would have instinctively known what to do, it would have been more straight forward as they would have clearly needed help, but in this situation it was unclear as to what, if any help, they may have needed . My daughter had wakened, which left me thinking, if I do need to get out, at least I've only got one more child to waken. After a few minutes there was activity in their kitchen, the back door open and I felt it appropriate at that stage to go and ask if they were ok. They were, thankfully. A cd player in their sons bedroom had been on a small table next to the bed and he had fallen asleep with it playing, his quilt had covered it, causing it to overheat, catch fire and with it set the quilt and the rubbish in his bin alight. He had screamed for his mother, huddled in the corner of his bedroom - he was 16 - when his mother in the panic told him 'you should have got out!' his reply was 'I was frightened to open the door, in case it made the fire worse' we think perhaps he had watched to many films! They called the fire brigade anyway to be on the safe side and 2 fire engines came within 20 minutes and removed the offending cd player. I was comforted by the fact I could hear their smoke detector, knowing if I found myself in the same situation that surely my neighbour on the other side would hear mine. I told her this the next day. Her words to me made it clear I had done the right thing 'you were the only person who came to check we were ok' Her neighbour on the other side hadn't appeared and there was a lot of commotion with the smoke detector, shouting and 2 fire engines, you really would have had to have been deaf or not home not to have heard something. Were the other neighbours afraid of being nosey perhaps.

The second incident involved the same neighbours, it was holiday Monday, 12th Feb 2007, I heard a lot of banging and running up and down the stairs, their stairs run up the side of my living room. What was all this noise on a holiday morning, it was only 8.35am, the adults should be at work and the teenager and his friend and the ten year old still sleeping. I looked out of the window and there were 2 ambulances, mmmmm, 2 ambulances, either somebody is really ill or there are a few people ill. You don't want to stare, don't want to be considered nosey. The paramedics were running in and out, this worried me, normally they appear so calm, should I go and see if I can help, was the 10 year old in the house, did she need to be removed, was it the 10 year old who was ill, again what should I do, I got dressed, I felt that was the best thing, to at least be dressed. I saw the son head for the ambulance and take some equipment into the house, then I saw his friend help a paramedic, then I saw the 'shocking machine' This is not good. I watched from the upstairs window as the paramedics took a male, a very grey male out to the ambulance, with tubes and things, I realised at that point that it was the male of the house and the female was more than likely at work, so by deduction this left the teenagers and 10 year old at home. I decided I should be a responsible adult and offer help. I went out to find the son on the phone on his doorstep 'you need to come home' he said. 'P's not breathing' he blurted to me. P was his stepfather. 'Where's you mum?' I said in my authoritative tone, I knew this was a serious situation, my instincts told me. His mother needed to be here. I established quickly that the 10 year old was with her older sister and had stayed the night. 'If you need any help, you come and get me' he was 17 years of age, to young to be dealing with a crisis. I continued getting ready for work and on seeing the older daughter passing, I offered my help of a lift or anything, none of them drive or have a car. They accepted a lift and I dropped them at the hospital, on our journey they talked about the number of times he had been admitted with various things and I thought positive and made my way to work. Little prepared me for the phone call later that morning to say he had died in the ambulance.

Given that the paramedics had used the 'shocking machine' in the house, I can only assume he also died in the house as his 17 year old stepson watched over, if I had been quicker or not worried about being considered nosey I might have been able to removed him from the situation. I was an adult I could have protected him from this memory which will stay with him forever.

He left behind an ex-wife and 2 sons, a partner, 2 stepchildren and a 10 year old daughter. His first anniversary passed last week and it has been a tough year for his family as we have become closer. He was 39, kept himself to himself, drunk, perhaps excessively, in his own home and we were not particularly close, he was just the man who lived next door, but I have felt the devastation that he left behind.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The best laid plans

My husband is an electrician's mate, he works doing bank refurbishments and new builds, if they are rewiring a new bank they work day shift and if it's a re-fit/refurb they work a 'night shift' I call it a night shift perhaps I should call it a twilight shift, they work from 5pm to 3am Mon-Friday and those who are keen work at the weekend. Now legally one is not allowed to work a night shift and onto a day shift, so one must have a rest day, so if you want to work Sat & Sun you must have the Friday night off, simple, you work Mon - Thurs twilight, have Friday off and work Saturday and Sunday 8am to whenever, whenever usually being sometime after the dinner is done and dusted and results in wife stressing on a Sunday night after clearing all signs of dinner and starting the back to school routine of supervising bathing children, rising hair after child assures you all the shampoo has been rinsed, polishing shoes & ironing uniforms all while trying to watch Dancing on Ice, Wild at Heart, Dancing on Ice results and Kingdom and should one turn ones back for a split second, one finds oneself watching Hannah Montana or The Simpson's and it is usually a good 15 minutes before one actually realises. In the middle of this mayhem the hubby will phone and cry the words 'What's for dinner? Can you run me a bath?' So one has to start all over, 'where's the pots?' well of course they are in the dishwasher! The simple solution would be to plate the hubby's dinner in the microwave I hear you say, well of course it would be. Or would it? you see the hubby doesn't like re-heated in the microwave potatoes and sure as fate if I leave him something, he comes home to announce he's had something to eat! But anyway, I digress, now although I say legally you must have a rest day, for which I might mention that you get paid for, a change of shift allowance - or something, there is nothing to stop you working overtime on that rest day and then starting your day shift at 1 pm on a Saturday and working until whenever.

So here is how our week, sorry life, goes as a couple.

Monday -7ish am I arise, hubby sleeps, some point during the day hubby arises, I come home at 3pm for kids, hubby leaves at 4pm, at 11pm I sleep, mildly disturbed by hubby around 4am.
Tuesday and Wednesay - are exactly the same
Thursday - I work until 5pm so sister-in-law comes to watch kids and I do not see hubby until the mild disturbance around 4am
Friday - Again I work until 5pm but today mum comes over and watches kids, stays for dinner and a visit, usually she leaves between 9and 10pm and just when I think I've got control of the TV, the hubby walks through the door, after few hours of overtime, butters me up with a bit of chocolate and before I know it I'm watching Family Guy! 'Not another bloody cartoon' I exclaim to which he points out the lack of good programmes on the TV. I go to bed. The hubby having slept most of the day is not tired and sits up watching crap on the TV.
Saturday - Football, the hubby leaves at 9am to go and set up the goals, he is the coach, I arise as he leaves, football over and we go home and have our rolls and bacon, my son, the room child, showers and retreats to play the playstation and my daughter goes out to play with friends, even the Cat goes out to play with her cat friends and her mother from next door and I am once again alone with the housework. The hubby comes home whenever, we go mad and have a late night until perhaps 11.30.
Sunday - We are all up at the one time, the kids have swimming lessons at 9.45 and 10am, hubby leaves for work, we go to the leisure centre, we usually do a trip to Asda on the way home. Hubby comes home whenever and after his bath and dinner he has a wee sleep, watching me iron is rather boring and he doesn't rate my choice in Sunday night viewing either. I go to bed at 10.30 and he sits up for a good few hours preparing his body for the weeks nightshift ahead.

I am an electrician's mates widow! Of course I missed out all the children's activities I deal with during the week or it would have turned into a complete rant.

I did have a point and the point was, the decorators. The decorators work with the hubby on the reburbs and therefore work the same shifts. They are brought up from England and therefore have nothing better to do during the day than sleep in their hotel, so they might as well do a little homer. They were supposed to come on Tuesday but after an extended weekend at home, due to a doctors appointment, didn't come until Wednesday. Fair enough, I am not in a hurry. They said originally they would start with the kitchen and the conservatory and on Wednesday I came home to find they had painted the kitchen and hall ceiling. Yesterday they painted the hall and today, well because of the heavy rain they couldn't come due to the flooding on the road. My poor son who returns from his trip away will come home to find the contents of the hall, my clothes horse and many other 'stick it in son's room' items in his beloved bedroom, I have left a small path to his bed ladders and being a child I'm sure he won't mind the guddle. My instincts want to make the place tidy and homely for him. He's 10, like he'll care.

The football hs been cancelled for tomorrow as 9 out of the 14 players were on the school trip and will be exhausted, a long lie at last.

I now await the final hours until my handsome son returns, they are due back between 6pm and 6.15pm but due to rush hour traffic I reckon they will be late. You know I thought I would really miss him, I felt empty when he left, but it hasn't been long enough, I have not given him a great deal of thought, I am just so proud he went. I leave work at 5 today and I know I will really start to miss him as he gets nearer. I can picture his smiling face as he draws up in the bus and his delight at being reunited with the one person he loves most in the world......yes Angel the cat.

My friend has just sent me this clip from youtube, absolutely fantastic, every mother should see it.

Monday, 18 February 2008

I'll miss you x

Once again it is all go in the Windy household, we never do one thing at a time, that would be ridiculous.

My sons school trip is now iminent, he leaves on Wednesday morning, we have to be at school for 8 am. I pray he goes happy and excited and most of all doesn't look back with a sad, help, I don't want to go face on him, he is such a sensitive soul and just loves his own surroundings. So far he is excited and counting down the days so fingers crossed. I know he'll have a good time, he knows he'll have a good time and as long as we get him away on the bus we'll be laughing, so to speak. I will then start the countdown until he is safely back in my arms and dread those final hours when he is due back as the gut wrenching, missing & longing to see him feeling sets in as he draws nearer. My son has never been away more than one night, not long enough to truly miss him. I will set him off with the parting words 'Have a great time' I will keep 'I'll miss you' deep inside.

With my daughter's communion coming up in May, it is time for the house to have a lick of paint, well actually it time for the kitchen and conservatory to be painted, it is after all 21 months since they were completed in the week running up to my son's communion. Our family accepted the unpainted kitchen, conservatory and upstairs loo as they were so impressed to see these new developments that hadn't been there 4 weeks earlier for her confirmation. But 2 years later we might not get away with the unpainted rooms. I've been in such a guddle since, I haven't had the time or the inclination to paint, one excuse after another. The plan went into action to 'sort' the house a week past on Saturday, the painter came and gave us a price, a start date and a list of the quantity of paint etc. the next day, my friend, the joiner came and shelved my bedroom cupboard that the water tank had been removed from and ever since it has been operation clear out, every cupboard, every bit of paperwork has been binned, recycled, shredded where appropriate, I have one kitchen drawer and 2 small kitchen cupboards to go and the whole house, well apart from the kids rooms, which are freshly decorated, but do need a good clear out, will have been sorted and then I can go back to being a normal functioning person who has time to spend blogging and ebaying and running a business in a less stressed out & frantic manner.

The painters start tomorrow, I have decided to go for the show house, neutral look throughout the house and settled for Magnolia for the kitchen and the hall, Soft Wheat for the conservatory and Cocoa Mist for the living room, I have brown leather in the conservatory and cream leather in the living room, so thought I'd pull the whole house together, removing the Velvet Plum and Ancient Earth bold colours that currectly reign. I could have spent hours picking colours, but decided to go for the colour most like the plaster in the conservatory - because I like the colour of the plaster! and for the living room, I picked the nicest browny colour on the chart, I could have bought sample pots and spent hours deliberating in different lights, like my mother would do, or just go for it, so go for it I did. At least it will be clean and by the time I get the cutains and pictures and bit's and pieces all back in place I'm sure it will look fine.

This of course will keep me busy while my son is away. And after all that is said and done I still have my weekend in London to look forward to. Now I won't see my children from Friday morning until Sunday night, when they will be tucked up in bed, sleeping and they won't see me until Monday morning, but I won't have the same 'missing you' feeling as they will be at home with their dad, my family all together.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Another night on the town

Well do I feel like a celebrity this week, if only I had their money!

I have received my second award this week from Maggie May

Being a non drinker I have cracked open another packet of tea bags and I accept my award with the greatest of pleasure.

I also have the greatest pleasure in passing it on to the following people

I would also have passed it on to Manic mother of five, Froginthefield and swearing mother but I was beaten to it and they have already been given the award.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The Award Ceremony

I have been given this award by Mid-lifer, Sparx and Maggie May with the following instructions;

I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I've formed so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs. By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10.

Now the only issues I have with Awarding 10 others are everyone else seems to have it already. So I would like to thank everyone who comes over to see me and support me. I love you all. I accept this award in my best sky blue fleecy pyjamas.
What I did want to do and can I figure it out at 12.15 am on a Tuesday night, sorry Wednesday morning. I wanted to put the names mid-lifer, Sparx and Maggie May so that they could act as links to their sites, everyone else seems to be able to do it, why can't I?
So if you can shed some light I would appreciate it.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I'm a survivor

Well I survived the weekend and I have come out the other end a calmer person.

All issues have been dealt with and my mind is slowly clearing;

Issue number 1; Kitten at vet for spaying - done.

Angel was a poor little soul, I collected her from the vets after work on Friday, she looked at me with big 'Puss from Shrek' sad eyes. I got her home the kids and my mother eagerly waiting and on strict instructions not to lift her. She has a large shaved patch on her left back side with a small neat cut and a single stitch. She got out the 'cage' and snarled and hissed at everyone who went within a few feet of her, she was jumping to her usual places and then not having the strength and falling off. I felt terrible, however, she settled down and is now more or less back to normal and I know it is for her benefit in the long run. Stitch to come out of Friday.

Issue number 2; kit daughter out for First Holy communion - done.

The plan was, as hubby was working, to leave my son with my mother and take my daughter by myself and get 'the outfit'. I decided after pay day was the best time to take her, obviously. My mum had said that she would have liked to come, but not being Roman Catholics ourselves, we are not that familiar with the whole rigmarole, for my son, we hired a kilt. End of. But I explained I wanted to get it now, before it got too busy and so that there was more choice. As it happens, hubby came home from work on Friday and announced 'I'm having a day off tomorrow!' 'Great, you can watch the 10 yo and I'll take my mother to get the 8 yo's outfit' I said. The whole experience was most enjoyable. As we approached the shop I commented on the dresses in the window, Mary, who was just entering the shop, back from her break, waited inside the shop and said 'Right Hen, come on in, an I'll serve ye' She took us downstairs, she was great, very organised. 'Right Granny, you sit there, mum you leave yer bag wi' Granny, so that ye don't need tae watch it. Don't worry Granny, I'll bring her oot wi' every dress and let ye see' Mary said. So we knew exactly where we were, Mary picked a few dresses and we tried them on and decided what we liked and what we didn't, narrowing down our choice, with each dress 8 yo paraded out from the back of the shop with a big grin or a not so big grin depending on the dress. But all the 8 yo could think about was shoes. We picked the dress and my daughter had now spotted the other girls were trying on veils and tiara's. I had already decided I would purchase her accessories either another day, like next pay day, or perhaps on eBay, where they may be considerable cheaper, however, I had thought she could try the things on and then I could look at what suited her and then I would know what I was looking for elsewhere. I said to Mary 'Can she try them on, but I might come back for them' 'course you can' she said, she really was so helpful. We tried on the first veil and it was perfect, her dress is plain but stunning and the veil was likewise. '£40 for a veil' I announced when confronted with the price tag, by this time mum had got cosy with another Granny and they were comparing families and grandchildren and both deciding with each other what child suited what. At that my mum said with a wink 'just get everything, while you're here and then we know it all goes' So we did, get everything - tiara, veil, little handbag, gloves, tights, shoes and of course the dress, I drew the line at a parasol, which my daughter desperately wanted. As we made our way to the til, my mum said 'I'll pay for everything' we then had the little 'no, you won't, not all of it,' 'yes I will' nonsense. Did I mention the underskirt, I think I forgot! Mum paid and said we would sort it out later, that was fine with me, we would sort it out later. A grand total of £254! Now I know it's not about being the best dressed and I know it's all about the religion, had I been on a tighter budget I may have picked a cheaper veil, had I known my mum was paying, well she might have got the parasol! But it's my only daughter, my mums only granddaughter and my MIL's youngest grandchild out of 19 grandchildren and my hubby works very hard, 5 nights and the weekend to provide for his family, so on this one occasion, she got to pick whatever she wanted (apart from the parasol) regardless of price because she is a very special little girl.

Issue number 3: visit old friend in new house - done.

My friend, who is not old in age, well she's 35 and 3 weeks older than me, does that count! We have been friends for a long time and she moved house back in October, I felt terrible that I hadn't been to see her in her new house. So finally on Sunday we did 'the visit' and I was even able to use my TomTom, the hubby got me for Christmas, to get there as I really didn't know where I was going, the rest of the time I have just pretended not to know. We had a rare old blether, drank tea and ate cakes. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. we won't leave it so long the next time.

I realised on Monday morning the stress of the last week as been cause by non other than the old pre-mental tension. Yes pre-mental. That is what my friend calls it, I think it explains my emotions better and I'm sticking with it. So this week I will remain mental and in a few days I'll be post-mental. On Sunday night, I tried to quickly brush round the living room and give it a quick dust, while the hubby and 10 yo watched the TV, I very quickly fell out with the brush and stormed from the room in disgust, after tripping over the 'spare TV' on the floor. On Monday I couldn't careless that the living room was thick with dust and started clearing cupboards and now that it's Tuesday, fuck it, I made pancakes with the kids, told them that was their dinner and started blogging! First time I have baked, ever, with my kids and I haven't shouted once, although the kids have fallen out with each other.

No wonder my husband doesn't understand me!

Who'd be a woman?

PS my spell checker is not working on this laptop, so please forgive any errors.