Life in a mirror

Recently I did something that I couldn’t believe I was doing. It was a Wednesday evening and I had just arrived at a meeting of the Writers Circle that I now belong to. The meeting hadn’t yet begun, the last few stragglers were taking their seats. It was announced that due to personal reasons our Treasurer was resigning after 15 years. A request was made for a volunteer to take up the mantle.

That was when I heard it. It was my voice, and the words, not unfamiliar, were not what I expected to hear coming from my own mouth.

‘If nobody else wants to do it I will.’

It didn’t make me feel good, I had misgivings about this. Although I had done it before, twenty years ago I was the treasurer of our local Playgroup. I was worried about having other people’s cash in the house whilst we were struggling financially ourselves. Over the last couple of weeks since we sold our car, our own situation has become more relaxed. I began to feel better about my new role.

This weekend I called round to visit my predecessor for the handover of all the Treasurer’s paraphernalia. We chatted for several hours. We didn’t spend much time discussing the Writing group. Instead we talked about our own lives.

I had never imagined that I would meet another person whose life was such a mirror of my own life. She has lived my past, she has lived my current life. She is living my future.

It is strange but the revelations that came about through our conversation are both scary and at the same time comforting.

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The difference a year makes

This time last year things between us were not good. We had been married for a whole 6 months. When we married I felt happier than I ever remember being in my life. Three months into our marriage we had our wonderful honeymoon in California. But within days of returning home things began to go wrong. My husband was not himself, he was showing signs of dementia or so I thought. However it turned out to be a mixture of anxiety attacks, and an over indulgence in secret vodka drinking.

The anxiety attacks were dealt with by the taking of anti depressants. The alcohol abuse is an ongoing situation, but at least I now know what I am dealing with. At the time I was extremely angry, I felt that I could not trust my husband. I felt betrayed.  More than anything I was angry with myself for not realising what had been going on.

Owl still drinks but, we never go out to the pub anymore. Back in March Owl had a fall in the road  due to his legs giving way. His alcohol level had dropped. I took him to hospital with a cut head and broken hand. There he was given some medication to replace the alcohol he hadn’t had. He was promised help by the hospital clinic. This didn’t materialise other than one appointment where he was told that he is a binge drinker and should cut down for a week then stop. Ha ha what planet did that advice come from.

Anyway, for a time Owl was not able to do much at all. Gradually though he has become stronger and fitter. He has been very busy working in our garden doing all the things he should have done last year but wasn’t in the right place to do anything much except sleep.

The shed that I bought for him last year was finally erected. Owl began by making it stronger in places by making wooden braces. He painted the shed forest green.shed 1  shed 3 before adding fixtures for everything to go inside, there is a purpose build space for everything that goes in there.IMG_1944 then he painted the old shed green to match the new one. IMG_1947 the back gate was also painted green to match. This also involved taking off the ironmongery to be painted black.back gate When he had done that he reorganised the space near to the back gate which meant adding a hanging basket bracket to the wall as a hose tidy.under magnolia tree Once all this had been done he turned his attention to the hedges that he had hired someone to cut a few weeks prior. He was not happy with the way they were looking. He spent the next couple of weeks cutting the hedges by hand. hedge 1 now he is simultaneously working on the five bar gate and taking up the decking at the front of the house.hedge 3 Oh and I nearly forgot he has painted all the fences under the hedges and along the outside of the house.

None of these things would have been possible a year or even 6 months ago. I am so pleased with the progress he is making. I am also pleased that he has even begun to apply for work outside the home. Ok so I have been applying for jobs on his behalf but he has sent his CV to some places too. Step by step we are getting back to where we should be.

Plastered

This morning as I listened to the radio I heard a song I hadn’t heard for a long time. It got me thinking about one of my philosophies in life. The song was this one by Ralph Mctell  . The streets of London tells you to stop feeling sorry for yourself because you really don’t have much to complain about compared to the people living on the streets of London.

My life has never been easy, it has been a struggle right through my adult life for one reason or another. I might at times write about the things that have or are happening in my life but I usually manage to laugh it off rather than complain. The reason being that no matter how bad things might get, I know, there is always someone worse off. 

When I lived with my first husband who was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, life was difficult and at times unbearable I was grateful that he never hit me or my boys.

When I had stage three cancer, I was grateful that I was treatable, 13 years on I am still here to tell the tale.

When I was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, I did at least have a roof over our heads and our health even if there was very little money for heat or food. We still had each other.

During the difficult times in the first year of my second marriage, my husband’s ill health (both physical and mental)  were made easier by the support of family and friends.

I do know people who always see the negative in everything, I feel sad for these people who never seem to be able to allow themselves to be happy. People who live their lives as victims of life make me feel mad. Yes there was a time when I felt like one of those victims where nothing in life ever seemed to go right. Then I realised that there was only one person who could change my life, me.

Coincidently this morning the girlfriend of my son Pug, posted this quote on her facebook page. ‘We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it’

Now, when things don’t go right I count my blessings instead of my problems. When I am feeling my lowest I think of the things that make me smile.  I remember my wonderful sons, I surround myself with flowers, music and laughter. I watch the birds as they go about their day.

From where I am sat writing this I can see sunshine through the windows, there are four vases of flowers in the room and when I look through the kitchen to the back door I see one of the pigeons, that frequent my bird feeder, strolling  around as though he owns the place.

A few days ago my husband had a fall when he was crossing the road, a kind man, who happened to be walking near by helped him up and got him home. He had blood on his hands, arms and more worryingly on the back of his head. I left work to take him to the hospital. He was assessed and taken to ‘major injuries’. We were left in the corridor with a growing number of others for about 1.5 hours (it could have been worse). Finally he was checked by a Dr, x-rayed, put on a drip and sent to the observation ward where his broken hand was plastered.  After much deliberation and conversation the Dr concluded that my husband needs treatment for his alcohol intake. This is something my husband is in full agreement with.

He may be in pain and having to learn to cope with being one handed whilst his hand is in plaster. The cut on his head was merely a graze which appeared worse than it was due to the amount of blood. However his fall has led to something being done about helping him to stop drinking. If he manages to complete the treatment on offer and stops drinking he should be able to get his strength back properly and maybe he will be fit enough to actually work. He will then be able to earn some money as well as save money by not buying drink.

Now here is a little something to lift your spirits The Corrs

Apologies

Two months ago I started writing my account of our trip to California. I have enjoyed doing this, not only have I enjoyed sharing our trip with you but it has been lovely reliving our memories of the trip. It is also something we can go back to in the future to remind us of the wonderful time we had.

I have found that whilst I started off well it has not been easy to get to the end. Not because I don’t remember, I do and I am in the middle of a post about San Francisco. However life since we returned from our trip has taken a turn that we couldn’t foresee. This change in my home life has made it difficult for me to dedicate time to writing my blog or reading and commenting on your blogs.

Please forgive me and hopefully normal service will be resumed in the not too distant future.

Cakes and dementia

I went to see mother today, following the sad news of Friday. As I said before I really should see more of her than I have done since moving away last summer. I took with me a card from myself, Owl and Skater, a bunch of pink tulips and a box of pecan and maple pastries (box = 2). Owl came with me for the drive but didn’t come to mother’s he went into town to watch the rugby 6 nations match so that mother and I could reminisce without worrying that Owl would not know who or what we were talking about.

When we reached town I parked up at the Tesco car park (I hadn’t yet bought the flowers or cakes). At the store entrance Owl and I went in our separate directions, he in search of beer and rugby, me in search of cake…….it seems ages since I bought cake, they don’t feature in my diet these days.

It didn’t take me long to collect my basket of goodies. When I paid for these the young lad at the check out asked me if I had a car in the car park downstairs. (This is one of the new modern versions of Tesco where the shop is built above the car park). Admittedly I have not used this store many times but I have never been asked this before. He handed me a voucher with a code number on it to punch into a machine at the car park entrance. They are trying to encourage non Tesco shoppers not to park in their car park. (It is close to the town and free).

I joined the short queue, but when it was my turn that’s when the trouble began. First I had to key in the last three letters of the car registration. I do know the registration number honest I do but could I remember which way round it was? Damn stupid thing I tried putting in the 3 digits but it didn’t like that so it asked me to put in the whole number. So I put in three letters followed by three numbers but it just didn’t look right. Then it occurred to me that I was using the letters from my poor departed Toyota that gave up the ghost in a cloud of smoke somewhere near Guildford whilst being driven by Prodigal last autumn(fall to you lot on the other side of the pond). I cancelled all together and took my purchases back to the car, checked the number plate realised where I had gone wrong and returned to the machine to try again. This Time I put in the T for the year followed by three numbers (I had got one of the three wrong first time around) followed by three letters …..almost the same as my original attempt but not quite, this time the machine showed me a photo of our chevrolet. Now I could enter the code on the ticket which now told me the time I arrived and the current time. I was now free to drive away. But where was the barrier that would have prevented me leaving?

Minutes later I arrived at mother’s with my gifts. Cakes and white tea consumed we chatted and chatted as we have a habit of doing when we are together. Obviously we chatted about James, but we also chatted about other family topics. Interspersed by various telephone calls. The last of which was from this lady, a relative of my late father. Having told Jill about my impending marriage, mother passed the phone to me. After discussing my good news we then moved on to the topic of Jill’s blog. As you will discover if you read her blog, her father has dementia. Jill is currently living with and caring for her father, her blog tells tales of the problems she has encountered and how she has overcome these problems. Her aim is to pass on her new found knowledge regarding information that carers of dementia patients need to know. Please take the time to visit this very worthwhile blog. Jill needs to increase her reader numbers before the newspaper which is sponsoring her decides to close her column.

Whilst chatting to Jill I heard the quacking of my mobile (I like to have a ring tone that I will instantly know as mine) to alert me that Owl was ready to be picked up and taken home.