Disrespected

I have just been reading about a cleaner who retired from her job after 35 years. Her latest boss had been cruel and disrespectful. However the cleaner showed that she was the better person when she left. The note she left behind reminded the staff that they should always be kind and not think themselves better than anyone even the cleaner.

Back in the late 1990s I had gone back to work part time after having my children. I had a part time temporary job for 4 months. I took the summer off to look after my children in the school holidays. When the children went back to school I took another part time job until Christmas. It was in the accounts department of a local distribution company. I had always liked working in accounts. It is possible that I could have enjoyed working there but I didn’t. I dreaded every day and couldn’t wait to get out of there on my last day.

It wasn’t the work, it was the staff. All young women and one man all working full time and had been there for quite a while. I was the part time assistant. I was treated as though I was stupid and didn’t know anything. Nobody spoke to me. Unless it was a condescending comment.

Just because I was a mother working part time they thought I wasn’t worth as much as them. None of them had yet started a family. I hope that after they had a family they might have remembered what it’s like to be a working mother and maybe try to be kinder.

After the Christmas holidays I was able to go back to the first job. This time I was there for 8 years. Working with much nicer people. I wasn’t the only part time worker and everyone was treated equally. I only left there when I was on sick leave whilst going through my nasty divorce. The Company was in the midst of a restructuring. The part time temporary staff were the first to go.

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There’s no helping some people

I have been talking to mother about care/nursing homes. She was saying that when my grandfather went into a care home and then a nursing home she didn’t give him any choice of where to go. She chose for him. Both homes were friendly and suited his needs and ours. I particularly liked visiting him in the care home although it was an hour drive for us.

When it was time for him to move to a nursing home we found one closer to us here. I was able to visit on my way home from work. I’m not going to say that he was happy there. I’m not sure he was happy. He was comfortable and well cared for. Unlike many of the other residents he still had his mind in full working order. He missed having anyone to talk to properly.

Mother has made a mental list of things she wants to take with her when/if she needs to go into a care home. She knows which paintings, books and music she wants and if possible her laptop if the home has WiFi. I have suggested several times in the last couple of years that maybe she should consider which homes would suit her otherwise she will be going where ever I find.

Talking of having WiFi reminded me of when my husband sold our marital home. He was 64 and having difficulty looking after himself and our home. I found a flat in sheltered accommodation for him. He checked it out and decided to buy one of the flats there. Not the one I found but another one.

The plan was that he would move straight from the house to the flat. Obviously he would have to sell/store most of the furniture. About two weeks before the planned move he had a meeting with the warden of the flats. This did not go well. Apparently they don’t have facilities for broadband which he needed for his graphic design work. They were also not happy that he wanted to work. (He hadn’t worked during our marriage).

I found him bed and breakfast accommodation to move into until he found somewhere permanent. Instead of a few weeks as originally planned he was there for 9 months. Finally finding a top floor studio flat. (Not ideal for someone who has frequent falls). He has now been in that flat for 2 years. The last time I spoke to him he still didn’t have any internet service connection. His ability to use technology is zero.

I don’t know if it is still the case but at the start of the year he had been having someone check on him weekly and meals delivered daily. He could have avoided so much hassle and be in a much nicer flat than the studio flat he now has if he had bought the original place where he would have had a warden checking on him.

Considering that he can’t use his computer. He can’t even get his TV working and he certainly doesn’t work. It would have been ideal for him. In a much nicer area and close to the town.

Even after leaving him I still did what I could to help him. I’ve stopped now.

What day is it?

I was thinking that it feels like Saturday but its only Tuesday. I tend to lose track of the days now. (yes I know I am not alone). I think I would be losing track even if we were not in lockdown. For most of my life especially my adult life I have had to keep track. Either for work or when my children were growing up for their school days. I remember years ago that I came to a realisation that all week I was looking forward to the weekend to arrive, then all weekend wishing for the week to start.

After I left my job in a Sales Office almost four years ago, I longed for the freedom of not having to live by the alarm clock. I am not and never have been good at mornings. Having to get up early enough to get my children ready for school/college and myself to work some 12 miles away by 8am was pure torture.

Working for myself to build our Network Marketing Business I was still setting the alarm but much later. I could choose my own timetable of when and where to work. Illness soon put paid to that for several months. 6 months later when my health was getting back to where it should be I found myself working as a parcel courier. 6 gruelling days a week. I definitely kept track of the days then. I always knew how many days there were until my day off on Sunday.

When my health issues put a stop to that work after 2 1/2 years I kept up my Avon business but on a part time basis to fit around my health and caring for my mother. Now that I never have to be anywhere at a certain time on certain days it is so easy for each day to be the same. In these days of lockdown I am limiting my forays out of the house to twice a week. I do everything I need to on those two days (usually Monday and Friday). This week is different because I am having my first Covid vacination shot on Thursday. The majority of people I know of have had a sore arm and slept a lot the following day. For that reason I am not going out on Friday I shall go on Saturday instead.

I saw something the other day about circular time. It was on the cover of a book I saw online. I don’t know about anyone else but I see time in circles. Each day is like a clock face that goes around twice. I think really I see time as more of a spring than actual circles. Each circuit leads onto the next one. My weeks are also like a spring. I guess like a slinky with each coil being a day and the coils wrapping around from left to right, five coils for the week days then two longer coils for the weekend wrapping back around to start the next week. Months are odd as each month is a straight line from left to right. My years though are going back to the clock face. This time January starting from the six position and going anti clockwise with June at the top then back down to the bottom with December at Seven position.

Yes I know I’m not normal.

Avon and me

I am live-in carer to my mother who has MS. I have had many occupations during my life but at the moment I am combining being a carer with being a Rep/Sales Leader with Avon.

I first became an Avon rep way back in the mid 1990s when my family were young. After a break of 20 or so years I rejoined Avon with one of my best friends as my Team leader. I am very lucky to be in one of the fastest growing and successful groups in Avon within the UK.

When my Friend Lorna first told me that she had joined Avon and invited me to join her I initially said no. It was a few months before I decided to join her. I am so glad that I did. Not only have I given myself the opportunity to gain some financial independence, I have gained some great friends. Before lockdown came and made life interesting I was going places and meeting people that I would never have had the chance to do without Avon. Not to mention the amazing products at amazing prices.

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Or maybe you would be interested in joining my team here

Join up for just £1 between now and 28th February 2021

Looking down is the new norm

Since this pandemic started our lives have changed so much. There are so many things that are different now.

We all have to wear a mask/face covering. We are encouraged to wash our hands, and keep our distance. Many people work from home instead of going out to work. Zoom meetings and other video calls take the place of speaking face to face.

I for one started 2020 with short hair, I now have shoulder length hair. Many have learnt to cut their own hair out of desperation. I decided to let mine grow out and when the time comes get a completely new style. One unexpected skill I had to attempt is cutting my mother’s toe nails.

Our non essential shops are closed but online shopping is booming. Our high streets are empty. Restaurants are limited to serving takeaway/delivery food instead of in house service.

There has been a big increase in delivery services. Where once we were asked to sign for packages they are now left at the door with just a knock to alert us to their arrival. In a small way I have been doing this with my Avon business. We can put our books through doors and collect from the doorstep without seeing anyone. deliveries are made by leaving the package on the doorstep. I have noticed that I am not the only one who has become used to opening the door and automatically looking down to see what is there. We didn’t do this a year ago. How many people can say that they don’t now look down as soon as they open the door?

What they don’t tell you

As I have said before as in my last post, in 2001 I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. In September (just a week or so after 9/11) I was given the all clear. My treatment had been successful. Yippee, hurray, I got my life back. I remember one of my boys saying “I’ve got my mummy back”. It was a time to celebrate.

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What they didn’t tell me (I was told a few people have long term bowl/bladder problems). I would from then on be terrified of food that I had always loved. I look at the fruit bowl with longing. Grannie smith apples beckon to me with their glistening green peel. Crisp pears appeal to me. Peanuts and Cashews tempt me. In short anything with fibre is dangerous to me. Last week I treated myself to a small handfull of dried fruit in the evening. I woke up in agony and had to rush to the toilet not quite getting there in time.

I can and do occasionally eat small amounts of the foods I desire but fear. I have to plan when I can eat these things ie when I don’t expect to be out of the house for long the next day. Going for long walks are a thing of the past unfortunately. Apart from the time the activity makes my bowels work harder.

As I talked about in my last post ” the cost of surviving cancer” my bladder is badly damaged and I am now awaiting major surgery to make my life better. However over the last 18 years although my bladder has been a problem it has been my bowels that have made my life so difficult. It is only the last year that my bladder has over taken my bowel problems.

This doesn’t mean that my bowel problems have become less annoying. For 18 months until this April I was delivering parcels for a living. Not the best career for someone with my problems. I would be working when I would get a feeling and have to make a mad dash either home or to the nearest place where I could use the public toilets. I didn’t always get there in time even though it might have only taken me 5 minutes. Many times I only get seconds let alone minutes notice that my body is about to eject it’s contents. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have needed to get completely changed and showered. During the years I worked in an office there were times I had to dash home to get cleaned up.

I love to wear pretty clothes, skirts, dresses, bright colours. I have had to learn to wear clothes that are dark (black or navy trousers) long tops that camoflage any accidents that may occur.

I wonder how many women would think twice about not being tested for cervical cancer if they knew that apart from the treatment which can be harrowing. If they knew that their reluctance to under go the indignity of a smear test could lead to a life like mine.

During the months of treatment there are rules that have to be adhered to. There are reasons for these seemingly odd rules. When I attended my first radiotherapy session (following weeks of tests measurements, scans etc) I was given a list of foods I couldn’t eat. Basically I could only eat food that is generally considered to be unhealthy. I still keep to this diet now because my body gives me no choice. I couldn’t wear perfume. Showers were out. Baths had to be luke warm and no bath oil or bubbles. How disconcerting to be laying in a luke warm bath with nothing to hide the floating hair. I didn’t lose the hair on my head as I didn’t have chemo, but the hair on my body.

How many women would willingly put themselves through all this for the sake of a five minute appointment if they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

I know I am lucky to be alive, others didn’t make it, however I wouldn’t wish anyone to live this way if they can avoid it.

Stepping back

Right now I feel as though I have stepped back two years to when I was ill for 4 months. I have very little appetite, it is an effort to eat even a slice of bread. Consequently my energy levels have plummeted. I find myself feeling cold particularly my upper body and spend hours in bed sleeping fully dressed with the duvet tucked under my chin.

Not so long ago I was prescribed some tablets from the hospital to help with my bladder problems. I didn’t know if it was a coincidence but at the same time that I started taking them I started getting the painful shivery flu like symptoms that I used to get when I had  kidney infections. After a few days I stopped taking the tablets to see if that helped.

I went to see the Dr, she confirmed that no infection was present. I was advised to wait until I felt better then start taking the tablets again. At this point I had also been struggling to eat properly for maybe a month or so. Some days have been better than others.

On Sunday 31st March I took one of the tablets again as I was feeling better just a little on the weak side. By the evening I was feeling not right, by about 9pm I was having the painful shivery symptoms again. Luckily I wasn’t working on Monday but felt so bad that I again spent most of the day in bed. By Tuesday it had worn off a little. I went to work as usual (Tuesday is normally the quietest day of the week). I loaded up my car then went home or an hour to rest before doing the first part of my round. After an hour I had to go home again for a break. What I would do in 2 hours took me 4.

On Wednesday I went off to do my work knowing that I would have to keep going home as I had done the previous day. Because of my feeble state I left about 18 parcels behind I knew I didn’t have the energy levels needed. Again I went home had a rest before setting out again. After an hour I went home. I repeated this pattern, apart from my sorry state my car decided to play up. Each time I tried to restart the engine it was getting harder and harder until it decided not to start at all. I still had an hour’s worth of parcels to deliver. I phoned RAC and was told it could be upto 3 hours as the rush hour was about to start shortly. After waiting about half an hour I tried the engine again and it did start although reluctantly. I managed to limp my car home. I wasn’t going to risk it stopping.

I thought it only fair to let my field manager know what was going on. I wasn’t due to work the following day, plus my car was booked in to the garage for a safety recall. Funny how in the days leading up to going into the garage my car had started playing up, overheating light flashing, If I turned the heater up I was suddenly plunged into fog.

Anyway I decided that I needed to take Friday and Saturday off so that would give me Thursday through to Tuesday to build up my strength again. The stress this gave me in trying to find someone, anyone to cover my round for a couple of days was more than I needed. I told my field manager that because of my health I had decided to give up my round. We had a chat later in the day and I will not be doing any more parcels until I feel fit enough. When I feel up to it I can go back and do one or two days when I want to. For now my priority is to get better.

In this past week I have done nothing for my Avon business I am a week behind with putting out my books and I have a few boxes that I have yet to unpack and sort for my customers. Now that I am not doing the parcels for the moment, I am determined to catch up with my Avon.

I think that when I was ill 2 years ago I just let myself get swallowed up in it. This time I am adamant that I will fight it and get my strength back sooner rather than later. I have to be strong enough to make the journey to see my son and grandson next weekend and again on 27th for his first birthday.

I took my car out for a run to try to clear the fuel blockage. It was really noisy today, I was just starting to think about pulling into a layby. Just then the oil light came on. followed quickly by a clunk, there was a cloud of smoke and the car cut out just as I reached a slip road. (my first and only piece of luck). It took an hour and a half for my rescuer to arrive with his RAC van. It took him less than a minute to decide it was the Cam belt. So my car was towed home. He wasn’t able to get it near our home so he left it in a car park further up the road. This looks like it will be an expensive problem. By the time I had staggered home from where my car now is I was as white as a sheet according to my Mum. The poor RAC man had to put up with me retching all the way back.

Update

As it turned out I was too ill to leave the house for 2 weeks. My car was towed to a local garage where the damage was assessed. It was going to cost almost as much as I had paid for the car to get it running again. In my state of ill health I couldn’t think about it so made the decision to have my car scrapped.  I now have another car, one that has 5 seats instead of the 7 my previous car had but the boot is big enough to accommodate my mother’s pink wheelchair. I have not gone back to delivering parcels. I am doing Avon but barely have the strength to be out for an hour at a time. I sleep a lot too.

I am frustrated that I have not been able to step back into the life I had before falling ill in the spring. I am now in a routine of quiet companionship with my mother. I am now officially her carer. This was not something either of us could have envisioned a year ago. It would be easy for me to say that I am not going to carry on doing my Avon, I’m just too tired but I am continuing because it gets me out of the house, meeting people, getting some exercise and fresh air as well as a small income. I am gradually increasing my business, I’m definitely a tortoise not a hare. It allows me to pay for my own fuel, phone bill and buy gifts for my family without having to ask for a hand out from my mother.

Relationships

Since leaving my second alcoholic husband a year ago I have been living with my mother. I have gone from being in a large 4 bedroom house where I ran everything from the cooking cleaning, finances etc. I have been running a home for over 30 years (my eldest son is now 31). Over that time I have accumulated a collection of kitchen things.

Moving in with my mother I left the majority of my things behind. I have one medium bedroom plus I have taken over the two seater sofa. The kitchen is about a quarter of the size of the one I left behind. I never thought I would miss doing the weekly shop, but I find myself walking around a supermarket thinking about what I could buy/make. There is very little room in the cupboards or fridge ad freezer for me to add the things I would buy. It has been a challenge going back to live with my mother after all these years of running my own home.

I love my mum to bits and we have always been very close. I am very grateful to her for allowing me to move in with her when I left my husband. In the last year it has become apparent that her need for my help (in small ways) has increased. I don’t now feel I could leave her on her own again.

It would have been easy to become stuck in a way of working and caring but not living. However last summer I joined my friend in her Avon team. I didn’t want to do catalogues, my plan was to work solely online which I could do from the comfort of home. I very quickly gained about 50 customers (not online). After a couple of campaigns I also decided to become a Sales Leader and build a team of my own. Before Christmas I had recruited 12 people into my team (with varying success).  I am now on a mission to recruit more team members. I am keen to help others enjoy the benefits I have found from being in this Avon family. Not only am I earning extra money, I am making new friends, loving all the products. I have never had so many perfumes. Designer handbags, jewellery.

Joining Avon was a great decision for me. I has given me a life outside of my work and living with my mum.luck for her gift set

http://www.earnwithbeauty.me.uk

Since writing this post I had a spell of being housebound by a bad kidney infection which left me unable to do anything for 2 months. During this time my mother had 3 falls in 3 weeks. Possibly due to her doing more of the things I had been doing for her. Anyway in the months since the spring she has become less mobile and now relies on her 3 wheeled walkers whilst in the house and a pink wheelchair for the few occasions when she leaves the house. She has now made the decision to give up driving and has informed DVLA that she no longer needs her licence renewed.

I am now her Carer. Together with my small Carers Allowance and the money I earn through doing my Avon I do have a little bit of financial independence. Since being ill I have been unable to go back to work delivering parcels. I still 5 months after recovering from my illness not got much energy back. Running my Avon business has prevented me from becoming a recluse. It forces me to leave the house most days. There are days when I just can’t face it.  I can only manage about an hour before I need to go back home for a rest.

Less is more

Things have been better this week. I have been busy at work and there have been a couple of days when I didn’t need to sleep all afternoon. I have had some very early nights though. 9pm one evening and even 8.30 a few days ago.

I am beginning to feel more like getting things organised and added a further 5 bags of clothes to the clothes bank yesterday. Does anyone need any clothes hangers, I am sure mine have been breeding! How did I ever have so many clothes that I didn’t have enough hangers? No longer working in an office and losing 3 stone in weight has meant that most of the clothes I had are no longer suitable. These days I live in a few pairs of leggings and a couple of pairs of jeans some t-shirts and jumpers. Living the simple life as far as clothes are concerned.

Communications with my husband have turned a corner too. I have not had a nasty message for a week! Instead he is starting to tell me that he misses/loves me and wants me back. He has begun talking about the future being a journey and would I join him? I have had to tell him that a few conversations are not enough, it is going to take time. I need to know that he has stopped drinking (not just for a week or too but for much longer). I need to know that he has given himself the chance to accept support not just from me but from others who can give him more help than I can. I also need him to take on more financial responsibility and not leave 90% on my shoulders.

He is putting the house up for sale, he has had various valuations and decided who he wants to use. He tells me that he won’t be staying in this country. Currently he is talking about Spain, which was our plan 6 months ago. I am not sure I can join him on that journey any more. Maybe if he does go out there and things are harmonious between us I might visit. I don’t think I would move out there now.stock-vector-hanger-black-icon-vector-illustration-155568137

Dodging the bins

Today the weather has been wet and windy. I don’t normally mind the wind, the rain I can cope with depending on where I am and what I am doing.

Being a Wednesday I was out delivering parcels ( I do this Monday to Saturday). It was damp but not too wet as I loaded my car with the parcels for the day. I guess I was about a quarter of the way through my round when the weather picked up. I don’t mind rain, my hair was cut short yesterday so I wasn’t too worried about the weather effect on my hair, I’m not so keen on the rain on my glasses which I now wear all day.

Once or twice I found that the wind was becoming troublesome when opening/closing doors. One door to a block of flats slammed in the wind almost pulling my arm out of its socket but I soon recover from the shock of that. Later in my round the wind was getting stronger, it just so happens that Wednesday is the day each week that the wheelie bins are emptied on my round. I am used to dodging the truck as it makes its way through the streets I am attempting to make my deliveries to. Today I had the added problem of bins that had  been relieved of their contents suddenly racing across roads into my path.

How many of you have experienced this ?wheelie bin