Well it was all going on here yesterday! Tuesday I was informed that the contractors would be on site to replace the windows. Hmmm, do I decant to the communal lounge or bundle up on my sofa? I went with option two and put on a cardigan. They’re also replacing communal windows and fire doors so it’s chilly and drafts everywhere.
The day was still and dull, no breeze or frosty chill by the time they removed the windows at 11:30. Throughout the time carers and cleaners kept shouting through the gaping hole asking if I was okay, cold, need a hot drink. I was fine, busy crocheting my current project. Truth be told I was not as cold as I expected I would get. By 3 the new windows were in and the guys had cleared and vacuumed.
In the midst of all this kafuffle two extra bids with step ladders appeared to remove the old fire detectors (snazzy new system fitted beginning of last month). A house full of men, working!!
When I turned and looked at the new units there was one blinding instant through that crossed my mind. I took a picture and sent it to BFF and she had the exact same thought ….. can you guess what it was ….. depends if you recall previous blogs or are privy to my Facebook posts. We both went “Oww, a window a cat can come in through”
There are one or two cats who live in the neighbouring bungalows, when the weather warms you never know what might happen. Although no cat will be as characterful and charming as #NotMyCat. ‘Mickey’ and sweet #NotMyCat2 ‘Ginger’.
Now I’m not saying that BFF’s latest visit was ….. erm ….. lazy ….. more relaxing, chilling, easy going, ….. okay okay alright sheesh, we were both beautifully lazy.
We asked ourselves two vital questions each day – first, what are we eating and second, what are we watching.
And do you know what …… it has been abso-bloomin-lutely wonder-friggin-ful.
Food highlights has been the Jambalaya with the super special, hard to get, I got sent from New Orleans, mix …. and the rib eye steak with haggis and chips 🤤🤤🤤 droolerific.
Watch highlights – we did The Crown. But we really got into the Netflix series Yukon Vet and nightly the joy of I’m A Celebrity.
There was stitching done too. We were not complete slobs. BFF is knitting a blanket with a gorgeous mixed yarn called fruit salad, it doesn’t grow fast but she got through two balls of 200g, back and forth, back and forth. I finagled the ghost pattern to make some Father Christmas gear nob covers, and BFF’s middle child found a cute Santa sock pattern, about big enough to pop a fun size mars bar in. I didn’t want to tackle them without my guru (BFF) beside me but it worked out well (so long as I concentrate and count)
One of my carers asked what I intended to do with them and I said give them away. She helps at the local food bank and asked if she could take them there for them to pop some Christmas chops in for the kiddos. So that’s my project for the next couple of weeks.
Now it’s 3:10pm, BFF is on the road to the airport to fly home 😢. This is the worst day, saying good bud and being the furthest from when she’ll return,
It’s not a question you expect to hear, nor is it a typical trick or treat scenario …. would you like a donkey visit on the 31st?
On Monday a knock at my door announced the arrival of Mum Saffy and son Jack, two gorgeous soft mini donkeys from Mini-Donks visiting the complex where I now reside.
Their gorgeous velvety soft lips and fluffy soft coats, their spindly thing legs leading to polished neat hooves looking like they were tip toeing on stiletto heels. They nuzzled as they munched their carrot sticks, while pictures were taken. Enjoying the chin scritches as I admired the long fluttery eyelashes.
Certainly a more welcome visitor than Clive and Clarissa the humongous great chunky spiders who throw their web between the top of my window and the thick garden bushes below. I think they are European Garden Spider or Cross Orb-Weaver, but I haven’t got close enough to get ‘that’ acquainted.
Still waiting for the commode shower chair, still waiting for a hoist sling, still waiting on my property completion, still waiting business organisations to update my address, still waiting for people to do what they said they would.
I’m jaded, very jaded.
The ‘here to help’ organisations are the ones who are failing me, dehumanising and degrading me, and all they offer is patronising hollow apologies.
Someone asked if I felt settled. I’m not really sure what that means, I am used to the new environment and have cobbled new routines, I’m getting used to the noises and sudden interruptions. I’m getting used to never knowing what day of the week it is or which carer will appear when I press the button, but does that make me settled.
All my possessions are around me, pictures displayed (okay I haven’t hung the wall ones yet, still pondering) but I still have moments when I think ‘I need that book’ or ‘I’ll watch that dvd’ or ‘that craft item is just …’, then remember that that item was gotten rid of.
There was a ‘lovely’ meeting with yet another Social Worker who has taken over my case. When she visited my gander gandered and that tiny flickering spark of me sort of ever so politely let rip. I reminded her that I’ve had no contact since Christmas, no reply to emails, no help with the forms, no help with the move, no help with the adjusting (I have had help, and I am extremely grateful to those who volunteered), I wanted to make the point that as an organisation, alongside OT, the systems are failing.
Now don’t be shocked, but as we’ve entered autumn with the (supposedly) cooler days I have been doing a spot of yarn twiddling. A friend tagged me in a post about glow in the dark wool – I know – which sent my down the Google rabbit hole of ghost patterns, that lead to some yarn being purchased and ‘Howl’ the ghost was crocheted into a new topper for her gear stick 👻
I’ve also made a few ‘mask mates’ for the carers. It felt nice to give back some too.
Just four weeks and a few days until BFF comes to play, I mean stay. We both crave some normality, some familiar, some escape, some laughter.
So I’ve been quiet because I’m still stuck, waiting for those here-to-help organisations and it looks like being another couple of months before the snail creeps an inch closer to any goal ….. so don’t go sprinkling salt anywhere just in case 😉
A little earlier today the fire alarm went off, odd for a Sunday but this is a 24/7 facility, the weekly test is never at the same time/day. It continued for 5+ minutes, dang it’s loud and hurts my ears. Blissfully it stopped, only to go off again, okay that is definitely odd, it kept on ringing. I took the only evasive action I could and stuck my fingers in my ears, at least it stops the piercing shrill from hurting.
The alarm kept on ringing. Suddenly two carers arrive, a little flustered, “We’ve to evacuate everyone” “The main kitchen oven has caught fire” Well some like the roast spuds crispy but maybe not that crispy!
I shuffled onto my faithful old shower chair and was wheeled out through the fire exit, down the ramp to the summerhouse where my face would be in shade. Parked, I waited. (Side note, still no sling so I can be hoisted into the wheelchair).
Several other residents who had been congregating in the communal dining room ready for their Sunday roast were obviously distressed and unsettled. Such an anxiety trigger for some, confusing an already confused mental state for others. Me, I’m sitting there thinking, I’m either going to get stung by something or sunburnt.
It seemed an eternity before the fire brigade gave the all clear. In no hurry I told the carers to settle the others first, I was quite content in the sun/shade. How quickly the anxious residents switched from the fear of fire to what will there be for my lunch now, lol.
Anyway, I’m back in the flat, contemplating nibbling a digestive or two.
Apparently, as Cook went to get the tray of roasties from the oven, the fat ignited, so he shut the oven, turned it off and telephoned a colleague off site asking what to do. The oven continued to smoke which triggered the fire alarm. It was a young carer who shouted for him to call the fire brigade and grabbed the correct extinguisher to use, as well as alerting colleagues, putting procedures in motion.
I was drawn to this film as it starred Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney, two incredible character actors whose work I’ve admired for many years.
The Journey is the fictional dramatisation of a true event, in 2006 the first initial talks of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement were being held in St Andrew’s Scotland. An incredibly precarious intense meeting between the two highly charged staunch political figures and their associates. However Dr Ian Paisley needed to return to Northern Ireland to attend the celebration of his golden wedding anniversary, bad weather closed the local airport but when a proposal to use a different airport was put to Martin MaGuinness he cited the protocol that he and Paisley must travel together to prevent any attempted assassination plot, thus the two men were driven to the airport where a private jet awaited them both.
Unbeknown to these two figures MI5 had one of their operatives as the driver, and had bugged the car with microphones and mini camera to listen to what the two men might discusse in hope of getting useable intelligence to help the talks progress. Initially neither man can bear to look at the other, neither wanting to give in and look/speak first either. Both despising the history, the past actions, the beliefs and hopes for the future, it seems impossible to find any uncontroversial common ground.
Timothy Spall as The Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, is astounding, his mastering of mannerisms and instantly recognisable voice and vocal manner is remarkable, along with the craft of make up and wardrobe completing an incredible transformation.
Colm Meaney as Martin MaGuinness the republican politician for Sinn Fein and leader of the Provisional IRA is captivating. There is a true sense of battle weary, concern that the movement and ‘the troubles’ are breeding another generation of soldiers without fully understanding the cause and reasoning. Fighting an unwinable civil war.
Even though I grew up during this era and vividly remember the news reports of street warfare, the terrorist bombings and numerous attacks, the core fight was not really understood or known, other than Catholic versus Protestant. Listening as these two enemies eloquently spoke of their experience through life, their earnest beliefs,
Without giving too much away, gradually through this journey there are cracks in their iron resolve, there are moments where the human comes out instead of the political representative, even moments of mirth, and a couple of plot twists which question what one thinks of the other.
As they are about to board the plane the two men speak alone, perhaps this is the moment when they can acknowledge that while they fervently disagree with each other they can at least respect each other’s passion and commitment.
It’s a film I feel I need to watch again, to enjoy what I know is coming and perhaps catch a few nuances I missed first time around.
The quote above struck me as I was playing partial attention to the tv show that used it. Yeap, I’ve died a few deaths in my time but this one has been the most extreme. I could write a list long enough to paper the under-stairs loo of things I either didn’t know and should have or underestimated the effect of. But still, you either stay still or move forward. Thank you for sticking with the tedium of my move, I do appreciate the support, if I’m the lone dog barking in the woods there is someone hearing me.
Soooo……. what’s been happening these past couple of weeks. Well as I sit here in my sun baked lounge with the window propped open and the fan oscillating at full blast (as it has every day since moving in) it seems more than it feels.
Handyman fixed the toilet seat and installed the cupboard shelving brackets and the house keepers put things away in the cupboards. They also found my drinking glasses (they were at the back of a high shelf in a kitchen cupboard), still no tin opener though, and the last box was sorted and cleared. The only box remaining has all the pictures that were on my walls, but I’m in no hurry, I cannot decide what I want where. When I moved into my beloved hovel it was eight years before a picture was put up, lol.
In general life has become a little more uniformed and routined, with the occasional hiccup, but those happen where ever you are. The daily unexpected interruptions slightly wrinkle, the come to get laundry/return laundry, ask if I need anything, has this been done, need to sign off your book, come to wash your dish etc etc pluck the irritation nerve somewhat. If I’m occupied in something on the iPad or phone I’m unlikely to give extensive details because that’s my personal business and unless it’s directly relevant to living here, then it’s ‘nunya’.
OT over the past two weeks has been joyously fantastic. I’ll let you read that line again because I know, dear reader, you’ll be going ‘huh!’. Yes, it has been a blissful delight, but there’s a very big reason ….. I’ve not heard a peep from any of them, no texts, no emails, no calls, no visits, no letters, nothing ….. of course the downside is that nothing has been done either, no word on when the correctly adjusted commode chair will be delivered, no finding a suitably supportive sling and useable hoist.
My beloved hovel was cleared of the things I left behind (some furniture, fridge, washing machine, general clutter etc). It knocked me for a doozy of a downer when the guy unexpectedly sent photos of the cleared rooms with his invoice. Oh gosh, it looked, neglected, unloved, so final. yes, change comes with melancholy, I have had to let go of so much, compromise on so much, both physically and psychologically in order to move, but I’ve gained nothing, yet. It’s hurting and I’ve not really started healing.
The Solicitor’s forms have been completed and signed, all the supporting documentation passed over, it’s moving at its own pace.
Some have asked if I’ve settled in. I didn’t know how to answer that, my things are more organised, although the dishes never get put back in the right spot and I rarely have the same mug each morning. There’s no routine as to who works when so I frequently don’t know what day of the week it is. Experts say it takes three weeks to develop a new habit and 12-18 months before somewhere feels home. I doubt I will ever call here home, it’s where I live, the flat, possibly my flat but never ‘home’ and all the connotations that brings up.
What’s next …. once I have a sling and hoist sorted I can go to the wheelchair center (haven’t been out on my own this century 😲) and be assessed for the powerchair, I’ll need to pass an indoor and outdoor driving test and an eye test . Plus various seating types can be trialed to ensure maximum comfort, even potentially have something specific moulded. Okay so appointments are booked four weeks ahead and it could be another 4-6 weeks before chair arrives, but it seems reliable.
The Founder, currently available on Amazon Prime, is the biopic dramatisation of how Ray Kroc expanded and styled himself as the “founder of The McDonald’s Corporation”.
Michael Keaton’s portrayal of the conniving ruthless all American opportunistic entrepreneur of the mid 50’s through early 60’s is captivating, you grow to dislike the guy. Undoubtedly a hard worker, always looking for the next big thing that will bring him success and progress. His aspirations are genuine it’s his methods that you question.
McDonald’s was a small walk-up diner in San Bernardino operated by the brothers who through trial and carefully planned thought had devised the speedee kitchen system. John Carroll Lynch’s depiction of Maurice “Mac” McDonald is brilliantly calm and tight, you’d maybe wonder if in this modern age he’d possibly be on the Asperger’s/Autistic spectrum with his analytical accute senses and manners. An astute sense of principle, the ethics and ethos of McDonald’s, a small, clean, family friendly eatery that had somehow cornered what ever ‘it’ was that made a burger and fries something so delicious and satisfying. His meticulous attention to detail, that fries are fried at this temp not a degree less, the fries are this thin and that long, there’s always two pickle and burgers uniformly grilled each side. Nick Offerman plays Richard “Dick” McDonald the younger brother more easy going and trusting than his brother, often the trainer and front of house face.
Initially Ray was a travelling salesman trying to sell milkshake machines and when one restaurant ordered eight he was intrigued and drove to see why. He met the brothers, was shown their business and how it operated and he hit upon the idea of franchising. Initially the brothers were resistant as previous attempts had failed due to inconsistent practises, lack of menu control and the McD ethos. While trying to garner investors and potential managers Ray realised rather than big money men investing and immature managers, getting middle class married couple to invest and work maintained the work ethics and family friendly atmosphere. Pushing ahead with a sketch of a diner Mac had drawn that introduces the Golden Arches and bright clean all glass frontage, things begin to roll.
Mac had been meticulous in the contract drawn up between the brothers and Ray but it hampered the gung-ho race forward eagerness of Ray and they constantly argued and differed. Increasingly unhappy with his 1% franchise commission Ray attempts to renegotiate his contract and loosen the brothers grip but they won’t budge, a deal is a deal and they must maintain continuity and control. After a chance conversation with a financial advisor Ray sets up the Corporation to buy land that is then leased to the franchisees, who pay fees to be McDonalds. This was his golden ticket to making money and the start of circumventing the brothers control.
Things come to a head when Dick suffers a diabetic stress collapse and heart attack. The brothers concede to let Ray out of his contract by buying them out, maybe without realising the full ramifications of what that would bring.
Before long Ray forced the brothers to remove the McDonald’s name from their restaurant citing intellectual property rights, he deliberately built the 100th diner across the road from them essentially sealing their demise. At the negotiation of dissolving the contract Ray had persuaded the brothers to agree to a handshake deal on the 1% royalties from the franchise, Ray denied it happened and never paid out. Ray paid each brother just over $1million (about $26milliom in todays money but a fraction of the businesses value today).
Years later when Ray was interviewed he said he liked the name “McDonalds” so much nicer than Kroc, so much more wholesome American.
Today it’s said that on a daily basis McDonalds feeds 1% of the global population – now who’d like to go get me a Big Mac Meal please?
My dumaflache is still without its thingamay but the doodah widget copes, kinda.
Unusually for me this is something of a struggle to write, maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, the overwhelming change or the utter stressed frustration but I am trying to carefully consider my words and tone, after all it’s still early days. Did I expect problems? Of course. Did I expect tears and despondency? Without a doubt. Did I expect difficult adjustments? Definitely. Still, my dry sarcasm screams I’ve moved to hell!
The carers are a fun bunch mix of personalities and I am going with the flow, giving concise instruction or direction, injecting a little humour, learning as we go. It’s slow progress.
If you suffered my previous post Boxed In And Sticky the OT thing is on-going without improvement. The tea trolley commode is still here awaiting collection, another arrived but the alterations ordered by OT were not done, it was returned awaiting adjustment kit ‘sometime soon’. The system is severely flawed, it feels like the disability has to adjust to fit the standard kit instead of the equipment being adjusted to fit the disability. ::sigh:: OT and the suppliers have been a daily issue. Calls, emails between me and them, between them and others meaning plans changing constantly and at the end of it, I’m done, broke.
The tiger and cubs ornament has been found but the can opener has gone mia, along with my drinking glasses, they must be in the last remaining couple of boxes. Can’t put thing away in the airing cupboard until handyman fixes the extra brackets needed after they replaced the water heater. The loo seat is still broke, so can’t invite visitors.
Awesomest nephew installed the phone extension cable and plugged in the router and phone – reconnected to the wider world, streaming services, emails, social media and music! Well some, my computer has not been booted up and added to my network which has hours, days, weeks of music to go through. New habits being worked on, less tv more tunes.
Hmm…. the niggles that over time drive a person mad. Behind my bedroom wall there is an electrics cupboard which must have a cooling system or fan because it sounds like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle endlessly, constantly throughout the night. Next door to that is the cleaning cupboard complete with squeaky hinged door, I can ignore that but the banging and clattering of trying to fill a metal bucket at 6:30am is harder to ignore. Next to that are a couple of toilets (opposite the communal dining room and lounge) it’s like thunderstorms over Niagara when the chain is pulled!! Thankfully the bucket and bogs are not an everyday occurrence. Then there is something else that buzzes throughout the night, it stopped at 8am, ears think it’s in my hallway, but I’ve no clue, yet. For an erratic sleeper, it’s taking longer than liked to adjust to these sounds.
As my bedroom window faces the main entrance the glow of the lights brightens the room considerably. The curtains are very thin, I need to invest in some darker maybe thicker ones. As it’s an assisted living complex the front door of the flat opens onto a wide hallway, it feels very much hotel like, and as everyone else’s main doors (which are fire doors) open to the corridor you hear them slam shut and the empty carpeted corridor amplifies the sound.
Still, could be worse, there’s debris from a Chinese space rocket falling to Earth, and as the odds of being hit by that is more likely than winning the National Lottery jackpot, I might just go sit in the corner in my tin foil hat, just in case, you know, with my luck.
Pre-move day two delightful chaps arrived with boxes, bubble wrap and paper, oh and a pint of milk so they could brew up. They set to and during our chats and anecdotes made two remarks, one that I was organised and had made things straightforward for them and two that I was a ‘character’ (what, who? Moi! Well I say). After a bustling three hours the twenty five boxes were taped up and marked and things were ready for the next morning.
Move day – while still in my pit I went to use the house phone but my provider had already disconnected the service (charming) thankfully my mobile was at hand and I booked a wheelchair taxi for 12:30 to take me to my new digs. After a tearful goodbye to my last carer I had a few minutes of quiet reflection in my hovel of thirty years, two months and ten days. It looked worn, dusty and unkempt which was a sad sight, both of us suffering from my deterioration. Before long the big red van pulled up and the two chaps cheerily arrived ready to start the lifting and shifting. After a few false starts I sort of otched on the slide board into the wheelchair and the movers kindly oiked me into a comfy position and parked me in a corner. It seemed to be endless the stream of boxes and chests of drawers that were carted out. Then the big sofa and the big desk.
At about noon my mobile rant, taxi had to cancel because his airport run had been delayed and he wouldn’t be back in time to take me. Bugger, oh well, something had to go wrong. I had saved another company in my phone and called them and they said they would be there is about 30/40 minutes. That was that sorted. Time for me to vacate and wait in the hot sun. After a final brew up and a walk through check, the door was locked and keys put into my bag. We waited and waited. I called the company back to their profuse apologies they’d forgotten me (is that even possible!) and a car would be there in five. Hmm, yeah, a car arrived not a wheelchair car so taxi driver called and a wheelchair car was dispatched. I told the movers to head off as the assisted living complex were expecting them and had keys, they reluctantly set off but within a minute the wheelchair cab arrived, I was loaded and off we went. My throat choked but I kept it together, just.
Somehow it only took half the time to unload. Furniture was put in place, boxes were organised and BroInLaw started unboxing the kitchen ones putting stuff anywhere so it was somewhere. A couple of carers arrived and made up the bed. I said thank you and goodbye to the movers and made arrangements for how the boxes and packing to be collected. The front window doesn’t stay open so a tin of tomatoes has been deployed as window stopper, it’s a South East facing window so the strongest afternoon sun doesn’t bake like my previous West facing window.
I was in ….. rather smoothly if somewhat stickily.
A couple of the carers came Wednesday and unpacked a number of boxes with me directing where I wanted things for now. They chuckled at the stories, marvelled at my antics and adventures and were pleased my instructions were clear and followable. I tried bribing them with a chocolate biscuit but they declined. It really helped make the place look less like box city. There are still boxes in the bedroom and bathroom and it’s curious the things that haven’t come to light. I have a tiger mother and cubs ornament and a tigger drinking beaker yet to be unearthed but they were the lad things packed in a box.
There is a handyman who is available for small jobs I’ve pre-warned him that I have a lot of pictures to go up. That was all the easy bits.
OT had ordered a different style of shower/commode chair to be delivered last week, it was not there. Trying to shuffle from my old chair onto the loo with very few hand holds was sweat inducing and exhausting, shuffling back was even harder. On day two, just as I expected (and had remarked back in May) the loo seat broke. The new shower chair arrived sounding like the tinniest hostess trolley and as hard too, as well as about an inch and a half higher, after sheer brute force and belligerence on my part I got onto it. During that time I crunched bones, pinched skin, stamped circles on my thigh courtesy of the hole where the removed arm slots into, bruised my butt because the boney bit of my butt is against the hard uncushioned plastic. I still cannot defy gravity and slide up hill (how very rude of me). The concerned carers are all remarking how intolerable it is for me, how undignified (please, I lost that many years ago) that something else has to be done and urgently, also amazed at my ingenuity, fortitude and strength. The manager initiated an ‘urgent’ OT visit, but that’s days. I left messages on my OT’s phone but the whole system is not geared up to create solutions, just to provide the cheapest, standardised kit to sort of solve a solution. We’ve botched a new method, using my old cushioned shower chair, standing commode bowl on the floor beneath and hope it catches everything. Sorry TMI??
Anyway, I survived the packing, the move, the heat and the hottest day of the year. But I might not survive OT, they bring out the very worst of me and I don’t like it.
On a much lighter note, I’ve had some very sweet cards from my carers wishing me well and saying they will miss me, I will miss them. They all helped me transition into this world where I need personal care.