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Sensible or Sinister

I know I have to move home, but where to go and how to go about it, is a big scary slathering barking hell hound. Going from financial and roof-over-head security to not being so much so. There is a great deal to wrestle with.

Since about week three of lockdown isolation my mind has been racing to an idea, to go through every single item in my hovel and either sell it, donate it or bin it, keeping only a very few considered key items. I really do mean everything, every keepsake, gift, trinket, souvenir, ornament, memento, book, cd, dvd, photo album, crockery, cutlery, glassware, clothing, shoes, costume jewellery, hobby item, stationery item, tool, cuddly, pot, pan and dish. Slim everything down to only the necessary minimum. I have held onto things in order to feel connected to people, places, memories, times when I felt included, involved, almost necessary.

As I cannot move about to fetch things or return things, why keep them, is knowing something is in an inaccessible drawer any different to knowing I once had it. Why hold onto kits, cloths and silks when I’m never going to cross stitch anything again, why keep the pieces I’ve done that are sitting in the drawer, done to fill time. There are things in this abode that haven’t seen the light of day in 5-7-10+ years. There’s a box of vinyl records in the wardrobe that have been there 15-20 years, I don’t even know all the albums that are in there.

But I, myself, cannot do any of that. Someone else will have to lift and fetch and handle. Whether it be taking items to a Post Office to mail, or local refuse/recycling collection centre (7.5 miles away), or charity shops. Someone else will have to fill the recycling big or general waste bin. I might have the idea but others will have the execution.

With my increased deterioration I will need more equipment, power chair, manual chair, shower chair, hoists etc, all which need space to be kept ‘out of the way’.

Is this need a sensible preparation for the future (even maybe getting ones affairs in order, when that times comes), or is it a sign of something relating to mental health triggered by my changing circumstances and the weeks, months, of lockdown.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2020 in Life

 

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The Rot Set In

How are you? How are you managing in these trying of time? Have you started avoiding the news and social media reporting? Are you feeling the need to contact that friend in your phone book you haven’t seen or spoken to in decades? Have you tackled that oft put off job?

Day one-hundred-fifth-something of being at home for me … it feels like the rot has set in, I could twiddle some yarn, I should get to reading that book, I would feel better if I tackled a task or two but ……….. no excuse nor reason, just the arse cannot be bothered. I usually quarantine myself during winter, after all if there’s no need to go out in the yucky weather there’s less chance of catching cold which evolves to chest infections. The pandemic timing extended that, cancelled BFF’s visit and the high jinks we were planning, means an additional three+ months have been added.

I’ve had two letters regarding my health condition and CoVid19, one on behalf of my GP from the Clinical Commissioning Group stating I am “likely to feel unwell”, so that’s reassuring, unwell sounds light, like a hay fever sniffle. But the letter from the Neuromuscular Advisory Unit has said I am at “high risk of serious illness”, that sounds rather worrying, conjures images of tubes and machine beeps. I cannot get out, so I’m not at greater risk and my carers are diligent with their precautions.

I’ve enjoyed the access viewing, things like the Thursday night National Theatre productions being streamed on YouTube, I’d never be able to attend in person, so this opportunity has been relished. I’ve been totally engrossed in all of them, marvelling at the staging, the acting, the imagination, seeing productions I heard of but never seen, like Treasure Island, One Man Two G’vnrs, Frankenstein, Twelfth Night, Jane Ayre, Anthony & Cleopatra, Street Car Named Desire, next week The House. There has been the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar was outstanding. Various orchestras and musicians have been producing videos of performances, some quarantine themed, changing the words of known songs, some of performing classical pieces without the pomp and ceremony of the venues. Of course the small children or small pets interrupting has been amusing.

When this is over, what will we take away from it? There will always be selfish idiots, there will always be negative attacking media, there will always be unreported acts of kindness.

I sense a general mood change as I watch/listen to the vox poluli… an undertone of resentment and slight anger. Maybe it is the media bias but the consensus seems to be that Joe Ordinary doesn’t want his kids to go back to school but does want the pub to open … people jump in their car and drive to the beach and are shocked and surprised that five hundred or more had the exact same idea … persons in positions of knowledge and authority flout the rules and ignore the old time lead by example ethos.

As the aftermath of WW2 did for Churchill, will the aftermath do for Boris … will any politician or party truly be trusted and reliable in an era of PR and popularity over substance and commitment. Will I get out of my hovel this side of Christmas!!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2020 in General, In The News, Life

 

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Confidence Wanes

I don’t know whether this is an age thing, a result in changed circumstances thing or a lock-down self-isolating thing but I can feel my confidence depleting, especially when interacting with another human.

A couple of things have happened this week that has highlighted this odd sensation. It’s home insurance time, I’ve been a tad lazy the past couple of years and just let it auto renew but I decided to grapple that particular bull and fudge about a couple of comparison sites and a few direct ones. I tapped in the data, took screen grabs of quotes, pondered and perused. When I go a hunting and the quote is considerably less I fine tooth comb because I must have forgotten or undervalued something, but no, the quotes were a lot lot less.

So after pondering some more and returning fresh eyed the next day I decided, okay time is up, I’m switching ……. then the stomach knotted and the throat clenched. That means telephoning the current provider to cancel. They’re going to question me, persuade me to stay, re-quote, make me doubt my decision, so with trepidation I dialled and was surprised that the chap was very pleasant, took me at my word, cancelled the renewal no quibble and wished me well! My fear was for nought.

Then it became necessary to bring to light something with my care agency. It involved the actions of a particular carer (don’t fret, it was not to my person, I am 100% well looked after). I knew I had to bring something to light but felt an incredible sense of responsibility, along side feelings of snitching, what I say could have a consequence to this person. Although justified, and necessary, it stuck in my throat (don’t worry folks, BFF put me in my place with love and a telling off, lol). I bit the bullet and emailed the office and the manager telephoned me and listened, letting me fully explain in my calm mannered way. I also said how I felt about talking like that and she understood my point of view, but also appreciated me telling what had happened. The matter is resolved and while I pang if I think too much, it was right and necessary to do so.

I can feel the dread rising when I think about having to telephone the dentist, or rearrange a hospital appointment (when we are through the pandemic situ). It’s not the same as reluctantly having to do something unpleasant, it is having to interact with another human and almost fretting over the curve ball they may lob.

I never used to be this way, I had reliable competence and ability.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 7, 2020 in Life, people

 

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X-rating Review

I’ve been ‘selectively chosen’ to complete a service user questionnaire…. hmmmm, not sure if it is wise of them, or me. I have issues.

To begin with, I am not impressed with the quality of this questionnaire (pictured above), I didn’t need a hidden words game in trying to read the darn thing. Whilst they did provide a stamped addressed envelope, the covering letter failed to give a deadline, so can I give it a week or a month to ponder over.

It is difficult to ‘grade’ competency when over the past five-six months I have had at least thirty different people visit me, some excellent and others not so good. Some I saw once and never again, some are my infrequent regulars, some are my oftens and a handful are my always. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “For the week x to y, how did we do?”

Grading is so subjective, after all two people could receive the exact same service yet one grade it as average and another as very good. How does this highlight areas that need attention. Hmm, maybe I’ll add an anonymous letter suggesting that maybe sending out ten or twenty of these a month asking how they did the week prior, would give a better overview across, say a six month period.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2020 in Life, people, Review

 

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Death and his paperwork

Alright, so you’ve made your will, had the conversation about whether to be cremated, buried, frozen, shot into space or stuffed and mounted, you think you’re done, prepared, sorted – you are so very very wrong.

The bureaucracy following the death of BigSis highlighted how things have changed since the death of our parents. As things move more online, there are many changes and additional consequences to systems, procedures and ownerships. Back in the days of pen and paper, even slate and chalk, a bank would use common sense when trying to access or move funds and things could happen within a couple of days, nowadays accounts are frozen, details need to be verified, confirmed and copied for the deceased, as well as the recipient. Don’t expect it to happen in anything less than two to three weeks.

It’s time for me to get my affairs in order, make sure that access and answers are at hand. My brain is racing away, with detached sentimentality, desperate to go through cupboards, draws and boxes to get rid of all my accumulated bits and bobs, to get stuff sold via the relevant specialist, online sites or charity shops, there are even pangs of guilt about the items destined for the trash, those items that are unsellable, unrecyclable, just junk. But the body has neither the strength or mobility to do it.

The old noggin is even wondering whether it is possible to bequest my Amazon purchases, like you can physical purchases. If your partner is the named Amazon account, when they depart, so will the access to everything they have digitally bought/subscribe. Accessing their account is technically fraudulent, even if you know the details and have permission, after they’ve died. More and more our utility bills, credit cards and banking is done online, and unless details are written down and kept somewhere safe, your executor will have zero clue where to find your funds, the same with utility bills and income sources. So much was more straightforward when you had a statement or bill through the post to act as reference, with its account numbers and names all there.

Fortunately I don’t drive, again online access means that now once a driving license is cancelled, so is the road tax and ownership papers attached to that persons details, so if you share a car with your partner, that’ll be an urgent call to the DVLA needed.

As a super single there will be bills and the need for funds before probate and such is all sorted, so I am considering opening a separate account with another named party so access to urgent funds can be managed.

Maybe it is morbid but it is a necessary conversation. After all, your nearest and dearest deserve to have things run as smooth as possible, rather than add to the stress and distress.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2020 in Life, Uncategorized

 

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Bactrian Conspires

Wednesday, often referred to as hump day, and I have the right ‘ump with this particular Wednesday, it’s not so much a Dromedary and much more a Bactrian of humps.

I mused this morning that today I would upgrade the OS on the iMac to the new Catalina. The timing was right, I’d time-machine backed up after the photo job was done, as well as external drive saved the valuable folders. I clicked the magic button and set it going, just one hour to download, followed by one and half hours to install and a further thirty minutes to set-up. Now that doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Just before Noon a four note trill sounded from the bedroom. Hmm, odd, that’s the sound the phone makes when you place it in the charger. Trill, weird was there a brief power cut, but everything else is working. TrillTrillTrill. Okay that’s more than a power out, it’s going crazy. TrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrill non-stop and my next care visit would not be until 2:50, three hours of this four note TrillTrillTrillTrill that cannot be drowned out by music because the iMac is updating……… it’s like when the smoke alarm battery fades and you have to wait for a bod with step ladder.

After the install and set-up my computer ever so kindly informed me that some of the apps may not be supported by the upgrade. Hmm, well that all depends which ones. I perused the list and most seemed to be to do with the printer survey and compare list, all good. But oh hang on …. bummage ….. those two apps I use a lot, the one I use to write the HTML for the website and the one I use to organise and upload the photo albums to the web site. Whilst finding another HTML editor is not exactly difficult the photo albums one is, because it is essentially discarding all the work done over the past sixteen years and starting from scratch, again. Put that on the “projects” list. *sigh*

Carer came to the rescue taking the phone out of the cradle, whoohoo, bliss. We scuttle through to the kitchen to fire up the slow cooker, she went to open a draw and it wouldn’t budge ‘something’ was stopping it, I could barely get my fingers between the draw front and the work top. I teased out a plastic bag but there was something solidly jamming it, most likely the foil or cling film boxes. Grrr, between the two of us and the handle of the wooden spoon we managed to get it open, another to-do job, reorder that draw (there’s not a lot in it).

Not sure if today is the wisest day to try a new slow cooker recipe.

Is it bed time yet?

 
13 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2019 in General, Grumble, Life, Tech

 

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Fun No More (until April)

I’ve been wonderfully distracted for the past two glorious weeks, BFF has been to play, stay, I meant stay. … and this time it was greatly needed by us both. Finally after all the stress, anxiety and sorrow attached to so many happenings I could cry my heart out and get physical console. But all too soon, the suitcase is being zipped up and it’s that dreadful time to try and hold the stiff upper lip and say ttfn.

Pre arrival plans had been put in place, a few DVD’s were ordered, two mahoosive boxes had arrived with the neatest of handwriting upon them (more wool to add to the packed suitcase stash) and the dozen bottles of cherry cola added to the grocery order.

We may both be in our golden years, but you’re never too old for a PJ party, and that’s what we do. It’s not all indulgent fun, there were chores and errands done too, the dentist visit with deep deeeep clean and the annual hospital appointment with my neurologist (test results, blood pressure, heart rate all ‘normal’, never thought that word would be attached to me). I supervised while BFF cleared out, sorted, organised my kitchen cupboards (nothing last century lurking in the dark corners), general tidy up of the bathroom and lounge, the resort and reorganising my bedroom draws and I feel sorted, organised, prepared for carers and helpers, etc.

We’ve mooched up and down my High Street, been back and forth to Morrison’s for eats and treats, sat outside enjoying the sun and breeze, took an afternoon stroll along the esplanade and I, yes me, suggested a ice-cream (it was lush), we even went to the cinema to see Downton Abbey (rather good).

Mostly we snoozed, nattered, laughed, chatted, rested, and watched stuff

  • Last Viceroy House
  • Mad Men Season 6 and 7
  • The Green Book
  • Trumbo
  • Edie
  • A Cat Named Leonard
  • Norma Rae
  • Pursuit Of Happyness
  • My Old Lady
  • The Favourite
  • Colette
  • Don’t Eat The Daisies
  • The Right Stuff
  • Spotlight
  • The Girl On The Train
  • Billy Rose’s Jumbo
  • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Man With A Horn
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Of course the REAL prime reason for being together is a certain four legged furred charmer, known as Mickey, aka #NotMyCat, wandering in when he pleases, playing with his new toys, choosing one of the many seats to snooze upon, getting head rubs and chin scritches galore.

Three quarters of an hour ago we hugged, smiled, said “call you tomorrow”, and off she goes ……… just 199 days to go until we’re back together *fingers-crossed*

Thank you BFF for being everything I need and a heck of a lot more, words are not enough to convey all you do for me, help me, cajole me, entertain and help me.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Films, General, Life, people, Pets

 

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The Other PostCode Lottery

With having different people visit my hovel recently I’ve found myself having very similar conversations. Firstly it’s “I didn’t know these flats were here, how long have you lived here?” (27 years) and after a brief surprised silence I add “it’s okay the Royal Mail don’t know These flats are here either”.

You see a frequent occurrence happened again and this time (again) I began an official complaint about it with Royal Mail. I had ordered some clothing from a High Street store via their online site, carefully added my postcode and ding up popped the correct address in full. On Friday last week the PostPerson ‘tried’ to deliver it, my usual Postie knows to try the door when there’s a packet and leave it on my desk, but Friday must be his day off. What made it increasingly annoying was the red card shoved through the door was discovered as my primary care person was leaving, she looked at the time and remarked “I was here at 10:40 I never heard a knock” nor had I and to add salt she added “I was in here (the lounge, window beside front door) I would have seen him”.

Hmph …. blessed redelivery needed.

I went to the redelivery web page and tapped in my postcode and hit the ‘find address’ button, annddd my address does not appear, my street does not appear, my town does not appear! According to the proper official Royal Mail my street name is really my building name, the street is the street my road joins, and my town doesn’t warrant a mention. I took screen grabs of the errors and then manually added my address. Thankfully when Postie delivered on Monday it was my usual Postie and he brought the parcel in.

Twenty Seven years and ‘still’ the Royal Mail cannot get it right with the postcode they issued to my street.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2019 in Grumble, Life

 

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To-Done List

Ta-Da! I’ve only gone and, you know, made a list, checked it thrice and gone and ticked em orf when I’ve actually proper like finished the job! I know!! Who’d a thunk it.

It began on Sunday. This will make you chuckle if you know me well. Now I’ve the carers coming in four times a day it means Sunday is no different, so instead of getting up after noon of the clock, now it’s around 10am-10.30am. I ensconced myself at the desk to listen to the Archers Omnibus (because it’s middle Sunday so no Wimbledon) and began by sorting and organising the clutter strewn about, setting up a new folder filing system for care paperwork etc, getting head and desk jobs working together. I created some graphics for a Facebook Page, and set about making a to-do list of other bigger jobs.

Today was the day to tackle those. Slowly working through a transaction list of a years worth of income and expenses, producing a financial statement, generally cross checking and rechecking the Agents figures (a few inevitable anomalies). Then emailing the Agents to chivvy them up with things yet to be completed on the estate.

After that, I set about my own finances, reconciling the bank statement, checking the credit card statement, doing a bit of bean counting now I will have a carers invoice coming in (ouch!).

Add a spot of computer housework and backing up vital stuff.

Boom ….. stuff got not just done but done done.

Okay so maybe there are a couple of things I’m dragging my heels on, the crochet is behind schedule, I’ve yet to tackle the self-referral to another hospital unit who should be able to help with a power chair situation because I’ve lost all trust in my local “wheelchair services”. But if I didn’t leave something to do tomorrow what would I do 🤪

Must remember to charge the kindle, add that to the new list. Start grocery order, stock take freeze meals, get bedding changed, I’ll add those to the list. Bugger, thought I was nearly done there for a few brief moments.

As you were

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2019 in General, Grumble, Projects

 

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Turn it ….


The blonde senior moments are setting in ……. 

I have night storage heater is in my lounge and bedroom as the primary source of heating. Across the years and through numerous winters I have learnt the techniques of getting the best from this style of heater.  The other day I waddled across the lounge to adjust the settings ready for a cold blast that was due to go through.  As I went to twist the output knob it stopped solid, hmmm, it’s only on number four, I do hope nowt has siezed the works.  I am not very stable when I am on my feet so concluded that maybe it was just a deterioration in my strength and balance which meant this sometimes stiff knob wouldn’t turn. I left it to cogitate awhile. I began to wonder if maybe this 26-year-old heater had finally decided to go on strike and was I looking at trying to replace the whole unit before Christmas and the bad weather.  Oh blimey, trying to find a reputable electrician and supplier, hmmm. 

When I was at my desk comfortably seated in my super duper chair I unlocked the break and wheeled myself to take a good look at the heater knobs and be in a position to use more strength. First of all I applied my eyeballs, and then tutted to myself. There is a little black dot at the end of the bar indicating where it had been turned to, I had been looking at the wrong end, the reason it wouldn’t turn any further is because it was already at full, number 9, and not where I wanted it to be.

Knob turned, heating set, disaster averted.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2018 in General, Grumble

 

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