Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please..... Part 3

Well... It's not exactly Jackanory but shall we crack on and finish this then?

Quick recap ~ I'm mad and the Police have knocked on my door..

It may sound silly, but I have never been in trouble with the Police in my life, and so when this Police women told me why she was there I nearly collapsed. I was required to be interviewed, under caution, with regard to allegations that had been made against me. The allegations were Theft and Fraud, and there were no more details forthcoming at that time. If I refused I would be arrested and my house would be searched.

I had nearly 2 weeks to wait until the date agreed. I cried every day and failed every night to sleep for more than 2 hours, every time I closed my eyes the fears came crashing down on me and forced my eyes open..I used to lie on the sofa ~ I couldn't go to bed, I'd bought that bed with my husband and to lie in it alone was too painful ~ and go over every scenario in mind, over and over. 

The day arrived and I went to the Police Station ~ only to discover they'd given me the wrong date and I had another week to wait. Somehow I got through the following week and went for my appointment. I was interviewed under caution ~ the tape machines really do make that high pitched whine when they are switched on you know! 

I told them what I had done ~ Why would I not? I explained that I had only used the money to support my children and my intention had always been to pay the money back, somehow. I also explained that the kids and I were living on amounts that kept us well below the national poverty line and there were days when I could not afford to feed them or keep them warm. The Police were very kind to me, I like to think that they realised I am not a habitual criminal, and my actions were a direct result of desperation and my illness. 

They explained that the allegations had been made by my brother, he had also accused me of selling my Father's effects ~ hilarious for anyone who has seen my house, packed to the rafters with my Dad's clothes and his boxes of photographs; I can't throw away his clothes even now.. I have them hanging in my room so I keep him nearby.

I provided proof that I had touched none of his capital ~ the police had informed the DWP and they had said they felt no need to prosecute, I am told they will contact me at some point to organise some kind of repayment plan. 

And so, all things being equal, I wont be charged with anything. If I am, I will stand up and be counted ~ I will take whatever punishment is handed out, after all I did wrong and I believe passionately in justice. I just hope that my Siblings enjoy their inheritance and feel their actions were justified.

Whatever happens I have already had the worst punishment I could have had. I have to live with the knowledge that I did wrong by my Dad, he trusted me and I let him down ~ that is a terrible punishment and it will stay with me all my life.

So that's my nasty little secret.. I know I have let so many people down; but I have also paid a very heavy price. All my jewellery is gone.. pawned months ago and I can't afford to get it back, I lost my sanity and my self respect and I damn nearly lost my life as well. But somehow, through all of this, my kids stayed safe and now they are going to have their proper Mum back again.

So judge me if you will, I may well do the same ~ but just remember that we do what we do for our families, and I will never apologise for loving my kids so much I would do anything to protect them.

And here endeth this particular life lesson.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please..... Part 2

So where were we kiddies?? Oh yes, I was going mad.. So here comes part 2, the nasty bits. Some of you may read this and judge me ~ all I ask is that you wait until the end to judge me.

I Don't really remember my Dad's funeral.. I'd arranged it from within a haze of pain and all I can really remember is vowing not to cry in front of my kids, they didn't need me falling apart in front of them, I had to be strong for them. Trouble was, who was there to be strong for me?

I remember delivering Dad's Eulogy ~ I stood up and my throat closed, but I did it. I had remembered my promise to Dad and so everybody was treated to the glory that is Bunny Berrigan's "Can't Get Started", and I vaguely recall various people pressing my hands and uttering words that washed over me like the sunlight. My surviving Brother and Sister were there, but I was the focus as my Dad had lived with me and everyone knew I had been his carer. My husband had appeared out of the woodwork a couple of days before the funeral and I wanted him there to look after me, a mistake with hindsight. But I got through the day and didn't let my kids down ~ or my Dad I hope.

2 days after the funeral I got the first phone call from my siblings ~ what about Dad's will? As I was Dad's Executor it was presumed that I would know who got what, and how much, oh and when? Honestly, it turned my stomach, I hadn't slept for over a week and suddenly the vultures were swooping ~ I felt dirty and soiled by the blatant avarice, what about my beloved Daddy being dead? Isn't there a saying about waiting until the body is cold?

I saw my Solicitor and he explained that it would be a lot cheaper if I was to sort everything out and apply for Probate myself ~ ironically I stood to gain next to nothing from  the Estate, my siblings and all the Grandchildren were the benficiaries. But having spent so long looking after my Dad, it seemed natural that I would "do the right thing" and take on this task myself.

The phone calls increased to every few days ~ how much and how soon would the funds be handed out? I took to avoiding the calls as it felt as though my brain would explode ~ if I talked about this then it was as good as admitting that my Daddy was gone forever. However, I started putting all the paperwork together as I was supposed to, good daughter that I was. My husband had suggested we take the kids away for a break and I allowed him to pay for a week's holiday in the Canary Isles for me, him and our combined children. My daughter posted a comment of FaceBook saying how excited she was and within a couple of hours I got an offensive text from one of my siblings saying how nice I could afford a holiday. I replied and explained I couldn't afford to get the bus to the Travel Agents, my husband was paying.

I don't really remember the holiday ~ other than it not being a huge success. Too much had happened and his kids had started making my life tricky ~ seems they weren't prepared to share their Dad after all. I suppose the marriage limped on for a few more weeks after we got back, but fairly soon I got royally dumped ~ by email..

Underlying all of this was an ever increasing money crisis. Having never lived in the benefits system, I had no idea of what I was entitled to or how to go about claiming it, so the kids and I lived on Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit ~ which isn't an awful lot, approximately £600 per month to pay for EVERYTHING, including the hideously expensive pre-paid gas and electricity meters that this house has. Imagine having so little money that you had to choose not to eat for 2 days so that you could put some money on the electricity key and feed your kids? Sounds melodramatic doesn't it.. to me it was just every day.

One day I went to the bank and drew some money out of Dad's account ~ as I had not informed the DWP that Dad was dead they were still paying in his Civil Service Pension. The sheer relief of being able to go and buy food for the kids and put a decent amount on the gas and electric can't be described. I was horrified at what I had done, and swore blind to put the money straight back, well as soon as I could anyway. But I didn't and as I slid further into the madness of my breakdown I took to withdrawing bits here and there to pay for, well, living. Each time I swore I would repay it with the money that was due to me when I had finalised the Estate. Can you see where this went wrong? How could I finalise the estate when I had withdrawn funds after his death? To be clear, I never touched a penny of his money.. it was his pension.. for some reason it matters to me that I make this clear.

This continued for a few months until I realised exactly what I was doing. I went to see my Solicitor and confessed everything. He very sensibly called me for everything and told me to get it sorted straight away ~ he did point out though that my career as a Master Criminal was never going to take off as using a dead man's bank card isn't terribly clever. So I started the process of sorting everything out and began to think that somehow I could make this better.

And then I had a visit from the Police.....

To be continued..

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please..... Part 1

The good news is that I am getting a lot better ~ things are slowly improving and I am no longer living in fear of imminent eviction and I can look forward to not having to make the choice between the kids eating and me eating ~ and all too common occurrence over the past couple of years. The bad news is that I have the need to unburden my last, nasty secret ~ so let's do it!

By the time I moved over here a couple of years ago, I had had to make the difficult decision that my Dad needed to be in a Nursing Home ~ his health issues included Parkinsons Disease, Skin Cancer, Prostate Cancer and Dementia as well as having lost his mobility and, quite frankly, I could no longer look after him.. I'd nursed him on my own as well as raising 3 kids and trying to juggle the enforced sale of my beloved home ~ it had nearly killed me and I had lost half by body weight and any ability to sleep. 

When I moved over here Dad was still in a Nursing Home near Southport so I was still driving the 90 mile round trip about 3 times a week. My partner wasn't terribly keen on anything to do with illness or old age so I tended to do this on my own during the week, which was fine. 2 months after I moved I had a call to say that Dad had been taken to hospital with complete Renal failure and could I get there, in a hurry? I arrived to find my Dad hooked up to loads of machines and unconscious. The Doctor carted me off into another room to ask me whether I wanted him resuscitated or simply made comfortable. I already knew the answer but to say "please put a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Marker on him" nearly killed me. I had called my brother to tell him to come up and he did for a few days.

I spent the next 2 months driving 90 miles a day to sit with my Dad.. the stubborn old bugger had recovered his kidney function and slowly recovered to a certain degree. The only days I didn't drive over there were the days over Christmas and my Wedding Day, mainly because there were several feet of snow and I was worried I wouldn't make it back.
I arranged for him to be moved to a home nearer me so I could spend more time with him and he was moved over in the January. I remember seeing this tiny, wizened  figure being carried out of the ambulance and into the Nursing Home ~ that couldn't be my Dad, my Dad wasn't the biggest of men, but this tiny wraith-like figure was just too small and too helpless. And then he saw me and smiled, and life was OK again, I had my Daddy close to me, where I could be with him. I used to go there and feed him and hold his hand and tell him the same bits of news over and over again ~ Dementia's a bugger like that. Some days he thought I was my Mum and that was quite tough, I didn't have the heart to tell him Mum had died many years before. He also used to ask after my beloved eldest brother, how could I remind him that his golden son was also dead? So I used to lie and say they'd be in soon to see him ~ was that wrong? I thought it was kinder, as the only time I had been truthful he had cried in my arms for hours.

Soon after, and for reasons that have no place here, my eldest daughter decided she wanted to go to South Africa to live with her father. So I flew her out to Capetown and flew back.. 13,000 miles in 4 days. On my return I discovered that the house I was renting was to be sold at action within the month, leaving me and the kids with nowhere to live. For a lot of reasons my family and I had never moved in with my new husband and his family so I suddenly had to find somewhere to move with little or no local knowledge and very strapped finances. I made the decision not to tell my Dad about any of this, he was too ill and his ability to assimilate this sort of information was so compromised it wouldn't be fair on him. 

So I found a house and we moved, it's not easy doing that sort of thing when you are as disorganised as me, and it was a nightmare of boxes and swearing, but it got done.. I had deliberately not been to see my Dad for a couple of weeks as I did not want any of this to touch him and worry him, and then I had a phone call from the Nursing Home.

I drove there and found my Dad in bed - the staff were brilliant, they understood my position and, in my absence, had made extra efforts to treat my Dad ever more kindly than they usually did. My dad was barely conscious and, in the 2 weeks I hadn't seen him, had withered away to nothing. I turned around immediately and hustled the kids out of the door.. they could not and would not see their Granddad in this state. 

The next week was the stuff of nightmares ~ spending all day with my Dad and trying to arrange childcare for my kids for the evenings so I could go back to the Nursing Home. The Matron had been very honest, Dad had very little time left, it could be a week, it could be day, it could be a few hours, and I didn't want him to make that journey alone ~ he would be scared and it was my job to look after him right up to the end.

My husband had told me that I should just walk away and wait for the phone call, after all I was a mother and I should focus on my kids. This was not even an option and so the relationship with him fell instantly into nothing, with hindsight, he was not capable of dealing with my pain and my emotions and so chose to withdraw from the entire situation.

I spent as much time as I could with Dad, dropping the kids to school and going to the Nursing Home, leaving to collect the kids, feed them, offload them somewhere and drive back ~ I even spent some nights sleeping on the bed next to my Dad.

It took a week.. he died in my arms on the evening of Monday 19th July last year, and the pain cannot be described. I was truly alone ~ my Mum, Brother and now Dad had gone and left me, and I had no one to turn to. My kids were devastated, they had grown up with their Granddad in the same house and to lose him was unbearable, I had to look after them and help them.. but who would help me?

And then I went mad.....

To Be Continued.....

Sunday, 18 September 2011

We All Need A Guardian Angel

I know you're all gagging to know what drama has befallen me this week ~ I mean it's not as though it's going to have been quiet and uneventful is it? When trying to describe the last few years the only words that spring to mind are "Car Crash TV".. So we'll crack swiftly on shall we?

So.. I've lost my job for being too posh (understandable really) and am back to the world of no money and fear of the unknown. If I am honest, the job thing did knock me badly ~ Having struggled out from the abyss of suicidal depression, I felt myself sliding backwards and the old insecurities rearing their ugly heads. And then the killer blow ~ an eviction notice from my Landlord, thereby realising the ultimate fear ~ the inability to protect my kids and keep them safe.

For months now I have been trying to claim Housing Benefit ~ something I have dreaded as it seemed to me to be the sign of ultimate failure, but needs must at certain times of life. Anyway, it would appear that people like me don't get things like that, and many months and several different applications later I was so far behind with my rent that I blush to admit it. Every time I applied I was asked for everything from bank statements (embarrassing, all those minus signs) to Completion Statements for the house I sold over 2 years ago and everything in between. Every time I provided those details I was asked how I managed to survive on no benefits and my standard answer was "very badly" ~ which becomes more and more accurate every time I get asked. However the Great Grey Monolith that is the Housing Department round here decided that I obviously have money stashed away somewhere and kept turning my down ~ month after month. Earlier this year I was reduced to pawning my jewellery in order to make some sort of dent in the arrears and the next step would be selling my car - unfortunately it's still dead as I can't afford to get a new starter motor for it, which means I can't sell it ~ another thing on the list of things that I can't afford.

Anyway, I buckled again and saw the darkness gathering ~ ironically I need more antidepressants but the lack of car means I can't go and get a repeat prescription ~ and just could not see how to get out of this situation. I felt bitter that I had managed, somehow, for over 4 years and yet was ultimately doomed to fail at this stage. I have no family and my friends list is sadly lacking in millionaires so there was no-one to ask.

Guardian Angels come in many forms, and mine is 5" nothing and called Tina. She has felt bad because she didn't recognise the signs of my last breakdown (nothing to do with the fact I am so good at hiding things) and has appointed herself as the person to help me get back on my feet. And so, this week she and I have been to the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Job Centre, the Housing Office, the Job Centre (again) and anywhere else I needed to go. She has also stood up to my Landlord and explained that bullying me wont help as "If I end up topping myself he still wont get his rent" ~ now THAT was magnificent to watch!

So we reach the end of the week.. we have walked maybe 40 miles this week, and it's a uphill slog back home after crying at the Housing Office I can tell you! I am told I qualify for a "Good Cause" backdate of my rent and I have finally been awarded Job Seekers Allowance. I still have no car and some serious rent arrears, and the dark clouds are still hovering, but I have my kids and my dog and my Guardian Angel. In my life so many people have let me down, or not been what they said, that I have almost forgotten how to trust anyone ~ and so to have a tiny little Guardian Angel with a Heart as big as the world is amazing ~ despite everything I can't help but think how lucky I am.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Where's that Fat Lady 'cos I can hear her singing

Now, let's have a moment to reflect on life's ironies shall we? My last blog was all about my new job and how excited I was for the future ~ forgive me while I laugh at my unbridled optimism, I really should have known better..

So I went and started my new job ~ Some of the reasons for me being employed were that I am well spoken (or posh.. ), good with clients and have experience of the Estate Agency business. All good, solid reasons for being taken on to deal with lettings and also sharpen up their customer service and point out any faults in the existing system. Still with me.. let's carry on...

I went in, full of the joys of spring and sheer unadulterated fear, ready to set the world to rights. It's been a while since I worked in the business so I fully expected to have to relearn some stuff, but dealing with customers never changes and neither does a basic level of service with regard to returning calls and being on time for appointments. I wasn't thrilled to see that the latter two were sadly lacking, and bearing in mind that Estate Agents have a reputation marginally bettered by Pond Life normally, I could see that this was a problem. So when I was asked after a couple of days I told him what I had seen. My Goodness but he was delighted.. Glad I'd picked up on these two vital matters and wanted me to bring them up at the morning meeting..

For anyone who has sat through an American block buster the plot will be shockingly clear... I shot myself in the foot it seems. I gave him the immediate hints he needed and he rewarded me by telling me that really I am too well spoken and too nice to customers and this doesn't work within his business.. Oh and Thanks for the help, don't let the door bang you on the arse on the way out..

All this took place on Friday against a background of (this is COMPLETELY true) a man armed with a machete running into the flat above the Post Office next door, being pursued by Police armed with Tazers... Hold on.. maybe he's right, maybe I AM to posh for this town after all...

So we're back to Square One.. Once again I have no job, and that means no money, and that means threats of losing my home and not being able to provide for my children. But I have managed with no financial help for 4 years and I shall, somehow, continue to manage. I wont crack under the weight of the fear that surrounds me constantly, and I wont let my children down. The new Nicki has taken a tremendous battering, but I shall carry on and try to remain hopeful. Mind you, if anyone does have about 3 grand down the back of the sofa which they can lend to me with the promise of it being returned one day.. feel free to inbox me!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New Beginnings.. And the Same Old Fears..

Well, I've been rather absent from the Blog scene for a few weeks.. The real world has a nasty habit of taking over and the Summer Holidays don't help!! Anyway, I am now pleased to present the first Blog of my new life!

A few weeks ago I did something I have never done before.. I walked into a company and spoke to the Boss with regard to a job that didn't exist. I smiled nicely, handed over my CV and left ~ quite honestly thinking that was that. I have since applied for God Knows how many jobs and had put my cold call to the back of my mind. 

So we fast forward through the Summer Holidays, it's Monday afternoon and I am once again contemplating my total lack of funds and cleaning the kitchen. My house phone rang and I ignored it as I was well into scouring a cupboard (or scared it would be someone asking me for money, you decide). Then my mobile rang and I thought I had better answer it. 

Imagine my surprise when it was the nice man who I had cold called several weeks before.. immediate switch to best "Radio 4" voice and acting as though I wasn't standing there in my grots with a bottle of cleaning fluid in the other hand.. Yes, of course I could come in for an interview ~ when would be convenient? An hour and a half from now? Oh no problem, see you then. Cue throwing phone down and hysterically racing into the shower, stopping, returning bleach to kitchen and getting back into the shower (that's true!). We will gloss over the tears at not being able to find anything remotely suitable to wear for an interview, attempting to put make up on a face dripping with sweat and the efforts to sweep my hair into a style that hides the hideous length of grey root that seems to have appeared overnight. Suffice to say 45 minutes later, I was showered, primped, preened and attired in my best "Yes I'm an Estate Agent" outfit. I ran outside to the car and stopped dead ~ ironically the same word that could be used to describe my car, the Starter Motor having expired the day before. My choices were simple ~ run 3 miles down the road and arrive in a pool of sweat or spend the rest of the week's budget on a taxi.. Well, food is for wimps isn't it? And so 5 minutes later I was residing in the back of a lovely air conditioned taxi on my way to see if I could blag my way into a job.

And I did ~ I walked in and a wave of calm fell over me. Gone was the fearful, sweaty middle aged Mummy and in it's place appeared a cool, calm, collected professional woman. I chatted, I answered questions smartly and appropriately and I acted as though the idea of holding down a job for the first time in 4 years was just another normal day for me. When I was offered the job I asked about the salary and benefits without turning a hair, agreed slightly less than I wanted and slightly more than he wanted to pay, and a starting date. We shook hands, I smiled and sailed out with a cheery smile.

Round the corner I silently screamed my joy to the skies, lit a cigarette ~ after several false starts due to shaking hands ~ and phoned my friend to say "Bugger the tea it's wine time". In a moment of total rashness I lashed into next weeks budget and got another taxi, clutching 2 bottles of wine I have stylishly purchased from Marks & Spencer ~ oh yes, I am a stylish bird..

Well, I now know that 2 bottles of wine on an empty stomach result in serious drunkeness; I also know that all my friends are lovely as they put up with my phoning them up and rambling ~ the rambling increased in direct proportion to my intake of wine, unsurprisingly.

So I am due to start my new job next week ~ I am excited and terrified in equal measures. Can I do it, can I hold my own in an office full of people who appear to have been born since I left school? Can I manage a full time job and being a single parent? Can I remember how to be a viable member of society if I'm not wearing jeans and Ugg Boots? 

Only time will tell I suppose, but I can assure you that if you want to know, this will be the place to find out? Bring it on World ~ I'm going to give it my best shot.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Re-embracing the Demon Drink..

I think I have mentioned, quite possibly more than once, that a big part of my getting better was to stop drinking. In the past, alcohol has played a major part in my life and at times it's been too major for my own good. In my early twenties I gave up for a year and a half out of necessity ~ I was far too close to having a serious problem if I am honest. You know that person who's quite funny, very funny, and then a royal pain in the arse when they're drinking?? Yep, that was me.. Some may say that wasn't down to alcohol but I beg to differ. I needed that lovely warm glow to allow me to be the person people wanted to see.. I just didn't know when to stop. Anyway, glossing over the, um, finer details, suffice to say that abstention was the only option at the time.

So, fast forwarding more years than I care to admit, I was proud of the fact that I had got through some of the worst times in my life without falling back into a bottle.. Bereavement, marriage break ups, all of those without that reassuring warmth and lovely blurring of the edges that drink gave me. Sure I could drink socially, and the odd glass at home of an evening wasn't a problem; the trouble is that complacency is a dangerous thing and drinking crept up on me and my last serious relationship involved a vast amount of alcohol ~ the alcohol lasted longer than the relationship and getting drunk became quite normal.. Not hideously falling over drunk, just a happy blurring that I convinced myself helped me sleep at night.. well, if I could have slept of course!

Anyway earlier this year I realised that I needed to stop again and so I did.. Just like that and it wasn't hard.. in fact it was very easy. I didn't miss drinking, I didn't miss the hangovers and mostly I didn't miss the disappointment in my kids' faces. Granted my consumption of "Pointless Coke" (that's caffeine free Diet Coke) went through the roof, and my friends were staggered to find out I really do like Pepeprmint and Jasmine Teas, but that's no bad thing.

So now, I have cautiously re-introduced alcohol into my life. I currently have 2.6% strength French Lager (known as Rat's Wee) in my fridge and I enjoy drinking a cold beer on a warm evening but funnily enough one or two is more than enough.. I have no desire to reach the warm fuzzy place that had become so normal in my life. For anyone who knows the film "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" you'll know that Paul Newman's character talks about drinking until he hears a click in his head, and that click mean peace.. well, I've learnt that the click doesn't bring peace it brings a blurring of the edges that comes roaring back into sharp focus the next morning.

I'm not saying I'll never get drunk again, but I am saying that I can now enjoy it in moderation ~ it is no longer a means to an end it is simply one of life's small pleasures to be enjoyed in the same way as everything else.. within reason.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Whole New World.. without the Disney stuff.....

So, moving swiftly on from the "whether or not to call the Police" malarky of my last blog (No, alright, I didn't call them but let's gloss over shall we??) ~ today's random stream of whatnot concerns what exactly to do about moving this summer..
You see there are logistical problems, which include money, and organisational problems, which means me being rubbish really, and time constraints, meaning school terms. Oh and the slight issue of no job and the fact that my car appears to be terminally ill. So apart from all that ~ oh and having NO idea where to move to, it's a piece of old whatsit really..
So.. do I stay around here so the kids can stay at their schools and I can hope to sort myself out for a job sometime before The Rapture (scheduled for October apparently, for those who missed the first one). Do I head back to where I was before? So very tempting, back to friends and familiarity. Or do I strike out, take a brave pill and move somewhere totally new? It's not as easy as you think you know..
So, we accept that staying here is NOT an option, certainly not in this house. Moving back, so tempting, also means living with the ghosts of my past life, which isn't always a good thing, and having to live in a town that contains my dream home that now belongs to someone else. And somewhere new.. where?? Darn Saarf? Oop North? Abroad even? And do I look for a job first, or a school, or a house, or all three?? 
If anyone would like to make the decision for me, feel free to comment ~ or more importantly, if anyone would like to organise and finance this move for me, feel free to send wodges of cash in plain brown envelopes.. I Thank You..

Thursday, 7 July 2011

S.E.P. ~ And Why It's Not The Case

Oh look, I'm off on another child related rant... Quick, non parents run away whilst you still can.

When I had kids no one was more shocked than me by the realisation that I was in charge of turning 3 snotty, screeching blobs into fully functioning members of society, and if they turned out to be vile, dysfunctional little gits it would probably be mainly my fault. No pressure there then!

Anyway, I cracked on the best I could, even when I took on the role of single parent I still tried to instill in them the values that had been taught to me by my parents. I believed, and still do, that education is vital, and that fighting is NOT an answer, no matter what the provocation. It would appear that, by accident, I also taught them to fight like cat and dog with each other and to sulk for Great Britain in times of need ~ but we'll ignore that for the sake of this blog.

However, it would appear that I am in a minority. One of my children has been so badly bullied she has been off school due to be terrified, and another has been threatened by a local Mother (!) after her daughter belted him with a Golf Club. When I remonstrated with the Mother, she proceeded to threaten to burn my house down. Now I may be a little old fashioned, but this does seem a slightly disproportionate to the incident - although around these parts it would seem to be the norm.

And today, one of my children was assaulted on the way home from school. You may think that I am over stating the case using the word "assault", but when 4 girls surround 1 and repeatedly hit her with a long cardboard tube, and put yoghurt on her hair, they are, according to the word of the law, assaulting her. 

Now here's the quandry.. Do I say "enough" and report this to the Police, knowing that it will cause problems for the girls' families, or do I report it to the school (again) and hope they deal with it, or do I keep quiet and tell my daughter that it's only 2 weeks to the end of term?? And if I do go to the Police am I ready for the fall out that is sure to follow ~ I can protect my daughter, but I can't protect myself ~ and am I strong enough to cope?

In the words of the slightly dreary Bob Dylan "The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind". But for those who are interested, I suggest you watch this blog as I suspect the rise of the new style Super Mother is upon us!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Why Homework Appears To Be MY Problem...

Can we talk about homework?? This is the cue for anyone childless to yawn and turn their attention to far more exciting things I know, but I feel I need to rant..

When I was at school we started at 9 and finished at 4 and we had homework afterwards. If it hasn't done you got into trouble ~ as I well know. Now kids appear to spend about 17 minutes doing lessons, 4 hours doing Registration/Lunch/Library and all the sodding homework is computer based.

Now I am the world's greatest fan of t'interweb (yes I know..) but the fact is I can't bloody SEE what's being done on a computer and I can't then confirm that it's homework going on and not Facebook/MSN et al.. And if, as has happened to me, the printer decides to expire then God help us all.. It would appear that my children are lacking a basic tool with which to do their homework.. Excuse me? Does the school pay for my printer cartridges or the paper?? And don't even start me on Food Tech (that's cookery to anyone over 30) ~ approximately £10 worth of ingredients most weeks ~ Aaargh!!

Anyway, I would just like to make a small suggestion... Why not give them proper homework, as well as the tools to help. Sending them home with the stock phrase "Oh look it up" is NOT helpful. And please remember that personal laptops, colour printers and scanners etc are NOT staples in every household.. some kids have to *gasp* SHARE, and some parents are not in a position to furnish all of these things all the time.

So with that in mind I shall now revert to the usual Sunday mayhem that involves me screaming "Well, if you KNEW you needed to do this on Friday, why the HELL did you leave it until Sunday evening??" and wishing that I still drank....

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Counting My Blessings and all that Milarky....

I know, I know.. Blogging is like having kids.. no sooner have you knocked one out then every bugger wants to know when the next one is due... And that has the immediate effect of reducing my brain to empty mush...

So, what have I been up to since I was diagnosed I hear you ask? And even if you didn't we'll just pretend you did shall we? Well, I have been learning that depression is a pernicious beast and simply taking pills and getting lots of rest does not make it all go away. This is something I will live with for the rest of my life and the best form of treatment is learning to manage it appropriately.

Can you imagine being too scared to go food shopping ~ the idea of having to be amongst all those people and to have to make decisions about what to feed the kids ~ without someone else there to make it bearable.. I discovered that lightning raids on the local Tesco Express were so much easier.. not to mention a lot more expensive, something I really don't need, being jobless and all!

And then there's the fun of "keeping up appearances" ~ God Forbid anyone should see through the cheery banter and smile ~ and as for the heavy drinking, well that's just Nicki being a laugh isn't it? People may have noticed I was drinking like the proverbial, but being British would rather have chopped an arm off than mention it! Can you imagine? "I say Nicki, is it absolutely necessary to drink yourself into a stupor 5 nights a week?" No, that just would not do ~ hey ho.

So anyway, I deal with things on a daily basis ~ and a day where I get something achieved is a very good one. A day where things go belly up is now relegated to the "life's a bugger isn't it" league, as opposed to the "I am so rubbish I should be dead" league. 

I now try and "count my blessings" daily.. something my Mum told me to do years ago and I dismissed as a load of old cobblers. Funnily enough, it turns out she was a Wise Old Bird and it really does make a difference. Granted, some days the blessing of my 3 kids has to be counted through clenched teeth, but generally speaking that's my first one. The second one encompasses all my friends, old and new, especially those who have been brave enough to stand up and be counted as fellow mad heads! And then there is this chap.. I believe I alluded to him in an earlier Blog ~ I wont name him as he will self-combust with embarrassment ~ but he has made such a difference to my life recently, and continues to do so on a daily basis. He has been brave enough to share his own experiences, and wise enough to know when to let me rant and when to shut me up (no mean feat I can assure you). He told me that although I am mental at the moment he thinks I might be alright when I get better.. thereby proving that romance is not dead.. or so he tells me.

So, despite the reappearance of the dreaded Hemiplegic Migraines (Hell, Google it) I think that all round I am doing OK. The real Nicki is beginning to emerge, and funnily enough, I've missed her ~ and I am looking forward to introducing her back into Society.

I think I've made my point about this stuff now ~ my next Blog will be about the new stuff I hope, let's face it ~ it will be much more of a laugh wont it?!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Being Mental... An Apology of sorts..

So it's official.. I am actually mental - it's OK, the Doctor told me as she handed over the pills and details of my new therapist. Well, she didn't actually use the word mental, after all, it's just not politically correct these days is it? She just said severe depression with signs of a prior breakdown - so that's alright then.

It's a funny thing this depression.. I thought I was coping quite well.. after all doesn't everybody deal with marriage break-up(s), house move(s), caring for ill relatives and bereavement in a short space of time? Er.. well no apparently, and if they do they tend to do it with help. So here I am, a few weeks on, contemplating the last few years and the future.

I am not going to be boring by cataloging how I reached this stage.. for those who know me well enough, the last few years are already a well worn path, and for those who don't well, see the list above! The strangest thing this time round is how it has manifested itself, and in explaining this I also hope to offer an apology of sorts to those I have deserted.

The last few months have seen me withdraw further and further from life.. I have gradually become incapable of keeping up any form of relationship with my friends as the pretense required was simply too great. If people got close they might discover that I was shattered into a million pieces and incapable of knowing how to be around normal, functioning human beings. Ironically, during this time, various friends have suffered various crises and called on me for everything from a sympathetic ear to a bed for the night, putting further pressure on my already tenuous hold on sanity, not their fault, they didn't know; I am too practiced at deception to let it show.

It all came to a head when I knew that I did not want to be alive anymore.. I could not see any viable reason for taking up valuable breathing room on this planet. Thankfully something kicked in and stopped me - I still don't know what - and I suddenly knew that I needed some help and quickly. So I asked a friend and she took me to the Doctor's where I cried and snotted and made no sense at all, happily this was seen through and an appropriate diagnosis was given!

It going to take time to get better, this has taken 20 years to happen so I can't expect short term miracles. I am still fragile, but now I have an unfamiliar feeling bubbling inside me - it's called hope. I now know that I am going to get better and my life will not always be like it has been, and that is something that excites me greatly.

I like to imagine the possibilities that lie ahead of me - the days that are to be enjoyed, the friends that have stood by me and looked after me will now be able to have the best of me and not the shell that I have been. My children will have the Mother they deserve and not the Mother they have endured. There's a chap in my life who has only seen the worst of me to date, and I can't wait for him to see the best of me, he deserves it!

Above all, I want to say that I am glad this has happened.. I regret the pain and worry I have caused to others, but for me I have a chance to become the woman I can be, and not the woman that depression has made me. Look out World.. I am coming to get you...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

First Thoughts

It seems to me that every other Bugger in this world Blogs as though their life depended on it - and as I have the ability to talk until people pass into a coma I thought maybe it was my turn..

I think it's time for a rant - When the HELL did I get to be unemployable?? I have brought up 3 kids and cared for my Dad for years, I have skills that Captains of Industry would envy and yet no Bugger thinks I can work a Till or talk to people on the phone.. They'll happily take on Acne ridden Teenagers who can't string a sentence together without adding "Like y'know" and think customer service means interrupting their conversation to turn and say "Yeah?", and yet I am not worthy.. It beats me, it really does.

Apparently one of the problems is that I don't "fit in" round here.. Laughably I am considered too well spoken. When did that become a negative I wonder? Indeed, I am proud of the fact that even my flirty texts are appropriately punctuated.. It may not do anything for my love life but it sure as hell makes me feel good! So I find myself "dumbing down" (somebody shoot me for even typing that phrase) and trying to fit in more, which doesn't work either.

So for now I shall satisfy myself with the fact that my kids are a credit to me and when I have to throw the neighbourhood Scrotes off my front garden I do it with style and, most importantly, they KNOW they've been punctuated by a Posh Bird..