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!