Daffodils and that pesky problem.

It might be cold. It might be windy. It might feel nothing like Spring. But at least the daffodils are out in force.

I couldn’t sleep last night. On a hill the wind tends to howl. And wow did it howl. It’s been like that for days. A number of the local tourist sites are closed on safety grounds.

So today my brain has been running a bit in neutral. Processing a barrage of questions.

“Dad why does Gordon Ramsey swear so much?”

“How is May still Prime Minister?”

“Has the Champions League draw taken place?”

“When can we go to see Captain Marvel?”

“Why do Daffodils have such a short flowering season and why is it in a time period which is notorious for poor weather?”

“Why haven’t they made a new series of Gravity Falls?”

“Why do we focus so much attention on the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror. Yet we never talk about the years proceeding the battle. They are just as important.”

“What’s a Gravity wave?”

“How old is Alice Cooper?”

and on and on.

And yet I managed to hold my own. It was that sort of day. Maybe not on top form but ticking off jobs.

  • Cleaned the Gerbil Cage without accidentally releasing the little darlings to cause havoc around the house,
  • Managed to negotiate a cheaper broadband deal,
  • Get the old laptop working again,
  • Completed this weeks work requirements,
  • Change a wiper blade on the car,
  • Repair some knee holes in jeans,
  • Sort out some problems with son’s school iPad,
  • Prepare meals for tonight,
  • Replace a hose in the hoover,
  • Finish the ironing,
  • Clean the bathroom,
  • Get all the outstanding bills pad,
  • Convince the Council to give us a free replacement wheely bin as our old one is held together with 2 rolls of tape.

But then the success came to a grinding halt. Failure in the face of an insurmountable problem. Defeated by a super complex Riemman Hypothesis. My version of Star Treks Kobayashi Maru.

Changing our son’s Duvet Cover.

How difficult can it be. The cover comes off so easy. But when you try to put it back on. Suddenly it’s like trying to play a game of Twister with Ninja Octopus. Gets twisted, Rides up. Goes in the wrong way. Decides to turn inside out. Suddenly the duvet appears to be covered in the worlds stickiest Velcro. It’s just a nightmare. SIXTY PESKY MINUTES later and the only thing I had achieved was to go into full Hulk Rage.

Come on Spring. Please arrive soon. Bring in the warmer weather so I can ditch the duvets and those demonic covers – for a wonderful couple of months. Daffodils remind you that those happy days are coming.

Blue Croc

Captain Chaos with his beloved blue crocodile. That poor croc needs years of therapy.

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When a parent dies it is so tough it is difficult to explain the feeling. That’s a so called adult speaking. Imagine what it’s like for a young kid.

I lost my dad when I was 21. He had been ill for years. I got the feeling during the last period of his life that he was trying to keep going just to see me graduate. Sadly he missed out by a few months. It was a numbing experience but the pain was mitigated a bit as I had been expecting it to happen for ages. I was sort of prepared. My mum died a couple of years back. It was a complete shock. But a five years earlier she had suffered a massive stroke. Doctors told us to prepare for the worst. Yet in a month she was back in her house – still able to live independently. In some respects it felt like the years after the stroke were a real bonus. She got to spend time with her grandson.

But for our son we have no mitigating factors. He had just been to his beloved grannies funeral and a week later his mum goes into hospital for some routine tests. His mum deteriorated rapidly and completely unexpectedly. He was visiting his mum in the hospice two weeks later. For someone so young that’s devastating.

We still get tears but now he can talk about his mum. He can laugh at the good memories. But the anxieties caused by that period of death are still impacting his daily life. He is so worried about becoming ill and also about losing others close to him. Today is common. We have had anxiety about catching illnesses. Worries about dying. On top of that every time I sneeze or cough he runs to make sure I’m ok. We try to find ways to ease the anxieties but it is still so tough for him…..

***********************

Son comes back from school to be greeted by Captain Chaos and a well chewed croc. That’s one thing that works.

An introvert?

Building a snowman here while lots of people walked past looking at me as if I was crazy. Five yards to the right is a high street full of shoppers and tourists.

I know I tell a few tales that might suggest that I am an extrovert. I really don’t think that’s the case. After the all too many retreats into my protective shell I often here something like “I thought you were an extrovert”.

Extroverts don’t tend to

  • Have a nervous stutter when talking to strangers
  • Frequently wait for the coast to be clear before you leave the house
  • Turn in the opposite direction when you see someone who might talk to you
  • Avoid social and family gatherings
  • If I do go to a social event, be the awkward one stood in the corner behind the potted plant

So why the drastically opposite personalities. For the first time I thought about it during yesterday’s sleepless night.

Is because I am an Ambivert. A bit of an introvert and a bit of an extrovert.

Is because I am an extrovert permanently stuck in an introverts shell.

Is it because I don’t really fit into this world and occasionally I feel the need to do some grand action to confirm that I do fit.

Autism.

Is it a pressure release for my building anxiety levels.

Is it because I want to be extroverted and when I do find a group of friends I feel confident with I then act out my dreams.

Is it one or two too many sherbets during my younger days.

Is it because I am basically daft.

Is it because I too frequently switch off my brain.

Who knows. I do know that my extroverted moments are becoming very rare these days. Especially since the world changed. But at least I can look back at some interesting memories. Some reasonably funny, many extremely embarrassing. Most importantly no animals or other people were hurt in the making of these moments.

Cold

Today we have an outbreak of manbola. Streaming cold, coughing, sneezing, sore throat …. just didn’t want to get out of bed. I have to admit I am a …….

The dog walk must have been some sight. Gloves, 2 T-shirt’s, Fleece, Jumper, body warmer, waterproof and woolly hat. And that was just the dog.

It’s one of the big downsides of being a single parent. Whatever the relative severity of the manbola – you don’t have the option to not get out of bed or just sit in a chair with a hot water bottle. No one to share the workload. So you just have to get on with your jobs while croaking out conversations with our son. Powered by hot ginger drinks and tea. It’s days like this you want to drop your caffeine ban.

It also gives you plenty of worries. It emphasises that many single parents (and a number of parenting couples) often operate without having an option b in place. If something serious happens to a parent(s) what happens to the kids. It’s a sobering thought.

I am an amateur at these things. So many parents have had much worse situations to deal with for so many more years. I have so so much respect and admiration to you heroes. So we battle on. In the scheme of things manbola isn’t that bad really.

AND one definite plus of manbola is that you just can’t smell the cat litter when you change it….

Cat and stress?

The Boy Cat is happy. Getting his tummy tickled. Apart from eating and sleeping, that is his favourite thing. It provides such a great stress release for the human.

THEN

You find out that the cat has been lying on your Black T-shirt. White cat hair is not a great look on black….

The cat – a stress reliever and stress provider….

Ashes

This is another photo from Whitby. For some reason the WP app for the IPad refused to accept it yesterday. Maybe it’s my not new iPad but the app is becoming almost unusable. Anyway today the photo seems to work and it will get its moment.

My partners ashes are still in the house. We have a sort of make shift shrine in a room overlooking the garden. Now she has been joined by 3 energetic gerbils. She would like that. At some stage we will start to scatter the ashes but not yet. It just hasn’t felt like the right time (for both of us). My mums ashes have been scattered in a cemetery (with the help of a squirrel – see earlier post…)

I asked our Son about if he was ready to start the process.

“Not yet Dad. Dad do ashes go off”

Don’t think so. They urn doesn’t have a use by date on (don’t think badly of me, but I did check). But an urgent google check confirmed no safety time pressures. But it did reveal some additional factors to consider.

  • The Vatican has issued guidance that Catholic remains should be buried in cemeteries rather than scattered or kept at home. However this clearly doesn’t apply to Quakers.
  • Ashes containing bones don’t decompose so they shouldn’t be scattered around plants.
  • UK Law is fairly easy going when it comes to scattering ashes. Nothing specifically exists to prevent scattering. You only need to secure the landowners permission.
  • In Germany cremated MUST be buried in a cemetery. Switzerland are quite relaxed as long as it’s not for profit. France does open up a few scattering options.
  • In the U.K. it is legal to scatter ashes in water or the sea. The only restriction being that you need to get the permission of the water stretches owner. In the US you need to scatter ashes at least 3 nautical miles out (and inform the EPA)
  • Currently you can take ashes out of the U.K.. The Tunnel and Eurostar are the most relaxed. However Brexit may change all this.
  • In the U.K. it is ok to bury a pet in your garden if you own the property, it has domestic use and (if I’m reading the legal stuff correctly) the pets have not been declared as Hazardous Waste.

So for the for the time being I suspect my partner won’t be going too far. So I can give her the daily updates about our son. As my partner was so very organised I strongly suspect that if roles had been reversed then I would have been out of the door within months not years.

I hope this all doesn’t sound a bit too matter of fact or flippant. This post could so easily have been extremely dark. I vividly remember driving my partners ashes back from the crematorium. It’s burnt into my sole. I was fine until I got back into the car. I put the urn on the front seat and quietly said “time to go home my love”. Suddenly the Dam broke. I completed collapsed into a deluge of tears and despair. Didn’t stop for hours. My lowest ever point.

Deep down I am worried. I am not sure the brittle foundations that my new self is built on are strong enough to cope with another one of those final car journeys to scatter the ashes.

I am walking

Well he survived the first day back at school. Currently he is bouncing on the trampoline. I have got no idea where the energy comes from. He trooped in from school. Gave the school day 2 out of 10. Demolished 3 tomatoes, an apple and a slice of cake. Gave me a run down on the newly announced Generation 8 of Pokemon. Apparently this generation is based on Britain – that’s going to the grumpiest bunch of Pokemon ever…. Then he set off for the trampoline.

This is all on the back of 2 hours sleep last night. Just too anxious to sleep.

His Dad is somewhat less energised. Evidenced by this morning. I had a morning meeting. So I left the house with car keys in hand. Ten minutes later I came to my senses. I had walked straight past the car, down the drive, out of the village and heading down the path towards the next village. No idea where I was walking. If it was work then that’s a 10 mile hike…….

Anxiety

Anxiety is far too often an unwelcome visitor to our house. I have suffered from it since childhood. It got so much worse after the world changed. Never ending road. Virtual all the worries now focused on our son. Not sure I am that bothered about myself these days….

This morning I woke to that unwelcome guest again. So many voices in my head. All saying the same thing … son is due a anxiety meltdown. Unfortunately that was the truth.

Anxiety and Depression are real inhibiting factors for so many in our society. Research clearly indicates that the risk of suffering from these awful conditions are increased for those living in the world of autism. At least a two fold increase is often reported. Yet from personal experience this was never identified in any of the briefings or guides we received during our journey. It is just not addressed appropriately by society. This can and does have catastrophic results. In our case it took several years of pushy parenting before our son started to get some help.

It’s so difficult to unpick the anxiety for our son. Is it Aspergers related, is it Dyslexia related, is it bereavement related, is it human life anxiety, is it all four….

With our son we have a frequently returning swirling mix of worries and demons. They recede then they blast back. On really bad days they all materialise at the same time. He has many repeating spectres.

  • Dyslexia and it’s unwanted consequences.
  • Friendships and social interaction.
  • Not understanding this strange, alien world.
  • Fear of death (his, mine, his pets, his remaining family, the people he cares for).
  • Related to the fear of death is his fear of illness. Everything is catchable. Everything can be a risk. Every sneeze, every ache, every speck of dirt is a potential harbinger of a health disaster.
  • School. Homework, rules, punishments, no support, cold and scary environments.
  • Feeling different, feeling inferior, fearing the finger pointing, fearing being laughed at.
  • Running out of money, going broke, losing everything.
  • The climate, wrecking the natural world, world politics, Brexit. World is going wrong.
  • Being alone.
  • Having to fit into large social groupings.
  • Fear of being long term depressed.

This is someone so young.

Today it is the return to school and fear of illness. The anxiety vortex is building strength. The bag of tricks we try only helps take the edge off but doesn’t fix today. All we can do is just be busy. Constant activity. Try to stop the mind thinking. These apply to both of us. My world is full of anxiety today as well….

Sun sets.

We took the dog for an evening constitutional. This was three nights ago. Lovely sunshine then as the sun sets – suddenly the light was transformed. Not day and yet not night. The colours just so dramatic against the advancing black. Then just a few moments later – all gone. Just blackness. But no surprises, we know exactly when the sun was going to set.

Fast forward 3 nights.

That evening scene is etched in my brain. It’s such a metaphor for life, well my life. Happily walking along the path of life – so much light. Then suddenly a dramatic transition and everything changes. Within such a brief period of time the light is replaced with darkness. The big difference is that in life we just don’t know when this is going to happen.

I wish I had understood this a few years ago. We had plenty of time. We had years. So much time to have a second child, visit New Zealand, take our son to Lapland, spend every available hour together……. So wrong, so very wrong. So many unfinished dreams.

Please don’t make the same mistake. Seize the day before the sun sets…..

Cragfast revisited

I really don’t think I finished off the last post correctly about Cragfast.

I want to highlight something I have mentioned in the comments.

I am sat here with my iPad, in a comfy chair with a hot drink. That occasionally may seem like cragfast but it is most definitely not Hell. It just feels like that somedays. That’s human nature. Those poor climbers experienced hell. I read the truly inspirational stories some of my blogger friends tell of how they cope with life challenges – that is real adversity. They are the heroes who appear at dawn and bring hope.