Bed

Still cold….

Still one of those day….

Why is it that when you set the alarm to go off at 6.45am that the body alarm decides to go off an hour earlier. I think there should be an official rule. Parents are not safe to parent on less than 3 hours sleep. Certainly for me.

I dragged myself out of bed. Made myself a lovely, thick, dark, evil looking coffee. Then just as I was about to indulge I remembered. I’ve not had caffeine for over a year now. PANTS. So it was poured out and a rather sad looking decaf was brewed.

Then it was exercise before Hawklad was sorted out. I headed outside clearly underdressed for the cold. After a frigid 30 minutes of weights I headed inside for yoga. Yoga inside opens up the exercise to the pets. In this case it was the boy cat. The big boy cat. The biggest cat on the Vets books. As a result of the close attention of the big chap the yoga practice was clearly not as enriching as it should have been.

Then it was time to burn the toast. Drop the apple juice. Realise we had run out of Hawklads breakfast cereal. The usual failed parenting stuff.

Then it was the typical tired homeschooling day. Unable to get the WiFi to work when a school deadline is looming. Unable to find a black pen that works. Unable to find the required watercolour paints. Unable to find a blank A3 sheet. Unable to explain just what on Earth the teacher wants. Unable to get Teams to work. Unable to find the lesson files. Unable to get the iPad to stop changing French spellings back into the closest available English word.

‘J’adore’ might work in French, I suspect the autocorrected ‘Car Door’ is not going to get Hawklad many French marks….

I wonder what the French is for ‘clearly when I’m tired I acquire Superman strength as when I tried to then squeeze in a bit of housework, the hoover handle snapped off when I tried to push it’. I would go on Google translate to check but the WiFi has switched off again just as Hawklad has tried to submit today’s Geography work.

Nothing else for it. Food. As Hawklad tucked into his Gourmet dish (a Pot Noodle) I set about something even I couldn’t mess up. So it was yogurt and cereal. It probably would have been nice but I foolishly turned my back for a second AND

The big fat boy cat was clearly intent on upping his calorific intake. My lunch was perfect for the job.

Is it time to go back to bed yet?

Worn out

It’s a cold, bleak start to the day. Kind of feels like a black and white photo is the way to go.

I was thinking about how a break would be most welcome. Especially today.

We all need a break every so often. Either a change. Or a time to relax. Or a chance to really let the hair down. A chance to experience new lands. Or just a time to breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I am so fortunate with my life. Far too many have so little and are in such dark place. But today I’m feeling just a little worn out. Tired. Thinking back to my last break back in 2015. A lots happened since then. Some good but some really bad. Since 2016 it’s been single Aspergers parenting, fighting the system for our son and trying to eke out an income to pay the bills. Feels like it’s been non stop. A few concerts with Hawklad and taking him to see the occasional sport event. A few walks and up to this year, trail runs. So yes things to be thankful for. But…

But today I just feel worn out. In need of a break. Even just a night away from the house. A different bed. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve done that. But deep down I know that’s not happening any time soon. Asperger parenting is something that you can just can’t drop. Certainly not for a few more years. Maybe longer. So it’s about finding other ways to feel less worn out. Exploiting the options that are open to me and also being thankful for what I have. There are such beautiful things in my life.

We can do this.

Families

Families are funny.

I come from quite a big family. I’m the youngest of the brood. In many ways the odd one out. The one with the funny diet. The one who works out. The one outdoor person. The one that went to university. The one who is bereaved. The one single parent. The one Aspergers parent. The one who blogs. I could go on…..

Don’t get me wrong we are a loving family. No egos. No fights. No cross words.

We are geographically spread but would fairly regularly see each other. Would…..

Mum was the gravitational force that held us in orbit. The force that would bring us together. Now the gravity has gone. We don’t meet up much now. The links are now mainly phone calls and texts. 2020 has not helped. I’ve not seen one sister and my brother in over 2 years now.

But we are still loving and caring. But here’s the thing.

You can be loving without being close. You can be family and not share. Be caring without understanding.

I share things on this blog that my family never hear. If I need a shoulder to cry on I don’t turn to my brother or sisters. I turn to my closest friend(s). That’s were I’m best understood.

Yep families are funny.

L

Say that again

Say that again…..

I so need to have a notebook which I carry around in my pocket at all times. Every time something is mentioned that has the slightest chance of becoming important then I could write it down. A permanent record to prompt my sieve like memory and stop those say that again moments.

Had a few too many of those over the last few days.

“Dad did you get the glazed cherries for our Christmas Eve treat?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you buy the Home Alone 4 dvd for our Christmas Day movie?”

Say that again!!!!

“Dad did you phone school before they broke up to tell them that the Teams password isn’t working?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to make a donation to the school charity appeal last Thursday?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you phone up XXXXXXX mum to get hold of their address so we can send them a card?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad you haven’t forgotten that we are having Salmon to eat on Christmas Eve?”

Say that again!!!!

“Have we got the sausage rolls, French sticks, onion rings, pineapple rings, Doritos and mango chutney in for our Christmas Eve buffet?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember that you said that you would send a copy of the family tree to Auntie Xxxx”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to take the bread out of the oven. It’s been in there for most of the day and it’s looking a bit burnt.

Say that again!!!!

Mr Xxxxxxxxx did you remember to submit form 5a. It needs to be received by the end of this month or the service will stop.

Say that again!!!!

Ok you will need to give your dog these nasal sprays at least once a day. Will your dog sit still to let you do that.”

Say that again!!!!

To plan

There comes a time to bake. A time to bake that Christmas Cake. So the festive playlist was cranked up. The baking implements readied. Time to get the ingredients out. That’s when the plan unravelled slightly.

Butter, eggs and Marzipan FOUND.

NOT FOUND

Raisins

Cherries

Sultanas

Oranges, orange juice or orange peel

Dark Sugar

Treacle

Almonds

Flour

Spices

Jam

Icing Sugar

🙀🤯🤷‍♂️🤪

So I had better add those to the next order. But what to do. Simple make egg sandwiches and then start to nibble on the marzipan. That’s a result.

Then go outside and catch a beautiful sun setting moment. Yep that Christmas Cake turned out very nicely.

View

Bit of a theme going here. Been thinking about the 20 odd years I’ve now lived in this part of the world. Looking out over the garden fence. Over the farmers fields and towards the next set of hills in the distance.

A lot has happened in that time. Parenting and family. Becoming an Aspergers home. Bereavement, grief and single parenting. Full time career to stay at home parent making ends meet through part time work. Isolation. Homeschooling. Greater awareness of what it means to live and finally starting to get my priorities right. Of the five neighbours we had when we moved in, 2 have passed away, 2 have moved into care homes and the last remaining neighbour is largely housebound. Yes new neighbours but they so far have kept to themselves.

And what about that view. Actually the only constant. That tree is a bit smaller and a bit lob sided due to a couple of lightning strikes. But that’s it. Nothing else has changed. That’s so reassuring.

Vexing

Time passes. It keeps on passing. A wander round this small graveyard provides proof of this. Many of the once proud gravestones are now weathered beyond recognition. Time passes.

Five years ago I had just driven to the crematorium to pick up my partners ashes. They joined my mothers ashes on the sideboard. At that stage a real urge to get on with laying my those two precious spirits to the earth. Definite external pressure for this. I remember listening to one so called expert talk about it being unhealthy for society for people to linger on those who had left us. Maybe that’s the hidden message there – it might be ok for the person grieving but it’s uncomfortable for everyone else. Anyway it seemed like the right thing to do. The only thing to do.

Within weeks I had scattered mum on her family grave. I remember it so well and I have already wrote about a bizarre memory from that experience. I was alone in the graveyard. As I started to clear some earth away, to my side I noticed a little squirrel. A squirrel apparently doing the same thing on a neighbouring grave. Was it a case of burying nuts or was it a burial. It made me smile, two souls getting on with important stuff, maybe the same stuff, almost happy to have company there. Mum would have loved that sight.

Now time to get a move on laying my partner to the ground. Partly in England and partly in Switzerland. A bit of a logistical nightmare. I secured the paperwork to allow for the transport of ashes overseas. Ready to begin.

Five years later…..still waiting to begin.

Now I worry. Have I left it too late. Have I missed the window of opportunity to follow my partners wishes. Being a single parent and with son’s Aspergers, European travel is a nightmare – feeling like it gets more problematic every year. No similar excuse for the English sites. But it just didn’t feel right. Should I really put our son through more grief when he was still so young. No right or wrong answer here. We all need to do what’s best for our close ones and ourselves here. Unfortunately just like most things, just like European travel for us, it seems to get more daunting the longer it goes on.

Have I missed the best time to do it?

That feeling is making feel very anxious at present. Will we ever get round to doing what we have to do? Was life really supposed to be this vexing…..

Black and white

Black and white. Don’t worry this is not a post about my so called football team.

There is so many grey areas in my life. So much appears to be unclear, uncertain, ambiguous. But there is black and white. No ambiguity about being a widow. Well actually that’s not strictly truein the eyes of the government I am not actually defined as a widow – well like on everything else, they can stuff off.

Another black and white issue in my life is being a single parent. No getting around that. Currently it’s me and no one else. I am the parent, the legal guardian, the teacher, the school liaison officer, the cook, the chef (OMG), the snack maker, the cleaner, the money earner, the making ends meeter, the worker, the gardener, the shopper, the clothes mender, the thing finder, the voice of reason (ha,ha,ha), the trip planner, the censor, the nurse, the pharmacist, the shoulder to cry on, the person to shout at, the present buyer, the diplomat, the planner (wow), the fixer, the Aspergers expert (🙀🤯), the dyslexia specialist, the Xbox fixer, the person who punches the WiFi router, the telephone receptionist, the purse keeper (the Accountant is really the last person who should be trusted with this), the entertainment organiser, the dishwasher, the relationship counsellor, the tidy upper, the you got enough layers on voice, the worrier, the hairdresser and the kick them out of bed bad guy.

I hear people frequently talk about single parents as like a curse of society – Enjoying the easy life – Sponging off the state – Non stop trips clothes shopping, coffee shops, gyms and nights out. I’m sorry they have no idea. It’s hard work, never ending, full time commitment. It’s incredibly isolating. It grinds you down.

BUT ultimately it’s one of the most rewarding thing you can ever do. It’s so worth the sacrifices.

Spikey

Meet one of the worlds great predators. I guess these are our equivalent of the shark. The Yorkshire Spikey Shark. Hanging from the tree or hiding in the undergrowth, waiting to pounce. Pain beyond pain.

I fell off a garden ladder again yesterday. Cut my thigh, back and bit of under skin bleeding in the knee. But my forearm – oh wow the pain – landing on one of these spikey chaps was the worst part. Still hurts today. Could have been much worse. My large backside wasn’t that far away from landing with much force onto Mr Spikey.

It was just one of those accidents. Was trying to be careful but the ground just gave way. Probably thanks to Mr Mole and his tunnels. The bit I struggle with is that I’m doing these things on my own. Hawklad’s fears mean that I can’t expect him to help out. So no one to point out the risks I’ve missed. The better ways of doing things. And no one to hold the steps as I go up. Actually no one to send up the ladder rather than me !!!!! I guess it means that my life is about trying to turn two person jobs into single person projects. Not ideal but needs must. Often having to do tasks that are way beyond my skill mix. Things I shouldn’t be really trusted with.

So as I stood in the house trying to apply antiseptic to my cuts, while trying to figure out how to get a plaster on my back cut….. Hawklad appeared and gave me one of those looks…..

Dad I take it you have been gardening again. You know it’s bad for you.”

Why don’t you just pay for a professional to do it properly and safely.”

But there’s the other side of being single. Time spent with Hawklad is time I can’t work. So choices have to be made. Paying for gardening comes way down the list of priorities. So this won’t be my last garden accident. But that’s life.

J

Grouse

Most definitely not like this today. The strange yellow thing in the sky has most definitely gone on holiday. Hopefully not a long one.

Currently I am looking out of window into the rainy garden and thinking. I’m guessing this home at school project has many months to run. As a single parent it’s trying to get my head round the logistics of that. At present there is not much work and what work there is can be done at home. Shopping can be done through a combination of home delivery and very quick trips to the small local store. But what happens if I need to make a longer trip out. Hawklad is not comfortable at all being left alone.

The options are limited at the best of times and these are not the best of times.

Normally our options would be one of two sisters (but one-off those is 2 hours drive away, and both don’t drive) and a couple of local parents who have known Hawklad since the age of 5 (they are busy so are not often available). Unfortunately under the new Government Lockdown rules all four options are now banned. Breaking those would leave us open to heavy fines. The Government has even encouraged people to contact the police if neighbours flout the rules. The irony here is not lost, flouting rules if you are a member of the government or the dad of the PM is said to be entirely reasonable. Under the new rules our only option would be for a grandparent to stand in. Unfortunately ours have all left this world. But here’s another irony, those grandparents would fall into high risk groups. Those who should be shielding. Are grandparents seen as expendable….

The other irony is that those who would be an option before they were banned fall into much lower risk groups. They can’t babysit for us but I could go to work with them and sit alongside them in an office – that’s apparently fine. We could even put on green camouflage and go grouse hunting together without any punishment. Maybe that’s the childcare answer, we set up a grouse hunting lodge in the garden. The first ever vegetarian one….