Minecraft

The farmer doing his job.

The farmer starting to play MINECRAFT…..

I’m a simple bloke. I don’t have many talents. Not many redeeming features. It’s actually a good job that I look like a cross between George Clooney and Thor then….. 😂😂😂😂😂😂

Today one of the lessons Hawklad had to work through was in an area that I’m trained in. I can actually do this. But rather than a rare chance to show off I ended up shaking my head. It was that bad that I had my first real coffee in months.

What on earth are they teaching our children….

Who is deciding on the areas to learn…..

On what planet do they think that this is the best way to learn…..

Does anyone have the faintest clue if any child is ever going to need this information…..

Basically the lesson focused on the wrong areas, was highly selective, contained inaccuracies and was out of date. The potentially interesting and useful areas basically ignored. The mundane and least worthwhile areas most definitely focused on.

Is it the teacher – Maybe, maybe not. It is the national curriculum – DEFINITELY.

I’m seriously cheesed off with education. Maybe I should join the farmer and play Minecraft. Hawklad would definitely be better off playing that computer game than wasting his time on that lesson.

Don’t do this

Kids don’t try this…..

Lack of sleep does strange things to the mind and body. It took me 30 minutes into a yoga session before that the odd sensation I was experiencing was attributed to me putting on my compression shorts back to front. If only it stopped there.

I decided I needed a milky and sweet coffee to get me going. The sugar is next to the kettle. So what sleep induced madness sent me to the cupboard. Made me reach out and grab a large bag. Open that bag. Carefully add two spoonfuls of the white powder into my drink. Then stir and stir. Rather puzzled at the enfolding congealed mess. Then taste what was clearly something approaching wallpaper paste.

Only a lack of sleep ends with self raising flour being added to coffee.

Well at least it cut down on the calories…..

Wake

How I start the day makes such a massive difference to me. My day seems to go better if I exercise early in the morning rather than after lunch. Get my breakfast right and my dieting becomes easier. Avoid caffeine first thing and I feel less on edge for the rest of the day.

But there is one morning thing above anything else that has the biggest impact on my day.

How I wake up.

Do I wake up under my own steam or am I suddenly woken by some external factor. The pesky alarm…..

If I wake up naturally, even if that’s after a night of little sleep then I’m usually good to go. The day seems in synch. Even nights without any sleep at all, I find work ok for me. I can do this single parenting gig.

But if the alarm brings me abruptly to life and it’s all so very much different. Today was like that. Not much sleep until after 5am and then I crash out. All too soon the noisy alarm ends the dreams. But it has not brought the real me to life, it’s the zombie version of me. I can barely function, certainly can’t think straight, parenting is seemingly beyond me. That feeling of being completely out of synch stays with me all day. These are the days I really struggle to overcome depression.

All because of how I wake.

Am I alone in this?

Zombie

Wow how tired did I feel this morning. Definitely the Yorkshire Zombie. I just couldn’t wake up which is just perfect on the first school at home day for over week. I could just about manage walking into walls, nothing else. In a desperate attempt to wake up before I might be needed to check Pythagorean calculations I crawled outside. The fresh cold air and a coffee would spoon the business. It was only after a couple of minutes that I realised that the mug with the steaming hot coffee was still in the kitchen. I had brought out the jar of instant coffee……

Clearly under 3 hours sleep is not enough. The frustrating thing is that my mind is whirling too fast at night and virtually not at all in the morning. If only that was the other way round. As hard a I try sleep is will only come to me around 4am. Sadly on a school day the alarm goes at 630am.

That is a recipe for Parenting Zombies.

Bagman

What’s that behind you. It’s that pesky grief sneaking up on you again.

Lost in a world of spreadsheets and work while listening to the radio. It’s a rock station so plenty of Aerosmith , Foo Fighters and Pink Floyd. Playing a game of which bands I’ve seen and which I might still see. Then an innocuous advert. NEXT sale starts at 7am.

Nothing wrong with that surely.

Suddenly taken back to a now closed off world. In the immediate aftermath of the funeral I took bag after bag of NEXT clothes to the charity shop. NEXT was her favourite shop. It’s just not right that I’m here and she is not. Tears. A few minutes later the mood has changed. More memories.

My partners ears would always prick up if she heard the two words NEXT and SALE. The alarm would be set 6am. For the big New Years sale it would be set for 5am.

Come on bag man get up.

That was my role. Trudge down to the store. Try to look vaguely interested. Then don’t get in the way and hold the potential purchase items. Occasionally chipping in with a helpful thats nice. Then the bagman carries the laden bags home. For the next couple of hours while our partner tries on the truck load of clothes I replenish all the lost calories with coffee and biscuits. Then bagman sets off back to NEXT again to take back the unwanted items. On the return visit I would briefly look at the Men’s section. A few muttered are you sure these are sales prices and its off to the coffee shop to reflect on the joy which is knowing that’s the sales are finished for 6 months. Not sure how she put up with me….

It’s smiles and tears now.

Spending money on clothes has been replaced with spending money on school.

Dad have you paid for the school reward trip?

Yes I have but like the NEXT sales I’m struggling to get my head round it. All the kids at the school who didn’t get a detention or didn’t pick up too many negatives qualify for a reward. The reward is a trip to a cool destination. As it was a school reward I assumed school would pay for it. NO. Parents have to pay. So the parents of kids who behaved badly don’t have to fork out this wedge of cash. Life was easier when I was the bagman.

Food purgatory

My diet is bad. Very bad. My Dad would call it minging. It’s been awful for years. Too much of the bad stuff. Too little of the good stuff. I drink that much coffee that the fluid in my body is no longer water, it’s pure caffeine. That’s probably why I don’t look like George Clooney. Oh hang on George does coffee – that doesn’t work does it. Anyway I’ve not looked like Clooney, suffered from IBS and had a nervous tummy since my college days. The last couple of years haven’t helped it at all.

I knew something had to be done but I kept putting it off. Then I read some great posts on healthy eating and food detox cleanses. This was one of them

Riddle from the Middle

Well finally the penny has dropped. This is Day 8 of my food purgatory. No junk food, no sweets, no chocolate, no crisps, no chips, no popcorn, no peanut butter, no spicy stuff, no dairy, no gluten, no soya, no artificial or processed rubbish. NO COFFEE….. It’s been steamed veg, boiled rice, organic protein, herbal tea and tanker loads of water with a slice of lemon. And as much exercise as time and the body will permit.

Food wise it’s not been too bad. Not been that hungry – although I have been found gnawing on chair legs a few times. But coffee that’s been tough. Especially on the morning. Badly needed an alternative to shift me out of the non functioning zombie state. Luckily I’ve stumbled across one. A squeezed lemon with a ton of fresh ground ginger. Granted it’s an acquired taste. But it doesn’t half shock the system. I understand a similar recipe was used by NASA as fuel for the Apollo Saturn V rocket.

So it’s been a self imposed purgatory. NOW Son has come out in support however his is not quite so self imposed. Last Week when he returned from school he had been eating us out of house and home. Well on Friday I checked his online school lunch account to see if it needed topping up. Bizarrely it had hardly been used that week.

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Son what have you been eating at school lunch. You have hardly spent any money this week.

Not much really Dad.

Why haven’t you been hungry?

No been starving. On Monday in the class before lunch the teacher kept us back because of the behaviour of some of the other kids. When we got to the kitchen they had sold out of flapjacks and sandwiches the other food wasn’t good for me. Tuesday was fine and got my usual. Wednesday and Thursday we where on the other side of the site. So when we got to the kitchen the queue was massive and it was taking ages so I grabbed a bottle of water as all the good food had gone. On Friday by the time we got to the end of the queue it was almost time for lessons to start so I grabbed a flapjack and went to class. Your not allowed to eat in class so I had that on the bus coming home.

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So school got another angry phone call and another formal complaint. The problem is that schools in the UK have been forced to cut back on school lunch expenditure. Plus the pressure to deliver the set national curriculum has forced many schools to drastically cut the school lunch breaktime. It’s the only way they can meet the demands of government. Feeding kids is not up there on the priorities. In all the surveys and questions we have had to complete for school inspections Lunch has never once been mentioned. It’s all about the national curriculum. How can a kid learn when he’s hungry. Let’s not beat about the bush most of the reasons for these problems is down to those in charge of our countries education. Basically the government picks numpties with Victorian values to run education. I’ve previously mentioned the Minister who viewed kids being off after a bereavement as AN EXTENDED HOLIDAY.

The school argues that they are following government policy, that the budgets have been slashed and that some food is always available. Problem is that when you are an Autistic kid the range of acceptable food can be limited. If it’s the wrong colour, wrong texture or mixed up with other food then it never going to be consumed.

A pack-up is not really easy most days as his big school bag is filled to busting with essential books, equipment and sports kit. Most days he’s already walking around school with a full bag on his shoulders and hands full with books he can’t fit into the bag. I have started filling up one side pocket with chocolate bars and snacks so at least he’s got something to snack on. A supersized school bag is on order which will hopefully be big enough to fit in a pack-up box.

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So this is a house of food purgatory for a variety of reasons. Hopefully it will make me healthier. Hopefully son’s purgatory has ended. It might even make both of us better prepared for the potential food shortages if our PM gets his way and we crash out of the EU in six weeks. As Monty Python say – always look on the bright side of life.

Exploding kettle

You know it’s going to be a long day when you wake up as a zombie. You stumble into the kitchen. You switch on the kettle. Then you get a bright flash and a deafening bang. The kettle joins the long line of broken appliances. A nice cup of cold water doesn’t quite cure zombieism as well as a dark brooding cup of coffee sludge. So we struggle on in a permanent haze.

Simple work tasks suddenly became modern day Rubik cube tortures.

Attaching a new belt to the hoover – a five minute job usually turned out to be as difficult as splitting an atom.

Trying to organise a few appointments for our son – might as well have been trying to schedule the next Guns and Roses World Tour.

Trying to activate my new Bank Card over the phone was equivalent of trying to authenticate nuclear launch codes.

A simple freeze wrap food parcel took on the same properties as Adamantium. My lunch wasn’t going to get consumed today.

Unbelievably the sun made an appearance for two hours this afternoon. Just enough time to take the dog for a reasonably dry walk and cut the the grass. Only just enough time. Sat looking at a unresponsive lawnmower for thirty minutes. The last ten of those minutes involved a carefully selected fault finding approach involving a hammer and my boot. Eventually the penny dropped and I realised that it would actually help if I inserted the 36v battery into the cordless mower. As I get older I become more like Daddy Pig from Peppa Pig. Luckily I just about finished the lawn before the weather closed in. The next rain event has now arrived. Looking at the forecast the next lawn cutting window is probably well into 2020.

So today was a bit of a write off. Strangely microwaved coffee doesn’t seem to taste so good. Boiling water on the oven just takes too long – sorry mum and dad. So tomorrow will start with another cup of cold water. Then it’s an urgent trip to the shops for a non exploding kettle.

Still no coffee.

It’s been one of THOSE days AGAIN…..

I opened the curtains to be blessed with the site of bird poo on the window. When I say bird poo given the volume of the dropping I suspect it was a Pterodactyl. I opened up the next curtain to be blessed with a view of our lawn. Overnight we seem to have acquired 8 mole hills

Our mole is back and happily digging up the lawn. Strangely it’s always in parts of the lawn which haven’t previously been dug up by Captain Chaos. I had a quick look at my two neighbours gardens. Not a molehill insight – immaculate lawns. Why does the mole take out his vengeance on our grass.

I tried to make son breakfast. He asked if he could have a cup of tea. The new milk carton refused my polite attempts to open. I put increasing effort into the carton top until it opened – spectacularly. It was like oil exploding out of an oil wellhead. Clothes covered in milk. But at least a small amount of milk survived, just enough for a tea. An early morning clothes wash was required.

The washing machine decided regardless of which cycle option I selected it was going to do a 5 minute rinse and nothing else. That’s as much use as air conditioning in Yorkshire. I would check the warranty but that ran out 8 years ago.

Stuff this I’m off for a walk with the dog. Lovely walk and I decided to take the photo above. The photo doesn’t show my wet leg. Captain Chaos cocked his leg on a tree but somehow missed and splattered my leg. I made it back home…

The phone rang and as I ran to pick up the call. I gently tossed my tablet onto the sideboard. Clearly the sideboard has a polished surface with less friction than sheet ice. The tablet happily slid across the surface and fell down the gap at the back between the wall. This of course is an IKEA sideboard which is as easy to move as a sleeping elephant. It took me 30 minutes to edge the wooden colossus out 3 inches to rescue the skating tablet. All for a phone call asking if I wanted to replace my boiler with the help of a government grant. Knowing our government it would take 5 years to appear and it would end up being a Betamax Video Recorder.

I needed a coffee badly. So I made what looked like a world class cuppa in my favourite cup. I sat with work papers on my lap and went for my first sip of caffeine nectar. The cup dropped off the handle. I was sadly sat holding the forlorn handle with my papers, lap, clothes, chair, carpet and cat covered in coffee. The poor cat has been the subject of constant dog sniffing and licking ever since.

So 20 minutes later most of the stains and smell have been removed. With new clothes on I headed to the kitchen to make another coffee. Reaching for the coffee pot I accidentally knocked over a bottle (the only one without a lid on). Again I was covered in liquid. This time Apple Vinegar. Almost immediately the door bell rang and I rather damply greeted a lady asking if I was voting for her party in the election. Clearly from the twitching of her nose she was not keen on my new vinaigrette body fragrance.

So I tried to wash my clothes but since the washing machine is only rinsing today I now have wet clothes that smell of coffee and vinegar.

Son returned home and said he was starving. When I asked why he told me that I had forgotten to top up his online lunch fund so he had no money to buy a lunch. I truly felt awful.

So far today has been one of those days. Now I am about to make a cup of coffee. Wish me luck.

Early morning coffee

Dad what time did you just say we have to leave the house for work on Sunday

6.20am.

“That’s so early it’s almost back into 2018”

Sorry we need to drive 40 miles so we can get to a briefing starting at 7.45.

“Dad I may have to join you in having a coffee that morning”

Yes I suspect my current Decaf diet will be scrapped at 6am Sunday. Son’s comments about Coffee made me smile. A couple of years back I came across some research that seemed to suggest that Coffee was starting to be used with some kids with ADHD.

Dopamine levels in the brain need to be within a very narrow parameter range for the brain to operate at optimum levels. A body of research exists that seems to support the theory that with ADHD Dopamine levels are too low and outside the optimal parameters. Stimulants like caffeine raise Dopamine levels. The argument is that stimulants can then be used to raise Dopamine levels in people with ADHD to optimal levels. This will have a positive impact on concentration and attention levels. So a cup of coffee might be a good idea for kids with ADHD (like our son)????

But too much caffeine may cause things like stomach trouble, raised heartbeat, sleep problems, irritability……. It’s an addictive psychoactive stimulant drug.

Then you factor in Autism. Little research exists on the effects of caffeine here. Does it help. Does it hinder.

When I spoke to the health professionals the advice ranged from ‘worth a go’ to ‘its a bad idea’.

I’m no medic so I will continue to play it safe. So early on Sunday double standards will be adopted. I will have a strong coffee whereas our Son will have a glass of orange juice.