Wheelbarrow Train of Pain….

Parenting is a great but frustrating gig. You think you have cracked it and then it bites you on the bottom. As annoyed as I was this morning it is now out of my system. So many kind words eased the pain….I can’t thank you guys enough.

Anxiety and frustration builds. It makes you tired and makes you do strange things. I always look at it like a house. Everything is fine and then something goes wrong. A pipe bursts. The house starts to fill with water. The pressure builds. The first thing you need to do is release the water pressure. Find a window or door to open. Once the pressure is released then you can fix the pipe. Everyone has to find their own window to open. It will be different for each person.

In my case I did have a rather foolish window. When the frustration built I would go outside and literally find a wall to punch. Not good. Going back to my house analogy. I am no Captain America or Hulk. As hard as I punch the wall I’m not going to break through and release the water.

But a few months ago I found a new window to open. This one seems to work and is also scalable. When the frustration builds I go outside to our wheelbarrow. Fill it with all the stones, bricks and sandbags I can find. Then I push it round the garden. It’s hard work on the grass and slight slope. For minor frustrations I do one circuit of the garden. The greater the frustration the more circuits I do. Todays was a 10 circuit frustration. I call it my Wheelbarrow Train of Pain. It does relieve my frustrations and is quite good fitness training. The dog frequently adds his own dynamic to the circuit.

Our son just laughs at the Wheelbarrow Train of Pain. He is trying to convince me to modify it. His idea is rather than increase the number of circuits I should do just one circuit but reduce the amount of clothes I wear according to the frustration level. As a result a defcon 4 frustration would see a very cold and naked man pushing his wheelbarrow. Thats not a pleasant thought. Not at all.

Bad parenting

First taste of winter. Hardly alpine skiing conditions but at least it feels like winter. In some parts of Austria they have had 10 feet of snow falling over just 15 days. England grinds to a halt when we get 6 inches…..

Our son had been clinging onto the hope of a Monday school closure. I always suspected he would be disappointed. The school has many faults but it does seem immune to the weather. It never seems to close.

It feels so cold in my heart today.

You get mornings when you are tired and then you get mornings when you are TIRED. Today I just can’t get going. Lack of sleep eventually gets to everyone. It did this morning and I hate it.

As the school bus trundled down the road.

“Dad I don’t want to get on the bus, will you drive me”.

I realise how daunting that trip is to our son and my usual answer would be – don’t worry, no harm done let’s get in the car.

Not today……..

Today I told him to get onto the bus. As soon as he was on the bus my mind had cleared. What was I thinking of. What a prat…

Am I just looking for excuses. Probably it’s just down to awful parenting. Part of me is hoping I can blame fatigue. The other part of my brain is looking to give myself a good kicking. Will certainly try to make it up to the little fella tonight. Must raise my game, son deserves better than this…..

150 miles apart

Son just looked at me with that knowing smile.

Well played Dad”

He is accustomed to the occasional mess up. I like to think that it’s all part of his educational journey. You can learn from the best but wow you can learn from the worst….

Our son really loves rock music. One of the few public gatherings he actually looks forward to is a rock concert. He has seen Iron Maiden, Hollywood Vampires, The Darkness and The Damned. This year is promising to to be a good one with a number of concerts already booked. Bank Manager not best pleased. The bookings is today’s educational cockup learning event.

Somehow Dad has managed to book for us to see Thunder in York and on the same night Ozzy Osbourne 150 miles away. That might cause a few logistical issues.

So what to do.

Our son has not seen either acts. His Dad has seen Oswald but never Thunder. I have really wanted to see Thunder for about 25 years. Only thing to do is let our son decide.

A decision I would have agonised over for days was dealt with in seconds by the logical Aspergers mind.

I would like to see both bands Dad. One is a legend the other is a favourite of my Dads. Both are great live. Thunder will hopefully be going for years. However Ozzy is Ozzy. It’s unbelievable that he’s lasted this long. Probably last time we will be able to see him. Let’s see Ozzy and hope we see Thunder maybe next year.”

Decision made. I can give my tickets to my brother in law.

“But Dad since we are talking Ozzy and anything can happen with him. Can we hold onto the Thunder tickets until the last minute – just in case.”

Cryogenics v Books

I was reading a little bit of a Carl Sagan’s Book to our son. Our son asked me to reread a couple of quotes.

We are like butterflies who flutter for day and think it is forever”

“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors”

We then had a long chat about life, death and living forever. Cryogenics came up.

It got me thinking maybe books are a better bet than cryogenics. If you are talented enough to become a book author then your words can live forever. Books are so much cheaper. Books are not as frigidly cold and far more illuminating. I think Carl would vote for books.

Thank you for reading this

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Changes is good just not that early

Today started off in the usual manner. Early morning exercise session listening to rock on the radio. Things going fine apart from the usual creaking body. Put me down for the a full body transplant, I’ve used this one up.

Then things started to change.

I hate doing the plank but apparently it’s good for me. This morning it became even more a form of modern day torture. Two cats decided to sit on my arched back while a dog attempted to lick my face off. Apparently this was one of the Spanish Inquisitions favourite tortures. But I survived.

Then almost immediately the radio signal disappeared. The sound of silence. So I quickly grabbed the first cd I could find. Black Sabbath Vol 4 and tried to complete the session.

Vol 4 is a fine album and features a rarity for Sabbath, a slow reflective song. CHANGES. This song finished off my exercises for the day. Normally at the end of a routine it’s an immediate mad sprint for the warmth of the shower. But not today. I just sat on the cold floor. Lost in thoughts.

A line from Changes had shaken me.

And I can still hear her last goodbyes

I can’t. As hard as I try I can’t remember hearing my partners last goodbye to me – blank. I can vividly remember her peacefully sleeping at the hospice as if it was yesterday. I can remember talking to her gently and holding her hand but as hard as I try I can’t remember her last goodbye. I can remember driving her to the hospital with our son but the conversations are gone. Why would I remember them at the time as she was only going in for a couple of tests and would be out by the weekend. I just can’t remember that last goodbye. That haunts me. Probably will always haunt me.

School Dracula

This is the Hospitium a 14th century listed building in York’s Museum Gardens. These days it’s a venue for conferences, weddings and special events. Many years ago it was a support building for the Abbey.

St Mary’s Abbey was founded in 1088. The surviving ruins date back from about 1270. York is such a good place for kids to actually touch history.

Over Christmas our son spent a few hours here trying to imagine what life was like before it fell into ruin. Recreating the sounds, the people, the buildings, the life. Big scale creative play. I must admit I was lost in the world of dreams to. Mine was a world of ghosts, ghouls and vampires. I had almost forgotten how much fun you can have when you release your imagination.

This was the visit when the first seeds of home schooling started to be scattered. Last term had been grisly. No real sign of development. No evidence of school making any effort to provide an effective and supportive teaching environment. Most importantly a really unhappy and anxious child.

Our son loves subjects like history but not the way school deliver it. He likes the History Teacher, she is really nice. But being in the bottom set and given his encyclopaedic knowledge – he’s not learning anything. Plus regardless of which class you are in the teaching is so traditional. Text book after text book. Very dry and not very dyslexic friendly. Unfortunately it’s the set teaching approach dictated by the government.

Between my thoughts of ghosts and ghouls I also pondered with so much real life history so close to hand, why not bring the classroom here. Bring the lessons alive. That’s when the thought pinged, if school won’t teach here, why don’t I.

We will see.

The trip was completed with the required extra portions of ice cream. That night my imagination had clearly not been put back in its box yet. A dream about Dracula. But not the bloodthirsty vampire. This one was about a reformed Prince of Darkness. He had sold his Transylvanian castle and bought York’s Museum Gardens. He wanted to turn the gardens into the finest history school in the world. All the teachers were ghosts and ghouls. And Dracula was selling the ice creams and he didn’t skimp on the portions. Now that’s a school.

Blessed

A couple of days ago we had a sad face type of day. Old photographs bringing back memories. Sad memories. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Especially when the photograph entails Switzerland.

Today I feel able to correct this….

Switzerland is such a special place. My beloved partner loved it. So did her parents. From childhood she would spend such happy holidays in the Bernese Oberland. The stunning higher part of the Bern canton. Staying in Spiez a beautiful small town on the banks of Lake Thun. Awesome views to the Alps. The summit of the Eiger is visible in the distance and always the last peak to be illuminated by the setting sun. Early mornings would bring on equally stunning landscapes. My partner would sit and just soak up this view. Today this image reminds me of how special Switzerland is and how blessed I was to spend time with my partner. So blessed. Bring on SMILING FACE. 😊

Not PC the sequel

Maybe I can get away with a couple more animal likenesses. Sorry these are a bit UK based.

Michael Gove – UK politician. A man we can partly thank for the state of our education system and someone (god help us) now in charge of looking after our environment. Maybe a Sloth….

Sloth Day Facts

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Boris Johnson – allegedly a U.K. politician. Sorry this is a bit unfair to Orangutans.

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And again in the spirit of fairness, another one we came up for ME was

If anybody fancies a go, please feel free. We all could do with a smile today.

Let’s be safe and nice out there.

Not PC – Sorry

Son was a bit upset today. One of his classes had a surprise test. He didn’t get any reading help, had to try and type the answers using his left hand and didn’t get any extra time. So understandably he didn’t get anywhere near finishing. Angry face. 😡

To try and lift his spirits I thought we would play a little game. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to go with the first thing that pops into your head.

Can we think of which animals famous people look like. Sorry this is not very PC but it was the first thing which crawled into my empty brain. It did immediately catch our son’s imagination. A few minutes later we were both snorting with laughter.

Some of the images we conjured up I won’t share. But a few we probably can get away with.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May we both agreed on this one.

US Vice President Mike Pence while looking at a video of President Trump our son said that the chap stood next to him who said nothing looked like an African Vulture.

I on the other hand could only see one of those petting zoo Lamas. The ones who stand next to someone quietly and just look blankly into the distance.

US President Donald Trump we argued over this one. Son went for

For some reason I just couldn’t get the image of Sid trying to milk the Male Musk Ox in Ice Age. So I’m going for that Ox as my Mr Trump.

In the spirit of balance it’s only fair that we bring the animal likeness thing a little closer to home.

Me after much debate we have agreed that the Sea Cow is my best fit.

I think it’s now officially time for happy face. 😎

Sad Face

Working from home does have so many advantages. Fundamentally it gives me the scope to flex work around our son. The days of my career coming first have long since gone. Trust me the career first option is the wrong choice.

But home working is not without issue. The biggest one I find is the isolation. I just don’t meet people face to face anymore. This week I have had only one face to face conversation with someone not in our little family group. That’s why blogging is such a blessing for me.

Isolation. It’s bizarre that like our son I often dream of shutting out this strange world on our own deserted island. Yet isolation in ones own house doesn’t tick the same boxes. It frequently draws you into prolonged periods of sadness. Without our son in the house, it seems so empty, so many echoes of the past.

Today my thoughts kept drifting back to holidays with my partner. One image on repeat loop. An image which is on my screensaver. Sorry it’s Switzerland again. I always seem to be blogging about that beautiful country. It was just so special to my partner. The view is looking across the edge of Lake Thun to Spiez Castle (Schloss) with beneath it the hotel we stayed at adjacent to the water. Many days this photograph brings so many happy memories. However today I just keep thinking that I won’t be able to share this view again with my partner. Sad face 😔.