Friday, 22 November 2013

Getting there slowly!

I'm not as stressy as I was in my last post.  My brother is actually home from hospital.  Yes, home.   I'm torn between feeling glad he's not in our local hospital and feeling that he should still be in hospital due to the nature of his injuries?   Still - he's home, he's alive, and he's getting better, which is the main thing.

Christmas is going ok.  Three of the four children have their main presents sorted.   Last weekend I finally found the time to defrost my 'frost-free' (my arse!) freezer, and so this week I managed to go out and do a 'big shop'  for the first time in about six weeks.   As  you can imagine, buying things by the day for a family of six can prove quite expensive.  Things are settling down, and so we decided that we'd have a crack at the hall, stairs and landing before Christmas comes.  Remember that?  The green gloss?  The dust?  The 'it needs to all be knocked off?'  Yah.  That.  All lying in limbo since my brother's accident.

So.  First thing on the list; carpet protection film.   We've had new skirting boards and door frames put on, so we've decided to stain those.  This meant other door frames and the bannisters needed stripping.  Cue Mr G's sander and then; 'You know what would make this a lot easier?  An angle grinder?'   So, I bought Mr G an angle grinder.  Did it make the job easier?  Oh yes.  However.  We have smoke alarms in our house.  And BY GOD I don't know what this Council have done to them, but I think they're wired up to the mains, and are battery operated?  But - even if you isolate them in the mains, you can't actually get in to the casing of the feckers to take the batteries out?  Albeit temporarily?   Remember smoke alarms of old.  You'd slightly char your toast and the thing would start this cute bleeping?  You'd get a tea towel, or a copy of The Mirror, and waft at it, and it would stop?  Oh.  Nostalgia.com.  These things?  I spray deodorant?  They go off.  And they don't cute bleep any more.  I actually couldn't hear by the end of the day.   We steamed the wallpaper off?  They went off.  We stripped wood with the angle grinder?  They went off.  And went off... and went off... and... went off.  I felt like I had been cast back to the early 90's and had spent an evening in the Octagon with a rave group.  The kids were panicking about them going off in the middle of the night and scaring them.  Mr G solved this issue (or so HE thought) by putting food waste bags over them (no, I'm not kidding).  This did work, but then they went off three times between 8 am and 8.30 am.  As if to spite us. 

Mr G wants a feature wall at the bottom of the stairs, you won't believe what he wants.  Or maybe you will.  Mr G has a tendency to be quite ironic.  He's like rain on your wedding day.  Which, incidentally, but no surprise, we did actually have.  Bought the emulsion for the walls that have been plastered and lining paper for those that haven't.  Today, we gave the plaster a coat of half and half emulsion and water, Mr G painted the ceilings, and I gave the woodwork the first coat of woodstain.   Neither icing sugar, nor plaster can hold a torch to the dust that Mr G has managed to coat my house in with his ******* angle grinder.  There was not a room that didn't have a light dusting of sawdust over... everything.  Food.  Plates.  My ironing pile.  My clothes drying on the airer...

Anyhoo.

Number of times the smoke alarm has gone off over the last three days - 77 (including one continous alarm that Mr G couldn't be arsed switching off and I had to put my ear muffs on for)
Number of times I've wanted to shove Mr G's angle grinder up his arse - 76
Best question I've been asked today - 'Is 'anus' a bad word?'
Best compliment I've received today - 'Cracking tits, Gromit.'  (Mr G getting an eyeful, coming down the ladder)

How was your Friday? :-)

M x

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Panic over... new panic begins...

What a month.  That's the only way I can describe it.  I have a friend who says to me; 'Who needs Eastenders or Corrie, your life is like a soap opera in itself.  What's happened since I last saw you?'  And she's right too.  You name it, it's happened to me or around me somewhere along the line!  

My brother spent nearly a month in Critical Care in North Staffordshire University Hospital.  I cannot put into words how impressed I am with that place.   The hospital is clean.  It looks clean.  It smells clean.  It is clean.  People are visibly cleaning.  The staff?  Wonderful.  Across the board.  From Reception to Doctors.  We were never an imposition.  If they had to do something to my brother while we were there, and we were in the way, we'd apologise, to be told 'Don't apologise, it's your visiting time.'  If anything was being done, or had been done in our absence, it was explained to us.  Whether we'd asked to know or not.   

He is now awake.  He had to have a tracheotomy to help him to breathe, but that has now been removed, so he can speak again of a sort.  He has done a month in his 'halo'.   He is also now back in our local hospital.  The less said about that, the better.  I feel terrible saying that, but those of you who are local to me will know what I mean by this comment.   I wish he was still in Stoke, despite my parents being away from their home, despite the hassle in our being able to visit.  He seemed to be properly cared for there, and now, just shoved (and I mean literally shoved) onto a normal ward.  There's already been one horror story within hours, so when I go to visit in future I'm going armed with my camera.  If I witness anything like was reported to me yesterday, I'll be documenting it.  At the end of the day, it's no good saying 'Oh it's free healthcare, you should be grateful.'  The standard of that care should be excellent across the board, in every hospital in the UK.  It shouldn't deviate from Trust to Trust.  And that won't change unless people start opening their mouths and complaining if there's a valid complaint to be made.  So, we'll see how this one pans out.  The important thing is, he's on the mend.  Still a long way to go yet, but if his recovery continues at this pace hopefully he'll be home in time for Christmas.

Which leads me to the new panic.  Christmas.  Ordinarily, I love the Autumn.  From the minute the children go back to school, and the nights start drawing in, that nip in the air.  Our local town has a Fair every year, then it's Hallowe'en, then Bonfire night.  Then you know, Christmas will soon be here.  It's like a mental countdown.  Well, this year, we missed the Fair, my friend had the children Hallowe'en while we were in Stoke, and Bonfire night we were visiting too.  So, my Christmas radar is well and truly off target.   Christmas is in - get this - 46 days.  FORTY SIX days.  That's 45 shopping days.   Usually I've bought everything by now.   And wrapped it.  This year?   I have the stuff I picked up in the January sales.  That's it.  My Christmas savings are... gone.  Due to the cost of travelling back and forth to the hospital.   It's going to be a barren one this year.  I don't mind that, Mr G doesn't, and I'm sure my family and friends will understand this year if all they receive is a token bottle of wine or box of chocolates.  But children, especially those of a certain age, don't get that.  Because their presents aren't my problem, are they?  They're taken care of by a certain magical dude, at no cost to me.   I'm trying not to stress too much about that.   Failing miserably.  But trying all the same.