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turps33
We've been to see Goosebumps 2 at the cinema today. It was pretty creepy, and the little girl and her dad who were sitting behind us actually left about a third of the way through it. They were cute, the dad telling her to just hold onto him if she got scared, and I kept hearing him ask if she was alright. But I guess it just got too much.

We've got a hire car atm, a white crossover which is pretty swish. But we had to pay the excess as the other insurance company are dragging their heals in responding to ours. James has a signed note from the other driver admitting fault, so we'll get the money back eventually. It's just a pain we've had to pull money out in the first place.

We went to visit my Auntie Irene yesterday. For background, I was close to her growing up, the same for my brother, and Kayleigh was almost half raised by my auntie and cousins. Then mam fell out with Irene and the whole family stopped talking. My aunt did try to reconnect, but last time she tried mam was drinking and it was this horrible scene and it was just easier not to make any contact, mam always saying if she ever found out we were talking to my aunt and our cousins she wouldn't ever forgive us. Then mam died, and the day after I went with Kayleigh to tell Irene. I can't even begin to describe how guilty we both felt doing so, but we also both felt that she deserved to be told her sister had died, and the way to do that was in person. Side story, my aunt was outside that day, and didn't recognise me at all when we arrived. She hugged Kayleigh, hugged her again when she said why we were there, and all the time I was standing like a lemon and being totally ignored. In the end Kayleigh had to refer to me by name, and I got my hug, After, Irene said she though I was Kayleigh's new girlfriend, so that was one vaguely humerous moment in what was a horrible guilt filled day.

We've been back often since then, and it's been lovely to reconnect with everyone. My aunt calls us lambs, and is such a warm woman who is this incredible feeder and pushes food on us every we visit. I've never left yet without taking home leftovers, yesterday it was a huge plate of mashed potato, a chicken breast and chicken sauce with vegetable, oh, and cake. My cousin had made a birthday cake for Kayleigh and my aunt had delivered it complete with candles and singing. Kayleigh was so embarrassed, but I think it's nice they have those traditions. I have to admit, it's nice to be looked after for a bit, too.

Anyway, what I'm mentioning it for is, my aunt told us she doesn't give funeral flowers and always like to give living plants, and since the funeral has been looking for the perfect plants. Yesterday she presented me and Kayleigh with a yellow rose bush and a set of beautiful terracotta glazed pots already planted with lilies that will flower around mam's birthday and the smaller pots filled with winter flowering bulbs. Chris got a set too, which I dropped off for him. Now I just need to find the perfect place for the rose bush. Maybe next to the bird bath that represents dad.

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turps33
Well, I didn't finish all the exercises in my shoulder class, but got many more done than last week. Plus, the physio kept stressing how well I'm doing. He makes me smile, he's so enthusiastic and encouraging and great at pushing your shoulders into the right position. I find keeping my shoulders pulled back surprisingly hard while using the hand weights. The exercises themselves are doable, but painful on the bad shoulder on occasions, but getting the right form is another matter. I did side-eye the exercise that involved using a huge blown up gym ball as I could see it either bursting or skittering away under me. One for next week I think.

[personal profile] dine posted this, and I thought I'd give it a go as my journal has been a little gloom and doom heavy lately.

Five Things That Have Made Me Happy In the Last Few Days

BSB on Strictly. Admittedly it wasn't the most exciting performance, but it was lovely to see them, especially so as popslash remains one of my most favourite fandoms.

Seeing the leaves change colour. I love autumn, it's my favourite season and I love seeing all the trees with their beautiful colourful leaves. I love kicking at the leaves that pile up on the pavements, and that nip in the air.

Company Shop. This may be a weird one but Company Shop is a shop that's just opened locally. Only NHS workers can join, and the premise is they sell on surplice stock from the big supermarkets at a much reduced price. I'm talking bottles of milk for 20p, fresh vegetables and fruit for 20p, fresh meat for £1. Because it's surplice stock they never have the same core items, so you have to keep your eye on the FB for that days bargain -- like today is three tubes of Colgate Whitening toothpaste for £1, but it's already saved us so much money. And yes, I'm that sad that I get happy over grocery shopping.

Getting feedback for my fic. I love getting comments, it's such a good reminder that I am actually capable of stringing words together, even if I haven't actually written anything in a really long time.

My cats, I have four of them and love each one. Tinker and Freesia who battle to sit on my knee on a night, Milo who sleeps on my pillow and Pansy, my little scardy cat who will never be a lap cat but always comes to sleep between me and James on a night for all of five minutes before taking off on some unheard signal.

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turps33
James has had no luck lately. He was on the way to work this morning and got shunted by another car. He stopped for queuing traffic, but the man driving the car behind bent down to get something out of the footwell, didn't see the cars stop and went into the back of our car, forcing it forward into the one in front. Thankfully it wasn't at speed, but still, it was fast enough that our car is having to go get its bumper and boot door replaced -- and maybe more as it hasn't been fully checked yet, and James' work sent him home and then, when I was with him, to A&E. Stupid thing was he had to phone his own workplace for an assessment, ended up with a trainee and went through his own treatment path with her.

So we ended up at the hospital, and he was checked over. He's jarred his already damaged back and is stiffening up like crazy, but as he already takes a boatload of powerful painkillers there was nothing they could really do, so it's a case of resting for 48 hours and then gentle movement. And in that time arranging a hire car and getting poor Jaffa fixed.

It's my second shoulder class tomorrow. Will I actually finish all the exercises this time? I can only hope.

It was my nephews birthday yesterday, Kayleigh's the day before and my other nephew's the day before that. This month is expensive. Poor Kay didn't have a good birthday. Firsts are always bad, and then she got sick so we had to postpone our planned birthday dinner. But, we'll get together soon I'm sure.

I upgraded and have a new phone, it's all shiny and has an amazing camera. I love it lots, especially so as all my data transferred easily so I still have all my text/messenger conversations with mam saved.

It was a year since nanna died a few days ago. In terms of losing people I love goes, this last year has sucked.

I enjoyed BSB on Strictly but didn't understand why they didn't have dancers performing with them like all the other musical guests do. All I can think is the dance professionals were intimidated by the amazing hand raises, swaying in sync and BSB leaning. Side note, Kevin remains the most attractive. Just saying.

ETA: I was just answering a comment on my last post and saw I hadn't been notified about a load of others. I don't know if it's a DW or mailbird thing, or if it's happened elsewhere. If so, sorry, I'll answer eventually I hope.

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turps33
It's been forever since I posted, so, things.

We saw Wicked and it was amazing. It's now my favourite show I've seen at the theatre. Helped by the fact our seats were fantastic. Which is what happens when you book them 18 months in advance, I guess. We've got tickets to see Miss Saigon at the end of this month, and then in February next year, tickets for War Horse and The Rocky Horror Picture show. So I'd say our theatre addiction is now an established one.

James' joints have been acting up so we've been to the cinema a lot. Off the top of my head, we've seen Edie, Venom, Night School, A Star is Born -- where the usher gave us a huge emotion spoiler going in, so thanks for that. Mile 22, which is the worst film I've seen by far this year. I tried to make it go faster by going for an extra slow toilet break in the middle and was annoyed at the end when James said he hated it too as I only stayed because it looked like he was enjoying it and The House With a Clock in its Walls.

James has also got his date for his back procedure but needs to sort things out with work first as he's still on a warning for time off until December. While he is off on the date sent he's supposed to be back at work the next day which really wouldn't be ideal. And eta since I wrote this, he's just phoned and work are fine, saying they understand he'll probably need recovery time and it won't cause another sickness meeting as they know in advance. I told him to get that in writing if possible, though.

I went to my first rotator cuff shoulder exercise group on Tuesday. It was okay, a set of 16 exercises designed especially for rotator cuff injuries displayed around the room and about 10 people doing them. People must rotate in and out of the class for the whole six-week sessions as I was a newbie along with two men. Both of whom ended up being told to leave the class as on examination they'd both been misdiagnosed, and actually had frozen shoulders which the class wouldn't help at all. That meant the main physio was busy with them and the assistant was stretched around everyone. Which is why on two occasions I'd done my reps only to be told I'd done the exercise wrong and had to do them again. That meant I didn't finish everything in time, so there was only me and a much older lady left at the end and we were told time was up and to go. Sigh. But man, I'm feeling the glass today, all I can say is, ouch.

We got some of mam's favourite pjs made into bears. They're so lovely, soft and have details of cat faces made from her socks. She always wore cat socks, it was her thing, the same way the colours always had to match her pjs. I have to admit, I cried a bit bringing mine home. I miss her so much.

I had my final wls checkup yesterday. It went well but I'll talk about it more in a separate post as I have thoughts.

I forgot to say, it's Houghton Feast time here. The fair is in town, we've been to see the parade, watched fireworks, and James had the traditional ox sandwich. The local FB page for our town posted a load of photos from the parade/festivities from Saturday, and I got captured with James *g*

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turps33
It would have been my dad's 70th birthday last week. The pain of missing him isn't as immediate and raw as the ache for mam, but it's still there. I've had such a great tomato crop this year, and each one I pick reminds me of dad. I posted this photo of him and me on my Insta and my brother is the spitting image of dad. I'll never forget what he looks like when Chris is around.

In the last week I've been to see BlacKkKlansman, where I've never felt and heard such a weighty silence as when that film finished. Then on the same day went to see Crazy Rich Asians, which I enjoyed a lot. The day before we'd seen King of Thieves, which was another thumbs up. As you can probably guess, my carers card arrived, so all is good for another year.

TV wise I've been catching up on Killjoys, which remains made of win. I was also thrilled to see season two of The Resident and Midnight Texas were coming soon. I blame me watching the first totally on [personal profile] castalie. Not that I watch countless other medical dramas. Oh no, not at all...

And, tonight Strictly starts for real! Now I know no one is probably interested, but still, I do enjoy that show. I still mourn the loss of Gleb -- oh Gleb with your Gleb specials, I am bereft I never got to see your show dance -- so last season my attention turned to AJ. I'm not sure why, but there was just something about him. Then I watched him on Celeb Masterchef these last two weeks and was reminded that while ridiculously competitive, he appears to have the personality of a wet lettuce.

On Tuesday we're finally going to see Wicked at the theater. We booked the tickets well over a year ago, back when we'd only just started to go to the theater and I was afraid of not fitting, so they're aisle seats, but good ones. I can't wait to go.

Finally, I got excellent things in the post this week. First, a sparkly box containing baby!BSB!Kevin from [personal profile] nopseud with the note he was there to help with my driving lessons. Which he surely will, the power of those eyebrows would give anyone a boost. And then a lovely parcel from [personal profile] frausorge with such a lovely notecard and exploding sunburst stars to create. Thank you both ♥

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turps33
Instead of going away we decided to use James' holiday time to get out and about locally.

We went to Mog on the Tyne, which was as great as always. They told us they're getting a new kitten, and James replied 'are we?' I had to laugh at him and remind him it's not actually our cat cafe.

We went to Gibside, a national trust property that has a ruined house but beautiful extensive forest grounds. That was a happy accident, we were actually aiming for somewhere else but got the names mixed up, so ended up at Gibside. But I was so glad we did because they rented these fabulous sturdy mobility scooter things that meant I could get a good walk while James drove along beside me. No way could he have covered the distance on foot, especially as a lot of the trail was through the forest. The only thing was for the first time in years I'd forgotten to put my fitbit back on after charging it. All those miles uncounted. It was to cry.

We also went to Beamish, our local open air museum. We go there often, so didn't need to see everything in detail as once you get your ticket it's valid for a year. Which was good as the place was packed, something we didn't expect. Photos for all are on my insta if you're interested.

We went to the cinema and saw The Book Club and Predator. When we booked those tickets we realised James' cinema carers card had ran out so my free ticket couldn't be ordered online. That was an unwelcome reminder just how expensive cinema tickets actually are. We go so often because James has the Odeon unlimited card which costs £18 a month and means he can see as many movies as he wants, and I get in free as his carer. So the possibility I'd have to pay over £10 for just one ticket wasn't good. In the end they let me in for free anyway, but I'll be glad when the actual cinema carers card arrives in the post.

I got my two year wls check-up appointment for next month. It's with the surgeon this time, and we'll see what will happen with the loose skin issue.

And, I went to my lymph appointment and have now been wearing my compression stockings for four days and they're working \o/ I asked how soon before I'd see results, and hot lymph nurse said two or three days. That seemed unlikely to me, but he was right. I mean, I still haven't got visible ankles but I can feel my shin bones now. The stockings themselves aren't bad. They go to just under the knee and have open toes, and are no way as tight as I was expecting. Really it's like I'm wearing a double layer of leggings with a bonus they keep me nice and warm. I have to go back at the beginning of Dec to be remeasured, which is good as I suspect things will have changed big time by then. Until then, I have two pairs and have to hand wash a pair each night and let them dry over the next day so I've always got a clean pair to wear each morning.

I've been catching up on This Is Us today. That show, it breaks my heart with each episode, especially Kate. And Kevin. And Randall. Hell, all of them. Stupid show.

Finally, Kristin posted a photo featuring Mikey for his birthday. Like I just said elsewhere, I wish I was ageing so well.

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turps33
I was at the eye infirmary getting my under eye injection of Botox for the twitching nerve. The whole thing was very quick and easy, though the twitch is still there this morning. The doctor did say it could take a while to kick in, so I keep peering in a mirror hoping that this time the twitch is gone. But alas, not yet. I did get my eyelashes dyed before I went, though. I mean, priorities, people.

After that we nipped into town and to the travel agents. James started 9 days off yesterday and we had plans to just go away somewhere for a few days. But, as we're still at the end of high season there was nothing cheap enough to book. Even the few days away in the UK were in the hundreds, so we decided to just stay put and maybe head off to Flamingo Land next week and stay overnight in a travel lodge or something because I will get on a roller-coaster. Though I still have the fear of walk of shames.

Today we're heading out for a walk then the cinema. First though I need to wash some more of my old clothes. I've been selling them on Gumtree and while I'm not getting much back, averaging around £5 an item, I'm fine with that. They've just been sitting in a box doing nothing. I do have to post them though. I guess the sizes they are, all 30 pluses, the amount of people needing such big sizes in the local area and checking Gumtree is tiny. So posting it is. Though second class and signed for always.

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turps33
Before I get onto the personal stuff, I got an invite to Pillowfort from Sperrywink, and now have an account there. I'm still finding my way around, but if you have an account and want to follow, I'm Turps there, too.

We didn't end up scattering mam's ashes yesterday. On Saturday I was talking to Kayleigh and she said how she was feeling chewed up at the thought of scattering, and that she thought it would feel better to do it when it wasn't mam's birthday, so what should have been a happy occasion wasn't tainted with that final goodbye.

She still would have done it if me or Chris didn't agree, but I was happy to wait and so was Chris. I do think when it's the right time we'll know, and until then mam's safe at Kayleigh's house.

We still met up for fish and chips, though. We went to the beach and mam's favourite restaurant and had a bit of a natter, talked about mam, took photos and it was really nice. It had been a gorgeous day and was still sunny and warm while we were there. In fact, so sunny and warm it was probably best we weren't scattering as with the schools going back this week many families were around. I assume having one last late afternoon at the beach.

So while the day started sad -- I'd had a dream mam had phoned me the night before, so waking up and realising that was impossible wasn't a great start -- it got better. I got some photos. this one is of us all at the restaurant. And this one of me, Kayleigh and Chris. And while mam wasn't physically there, somehow, it felt like she was just out of sight.

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turps33
I was back seeing the physio yesterday about my shoulder. She gave me more exercises to do alongside the ones I'd been told to do last month. I'm supposed to do them four times a day, so that's an hour out of my day that should be dedicated to my stupid rotator cuff. She also referred me to a shoulder exercise group that happens an hour a week for six weeks. Again. Stupid rotator cuff.

I'm trying out Mailbird as a new email client as thunderbird has gone screwy on me again. It hasn't downloaded new messages for over a day, and before that I noticed it said I had 38 unread messages in my in-box, which wasn't true at all as I'd been working on answering everything. I knew what I actually had in the in-box didn't add up to what thunderbird was saying, but can I hell find those unread emails, even after checking sub folders. Gah, and now I see that mailbird doesn't show me the content of DW/LJ replies when I click on them. Seriously. This should not be so hard.

I've just came back from taking Megan to the vets with Kayleigh. It was a much better visit than last time. She's put on a big chunk of weight and her eye is much better. Though we had to see a locum vet who came down last minute from Scotland. There may have been accent issues between us all. Oh well, at least we all talked cat.

It's mam's birthday on Sunday. She would have been 70 and instead of the family meal she was starting to provisionally plan, we're going to eat fish and chip at her favourite beach restaurant and then scatter her ashes. It's forecast to be warm and sunny again, which is going to make the scattering a bit of an issue in terms of being discrete. It's why we're going as late as possible so hopefully most of the families will be gone. Corey will be there too, and it's going to suck, and I'm going to cry but I think we're going to be laughing, too. It's a place mam loved loads, the last place we went with her where she was happy and content. It's the right place to do it, but man, I'm tired of saying goodbye.

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turps33
A few days ago I got a comment on one of my stories at AO3 saying did I know it had been posted in its entirety at Wattpad? And no, no I did not. I went for a look and eventually found that yeah, it had been posted there. It does credit me at AO3, but doesn't actually link, so if anyone did want to leave kudos or comment they'd have to look me/the story up. If I'm being nice, I'm telling myself, maybe they think it's like tumblr where it's okay to reblog with credit, but mostly I'm thinking, who does that?!

In the last few days I've been to see Christopher Robin, which I loved loads. Swimming With Men, which was a Silver Screen production, and therefore technically for the older cinema goer. They tend to be older films from a few months back, but despite going to the cinema regularly I'd never heard of that one. We enjoyed it, but it was just weird it seemed to come from nowhere. Plus, man, some people get very annoying in their entitlement to get their free coffee or tea, and the free biscuits were wiped out three times just as we were waiting. Lastly we saw The Equaliser Two, and all I can say about that is, it ended. That was good.

I hung out at Kayleigh's yesterday as mam's cat needed to go to the vets. We've got a shared custody thing going on. I pay for Megan's insurance, Kayleigh for her food etc, and it all tends to even out in the end. Though yesterday she needed a new insurance claim starting so we went halves on the initial excess.

All the autumn tv shows are starting. Australian Masterchef starts next week, celeb Masterchef has already started -- and man, Gregg is still a gurning idiot, and of course new Bake Off soon. I've also new Killjoys to watch as it's just started here again, which is most excellent.

There's hints of autumn in the air which is nice. I enjoyed the hot sunny summer, but after mam went it felt wrong. My summer ended in the last week of June, really. So this potential weather change is welcome. A few weeks ago I bought a fire pit for the garden, with the intent to burn some old paperwork that needs destroying. I'm thinking I may do that soon, as I like the idea of sitting next to the fire in my rocking chair as the weather cools. Of course I'll probably have stinging eyes from the smoke and get too cold, but the idea seems nice.

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turps33
Since I last posted I've helped Corey move to his new house-share. He's retaking his last year which meant moving out of the house he's in now as his other house-mates are moving on. Thankfully this time he's got two weeks between moving to the new place and having to hand in the keys to the old place so no frantic cleaning like last year.

However, I did climb a lot of stairs as Corey's room was on the top floor of a townhouse. By the end of the day my fitbit had awarded me my 'Climb a redwood' badge as I'd climbed at least 25 flights of stairs while hauling boxes. By the time we were done I was desperate to have a soak in the bath. And then while I was doing that I remembered his first year at uni, when we moved him into halls and I could barely walk the few minutes to take him to the local Sainsburys to stock up on essentials. Again: man have things changed.

I also went to see The Festival with James. It's pretty much The Inbetweeners with only one cast member, so if you like that you'll like the film. We did end up hanging around for half an hour before going in as one of the projector bulbs had broken and needed changing, which meant no ads and no trailers. Which wasn't an issue really, but we were still given free passes when we left. As we've got unlimited cards they were no use to us so I've given them to Kayleigh and told her to use them on an Imax screening, she may as well get as much value out of them as possible.

I've been out for my first drive with James. Locally there's a place where a housing estate has been knocked down, but the roads remain so all the driving schools take people there. I drove for about an hour and at the end James said he bet I'd enjoyed that, and no, no I didn't. It was scary and I ended up driving on the grass when I got flustered and at one point when I was driving between the streets with actual houses in them, and you know, cars and people, another learner was told to stop by their instructor and I had to drive around a corner and go between their car and another car that was parked up, and what were they thinking?! I'd only been behind the wheel all of half an hour. And I know, they would have no idea I was such a newbie, but still.

Other than that. Yesterday was a bad grieving day. Probably because someone is moving into mam's house, and then Celeb Big Brother started, and mam loved that show loads and she wasn't around to watch and complain about not knowing any of the so-called celebs. Today has been better, so onwards and upwards I guess.

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turps33
Apart from the safari park incident other things happened last week.

I got my driving licence and I've been put on the insurance of our car, so I could now hit the roads if I wanted.

We ordered our new car. With the mobility scheme James gets a new car every three years. He can also have two people insured on it for free, which is great, and why I'm now on there. We've ordered a Mokka X which is the new version of the car we have now. It'll arrive in the first week of December hopefully, and already has the name Clem as it's going to be orange again, though a duller orange than the one we have now.

Medical stuff. I went to the eye infirmary but it turned out it was only for a check-up. What made it amusing was they were checking the focus of my eyes, which is normally what happens when kids get tested for squints, so I was in the children's department, and when I had the tests done it included such things as looking at butterflies and pictures of sheep. I swear, I was older than the rest of the people waiting by decades. I go for the actual injection at the beginning of Sept. I have to go to the botulism clinic, which sounds a little ominous.

And it was finally my lympthodemea appointment. More behind hereCollapse )

To end on a lighter note. For the first time in while we had a two movie day yesterday and saw The Darkest Minds and The Meg. Both okay, nothing special but they passed the time. Still on a Winterhawk kick, too. I even know the pairing name now. I'm doomed.

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turps33
It was an interesting day yesterday.

I'd gone to a safari park in the lake district with James, Kayleigh and Shauna. Had a nice day, walked lots, enjoyed seeing the animals. Fed a giraffe, which was awesome, was lining up to feed the lemurs, and went all funny. I can't actually remember anything after that for a few minutes as apparently, I went into a gradual faint. Staggering away saying I needed to lean against the wall, got led toward a seat by Kayleigh, ploughing through three pushchairs on the way, Kayleigh yelled at a man to stand up from the seat, and I just passed out. I can't remember anything until I came to and saw I was surrounded by park staff and an ambulance was on its way.

They were great, did lots of tests but were happy to let me go home as long as I went to see my own doctor today, which I did. He's pretty sure it was a faint too, and told me they won't investigate unless it happens again. But, if I feel one coming on I need to lie down flat. So I've been amusing myself thinking about just lying down in the middle of shopping or something. Better that than remembering how scary yesterday was. Even more so for Kayleigh, James and Shauna as I can't remember most of it.

Then we got stuck in a traffic jam on a little country road for two hours, about ten cars back from a nasty accident. I swear, we should have just stayed home. But saying that, I can't regret the giraffe feeding. They have given us four free passes to go back, but I suspect it'll be a while if we ever do return.

We did get some nice photos before everything went wrong. Two I like a lot are behind hereCollapse )

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turps33
I've been on such a big Bucky/Clint kick lately. A while back [personal profile] dine linked to a story where they were the main pairing, and ever since I've been reading nothing but that writer. I don't know how popular the pairing actually is, though. I'm going to be sad if I finish all the stories and there's scant pickings elsewhere.

Back to the grim real world. Closing down all of mam's accounts is still ongoing. Most companies are great, sympathetic and while some have asked for copies of the death certificate, I can understand why they need it, and they asked in a nice way; but her care bill. Some of you may remember she had a huge fight about that. They wouldn't let her out of hospital without agreeing to carers four times a day. They were pretty much useless and while they were free at the time, as soon as she got her disability money back she was landed with a bill of over 2k, and they hounded her for that money. It went on for months, she was phoned, letters sent, and in the end threatened with prison. Then they suggested James would be in trouble too as he'd been speaking on her behalf, and only then did she agree to put a payment plan in place. Well, a three way payment plan as Kayleigh and me were paying a third each, not that they knew that. Only one payment was made before mam died, and last week the council ( who arranged the care ) phoned me. They didn't offer condolences, which I know mean little, but surely that's just a basic thing? Then said they wanted copies of mam's closing bank accounts and the funeral bill, and if they got that they could maybe shut down the bill. I mean, what? Mam's dead, she has no estate, where the hell do they think they're going to get that money? Not from us that's for sure. Mam was ill with very little mental and physical reserves for a fight, we're not. So fuck them; seriously.

In the last week I also had to go to the hospital for a physio assessment. I've damaged my rotor cuff of my shoulder somehow, so now have daily exercises to do to sort that out. I went on the bus for that, which I intend to do more often. Though, to go nice places like the beach, not the hospital. We also had a birthday dinner out for my brother and went with Kayleigh and Shauna to the theatre to see a comedy hypnotist. Getting out is something we're very much doing on purpose. Mam's house was always the gathering place, we may have lost her but I'm not losing my sibs, too.

When we got mam's ashes back she was mainly in a big scatter tube for scattering purposes, but we also paid for three tiny urns filled with ash to keep and three bags in case we wanted to put them in jewellery etc. I got some of mine made into a bead, and that came yesterday. While I didn't have any ash from nanna or dad I bought two beads to represent them, and now all three will be close to me always. You can see those here.

And I sent away for my driving licence and have some L plates ready for when it comes.

Next week I'm at the eye infirmary to sort out my stupid twitching eye. I'm getting a botex injection to calm down the nerve, not sure if that'll happen on Monday or just to see the person doing it first for a check-up, then Tuesday we're off to a safari park with Kayleigh and Shauna, and Thursday it's finally my lympth appointment. Busy busy is the way to go.

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turps33
It's the big airshow weekend here, so of course, after weeks of blazing sun, it's been raining constantly so most of the flights have been cancelled. Not that I was going anyway, but it sucks for everyone involved with organising.

It's also my brother's birthday. We're planning to meet up to go to dinner at some point this week, but nothing has been actually firmly arranged yet.

Other than that it's been getting through the days. I've been to the cinema three times recently and ended up crying twice. First we went to see Skyscraper, and coming out there was no text from mam -- I used to text her when I was going to the cinema in-case she needed to get in touch, and she'd reply, usually saying enjoy the film and she was off for a nanna nap -- so tears. Then we went to see Mamma Mia two, picking that because I was in the need of a feel-good film, and man, was that a bad choice. By the end I'd been sitting with silent, snotty tears for at least twenty minutes. The last film we saw was the latest Mission Impossible, which seemed to last for forty-eight hours, but at least I didn't cry, so, result I guess.

But nice things have happened too. On a whim I went on a ride at the funfair that had set up next to a grocery shop we went to. It was like a waltzer that tipped on its side and went in the air, and it was exhilarating. James didn't agree though and was begging to get off. And I drove our car. Okay, it was at about one mile an hour around our local, empty, Lidl carpark, but I drove it. The thing is, I've never had any desire to drive, and the thought of actually going on the roads makes me want to hide, but it's something I need to do. James' disability isn't going to get better, and will probably get worse, so it makes sense for me to be able to drive if needed. The only thing is I need to decide if I learn in an automatic or manual. It's cheaper in a manual, but James will always need an automatic car from the motability scheme, and I doubt we'll ever be a two-car family, so it makes sense to learn in an automatic. I don't know, it's something to think about anyway.

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turps33
Tomorrow it's four weeks since mam died. Those four weeks have been a nightmare.

We had the funeral. I can't really remember much about it to be honest. Just there was a hold up with the service before so for 15 minutes we had to sit in the passenger hearse at the crematorium looking at mam's casket in the vehicle in front.

At one point I thought Kayleigh would have to be physically carried in, Corey held my hand throughout, we left yellow roses on mam's willow casket -- willow picnic basket we actually called it. She said she wanted willow and we didn't want traditional wood -- and it looked good with yellow themed flowers in swags on the handles. The curtains didn't close, which was good.

As mam lived in a council house we had to completely clear it, and handed the keys in last Monday. That sucked. So so much. Especially so as my brother had gone away on a fortnight's holiday a few days before mam's death and decided not to come back early. That actually led to a lot of upset and while we're okay now, I still think he could have come back after a week at least as it was left to me and Kayleigh to arrange and do everything. He was great after the funeral, arranging his works van to move all the big furniture and appliances over two days, but we needed him there well before that. Plus, it meant he got no say in the funeral at all.

Having to go through mam's things was the worse thing I've ever done. She'd been in that house coming up to 30 years, it had three bedrooms, and after they'd taken her disability benefits off her, and she'd got them back, she'd made the decision that she'd never have savings in the bank again, so used to spend her money online shopping. We had to get rid of so many clothes, most still with tags, bulk buys of things like bleach. There was just so much, and some people didn't help. Kayleigh asked on Facebook if anyone would take clothes for charity, but not the shops in our local town as we didn't want to see mam's clothes in the windows, and people replied saying how they should go there as we'd be supporting local shops, or that we should offer them to mam's friends. Which yeah, in an ideal world maybe, but we literally had weeks to clear the house and deal with and arrange the funeral at the same time.

There's so much I could say about this last month. Having to get mam's cat settled at Kayleigh's house, the constant phone calls to tell people mam had died in order to close down accounts. It's nearly a month and I still can't believe she's gone, and when I'm reminded it's like I've been thumped hard in the chest. I miss her. So so much. She was such a huge part of my life, and now she's gone.

Cut for talk of deathCollapse )

One thing this has made me do is de-clutter. The thought of Corey having to deal with all the crap in this house has had me de-cluttering like crazy. It doesn't help that I've a lot of stuff from mam's, and still have things that came here from nanna. It's why we had to get brutal with mam's stuff at the end and throw out loads, because it's just not possible to take everything. Plus, we're sorting out more life insurance for me and James. Thankfully mam had enough we could comfortably pay for her funeral. Without that we would have been screwed.

This is too long already, so to end. Thank you again to everyone who sent emails, cards, gifts etc. I've started to respond. That's going slowly, but know being thought of meant the world. While I'm not okay yet, people keep saying time will heal, and I'm holding onto that. I guess it's all you can do, really.

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turps33
It's mam's funeral tomorrow.

I don't want to go. I don't want to say goodbye. I don't think I can say goodbye. I'm dreading the whole day

Thank you to the people who sent flowers, cards, emails etc. I fully intend to say thank you/reply when I'm in a better place. Until then, thank you for thinking of me.

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turps33
Mam died in the early hours of today.

I feel like my heart has been carved out of my chest.

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turps33
I've had some great postcards lately. Thank you so much [personal profile] spasticat, all the Camp Sparkle people, [personal profile] dine and [personal profile] frausorge

Some good news. James has had a work issue hanging over him since before our holiday. He had to attend an official meeting earlier this week with his big boss, where they went over all his time off. He took someone from the union in with him, and while we were always sure he'd be covered by the disability act in terms of going off sick lots, knowing that and actually having to go into the meeting and fight his corner were very different things. They brought up all his absences since he's worked there, and conclusion was, nothing is going to happen His job is safe for now, but it was close, and he's on a warning until December.

While he was doing that I was meeting up at mam's with Kayleigh to meet the matrons who are taking on her care. They're pretty much senior nurses with their fingers in many pies, and can push through appointments etc and be the central contact person for people like mam who have complex medical issues. That took a couple of hours, and then I stayed at mam's for a while as I needed to take her cat to the vet.

And now, our holiday.

First the bad. When we got there the pool in our hotel was out of commission, and was just about to reopen the day after we left. As it was something we should have been informed about we've got an official complaint in about that as we specifically chose that hotel because the pool had a ramped access that would mean James could get in and out himself. The rep was great, and was in fact the person who told us to complain, but we didn't get to see her until we'd been there for four days. Just along from the hotel was a private pool area called the Beach Club. Pretty much two big pools surrounded by sun loungers, big beds etc, and restaurants with men going around serving drinks. Included in the cost of going in there was a drink and meal, and the rep said to go there and the company would reimburse any costs, and they did. Sadly the day we went was overcast, and I just didn't enjoy being there. It wasn't hot enough to just lounge and swim, so once we ate we left. The rep also paid for hiring sunbeds on the beach. We did swim there one day, but again it wasn't ideal. The sand was so hot James had issues moving on it once his leg was off, and we couldn't swim together as someone always had to stay with his leg, something that wouldn't have been an issue at the hotel pool.

Disabled access wise. All I can say about Puerto Rico is, they're trying. We stayed on the sea front so things were mostly flat, but as the Canaries are in a volcano/mountain region, away from the front it was hilly, and even on the front, there were steps to get from the boardwalk to the shops. Ramps were available, but man, were they steep. Anyone in a wheelchair would have had serious issues, I honestly don't think I'd have the strength to push James in his wheelchair up or down them. And more serious for us, while disabled toilets were available, unlike here, they were in either the male or female toilets, which meant I couldn't go in to help James. Saying that, the people were really friendly, and helped always. We went on two boat trips and on both the staff on the boats were great with James, helping him board, holding onto him until he was safely sitting and on the dolphin trip, bringing drinks.

On our week away we went on a dolphin spotting boat trip, to a zoo, to another market town, and did a lot of walking and hanging in the sun. We had a cocktail most nights, and Nigel the barman always put the peacock decorations in my hair, so now I have quite the collection. We walked in the sun, and met many stray cats, and just generally enjoyed a relaxing time.

We both enjoyed flying, though discovered we weren't in the behind each other aisle seats we expected, but in the window and middle seat, which in the end worked out perfectly. The wheelchair assistance was excellent, especially on the Newcastle departure where neither of us had an idea what we were doing, and the man pushing James in the wheelchair explained everything we needed to do. On the outward journey, the people needing assistance waited in a dedicated room and went in a special vehicle that lifted us and the others direct to the plane door. Arrival was a little more chaotic and we were last onto the transfer coach due to the vehicle picking up from a few planes, but still went well enough.

Okay, this is getting long, so some photos behind the cut HereCollapse )

I'll end it there and say in conclusion. Our first holiday abroad was great, and I totally understand why people say once you travel you'll never want to stop.

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turps33
I'm home.

Well, have been since about 4am on Monday, but mam has been sick again so life has been busy. Apparently, she started to feel ill while I was away, decided not to say anything so I wouldn't get worried, which of course made things so much worse She's on the mend though, so this morning my last load of holiday washing is finally getting done.

Very short version, we had an amazing time. I will post more later, and share some photos, but until then. Such a great holiday and I fit in the plane seat fine, and didn't even come close to needing a seatbelt extender. I posted a lot of pics on insta, but will share them here too.

Until then, a quick look at my flist before I have to go out again, and, hope you're all doing well.

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turps33
James has just gone to pick up the in-laws, which means in a few hours I'll be flying to the Canary Islands.

I had hoped to be caught up by now, but between mam being sick again and getting things ready, including the house, cat stuff and garden stuff, so my FiL and MiL can stay for a week, I just never did. But that's something for when I get back now.

Until then, no doubt I'll be posting on insta -- turps33 there -- and I'll see you all when I get back.

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turps33
Happiest of birthdays to [personal profile] castalie one of the nicest and most lovely people out there ♥

We never got to the concert last night. James' injections went well, but he was so tired when we got home he slept for five hours solid, so driving to Newcastle wasn't going to happen. Thankfully the lack of gas and air wasn't an issue as we'd bought some numbing cream which I applied to his back before we went to the hospital. It did lead to the surreal situation where, as it needs covering in some kind of film to help activate, I needed to wrap all of James' middle in cling film. But hey, it worked.

The move from the day surgery unit to radiology was good too as it meant he had a specific time to go in. I could go with him to get him undressed and into his gown, then just had to hang around in the waiting room until the job was done.

Today James is back at work, but it's his last shift before three weeks of annual leave. I'm heading off up mam's soon to mow her lawn and dig in some plants, then it's also my middle niece's birthday today, so we'll be going to see her tonight.

In-between those things I may have a little sun dozing in my own garden. There's nothing practical I can do atm, the tomatoes and courgettes have been potted, things are tidy, so sunshine and book it is I think.

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turps33
Thank you to [personal profile] romantical for the excellent card and letter inside. Your wishes are mine too ♥

I can't believe it's already so long ago, but the meet-up with [personal profile] tara went really well. We ate out at the beach, mooched around the beach, she reassured me I really wouldn't be ushered off the plane or made to pay for two seats. James left us to go to work and we met up with Kayleigh and mam, where we mooched a bit more, and then they took us home.

It's always lovely spending time with Tara, despite her living so far away we've met many times since we first friended each other back in my early popslash days. In fact, I'll always remember one of our first meetings included talking about the Cramp pairing while watching a seal show. While we've changed paths fannishly since then, she remains a good friend.

Holiday prep is going well. We've bought travel insurance, paid for a letter from the doctor to cover James' controlled medication. Have bought holiday clothes. Which I'm now able to get from places like Primark and supermarket clothing ranges, so keeping down the costs somewhat. That is so weird, so much choice now, but at the same time, overwhelming in a way that I have all that choice when before I was limited to three plus size stores.

Tomorrow we have tickets to see Thirty Seconds to Mars at a festival in Newcastle. James got them free from his work, and also a pair for Corey and his girlfriend. Just we're not sure if we're going yet as James is at the hospital getting his back injections tomorrow, plus, is at work on Sunday so a late night is probably not the best idea. Last time he was fine after his injections, but this time he's having them done in the x-ray department and not the day surgery unit which means no pain killing gas and air as they're being done. I think we'll just wing it, see how he is when we get home.

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turps33
Unlike the last time I posted, things are going well. Mam is so much better it's hard to believe she was so sick. Her GP referred her to a new hospital doctor who's starting a new series of tests, scans etc. On the one hand, more tests. But on the other, hopefully some answers as he suspects her lupus may be contributing to her problems swallowing. So if she can get some weight back on that should help her overall health.

Other good things. We've booked a holiday for the beginning of June. We're going to Puerto Rico -- the one in the Canary islands as I've just realised there's actually two -- for a week, self catering in the apartments Kayleigh has just came back from. She loved it there, said it was chilled out, had a good pool and overlooked the beach, plus, while hilly behind the hotels the promenades are flat, meaning James can get around easier.

I still can't believe we're flying somewhere for a week and until I'm actually on that flight will still be worrying about not fitting in the seat and having to buy two. Seriously, if you looked at my Google history it's all looking at insides of Thompson planes, seat dimensions etc. The holiday company have arranged for James to be helped onto the flight, though lack of seat choices mean while we're very near the front, we're sitting behind each other in the aisle seats. It was either that or a window and middle seat, and while I'd have liked the window seat, James needs an aisle to stretch his legs a bit.

Sadly it means I can't go to Camp Sparkle this year, as I just don't have the money for both :(

More good. We went to see Matilda at the theatre and enjoyed it. see, 3 photos, scroll to see all.. We had stalls seats and a great view. It was the first big touring production we'd seen there, and the place was packed. I also got to wear one of my new dresses. I do like it a lot but sadly it's a bit dressy for everyday wear.

We have tickets to see Deadpool 2 in the reclining seats cinema Tuesday coming. I'm looking forward to that a lot.

Last good thing. I get to see [personal profile] tara tomorrow \o/

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turps33
I was all ready to write things were on the up a week or so ago. My MiL was out of hospital, James was getting ready to go back to work. We'd gone to a meet-up with the AMC group which meant James got to talk to other people with his condition, Corey had sorted out his issues, we'd been to the travel agents to start booking our holiday, and then mam got sick.

I thought it would be like the other times. I'd phone for the doctor despite her protests, he'd give antibiotic and steroids, and she'd get better in a few days. What actually happened was he came out, told us she was very sick, started to talk about palliative care and how some people die from chest infections, and arranged for home nurses to come see her that day.

In case you think I'm leading up to some tragic end, she's still here, and in fact is much better, but for a while it was touch and go. The palliative care bit was hard to take, as was getting a document to leave in her house saying she had a DNR in place and that if she went downhill she didn't want to go to hospital and would be cared for at home until the end. I mean, what? She was just supposed to have a chest infection again, not that. But like I said, she got past it again, the nurse at home team were amazing and she was discharged from them yesterday, which meant for the first time in a while I got to stay at home this morning.

So that's where I am at the moment. It feels like for the last month or so I've been spinning plates and each time I get some stabilised others come crashing down. Included in that is on-line time, which means my in-box is horrendous and I haven't even looked at my flists for ages. But I will catch up, and I'm sure people will soon be wondering why the hell I'm commenting on posts that are weeks old.

But, despite that, the good things are still there. James has an appointment for his next set of back injections and is back at work. We will book our holiday soon, and my favourite atm. Before all this kicked off mam bought me a wooden rocking chair for the garden. It was a total surprise, I'd seen it in B&Q, loved it and told her about it, and she sent me the money to buy it, saying it was a gift for looking after her during the previous times she was ill. Not needed or expected, but very much enjoyed. So my plan for later is chilling in the garden in the sunshine with a book and a cold can of pepsi Max.

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