Friday, 29 October 2010

A Leap Into The Unknown

I was walking the dogs as usual today which is totally an everyday event. Not much happens, not so today.

I take them on the same walk every day. We walk around the cathedral, into the park then in by the mini golf course where the River Lossie runs and they spend a good half an hour leaping into the water, fetching sticks I have thrown in for them. Then we cross a small bridge, onto the other side of the river bank and they spend a a mad 10 minutes running around chasing each other, then along the river bank, over another bridge, back around the cathedral and home. Simples!

All was going well until we reached the second bridge. It's pedestrianised but even so it is quite a busy bridge so I normally keep them to heel until I see there are no kids or cyclists on the go then I tell them to run off.

So there I was, keeping them back, saw no one was there so off they ran, very excited. Loki, the puppy was in the lead and she was so excited that I don't think she realised where she was going and the next thing I see is her taking a leap over the side of the bridge and just disappearing! It was like one of those cartoon leaps, like Pepé le Pew. Jesus Christ my heart nearly stopped and I started running in panic to where she had jumped, only to see no dog in the water but could hear a rustling in the trees and shrubs on the river bank.

I was convinced she was hurt cos she had to have fallen about 10ft so I started calling her name and running up and down the bridge frantically searching for her. Eventually I saw her in a clearing just at the bottom of the wall and she tried to jump up and I tried to grab her but to no avail. She tried this a few times and I could see that she was beginning to panic and was making noises of distress.

So there I was hanging over the wall trying to grab her when I suddenly see this blur of golden fur fly past me on the left hand side and suddenly Shiloh is right beside her and I am thinking AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH For Fuck's Sake!!!!!!

You are probably wondering why she didn't just climb up the bank but it is blocked by a huge building and you can't get around that side without going the long way around, which is the route we had already taken.

Shiloh, bless her, then tries to jump back up and fails dismally so then she starts running around and Loki is following suit thinking this is quite a good game. Meanwhile, I am having a moment of insanity thinking "I am gonna have to climb down there and get them!" before the sensible part of my brain kicks in and says "wtf, ya stupid girl, then you'd all be stuck!" After a fleeting image of me and said dogs being rescued by Firemen, I was tempted to throw myself over the wall after them but then had another fleeting image of us making front page headlines and decided it was definitely a no no!

I then started to frantically look around me for help, but sods law, not a soul going about so I take off, running, back over the bridge, all the while shouting their names, back along the river bank until I found a clearing where they could see me.

I am standing there, waving my hands like a total nutter, yelling their names til I am hoarse and the stupid dogs are looking up at the bridge, where I was originally standing, crying! Eventually Shiloh, who is usually a total blonde, spots me so I started shouting on her to come and she takes a belly flop into the water and starts making her way across the river to me, thankfully with Loki in hot pursuit.

When they got back over, I was all over them, giving them hugs and Shiloh was kinda wondering what all the fuss was about whereas Loki was a bit more subdued, which is rare cos she is such a happy dog, so much so that I am sure she is on uppers!

After I checked them both for injuries, my heart finally started to calm down so I made them sit until I pulled myself together! Two minutes later we were back over the bridge, this time, no leaps into the unknown, thank god!

Later on, I was telling Marion, Jack's carer the whole saga and she couldn't stop laughing and saying that "there wasn't a day that goes by without something eventful happening to me!".

Hey, it's not my fault, honest! I can't help it if I have two psycho dogs, who are both a sandwich short of a picnic.

The irony here is that I bought the dogs as a means to help me DE-STRESS!!!

I think I need a refund!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


It took a 4 hour drive, a overnight stay in the airport, a very early flight but finally we arrived in Mallorca at 10am.

The sun was shining and we could feel the heat while we were waiting in the airport for our transfer. Finally we were told which bus lane and what bus number to get, so off we trotted. We were on the motorway when Holly mentioned that she thought we had gotten on the wrong bus. You should have seen my face! She was convinced that we should have gotten on bus number 92 not 97. Why she didn't share this gem with me earlier, while we were sitting there waiting for other people to get on, I will never know!!

So there we were on the motorway, all signs saying that we were heading for Alcudia, trying not to panic and doubting myself until we turned off to Palma Nova and I did breathe a huge sigh of relief. As we went from hotel to hotel, slowly dropping people off, I started to doubt myself again when we realised we were the only ones left on the bus! We hurried downstairs so that the bus driver didn't forget we were there and he was like "where you going?" and we told him Ola Bouganvilla and he had a blank expression for a few seconds before saying "Santa Ponsa?" and we were frantically nodding our heads in relief.

Once we were dropped off at the end of the street where our hotel was, we started walking up towards the Bouganvilla pulling our cases behind us. As we got close, I remember thinking it looked empty but very pretty. We didn't get as far as the door when some Spanish guy, ran out towards us, waving his hands in front of us saying "hotel closed, no stay!" Holly and I were like "eh??? what you on about?". I started laughing hysterically when he explained that they had shut the hotel on Friday for refurbishment so we couldn't stay! He confirmed who we were and explained that there was no need to panic cos he would phone one of their other hotels and book us in there and we could have our breakfast free for the week as compensation.

He popped into the office and spoke rapidly in Spanish and came back out to tell us that he had ordered us a taxi and they would pay for it, just take the receipt to reception on arrival.
He then disappeared while we waited for the taxi. It arrived in a few minutes and the driver asked where we were going and I laughed cos I didn't catch the name of the new hotel as, I was still reeling from the fact that it was closed! So we had to go back in and chase up the guy we originally talked to, who had disappeared into the bowels of the hotel and it took about 10 minutes to track him down, much to his amusement!

So off we went in the taxi, not having a scooby where we were going and luckily for us the taxi driver came in with the receipt himself so that was one less thing to worry about. The reception staff at the Ola Aparthotel Tomir were laughing at our predicament and found us highly amusing and basically that set the tone for our stay in the hotel.

Our apartment was bigger than what we had originally booked so that was a major bonus. We sat by the pool that afternoon, enjoying the sun and thinking how beautiful it all was. I was so looking forward to spending the day by the pool. An hour later and the rain was bouncing off the road, complete with thunder and lightning so we just stayed indoors watching from our balcony.

It rained for 4 days straight with periodic bouts of thunder and lightning and a few bright spells. You know, it could only happen to us lol. But hell, we decided that the rain wouldn't shrink us, pity that, can you imagine if it did??? Not horizontally but vertically, you could be skinny just by being in the rain for 10 mins! Anyway, I digress!

We chilled for the first two days then ventured out to Palma Nova on the bus. It was raining when we left but by the time we got there it was gorgeous. We wandered around a while, doing a bit of shopping before we decided to sit on the beach. We had a wee paddle in the water and decided to sit there a while but we had no towels so Holly voted that I should be the one to go and buy some, figures! It took 15 minutes to get back to the beach as the main streets had been shut because of a cycle run taking place. I got back and no sooner had I layed down the towels than the heavens opened up! Holly managed to actually sit on hers, I never got that far! We were soaked before we had even reached the palm trees at the start of the beach. Just as well it was warm rain!

The next day we took a taxi to The House of Katmandu in Magaluf cos we would have been drenched just walking to the bus stop but it made little difference cos we were soaked just getting from the taxi to the main door! We whiled away a whole afternoon in this place, which was basically an upside down house full of weird and wonderful curiosities and a lot of interactive stuff.

One of the things you had to do was put your hand inside the mouth of a whale, into these two holes. There was a timer and you had to keep your hand in for a minute. By the reactions of other people, Holly was convinced that something bit your hand if you left it in there too long! That girl has some imagination! But no, it was a lot tamer than that. The hole was full of ice cold, and I mean totally freezing water and you had to see how long you could keep your hand in. Holly managed only 6 seconds and I managed 75 seconds! Woo hoo whose the girlie?? I am the champion!!! I was so chuffed with myself especially since I beat a couple of blokes in front of me. Competitive? Me? I think the fact that I was jumping up and down, waving my arms about kinda says it all!

Thursday, we braved the bus again, this time to Santa Ponsa where we were originally supposed to be staying. By the time we got there, it was gorgeous and so we sat on the beach for most of the morning. There was a shower of rain that lasted about 20 minutes and we dived into this restaurant by the beach. The two of us were sniggering and laughing at these people sitting inside with their brollies up, thinking they were nuts but they were the ones laughing when we realised that we were feeling drops of rain on our heads. I was thinking that they had a leak until I looked up and realised that the restaurant had a slatted roof! We had just ordered food so we couldn't exactly leave so we just laughed our heads off and ate our soggy baguettes. I have to say that they were yummy though and we stayed there an hour.

Later that afternoon we were back on the beach making sand sculptures! Snigger snigger, mine was either quite rude or totally naff according to the resident artiste Holly Mckenzie. She was working on a snowman but the finished article looked more like Jabba the Hutt! Honestly, the photos don't do it any justice! She then set out to prove to me that she could sand sculpt so she spent a whole 45 minutes making a dragon which attracted a lot of attention. It especially caught the eye of a young German girl and her mum. The child couldn't speak English so her mum translated for her. She thought the sculpture was cool but what had really caught her eye was Holly's trendy trainers!

Later that day, the mother came up to me frantic as she couldn't find her daughter! We found her after 10 mins but honestly my heart was in my mouth and she wasn't even mine! Not good for the old ticker that, think I lost a few years in those ten short minutes.

Back at the hotel, Holly was attracting the eye of quite a few waiters and barmen. She was equally admiring of them, two in particular, Marc and Marco. My lovely girl was in her element and I think it was a huge ego boost for her so she really wasn't impressed when we got chatting to Marc in the restaurant one night and he asked how old she was and I totally popped her bubble! He thought she was 22 but I just shook my head and laughed and said "no, lower". His eyes got great and big and he said "20?". Again, I said "no, lower still" to which he said "19?". He knew by my face that no, it was lower again so said "18???". When I shook my head again, he gave me such an incredulous look when I said that "no she was actually only 16!". He was totally flabbergasted and I couldn't stop laughing but Holly was so not impressed!!! She was not happy cos now he wouldn't flirt with her the same don't you know!!! Turned out that he was 32 but looked about 25, so I was most gleeful when I told her that actually he was closer to my age than hers! Tee hee hee, god I am wicked!

Saturday we were up at the crack of dawn to take the bus to Palma to go to the Market. We wandered in and out of shops having a great time til our feet got sore and we still hadn't found the Market. Eventually we jumped onto one of Palma's open topped buses and spent about 3 hours seeing all the sights. We did eventually see the Market from the bus, just as it was being packed up! Holly had just finished saying "oh well it doesn't look that big so we didn't really miss that much" when we turned into the next street and the Market snaked down the length of it and into the next. The two of us couldn't stop laughing, sods law! It doesn't take much to entertain us really and being on the bus was quite entertaining for all the wrong reasons!

The thing that tickled us the most was the novel way in which previous tourists had gotten rid of their headphones after listening into the blurb in the many different languages. The favourite way was by hanging them off low hanging electrical cables, no worries about getting zapped obviously and the other was to chuck them on top of the bus shelters which were perfectly level with the top of the bus! There was so many, some bleached by the sun, others were brand new and it caused great hilarity on the bus amongst all the tourists! Imagine getting attacked by that on a windy day when you are minding your own business at the bus stop! It's raining headphones, what the fuck????? A new phenomenon!

The hotel had entertainment most nights. The two entertainment people were Jaime and Izzy. They were a couple and they obviously enjoyed what they do and they had no qualms about making total and utter fools of themselves. We partook of the entertainment most nights but I did draw the line at playing Bingo! I meant wtf? I am a young thing and Bingo is so not my idea of fun! No offence to you Bingo lovers but it is most definitely not for me. We did have great fun doing the music quiz though but lost big style but hey it's the taking part that counts huh.

On the Saturday night they did a Music through the Decades theme. This involved lots of dressing up and crazy dancing on their part and Jaime nearly made me fall off my seat when he dressed up as Amy Winehouse and acted out Valerie! Hysterically funny! I was up at the bar getting drinks when the music for OO7 came on. Holly said, she knew I was oblivious to "James Bond" behind me when he did a knee slide right up behind me and I never looked round. The barman, Hosé started laughing and that was when James Bond grabbed me and shoved a gun in my face. I let out a screech and nearly had heart failure when he chucked me outta his way and ran off! I looked over and Holly was bent double in hysterics. I thought she was gonna have kittens she was laughing so bloody hard! Bitch!

To end the holiday nicely, I planned a really big lie in on the Sunday morning. But alas, my friends, Emma and Kathy, back in the UK had other ideas. At 6.10am on Sunday morning I received a text from Emma complete with a picture of a female dog and her puppies. The text said "OMG! We thought she would never stop! 9 Puppies, congratulations Granny!!!!" I nearly fell out of the bed giving it "wtf? No way, tell me your fucking kidding!". I frantically texted this to her but no reply for about 10 minutes and then one from Kathy saying "9 puppies, congratulations Granny!" and I was beginning to think that it must be true even though I kept looking at the pic in total disbelief, lurching from "No way, Oh my god" to "they have to be kidding me!". After sending another text to Kathy saying "tell me your fecking joking!" they fessed up that it was a total wind up! I couldn't stop laughing. It was a mixture of hysteria and relief cos all I could think was, how the hell am I to drive to Aberdeen on Tuesday and still be in charge of 9 puppies!!!

Now to let you understand, my youngest dog is NOT pregnant but she did go through a season. I have had quite a few dogs over the years but none have gone into season cos I usually get them spayed way before hand so I have no experience of it, at all. I got Loki at 5 months so was caught short, so to speak and since she had her season, her nipples and her lady bits have remained quite swollen and I was beginning to think that some mutt had gotten to her! This was causing great hilarity amongst my mates, especially the gruesome twosome who I left in charge of Jack and the two pooches. The result being the elaborate wind up that took place that morning!

They knew it wouldn't work if I was wide awake so they had to do it in the early hours of the morning while I was still half asleep! The best bit about this was that they themselves had to be awake at 5am to do it! And they really had me going for that 10 minutes.........BITCHES!!!! Oooohhhh pardon the pun!

The rest of the day was uneventful but I was totally shattered! Thanks girls, revenge will be mine and it is definitely a dish best served cold! Be afraid, very afraid! lol

The flight home was uneventful. I stepped out of the airport at Glasgow to a biting blizzard of rain and hail and was soaked within minutes. To make matters worse, they gave me the wrong code to get out of the car park at the Holiday Inn so I had to run the gauntlet of the hail and rain to get the proper one! Meanwhile Holly is nice and cosy and I was totally wet, cold and windswept and interesting but not in a good way! Hee hee hee.

We zoomed up the motorway in no time but had to detour via Aberdeen as Holly had a concert that night. I finally arrived home at 8pm only to find the 2 windup merchants hiding up the stairs!!! Nae so brave now huh???? so we ended up, the 3 of us, sitting half way up the stairs chatting and I was sure they were up to more mischief but no they had behaved and luckily for them I didn't find any Christmas Decorations up or tinsel in my bed as per previous threats!

I would have killed them!

My lovely boy, Jack, wouldn't speak to me for about 3 days but now he has forgiven me for leaving him and I am in the good books again. It sounds like he had a great time with Kathy, Emma, James and Erin and I am sure he didn't miss us at all! To prove the point, he (aka Kathy and Emma) has sent me a postcard for each day that we were away, the first one arrived the day after we got back and I have found them highly amusing and entertaining!

Sounds to me like they had as much fun as we had. When are we doing it again girls?????

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Hypochondriac

Last night, as we were heading off to bed, bout 11.20pm, Holly decides that she should have oil in her ears before going to bed! I'm like " wtf? We are flying in two days, don't ya think you're a bit late for putting oil in your ears? When did they start to hurt?"

Holly shouted "they aren't" as she disappeared into Jack's room for a syringe. So I started to boil the kettle, get the oil out of the cupboard and all the while muttering under my breath bout how "this was a bit like shutting the gate after the horse had bolted so what was the point huh?".

Back she comes complete with syringe and cotton wool balls and asked what I was muttering about. I was holding the teaspoon of oil over the steam coming from the kettle so I couldn't turn around and give her my undivided attention. Thinking she was in the bad books, when I turned around she had such a forlorn look on her face that I started laughing.

I was carefully drawing up the oil into the syringe when she started laughing at me and I was like, "you'd better not be sniggering about how short I am or you're for it!" After getting herself together she commented that she was laughing cos I had just said "there are not many mothers that would do this at this time of night don't you know!" and I said so "what's funny about that then?"

At which point, she laughingly pointed out that most mothers would do exactly this when their poor child was sick and would stroke their cheek and say "awww sweetheart, can I bring you a warm drink, do you need an extra blanket, can I make you some soup, you should probably stay off school etc, it's only you that doesn't do that!"

I fell about laughing and the two of us were hanging onto each other in hysterics cos that is so so true!

In my defence, my daughter is the biggest hypochondriac I know. She can watch Embarrassing Bodies on TV and within 5 minutes of watching she starts to have the symptoms of the person in the programme. It is hilarious to watch and I really get a kick out of watching her start to frown and feel about the offending area that is being talked about on TV. I have even timed her to see how quick she will say something to me and you know she never lets me down and gets most pissed off when I roll about on the sofa laughing!

She has also pretended to be ill so many times and gotten to stay off school more days than I care to mention that now of course I don't believe her when she is genuinely ill. As she puts it, she would need to be nearly dying before I believed her! Well not quite but near as damn it :-)

Her speciality is the moaning, dying duck routine. This is would be ok if she would just die quietly but no such luck! I am treated to hours of moaning, winging and writhing on the sofa complete with throwing off the aforementioned blanket so there is only so much one person can take.

The legacy of these years of "crying wolf" is that my poor girl gets very little sympathy from me when she is ill and it's only when she takes to her bed or goes off her food that she gets the cheek stroking, extra blankets and warm drink. But soup? Wtf? I am no earth mother me, so unless that is on the menu that night then you can forget it. Canned soup or nothing. But hey you've gone off your food so nae soup for you!

My lovely daughter and I are even on first name terms with the school nurse and he has told her that he is scared to phone me cos I'm like "awwww WHAT NOW??!!!" as soon as I hear his voice. lol That poor man but really he should try living with her.

These days, she has calmed down a bit but of course my attitude to her "illnesses" has not changed and so although I know I should be chilling about it a bit more, years of being "had" have taken their toll.

At least we can laugh about it now like last night, I was crying with laughter cos I know that to an outsider it would seem that she is so hard done by and I am a heartless bitch but it is so not true. Don't believe me? Well the only way you will know is if you get sick around me. Are you willing to take that chance? No I didn't think so!!!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Race Night

I went to a Race Night on Saturday evening. It was a charity event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The whole event was organised by the employees of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Elgin and other branches across Moray.

I have been to a Race Night only once before and my memory was a bit hazy but basically you have to bet on horses. They show you video footage of the horses and jockeys to help you make your selection and then you place your bet. Also you can bid to own the horses and if your horse wins, you get an additional prize.

Because my memory is quite hazy of that last one, I obviously didn't really have the best of nights so I really wasn't sure what to expect. But my friend Angie works for the R.B.S and the Macmillan charity is very close to my heart so I was up for it and so got a few friends together, my dad to babysit and I was sorted.

It was a Bring your own Bottle event but as I had been suffering with a headache all week, I decided to drive and brought a bottle of the "soft stuff", flavoured water no less!! Gasp! shock! horror! Being the party animal that I am, seeing me without alcohol on a night out is like a bird watcher spotting a rare bird. A once in a lifetime experience!

The first race was called The Headmistresses Half-term Handicap. I knew it was no ordinary horse race when the first guy on the screen was jumping up and down on a pogo stick and a lady was dressed up as a headmistress in a rather wild wig. The guy on the pogo stick was all over the place and how he didn't fall off I will never know but suffice to say it was so so funny! The headmistress's job was to interview the jockeys who were all dressed up as school girls with names like Shazza, Chantelle and Britney.

These were no ordinary school girls, they were the most tarty, outrageous and naughty school girls I have ever seen and Britney turned out to be a man in a very short skirt, pigtails and showing off a lot of skin. The interviews were very funny. The last one to be interviewed was contestant no 4, Martin, a young boy, who arrived for his interview, piggy back style, on the back of the guy on the pogo stick. He was like a koala bear hanging on for grim death as his head was getting thrown back and forth like a wee rag doll. It was hysterical! The race itself turned out to be an obstacle course complete with sack race, egg and spoon etc with lots of cheating, pushing and shoving and the whole place erupted with laughter and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night.

Race no 2, The Numpty National, was an audience participation one. Six contestants were put into fancy dress costumes with horses sticking out the front and then they had to leap a couple of fences to get to the finish line. But they weren't running as they were at the mercy of a pair of dice that decided which horse was allowed to go and how many steps they were allowed to take. It was a nail biting finish but great great fun.

After Race 3, The Business Boorach, in which the contestants were in home made planes, the laughter became too much and the fun and games was halted for half time and stovies. Forget the food, I had to rush to the toilet cos all that laughter was having an adverse affect on my bladder. Thank god for pelvic floor exercises otherwise I would have had to nip to the shop for a packet of Tena Lady!

The stovies were delicious, even the vegetarian option looked yummy so everyone was catered for. Also on the tables there was a mini quiz which was totally doing my head in cos it was making me really think and it was a real conversation starter cos we were all brain storming and sharing answers. Not that we needed a conversation opener cos everyone at our table got on so well and there was a healthy bit of competition going on especially as my sister, Kay seemed to be on a winning streak with her bets. Some of us were cheating and waiting for her to make her selection before we made ours,in the hope that she would win again which she did. Bitch!

Ah but I won a raffle prize, woo hoo, a voucher for a local restaurant so I was a happy bunny. Little pleases little minds eh.

Race no 4 was my favourite, Mascots at Ascot and again it was R.B.S staff dressed up this time as Scottie Dog, Mr Blobby, Defor Dog, Brigsy, Smashed Smurf and Topcat. God I would love to be inside the head of the person who thinks these things up, it would be such a party!

The interviews were the funniest yet, especially when Defor the Dog got the hots for Scottie Dog while he was being interviewed and I really thought I was gonna die laughing when the camera panned to Defor running in slow motion to Scottie Dog and J'taime was the accompanying song. Also Defor was very naughty and peed on the interviewers leg! Very very clever and so effective.

Again it was an obstacle course but different from the previous one and the contestants were severely hampered by their costumes this time and they kept getting distracted by each other. I didn't think Smashed Smurf really had a hope in hell and Topcat seemed to have a clear lead but Defor Dog pipped him at the post, even though he had stopped for a sniff of Scottie Dog's butt! Most impressive especially when I had bet on him and was quids in! Oh I was on a roll!
The surprise was that Smashed Smurf pulled it out of the bag and hit the finish line at the exact same moment as Defor so it was a tie. Just goes to prove that doing an assault course under the influence was a major plus!

Race 5, The Allsorts Amble was another audience participant game and this time it was men dressed as cleaners and again at the mercy of two dice. We had a clear winner and I was jumping up and down cos I had bet on him but the race wasn't over cos we needed a runner up. It was a real nail biter and I was literally on the edge of my seat and I let out a whoop when my other bet won second place. I nearly sprinted up to get my winnings - a whole £3 I'll have you know!

Last but no means least, race 6, The Lambshank Redemption was my second favourite race. This time it was sheep that were racing and their "jockeys" had names like Juan Sheet, Sheepshit Sheppi and Dolly. My mate Angie was Dolly and her husband was coerced into being Juan Sheet and all the interviews were again totally hysterical. I placed a bid to be the owner of Dolly's sheep along with another of Dolly's supporters but alas we were out bid. What a pile of sheet shit huh?

Well again, I had two bets, Dolly and Minty Muttondressed. It was the last race and everyone really got into it and we were all yelling at the screen and folk were whooping and hollering when Minty Muttondressed won. Me especially as I then had more winnings to collect. Who knew betting could be this much fun?

After the thank you speeches, they put on some music and the first tune to come on was Dolly Parton 9-5. My mate Emma said to Angie, here's your song and Angie is like "yeah it's a cool song" and was boogieing in her seat and the song was nearly over before the penny dropped and she said "oh hey, it's Dolly!" at which point Emma and I are both like "Duh" as we all fell about laughing!

What can I say, this was one of the best nights out I have had this year. The Royal Bank of Scotland staff had so much fun arranging it, that was obvious to see in the video footage which must have taken up hours of their spare time, a lot of organisation and the attention to detail was impressive.

My only complaint is that I still don't know the bloody answers to the mini quiz! Grrrr so now I will just have to go to their next charity event to badger them for the answers or perhaps this is the same mini quiz that they have at all their events and they don't give out the answers till the end of the fund raising year! Now that is very sneaky and clever but it will be no hardship to go to another of their events if they turn out to be as much fun as this one.

Lastly, just how am I supposed to keep a straight face the next time I am doing my banking at RBS? It's not like I won't recognise any of the "jockeys" so will have to restrain myself from cracking up laughing while in the queue for the tellers or everyone will think I have lost the plot! What? Of fuck, you mean they already know? Ah well I will be in good company with the nutters at the Royal Bank of Scotland :-)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Disability and Me

This week I have had quite a few appointments with Jack and a review at the respite unit he uses.

My first appointment, on Tuesday was at the High School to meet up with the physio to try out a standing frame for Jack. I feel like I have come full circle because when Jack was just over 1, I was given a standing frame for him. I was told he would never walk so being the type of person I am, I made it my mission to prove them wrong but I have to say I nearly fell at the first hurdle when I saw this wooden torture chamber that we had to use. For the first week I kinda of gave it a kick every time I passed it, so angry was I that my poor boy had to be subjected to this but once I got over that it was full steam ahead. Together with endless exercises and this standing frame, he eventually managed to stand alone and then he was off and running, literally!

Jack soon learnt to walk, run, climb and was always on the go. I was so proud of him. He loved being outside, always at the back door turning the handle to try and get into the garden. He had no sense of danger though so a high fence had to be put up and the gate kept locked. The garden soon became his playground and the trampoline was his favourite thing. Holly and I nicknamed him Tigger cos he was always bouncing!

Then the seizures started and life as we knew it changed drastically.

Now we have come full circle and my little Tigger can no longer stand never mind walk, run or climb.

My reaction to this standing frame was so very very different to 11 years ago. This time I saw it with new eyes. My first thought was how the hell am I supposed to get him into it myself? But then it was wheeled through and lo and behold it ran on a battery and you just used the controls to lie it flat so that he could be hoisted onto it and then strapped in. God how times have changed, this was so much easier than trying to keep him upright and fastening the straps at the same time. This piece of equipment was metal with a funky cover on it and looked so much more modern and I didn't feel the urge to give it a kick at all!

Once Jack was safely fastened into it, they used the controls to straighten him up into a standing position and that's when I realised how tall he was. He looked so straight in it and he was looking straight at me, eyes wide open, taking it all in cos suddenly his world had tilted and he was seeing it from a long forgotten view. I had a huge lump in my throat and tears were stinging my eyes but I held them in cos I was not gonna show my feelings in front of half of Kestrel House, no way hose!

The coolest thing about this standing frame is that it is on wheels so you can wheel it about while he is in it so there is so much more he can see. The world around Jack will open up again and hopefully he will continue to be alert while he is using it. Watch this space.

While at the school the new teacher, Kate, who has been on the Move programme, asked did I think it was a good idea for Jack to be out of his chair in the afternoon? Well, hello?? Yes most definitely. Good she said cos that would really benefit him to be on a mat, so he could move around by himself. Only problem she said was persuading the "girls" who work with him cos they are not happy! Wtf? Apparently they wanted me to show them how to hoist him onto the floor!
Eh?? Isn't it just the same as hoisting him onto a changing table?

So the two girls in question were brought over and were laughing cos they knew how to do this don't you know so I'm like "well what is your issue then?" Turns out they are used to doing this type of thing as a group and it was deviating from their "usual"! From where I was standing it looked to me like they were just resisting cos it meant that once he was on the floor it would only need one to look after him and they wouldn't get to chat to each other!!!

It totally frustrates me and makes me angry when the very people who are supposed to be helping Jack are often the ones who put most obstacles in his way. When are they gonna start thinking outside the box? This is about Jack and most definitely not about them unless of course it was a Health and Safety issue which it most definitely is not. Then they asked me "well what if he has a seizure?" at which point I did laugh cos really? you're kidding right? If he is on the floor, lying on a padded mat then that is one of the safest places to have a seizure cos he has nowhere to fall and nothing to bang into while thrashing about. As you can imagine my stress levels were rising with their attitude.

I still don't think they are happy but Kate was adamant that she wanted this to happen, I just hope she is strong enough to smash through their obvious reluctance to change the status quo.

My next appointment, straight after the physio was with the Hygienist at the Dentist. The lady who sees Jack is just lovely and is very gentle but firm with him and gently looks and feels inside his mouth like the professional she is and it doesn't faze her that he might inadvertently bite her. She managed to get his teeth polished this time and he was so very good. She always asks how he is doing and how I am and I came out of there feeling totally chilled which I was needing after my earlier school visit.

I left there to go straight to Dr Gray's hospital to see the Dietician. Again, no stress with this appointment as the dietician is lovely and puts you at ease straight away. She doesn't laugh off my questions or worries and listens to what I have to say and adjusts his feed etc as necessary.

Leaving there, I was feeling that my brain was gonna explode cos over the morning I had to answer/ask so many questions and sometimes it just gets too much! Having a child who cannot speak for themselves takes so much out of you at times, that and the endless driving to and from appointments, the stress of getting parked in the limited parking available, trying to fit in feeds/water boluses in between, taking medication with you: it takes multi tasking to a whole new blinking level!

Jack, meanwhile was totally chilled and having a good laugh at the fact that his mum had literally started gibbering. And I wonder why I struggle to remember my own name sometimes! Well that's my excuse and I am sticking to it :-)

Two days later, I had the review at the respite unit. Luckily I didn't need to take Jack but I did take Granny Mac for moral support as the organisation that has caused me the most stress this year is definitely this place.

To let you understand, Jack gets 4 overnight stays in the respite unit a month. Usually a weekend: Friday afternoon to Monday morning and another 1 night slotted in somewhere in the month. They rarely cancel the night on it's own but recently they have cancelled parts of my weekend, usually with only two days notice. This has played havoc on what little social life I have and I have arranged to go and stay with a friend 3 times this year and 3 times they have cancelled one of my nights. It is a 3 and a half hour journey to her house, hardly worth going for a night when I am already shattered.

Sometimes it is the Friday night which means he then doesn't go in again til 2.30pm the next day, other times it is the Sunday night and I had to come back early from a weekend away with my sisters but it is when they cancel the Saturday night in the middle of my weekend that it upsets me the most. I mean wtf? What can you do with that? Bugger all let me tell you as the first night of respite, if I am not going away I just collapse on the sofa in an exhausted heap.

Jack's key worker at the unit has been a great support and at the meeting encouraged us to make a formal complaint about the cancellations, saying it won't be resolved really unless parents start bringing it to the attention of the senior management. So she gave us the relevant details of who to send our complaints to so that is my mission this week at some point. Granny Mac has the details so I will wait til she has finished before I start my "novel" to the Head Honchos.

After spending an hour and a half in there, I then had to head home and finish filling in forms for Holly so that I could hand them into the local council offices as the deadline was that day. Arrived back to a message on the answering machine from the school O.T. re Jack's school chair. That's a different O.T. to the one I had to call already this week re Jack's shower/shower chair. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Now my will is totally being sucked. If this was a job, I could clock off at the designated time but for the many parents out there in the same position, there is no "home time" or "holidays" from this type of work.

Even my ex, when we were divorcing, reckoned I should be working cos Jack isn't that disabled!

Oh it must be nice to be on his planet, no disability there huh? I reckon he is on the same planet as half of the professionals we meet in our child's lifetime, the rest are just like us,they no speaka alien! Ha ha ha :-)

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