Daily Archives: May 9, 2007

Bank Holiday

This is where I will put some photos and stories about our amazing bank holiday break here to balance the frustration of the other two moany bloggings and to reassure the world that I am not on the verge of cracking by any stretch of the imagination.

However, first I must stir my stumps and tackle Dad’s garden.

And find the camera and get my photos onto Flikr

And go and kick my central heating boiler.


I am glad that I know that life is likely to throw me brickbats to see how I react.

I am not reacting well this afternoon because I am procrastinating instead of getting on with things, but in a minute I’ll pull my socks up (literally, seeing as it’s a bit blustery round the ankles outside) and get on with the million and one things I’m trying to avoid thinking about at the moment. Because those million and one things are centred squarely (can you be centred squarely? Is it appropriate for a Maths teacher to talk in those terms?) around Dad.

The thing is, I had a phone call yesterday. The buyer, who so enthusiastically made an offer on Dad’s bungalow before it had even gone on the market, pulled out yesterday. Cold feet at the thought of so major a move, I guess. Four weeks short of signing on the dotted line, our buyer suddenly vanishes and we’re back at square one. Before square one, in fact, because we hadn’t even got so far as the estate agents making up their details.

The timing is a bit of a pain because this weekend I had realised how desperate I am to have closure as far as the bungalow is concerned. It’s starting to wear on me emotionally and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to go round there – it seems so empty and soulless. I’m not mourning Dad – I miss him dreadfully, but I’m not grieving as such. I guess I did plenty of grieving in the months before he died and I’d lost him in many senses long since. The bungalow doesn’t remind me of him at all – it seems obstinately to rub in the fact that there’s no sense of him left there at all. He doesn’t live there any more, he’s moved on to a new and better home, but the bungalow seems to sit there saying it doesn’t really care, doesn’t really miss him… and because of it I simply don’t want to go in.

With the garden it’s almost the opposite. That seems to be saying “where is he?” The camelia and the peach tree blossomed beautifully and seemed to be waiting for him to come and rejoice in their beauty… and the petals have dropped, unfulfilled. The garden seems to miss him. It is overgrown and needs a good weeding out and tidying up… but I don’t want to go there because I can’t explain to the plants that he’s gone. Stupid, isn’t it?
(Bet you’re scratching your heads and thinking “She never seemed such a weirdo!” .. or maybe you aren’t!)

Two days ago I had said to myself “It’s OK, you don’t need to go in there for a week or two. Just leave it and get on with your own home”. Then this phone call. So today and tomorrow I need to go round and tidy up, brighten it up, put flowers in the vases and weed the garden, make the empty shell feel warm and welcoming again, ready for the estate agent to go in and take photographs on Friday and begin the procedure of selling.
Ho hum.

Good job I never quite allowed myself to get to the point of believing it’d all go through.

Between a rock and a hard place.

I am contemplating renaming Smudgie Towers as “Betwixt and between” seeing as my life seems to pootle along in this style, as a friend kindly commented. In fact, the bungalow itself is a bit betwixt and betweeen at the moment as I try to find a method of keeping it habitable despite the ravages of two boys, two gerbils and a cat. Mind you, the gerbils are really quite well behaved. They have a new, luxury cage and seem to be making the most of their new abode. Perhaps the rest of the family could take lessons…

There again, I’m a fine one to talk, sitting here on the computer as a good excuse to avoid doing all the tasks awaiting me. I’ll explain why I’m procrastinating so much in my next post, I think.

The betwixt and between is, of course, primarily a boy-based problem. You recall my pronouncement that Tiddles was having a good fortnight? If ever I mention that again, please remind me to keep my mouth shut.. or should that be, to keep my fingers still? Massive explosion for the two days prior to returning to my brother’s. All I can say is that it is a good job the child minder is such a patient and supportive friend… and I had to admit to being relieved that for once someone else was ititially on the receiving end and could actually say “So that’s what you’re handling” rather than “I can’t believe it, he’s always so lovely”. I pulled a fast one at one point, though. He refused to go to his room when I sent him there… then went into his room to get something while declaring his intention to call social services. I said “Come here with me, then, while we call them” and he refused, stating that I wasn’t going to get him to come out of his bedroom. “Good boy, for going into your room and staying there as I asked you to”, I said calmly as I closed the door and walked away. 😀

Trouble is, there’s a camp in two weeks’ time that he really wants to go on. I was reluctant – he doesn’t cope well with lack of sleep at all – but thought it might make a good motivator to say that he could go as long as his work was up to date and he had no violent tantrums. It was something I was quite happy to follow through on… until now when I find myself really needing to follow it through and not wanting to. I don’t want to because Smudgelet is now going and Tiddles will make his life a misery if he, Tiddles, is not allowed to go too. Also, for the first time in ages, I found myself able to go to a hen party on the mainland – a meal and a trip to the theatre with my colleagues from work – which I’ll have to cancel in favour of staying at home with an angry and resentful teenager for four days. Oh bliss. Between a rock and a hard place indeed.

Incidentally, you’ll be pleased to know (though hardly as pleased as I am!) that he has been called for an interview at the boarding school which looks like his saving grace. Typical for my rock and hard place habit, the date of his interview happened to be unalterable… and the day of Smudgelet’s birthday party! Smudgelet can’t come with us, he has to stay for the weekend with Honorary Auntie M. It took all my powers of persuasion to sell this to him as a preferable alternative to having a birthday party (He loves having a sleepover at M’s, but….) and to stop him seeing it as his brother’s needs once again being given priority over his. All credit to him, he’s upset but philosophical and making the best of a bad deal.

Now all we need is for Tiddles to get his act together sufficiently to make a good impression at the interview….