The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm "special" me!

I went to the opticians today. I haven't been for seven or eight years, pretty much just because I'm too lazy/disorganised to get check ups when it aint broke in the first place! I had my eyes lasered about 10 years ago, which was fantastic - I would recommend it to anyone - and went back fairly regularly for a couple of years to make sure there were no problems. there weren't, and I had other pressures on my time, and it just sort of fell to the back of my priorities.

But a few weeks ago I noticed that I was getting more headaches - and they were coming after hard days at work staring at a computer screen. Once I thought about it, I started to notice that things weren't as clear as they used to be. Everything was starting to look a little fuzzy round the edges - which while it was a bonus in some ways as we all get older:-), was obviously something that needed to be checked out. So on Friday I popped into a local opticians, and made an appointment for lunch time today.

My optician was quite lovely - if only dentists could learn that kind of bedside manner! He checked through my history, didn't complain that io hadn't been for a decade or so, and had a good look in my eyes. "hmmmmm" he said thoughtfully, "that's strange."

he explained that there was no sign of either the laser traetment or my previous (severe) short sightedness. he would normally expect to see something of both. Also my optic nerve was totally round, and most people have a dip in it. Which makes me quite unusual. Add into that the fact that the optic nerve had "blurred bounderies" when it should be very defined (I have no idea what he was on about tbh) and he decided that it bore further checking out. So I got the full kit and kaboodle of eye tests, from puffy air to computer game flashing lights, and in the end he was happy that everything checked out fine - I was just "special".

Oh yes, and I have a really bad astigmatism in one eye and am very slightly short-sighted again. This is probably not a terrible thing as most people lose their near sight from their early 40's, which isn't amazingly far away. He asked whether i would be wanting laser surgery again, as he doubted that anyone would be willing to do it a second time. I pointed out that actually it would be a third time as they got it a bit wrong the first time and had to correct one eye with a second blast, but no, life was different now, my eyesight was not that bad and glasses would be fine for work & driving. Before I could not see my hand when held at arms length, whereas now it takes a millisecond to focus on small print at a distance - not quite the same!

He even came out and helped me chose a suitable frame - without immediately trying to flog me "designer" frames at silly prices. They should be ready in a week or so. Whooppee. he also tried to tell me that I ought to get my employer to pay for the test. I knew that, but said I didn't think it was worth fighting over for £18. I'm busy trying to persuade them to do bigger things at the moment, so I'm making a tactical decision to be one of those awful people who do not fight for their rights, and paid for it myself. tut tut, I am very unimpressed with myself, but the practicalities of a miserly small firm are that you can only fight one battle at a time...

Oh and Aggie has gone and got pleurisy - stupid boy! So he's not able to do a lot at the moment, what with having problems breathing and all. Just another excuse not to do the DIY if you ask me.... Still the doc has given him some antibiotics, so hopefully it will clear up in a week or so. THEN I'll have a nice list of things ready for him:-)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy families

I'm not quite sure what has happened, but my kids all seem to be nice!

The girls have been playing really well together recently - happily going up to a bedroom to play when asked too! Mstr A hasn't had much of a tantrum for days - and I have even been able to talk him out of his tears reasonably easily. They were all wonderful at the re-enactment at the weekend - playing with bigger and smaller children, being (mostly) polite to the adults and going to bed with reasonably minimal fuss (they still woke at 6am, but you can't have everything in a tent). They each made friends and played well.

Mstr A has been doing really well at school too. We saw his teacher just before half term and she said that he mostly does his work at the allocated time, and has not had to be sent out of the classroom all term. He's had a head teachers award, and been voted lead speaker at the harvest assembly. He says the other children don't play with him at playtime still, but we're working on his understanding of rules - and personal space - still.

LMB doesn't seem to have learned anything whatsoever of academic use at school. But she seems to be having a great time there. She's been invited to two birthday parties, and had a couple of friends come and play. Her best friend is the little sister of one of Mstr A's best friends, which is great:-)

LMD is just the cutest little madam in the world. It's true - it's not just me who thinks so - everyone who meets her says how cute she is, and then she talks at them and they all ask to take her home:-) Although none of them do - even when I offer!

Aggie is settling into life at home - he's done well with the kids for the last week, taking them off to places and doing stuff with them. He's not been so great at understanding that housework still needs to be done, but perhaps he'll learn after I've moaned enough!

The family is just feeling a lot more settled all round really. And the many cuddles we get are fantastic. Having three kids is starting to make more sense at last:-)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Radiator Pants

That light at the end of the tunnel is definitely getting brighter:-)

For the first time in ages, we made it through to the end of the month without hitting our overdraft limit. Obviously being in the black would be better, but not taking out more than we put in is a good start:-) Admittedly this was helped by Aggie getting the back pay he was owed, and my mum coughing up for all my travel to London (she even sent me a cheque to cover the extra train fare which was nice), but still, finances are `starting to seem manageable again at last.

This weekend we're off to try out our new re-enactment group. It's one we've had connections with for some years, but never joined for various reasons. Some of thise reasons do not exist any more and others are less important, and we're hoping to dual group next season so that we can still do plenty of events, but only local(ish) ones as the travelling is getting too much. Plus it gives us the chance to learn plenty of new stuff, and for the kids to make some new friends as there are more children in this group. Hopefully it will go well this weekend.

We've even had a couple of nights out - I went off to see Spamalot with sister S while in London for her birthday. It was very entertaining. I did not think much of the London Saturday night crowds though. I'm sure it's got worse in the past decade or so. I felt very provincial, which was strange. I know that i haven't lived in London for the whole of my adult life, and that I don't like it much, but it was strange to feel provincial in a city that I grew up in.

Then last night me and Aggie went off to see Russell Howard. Best known from Mock the Week, but he was far better than I expected. Not only laugh out loud hilarious, but spouting off some fairly fantastic political hits too. If you get the chance, go see him. If not, check him out on YouTube - but you'll have to wait until his 2007 tour is shown to find out why my life is feeling like radiator pants again at last.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woo Hoo

I know it's been a while since my last post, but there's not been a lot to say. Life has just been continuing really!

I'm past the nice introductory bit of my college course now and it's starting to get quite complicated. I'm managing to find a bit of time each week to do some stuff, but not really enough. I really want to keep up with the work this year and try and get a reasonable pass without secluding myself away and stressing about cramming for the last two weeks!

work is trudging along. Nothing new particularly. My typing is getting faster so I run out of work every now and then, which is boring. But then again, every now and then I have tons and tons of it, so it averages out. Shame it doesn't come through in a steady stream rather than stops and starts.

LMD has decided to be a baby again and has gone back into nappies full time:-( LMB is at that "screaming" age. She screams when she is happy, she screams when she is excited. She screams when she is angry. She screams when she is hurt. 4 year old screams are very loud and ver piercing:-(

Aggie is learning how to stay at home and we were starting to get into a bit of a routine. But it's half term now, so he's on child care duties. Next week it will be back to DIY:-) He will probably be officially finishing work at the end of November, so it's a while before we get any money still.

But my mother was contacted today by the competition people and it does seem that I actually have won a car! WOO HOO. They still have to register it to her, then we have to actually sell it, but WOO HOO! I won a car!!!!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bloody tubes!

Bloody idiot tube management!

I took the coach into London yesterday. It dropped me off at Marble Arch, so then i travelled right across the central line to meet up with my brother. Later yesterday evening I took the overground in to Liverpool street and the tube right into the west end, then back out again at the end of the evening. That covered a fair bit of london throughout a fair bit of Saturday.

I am a competent tube travellor. i know my way around all the major stations without worry. I do not have to concentrate or search where I am going. I have time to look around me at the people and places and pretty murals.

I was travelling either with my mother or my sister. Both Londoners who use the tubes pretty regularly.

NONE OF US SAW ANY SIGNS suggesting that there was any planned works this weekend.

So when it was time to return to Marble Arch to catch the coach back home again today, I confidently left a full hour to do a 20 minute journey. My mother dropped me off at the station, and even waited while I looked in to see if there were any problems. Nothing. No signs, no tannay announcments. Nothing. I waved goodbye and she drove off as i walked over the footbridge, and paid to go onto the correct platform.

THERE, after I had paid, there was a notice board up telling me that half the central line was not running today due to planned engineering works!

It was too late to go to another station and take a different line. I was stuck with going a couple fo stops then taking the train replacement bus to Stratford. Time was ticking by - I had to wait for the train from the first station, wait for the bus, wait in the traffic.... I thought there might have been a bus from Stratford to Marcle Arch, but apparently not, so I had to wait for the next train to Liverpool Street. It was looking unlikely that i would make it to the coach on time.

I got to Liverpool street and there they had put up a sign telling us that half the whole bloody network was cancelled for planned engineering works! I couldn't get anywhere without at least another few changes. I had no hope of making it anywhere near Marble Arch in time to catch my bus.

I thought about gouing as far west as possible and hitching home, but it was already getting dark and Aggie was not happy with that idea at all, so in the end I trundled around pretty much every bit of London transport that was still working to get to Paddington and caught a train home. It cost £50.

£50 on top of the £30 I had already paid for the coach that i couldn't get to because they couldn't be bothered to put signs up about PLANNED works the day before.

I am VERY VERY VERY pissed of now.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

As luck would have it...

Yesterday it seemed our luck had turned. everything started to come together.

I've spent the past week at work downstairs with the rest of the admin staff covering while the main typist is sunning herself on holiday. It's worked out OK - they have seen that I'm not hiding away upsatirs drinking coffee and chatting, but actually work pretty hard;-) I have helped a couple of them with some stuff, and got a better understanding of the problems/issues in the company. All in all, I'm feeling pretty happy there at the moment, which is nice. I'm starting to really get an understanding of the cases - it's much easier when I've been there from start through to finish! And to be trusted to do a fair bit of stuff myself, which makes me feel happier.

Aggie received his letter from work saying he is permently disabled from his profession. this may not sound great, but it solves a lot of problems. not least the stress of worrying about him as really he is not able to work full time/regularly. Although it also reduces the time pressure on me as he can cover the occasional school pick up and some holidays. By being disabled out rather than sacked, we get a small pension paid, which means that, added to my salary, we may be able to afford to live. Not well, but live:-) The lump sum will (I think) cover all of our debts other than the mortgage, so our outgoings will reduce and finances will become manageable.

Of course, none of that will actually happen until they do all the paperwork - currently we're looking at the end of November. But it is all agreed and sorted and we can plan our future again.

Also I looked at our small critical illness insurance policy. I read it, and read it then read it again. then I read through all the exclusion clauses, and compared their term to Aggie's letter of medical retirement. i reckon they will have to pay out! I can't see any way out of it. I'm sure they'll try, but I think we may be able to pay of a good £40% of our mortgage! If that works out, we may even have a small disposable income each month! WOW - I can't remember what disposable income is!

Oh yes. I got a distinction in my first essay for college:-) Although, it's easy when you have the book in front of you. I'm a bit more concerned about when I have to do the essays under exam conditions.

And I think i might have won one of these:

It's a G-Wiz electric car.

I'm not getting too excited until I actually see it. But, I entered an internet competition a few months ago - one of these things where you answer some consumer questions and get entered into a prize draw for your time. And they have phoned and emailed me to say i've won. I can't find anything on the email that says it is a model car, or that i have to pay anything, or that the prize requires me to do anything. So Maybe........

I've asked for it to be delivered to my mother's as it's really only any good in London. Then with luck, it will sell easily and buy me a holiday or something. Maybe a motorbike:-)


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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Getting sorted

Clever Aggie spent this morning putting together LMD's mid-sleeper bed for her. It was a bit of work as we got it off freecycle, with some fixings, no instructions and from a guy who had never seen it put together in the first place! As we had collected not only the bed but some miscellaneous bits of wood and half a wardrobe as well, Aggie had to work out what went where, why and how before even starting the hard`work of assembling it. Along the way he discovered that some bits had already been "bodged a bit":-) and that it was 1cm longer than the previous bed we had in there, which meant it didn't actually fit between the walls!

But he managed to sort everything out and she now has her own bed with a ladder and a desk so she can be the same as LMB. It also means I can now really get knuckled down to sorting out all their stuff. I've almost finished sorting LMB's room. What she has got in there is all that she is having in there! I've just got the last couple of toy drawers to fill up and Aggie has to put up a shelf and she's done. If she wants anything else she will have to decide what will be removed to make space for it.

LMD's room will be the same hopefully in another week or so. Once I've worked out what she can have in there, everything else will be taken away and hopefully the concept of tidying up each day will be drummed into them:-)

I wonder if there are any indoor car boot sales around here? :-)

Next job is for us (Well, Aggie) to finish the last bits of DIY in the girls rooms and to get on with finishing our bedroom walls (long time readers will remember that this was on his To Do list over a year ago!) so that we can sort out our bedroom and then we are`well on our way to getting things sorted:-)

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's official

Aggie is a drain on society, a layabout, part of the non-working classes and absolutely, without doubt, a cripple.

Yep, he's finally been retired from work on health grounds. Yipee, now I can get back to my favourite passtime of planning for an improbable future:-0 It's certainly better than worrying about an actual present;-)

Of course, although it means that it's all official now, and he won't have to go back to work, it's not all finalised yet with dates and amounts etc, so no money has materialised yet! Not even the back pay for the last three months which he is owed (they stopped paying him anything when he hit 6 months sick, but they were supposed to pay him pension rate as he was going through the pension process....) But it will come. One day.

The lump sum should pay off all our debts (other than mortgage), and then we just have to re-learn how to live within our means. As no-one will be stupid enough to lend us any more money, that shouldn't be too hard:-) My salary will slowly increase - eventually. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally appearing.

Aggie is hoping to go off to uni next year - which gives him a full year to get himself and the house sorted out. he has to do it in slow time nowadays, but stuff still needs doing, so hopefully he'll have the time to do it!

It also means I will stay in my local job for a while yet - which is the easier option:-)

Here's to the future!

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