This is a photo of the plug connector, sitting on a ruler. As you can see, it is almost 1cm wide.
It is customary to think about the last twelve months at this time of year. Then, having swept away those cobwebs, set out our hopes for the next year. I have been reading a lot of people’s blogs this weekend. Inspirational people. People who nurture our children on a daily basis. People who work so hard, with such commitment, yet get more and more heaped upon them. I am so glad to be out of that world.
It would be impossible to list my hopes and fears for 2014 (unless I decide to write a book again). But this is my chance to set myself some targets for the coming year. To be fair, some of these are more easily achieved than others – especially those which focus on others in my life. But I’m a mother and grandmother so anything’s possible.
1. I need to take better care of my body by eating more sensibly and taking more exercise. I hate exercise. I love eating. It’s a problem.
2. I need to cut myself some slack in my caring role. The world will not come to an end if I have an afternoon out at the shops.
3. I must stop spoiling my two grandsons so much. No matter how many times I say it, I know I still fail because they are adorable and I just want to bury my face in them both and breathe them in day and night. How is it physically possible to love two little people so much?
4. I want my number one daughter to try and relax more and stop trying to be Mrs. Perfect at Everything. I fear for her physical and mental health if she continues to burn at the current rate. Something’s got to give. At Christmas, I saw her relax and laugh more than she has in a while. It was good to see and I hope she takes more time to do so this year.
5. That brings me to daughter number two. My hopes for her are that she can finally find a gorgeous man (of whatever creed or colour) who will make her happy, respect her and her funny little ways, surround her with love and want to be with her as much as she wants to be with him. She deserves this so much.
6. I must remember to kiss my darling husband every day without fail. We have been together for 41 years now. Each day is better than the one before. He is my best friend and I don’t tell him this enough. I must also stop nagging him so much.
7. I started my current blog last year. I also invented Ava Whinge and her daily whinge. This didn’t last long as I ran out of things to whinge about. However, I hope to get back to blogging more regularly.
8. I’m dreadful at starting new things with great gusto and then giving up. This is true of my first novel. I wrote madly for months and then couldn’t finish it. It is still lying there, taunting me. I must try to reread it and get it finished. I think it is a pretty good storyline and deserves an ending.
9. I have done things I regret. They are in the past but they still needle me from time to time. I need to either let them lie or try to put them right, where possible.
10. I need to stop worrying about the ‘what ifs’. I should live for today and let tomorrow take its course. It is hard to predict what the next year will bring. No doubt there will be joy and tears. But we are a strong family and as long as we have each other, we can get through good times and bad, all pulling together.
I am still caring for my father. To be fair, he isn’t really much trouble and is perfectly happy in his own room, watching TV or listening to Classic FM. I make his food, wash and iron his clothes, do his shopping, help him with personal care and make sure his money is safe and working well for him. The vast majority of the time, this works well.
Of course, it has its moments. One of the worst parts is the fact that I am not free. Not free to have a lie-in. Not free to have a weekend away. Not free to just go out for the day. Luckily, I am a bit of a home bird and enjoy being ‘in’. I am also a very popular neighbour – always there to take in people’s deliveries!
I also feel bad for my husband, who actually would like to go out with me sometimes too. We can make arrangements, of course, but it requires preparation and emergency procedures. We have Telecare in Hartlepool and this is brilliant. Dad wears a button on his wrist and knows that if he falls or is worried about anything, help will be there in a few minutes. We also use an app which lets me see him on my laptop webcam from my phone, as long as we are somewhere with a wi-fi signal.
Not every day is good. Occasionally we have worrying events which make me think that perhaps there is some dementia there or at least some brain damage caused by the mini-strokes he has suffered. A few days ago I heard him shouting. I went upstairs to find him sitting on a small oak table on the landing, pants and trousers round his ankles. He thought he was at the toilet. Fortunately, he had not ‘been’ and called for me when realising his mistake. Perhaps the small fibre optic Christmas tree he had crushed brought him to his senses and made him realise his mistake? It is the sort of thing you laugh about afterwards but still leaves you with worries for the future.
My days are mapped out and run according to the clock. Spontaneity is not an option. We are back to the issue of holiday care as have booked ourselves a cruise in March, having sold our lovely motorhome as we aren’t free to use it as we used to. The lovely home where dad went last time doesn’t have a respite care room so you run the risk of finding they have no rooms available the week before your holiday. I’ve been investigating live-in care. It isn’t cheap but that’s not the issue. My greatest worries are that we’ll get someone who is not suitable or who doesn’t look after him as well as I’d like. What if they don’t respect my lovely house? Have wild parties? Don’t stay in the house with dad? I’ve always had ‘trust’ issues!
Being a carer has its ups and downs. I’m certainly not complaining as this is something I chose to do. I was under no pressure to do it. But I hope that by writing about my experiences, it might help others in the same boat or those considering caring for an elderly relative.
This joke hit my email inbox this morning. It made me smile so I thought I’d share it with you.
A group of chaps, all in their 40’s, discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Bridgnorth because the waitresses had big boobs & wore mini skirts.
Ten years later, all in their 50’s, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Bridgnorth because the food and service was good and the beer was excellent.
Ten years later, all in their 60’s, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Bridgnorth because they could dine in peace and quiet and it was good value for money.
Ten years later, all in their 70’s, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Bridgnorth because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a lift for the disabled.
Ten years later, all in their 80’s, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Bridgnorth because they had never been there before…