This week, I am mostly ranting about … everything

STOP! There is swearing.

Aroogah! Aroogah!

Let’s kick off with a profanity warning: there will be some.

There.

So if you don’t like the F word, do not read this. Especially do NOT read this all the way though and then complain it’s full of swearing or I will flipping well lamp you. And if you’re a bit iffy about swearing, but can cope, you’re probably alright for most of this post but you will want to avoid the song at the end.

_________________________________

OK, if we’re all sitting comfortably, I’ll begin.

Right now, I feel a bit like this. Not crap exactly, just a bit … blergh … or possibly meh.

The fact is, while I think I might be quite loving, I doubt I’m a very nurturing person. I seem to be bad at caring for people. I need too much space and time alone to get my head together and that is not conducive to surrendering any sizeable amounts of your life to the needs of others, however many times the head says go, the heart sometimes says … well, not no exactly because it’s willing … more like, can’t.

But obviously, I have to. Can’t isn’t one of the options. I have a commitment and it’s nothing close to what most people have to put up with, but the mental and emotional energy it takes to do the negligible amount I do for my parents seems to be disproportionately huge when I add it to the other commitment of being a mum.

This week there was a small blip. Mum and Dad have some living aids in their house that they pay for on lease. It started last week, when they had a call asking if they still wanted all of it, and thinking it was cold callers Mum told the company to take everything way.

Yesterday, I get a panicked call saying, ‘They’re taking the red alarm button, and the alarm that goes off when your Dad gets out of his seat, stop them!’

Except I was at kid’s church, with McMini, so my brother got the call, and mistaking the carer’s phone number for a friend’s, and being in the middle of ‘Comedy Club’ – he’s a teacher and yes, it’s an extra curricular activity at his school – he proceeded to show the boys and girls a thing or two about the art of mimicry. In this case, by answering the call in his impression of David Bellamy (it’s absolutely tip top, I have to hand it to him; imagine a version of Lenny Henry in white, that’s my brother). He then suddenly had to transform to serious, which probably taught the kids far more about comic timing than anything he could have actually planned. I’m still getting giggleback about it though. Mwah hahahargh! I swear I couldn’t make this shit up! And if I did, I’d be panned for making it unrealistic.

So, as McMini and I left the service and I turned my phone on I got a call from my brother. Cue frantic ringing round and I got a company name and a number to ring. After a night stewing, I spent the next day ringing round to get to the bottom of it. Turns out that what we’re paying only covers a fraction of what is in the house. None of us know how we’ve had all this stuff for a year for free but they seem OK with that so long as we pay the full whack from now on or just keep the things we’re actually paying for. Mum remembers their call but didn’t understand what they were talking about.

As the cost of leasing the other stuff is a fair bit, 6 month’s rental is about the same cost of new equipment, I bought replacements for the bits that we hadn’t been paying for which arrived the following day, during my visit, so I was able to install those. The engineer came out to put the other stuff back the following day, too, so all is now peachy. In addition, I explained to them that Mum has dementia too and they will now ring me with any enquiries. I found out some useful stuff, too, like where the heck we got the seat and bed alarm from and whether we are leasing it or own it outright! I had no clue and if Mum ever had, she doesn’t now. So that was a bit of a bonus, even if the method of delivery was less than fun.

Anyway, on the Tuesday, after I’d organised this, I turned to the clock and, joy unbounded, I had a hour left before school run time in which to write. I’d had to send a form declaring my parents have dementia to get the VAT back on the stuff I’d ordered so I’d  photographed it and emailed it off. Needless to say, the moment I sat down at my computer, the company contacted me to say I’d done it wrong so I had to quickly do another one. Then at last, with 20 minutes in hand, which is 400-800 words if I concentrate, I sat down to write.

And I couldn’t.

I was just mentally dead. My mojo had flown and, indeed, it’s been AWOL all week. I like to think it’s pissed off on a drunken bender and will crawl back to me in the equivalent of the wee hours (next week sometime, probably) slurring,

‘I’m sho sorry. I really am. Are you angry with me? Schay you’re not angry with me. I love you Mary, I really really love you, hurrgh bleargh [splat]. etc.’

My mojo is the one on the right. Don’t look at the stain on the carpet or you’ll know I’m a slattern – as well as foul mouthed.

However, I also fear it may be sobbing in a corner somewhere so I have made the odd effort to find it. I managed about 400 words where I knew what was going to happen and just needed to describe it, in my time after sorting the crisis, no creativity required. You know, when you have to get a character from one part of the house to another kind of thing and they walk through a hall which you need to describe, briefly, for later. That kind of thing but there was still no sign of the mojo. Whatever it’s doing, I hope it comes back refreshed.

After that I threw in the towel and heated up some filter coffee, wrote a shopping list of the things I needed to get for supper on the way home with McMini and set off to pick him up from school. We walked home, past the supermarket.

Did I remember to go in and get the shopping?

Did I bollocks?

Did I remember before we’d walked all the way home? Of course not.

The distance I am away from the thing I’ve forgotten is directly proportional to the amount of knee pain I am experiencing at the time. Needless to say, I remembered as we walked into the house, so we had to turn around and go back up the hill. The only positive I can take away from this is that despite my temptation to turn the air blue with invective, the worst word that escaped me was, ‘sperm.’

Snortle.

Yes I said, ‘Oh … sperm!’

Mwahahahaharaargh!

But hey, at least I didn’t say, ‘shit! or fu-beep! or cu-aroooogah.’

Back we trudged, got the stuff, came home. I had to make biscuits with McMini, because I’d promised, even though we didn’t really have time and I was shattered and just wanted to sit down. Then I prepared the veg and the bits of supper I was cooking. According to my fitbit I did two miles back and forth around the house. I just finished in time to squeeze in a quick shower before we ate.

The following day, I did the Sussex run. It wasn’t quite such a good visit, they were both tired, indeed Mum fell asleep over her dinner prompting Dad to shout for me because he was afraid she’d died (bless), and they were less on form, but I did, at least, cheer them up and the carer was around when Dad filled his Tena boots this week, not me. Result!

And this is why I find the care thing difficult. Not because I don’t want to do it. It’s not like it would cross my mind to do anything else. Lord knows they’ve looked after me and now it’s my turn to look after them. I love going to see them because they are hilarious and they are still great fun. Even with the short term memories of a pair of goldfish they are like pied pipers of people – and it’s not as if the memory loss is very noticeable because neither of them has ever been able to find their keys, well … OK the lack of memory is showing with Dad now but he’s got away with it for 12 years.

They are wonderfully, gloriously eccentric and everyone who crosses their path is drawn in, grows to love them, grows to care for them. It is really extraordinary to watch, and kind of cool. Everyone always has, but then, they have always been dynamos in the community, caring for people, visiting them, looking after the elderly the sick and the lonely – even people who are alone for a jolly good reason – and generally just being epic. They’ve had a tramp to stay for the night and Mum has saved two people’s lives that I know of, while Dad, as a teacher, has shaped countless others. They are still working their magic and I want to make the most of it. Likewise, McMini is a gem so I’m not giving up on any of my mum time either.

In short, I wouldn’t do this any differently, I just get frustrated, sometimes, that I seem unable to do anything else as well.

FFS …

The events of those 36 hours sorting the alarms etc pretty much lobotomised the rest of my brain until I sorted it out, and then left it shagged well beyond functionality for some days afterwards. Perhaps that what pre menopausal dementedness comes to when added to the dementedness of the pre menopausal dementia sufferer’s actually, properly, demented parents, and everyone has a little bit of a go, and nobody remembers what in the name of Pete they did.

See how smart he looks? Yeh, that’s a lot smarter than I feel.

Who knows. But I have more and more admiration for people who have no cash to pay for care, who have to look after sick family members 24 hours a day, with no breaks, no let ups. How do they cope? How do they catch a bus or pay a bill or organise a fart in bed with that going on full time? Blimey, I have trouble stringing two sentences together and I don’t have it like them. They must be fucking saints. I have been trying to channel my inner saint. However, he is clearly not like theirs. It is quite clear to me that my saint is like those early hermits; you know, the kind of guy who sat on top of a pillar for 40 years in the desert without speaking – except to shout angry obscenities at anyone who came near so they’d fuck off again – probably while throwing handfuls of his own faeces at them.

And I also have a huge admiration for people who earn a living as carers. They don’t earn that much, and they take a serious amount of flack. My dad gets properly shouty sometimes, usually when he’s feeling undignified. He was heaping invective on the carer on Wednesday, as she changed his tena pants and she was just calm and kind and sweet with him. We all knew he was only shouting because he felt humiliated and wanted it to be over, but there’s a difference between knowing that and not letting it get to you. In her place, I’d have told him to get knotted.

Sometimes, I get how Dad might feel though, why he might be shouty! Jeez I feel like that a lot of the time. There is so much administriviatative shite to do and there are days I want to tell life to just piss off and leave me alone! It wasn’t helped by the fact I had multiple trouser failure this weekend and with one pair left – in the wash – I had to go buy more. All my trousers are through at the arse because I’ve been waiting until the effing shops came up with a choice that was wider than black, black, denim, denim or denim, dark blue or white. Although I do usually like to have one pair of dark blue canvas jeans, but I don’t wear them as much as the others. Indeed they’re not through at the arse, but the zip’s bust. Even so, finding anything else … it’s like the Monty Python Spam sketch.

‘Don’t complain darling, I love black, I’m buying black, black, black, black and black.’

‘Well bully for you but you can sod off! I’m not. I don’t wear black if I can avoid it and certainly not every day.’

I did find a pair of red trousers in H&M but they were three quarter length with faux rips in. I’m too old for faux rips and I’ll knacker them myself soon enough. Then I found some lovely pink ones but only in three quarter length. That said, I have hopes that the pink three quarter lengths may turn up in longs before the year is out. The gentleman in the shop thought they would. Even so, let’s chalk that up as another thing that can piss off! Fashion. I put ‘coloured jeans’ into google and I got a whole load of black, dark blue, denim and white trousers.

‘WHITE AND BLACK ARE NOT FUCKING COLOURS YOU BLIND BASTARDS!’ I shouted, making the cat jump.

Do you mind keeping it down? I’m trying to relax here.

On the upside, despite spending a whole morning looking for trousers, I did manage to replace the three pairs of threadbare-arsed winter trousers I own which haven’t quite gone through. Rock on Mistral’s basement outlet section. And there was me thinking it was a trendy shop for young thin people with no tits! Mwah hahahargh! But I was wrong. I got three pairs of moleskin trousers in light green, wedgewood blue and maroon for £7 a pop. A saving of £105 I think it was. They’re a bit flarey so I’ll have to take them in a little but never mind. Every cloud has a silver lining. I shall return there. Oh yes I will.

Swings and roundabouts, but the mental theme of the entire week in MTM land has definitely been, Fuck Off World!

And when I get like that, I often turn the work of Ian Dury because he was really very good at FOW but in the kind of amusing way that makes it faceable again.

For this particular malaise, a dose of one particular song, ‘Fucking Ada’, does wonders. I suspect it’s not really about a never ending quest for time to think, or the ensuing burn out, or at least not, per se. I should imagine it’s either about the failure of a relationship, or the humiliation of being unable to perform at a one night stand after a culmination of too many one night stands, too many drugs, too much alcohol and altogether too much rock and roll. It could be about depression, too. It could be about all of those things.

Bollocks to that though, because there are sections that perfectly sum up that FOW feeling. And when I’m sad, and angry with myself for not being able to bounce back, and I want the world to just bugger off and leave me alone – not indefinitely, but just for just ten sodding minutes so I can complete a thought – this song is a peach.

There are few things as cathartic as shouting along with Ian for a few minutes. Just make sure the kids are out and you don’t have the windows open. Here it is for your delectation. Words first, vid second.

Fucking Ada, by Ian Dury and the Blockheads

Moments of sadness, moments of guilt
Stains on the memory, stains on the quilt
Chapter of incident, chapter and verse
Sub-heading chronic, paragraph worse

Lost in the limelight, backed in the blaze
Did it for nine pence, those were the days
Give me my acre and give me my plough
Tell me tomorrow, don’t bother me now

Fucking Ada, fucking Ada
Fucking Ada, fucking Ada

Time’s at a distance, time’s without touch
Greed forms the habit of asking to much
Followed at bedtime by builders and bells
Wait til the doldrums which nothing dispels

Idly, mentally, doubtful and dread
Who runs with the beans shall not stale with the bread
Let me lie fallow in dormant dismay
Tell me tomorrow, don’t bother today

Fucking ada, fucking ada
Fucking ada, fucking ada

Tried like a good un, did it all wrong
Thought that the hard way was taking to long
Too late for regret or chemical change
Yesterday’s targets have gone out of range

Failure enfolds me with clammy green arms
Damn the excursions and blast the alarms
For the rest of what’s natural Ill lay on the ground
Tell me tomorrow if I’m still around

Fucking Ada, fucking Ada (ad nauseam)

S0ngwriters: Ian Robins Dury, John George Turnbull

Well, back to running with the beans … It’s Friday and it’s about blummin’ time I wrote something. Well, something other than this gargantuan rant, I mean book something, and hey, I’ve twenty minutes left this week.

In the meantime, here’s the video.

Don’t forget to sing along now.

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18 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

18 responses to “This week, I am mostly ranting about … everything

  1. Can I join you in spirit on the ‘slow writer’ thing? I think being forced to write slowly has its own problems, unrelated to the reasons, because of the huge pressure I feel that I’m not doing this indie thing ‘right.’ As if there were a right way.

    I keep telling myself there is an alternate route to marketing success somewhere – and I’ll find it. I do want lots of people to read my books, but not the wrong people, so I have a harder row to hoe. The ‘wrong people’ for MY books don’t like many of the things I do on purpose, so there is no point in persuading them to try: they just leave reviews telling me what they don’t like, which I already knew! They are entitled to what they want, but I’m not their supplier. I wish I were – some of their writers are very prolific, and doing very well indie, and there is a vibrant community which supports each other…

    Take it from me: the problems you are having now will disappear all too soon. The new problems which take their place lack some of the human warmth; don’t be in too much of a hurry.

    • Bless you, you are more than welcome to join me in the slow writers club. I feel the pressure too to keep churning out books and pursue the kind of social media strategy and marketing plan that you can only achieve if you
      a) do not need to sleep. At all or
      B) have nothing but writing in your life.
      I am not that person. I am completely driven to write, I know that. If I wasn’t I would have given up ages ago but … Blimey it’s a tough ride.

      And I promise, I do appreciate what I have. I just wish I had more stamina to enjoy it all. and you’re not alone, feeling the pressure as the market gets more and more crowded and the people with less than six books out per year just … Disappear.

      So yeh. Slow writers, with specific niche readers … We rock. 😉

      Cheers

      MTM

      • I am not disappearing – unless forced to.

        Most people have choices; I don’t. It’s literally this or nothing, so this, slowly, is what I do. It would be nice to not feel alone in my results, even if the reasons are different for every writer.

        And the niche is literary – but there is no way in h*ll I could tackle the usual path for that, the big publishers. Nor do I want to. But it does make the advertising a little trickier (okay, a lot), because those readers who might like me think indie has cooties (American expression, I believe).

        I will hang in here – the writing bug is strong – it’s just having a little trouble with its host right now.

        We rock. And support each other.

        Is there a secret handshake?

      • I dunno about a secret handshake but woot, for deffo! 🙂 your rationale us in line with mine for different reasons. But the resulting slowness and unreliability of mojo is why I am unlikely to try trad. Sci fi is a hard sell, too so I feel your pain. Humour is even harder and the fantasy readers, who used to lap up my stuff, never see it these days since fantasy became a sub genre of paranormal romance and the naked man torso/thin pretty woman in leather jumpsuit books take yo the first 20 pages of search results but hey, I’m not bitter. 🙂

      • If bitterness helped…

        I think we keep writing as well as we can, and when we get the ideas (or happen to be lucky), and figure out how to advertise or rebrand or go viral, the books are already there.

        After all, the long tail is supposed to be the indie friend.

        I didn’t know fantasy became a sub-genre of pr – pr and I don’t get along (not my thing).

        If I never see another ridiculously dressed person (I am SO sick of those abs) on a cover, I would be fine. But those are actually very good – people who don’t want them can take one glance and not go there.

        It’s all flashy marketing – but you can move, because you have backlist. I don’t even have that!

        Just have to figure out how to get to the right marketing place FIRST, before the tsunami follows suit.

        You don’t ‘try trad’ – you are somehow selected by winning a lottery by the Agents of the Gods. And then don’t make much money from it.

        But I hear your lovely rants.

  2. Your week sounds totally exhausting!!!! I can just barely make it to work on time, and think of something to make for dinner – eek. I would be a blubbering mass of nothingness if I had to contend with all the things you have faced this week. Hope the weekend brings calm day, where you can do nothing but stare out the window and ponder!!!!!

  3. Dear Ms Superhuman,
    Your mojo is working fine, just concentrating on non-fiction.
    Your diary of a guilt-rodden carer will be a blockbuster, and probably the buyer of the film rights will cast Renee Zellweger in it, channelling Brigit Jones.
    BTW My Mac knows how to spell Zellweger. It doesn’t know a whole lot of literary words I use but hey, it’s useful.
    xxxxxxx

    • guilt-ridden. Why didn’t aforesaid spellchecker pick up rodden?

      • Mine leaves every instance of the word ‘I’ lower case. It’s really irritating.

        And thank you for saying that about my mojo. I like the idea of my guilty life being made into a film. Nobody would believe it though.

        Cheers

        MTM

  4. Diana

    I LOVED this post. I am not a fan of swearing, so when I read your warning, I was prepared. And you said almost nothing off colour. Maybe just talking about swearing was enough? I admit that I did stop the song half-way, since I didn’t really feel the need to sing along at that point, but I am willing to admit I can imagine a purpose for the shouting accompaniment.

    I could imagine the scenes you described: the panicked call from your mother (to brother with his students), and the need to do quick recovery of the disappearing articles. Yikes!

    And I love the description of your parents. And of your willingness/desire to care for them, and to spend time with them. My hope and prayer for them (and for you) is that they both progress in their needs in tandem — so that they will always be able to stay together, and so that you will always have the joy of visiting them together instead of having to visit two different homes/facilities and add that to your care load. And even with that, may you have opportunities to enjoy one-on-one encounters with each of them, as well.

    Your adventures with the trouser shopping also rang a bell with me. I love black pants, but aside from that difference, finding ones that fit and are comfortable and acceptable for work (with kids) is really difficult. I can appreciate your excitement re your successful shopping.

    All the best to you! You will write; your mojo will return. And you will continue to laugh at circumstances that would do some others in (even as you may also shed more than a few tears over them). Bless you!

  5. Diana

    and a P.S. I love the way you intersperse your posts with fun and fabulous photos. Do the googly eyes stay attached to the items, or do you collect them to use them again elsewhere? (And would you mind if I stole that idea to use occasionally?)
    Your cat is lovely.

    • Thanks. 🙂 with the eyes it depends. eyebombing purists would day that if the eyes are not left there its nor a proper eyebomb. Personally i think that if I’m #eyebombing something on the ground, say, there’s no point leaving the eyes as its a waste – they’ll be gone the moment I am. Also in the countryside for example I’d be very careful about leaving them in case an animal ate them or such like. So it depends.

      And yes feel free to steal the idea – it isn’t mine, it’s a real live ‘thing’ and if thou do you are welcome to join my eyebombthereforeiam face book group and post your efforts there.

      And yes cat is lovely but also a total nutter.

      Cheers

      MTM

  6. Life is what it is. Shit happens as and when, seemingly most of the time. I hate clothes shopping, my parents were a pain, and I don’t remember fucking ada. So to write. I may listen. Later. Much. Later.

  7. You are kicking arse, never forget that! Here I am feeling whiny because I can’t go to an event tomorrow because it would mean two nights on the trot of organizing something for husband’s tea ahead of time and I cannot be arsed with tea making generally lately. I am not fucking Nigella and I am tired of cooking. Why can’t he just eat a damn bowl of cereal? 😉 GENUINE FIRST WORLD NOT REAL PROBLEMS AT ALL.Sorry. What a dumb manouevre by the people presuming the people needing all of the care facility things might maybe not be the ones to call the shots! Glad you are able to enjoy the time you spend with them, they sound pretty amazing. If you don’t have the headspace to write about other stuff right now maybe just cut yourself some slack. I know there is a lot of internet waffle about self care but in your case it should be prescribed. Take as many minutes a day as you can spare to stare at a rock (and google eye him! ;0) or drink a gin and tonic or just do nothing requiring much of your brain. You can only do so much, Take Care, Steff xoxo

    • Also forgot to say for future reference – White Stuff seem to do an array of colourful denim and trousers (their sale section appears to have better colours than the current line I notice)- also GAP I believe generally put out a swishy chino assortment and regularly have pretty big markdowns online esp. 🙂

      • Love Gap they are always really soft and lovely. Hadn’t thought about that because they’re in Cambridge – eek a short train ride! I should go and look. They always have a sale on about now, too. And yes, White Stuff did look good but they only go up to a size 16, and I don’t think their idea of a size 16 bum is the same as say, Debehams’ so I would probably be a size 18.

        Gap though. Yes.

        Cheers

        MTM

    • Thank you. I am looking after myself, I promise. McMini has been ill this week and it’s been quite nice to not be able to do the things I have to do like go to the gym and schlepp out to the school each day.

      When it comes to tea, I quite like doing the tea but it depends if the person eating it likes the things you do. McOther does the cooking these days but mostly, that’s because he wants to eat something he feels like eating when he gets home, so if he cooks there’ll be no, oh, I don’t really want this but I’ll eat it anyway difficulties. He also enjoys it because it’s a different bit of brain activity to the things he does all day. And there’s a middle ground where our grastronomic tastes align so we eat those at night and the things he doesn’t like I cook myself for lunch as a treat, sometimes. Things like meals that don’t always involve meat, because men seem to love meat and lots of it, in EVERY meal! On the downside, it makes the 5/2 difficult because he’s always home quite late.

      I used to do three or four things at the beginning of the week, stuff like lasagne that I could bung in the fridge and heat up a couple of days later. Or a slow cook stew that I’d just leave on all day. Those work quite well. All my cooking is stuff that you can chop up and then leave in the oven, slow cooker, hob or wherever so there’s no watching the bloody thing involved! 😉

      The aged ps are cool, I will do a post or two about some of their high moments over the coming weeks. 😉

      Cheers

      MTJM

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