Sunday, 24 March 2013

Fire, Near Explosions and Happy Easter

In my last post, I explained about electrical work that needed to be done but I can only just manage to explain the gravity of the situation now that time has passed and I am feeling more calm.
As I said before, I had a hot socket in the kitchen and noticed that the wall surrounding it was becoming warm. Without too much ado, I explained the situation to an electrical firm and they told me that provided I didn't use that socket, I should be Ok for a few days before they could come and see what was wrong.
Feeling more confident, I opened the door on the prearranged day, to a young electrician who examined the socket and told me that there was obviously a fault and he turned off the electricity supply to look inside the socket and examine the fuse box. When he reconnected the supply, there was a bang and my gas cooker charged with an electrical current, jumped a few inches straight into a gas pipe which fractured and caught fire.
I yelled to the man to switch off the gas and as he was right by the meter he was able to do so fairly promptly.
The fire petered out, fortunately for my husband and rabbits who were very close by and would have been caught in an explosion if the pipe had been left alight. I also would have been involved in the fire or explosion as I was trying to rescue the rabbits and was yelling at Harry to get out.  However, chemo was making him very drowsy and he didn't grasp the seriousness of the situation. Nor did he see the fire, though he heard the cooker jump.
The electrician called a plumber/gas man to attend immediately to replace the fractured pipe and relight the pilot light of the gas fire/boiler when the gas was reconnected and then the electrician put the kitchen sockets onto a new circuit and assured me that it was now safe. He also brought in some apparatus to test the cooker which turned out fine.
He said that I'd have to have all the  electrical sockets, lighting and wiring in the whole house, tested and that he'd be back to find out what had caused the problem but in the meantime it was all safe.
Although my head told me this was true, in the dark hours of the night, I suffered flashbacks and didn't sleep properly for nearly a week imagining what might have been with the cooker electrocuting anyone, the fire getting out of hand or the back of the house blowing out and wondering if it could all happen again. We were fortunate that we weren't hurt in any way  nor was the house damaged and that we must have had a guardian angel looking out for us!
Can anyone beat this experience? In a way, I hope not.

Easter is almost upon us and I'm not sure if my daughter will be here with the grandsons or not. I'm going to be very busy over the next week or two with electrical work and some plumbing, looking after the girls some of the time as well as all the other things that I have to do. If I can't get another post out before Easter then I hope that you all have a very Happy one and for all those living in Britain, then I hope the freezing weather that we are experiencing again, will turn into Spring. It is long over due.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Successes and Frustrations

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Since my last post, quite a lot has happened. The weather has been varied and we have had snow, wind rain, sunshine and a mixture of both. It is warmer now, though its best not to depend on it staying that way. Still, it keeps me on my toes and I have winter clothes on but summery ones at the ready.
At least when I search the garden I can find a few flowers which brighten things up.

You might remember that my son, Sam, was on trial in a full time temporary job. Well he was told this week that he'd been successful and was offered it permanently. I'm still not sure exactly what it is but he will be working between three schools and be the manager of all the building work that goes on there. The job has quite a long title, but that is roughly what he will have to do from an office and it entails computer work and administration and getting alongside teams of workers.  Should be ideal for him and it will make a huge difference to the household budget.

We are having to have electrical work done in the house and we've recently had all the wiring tested and have to face quite a lot of remedial work before having a modern consumer board fitted to the meter. The trouble with older houses is that the wiring is so complicated and a lot had been added to it over the years. I reckon it will be several months work (spaced out in small lots) and I daresay will cost an arm and a leg. This has all happened through noticing a hot socket which I had checked. I thought it was going to be a quick job but no such luck.
In the meantime we are trying to be positive about all the other frustrations in our life. Thats all we can do, isn't it.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Deceiving Appearances

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Only last week I took my granddaughters to the park on a warm, sunny day and we admired the crocus flowers and had a walk in the sunshine, thinking that Spring was really here. Today it is bitterly cold and trying to snow.
No, not everything is how it appears to be.

I am going to have a bit of a rant because there is something on my mind, tricky though it might be.
I've already written before about a mother who left her children every weekend for several years so that she could be with someone else, a richer man altogether. It was so easy to take their father to court and demand full custody even though they were devoted to their father and had been living with him contentedly. The amount of suffering this court case caused to the whole family cannot be described, not to mention the financial cost to their father and new family they now live in. The outer family had to watch the children cry and become upset because they just wanted to be left alone and didn't want to see her at all. So you can imagine just how hurt they have been by her behaviour.

The case is still not over. The court has so far agreed that they are better off with their father but the mother is being granted alternate weekend custody with an overnight stay. This is the cause of the problem because they don't want to go. There isn't really any choice because that is what the court has decided. In a few weeks time they will have to go back to court to see how they are getting on.
The problem doesn't end there. The mother, who used to dislike the grandparents intensely, is now calling to pick up and has turned sickly sweet, enquiring about their health and wellbeing, pretending to be really interested while all the time just trying to get out information about the childrens' activities, comings and goings and things that her ex doesn't tell her. 
Doesn't she realise that she is hurting her children beyond repair and that their happiness is more important than anything else? The trips they get from their visits to their mother and new partner are expensive but don't they realise that the two children would prefer a simple picnic in their garden or a walk with the dogs with people that they love?  Money cannot buy love. There are consequences when you let your children down. It might be a long time before they feel they can trust her again and making them do things against their will, won't make them close to her at all. One day they will be old enough to say "No." In the mean time it is very sad to have to witness this anxiety and sadness.
What do others think?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Stress Busters

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Pressure seemed to be mounting this week as I had to meet so many deadlines such as child minding, appointments and doing practically all the household chores by myself because it was time for Harry's chemo again. It is the fourth of ten sessions and what with the effects of that and the Hydrocephalus of the brain, the two together seem to exaggerate the symptoms and I have felt really weary coping with this. The Hydrocephalus affects Harry's spacial awareness making him trip over easily. He also finds it hard to work problems out and to carry out finicky tasks accurately. Chemo also has similar affects although this is temporary. The Hydrocephalus symptoms are not.
If it wasn't for the chemo, he could have a drain put in his brain to relieve the pressure, but obviously nothing like this can be done whilst undergoing chemo, so we find ourselves in a chicken and egg situation.
When Harry was actually undergoing chemo this week, my sister in law rang him to say that Larry, his twin brother, had collapsed again and had been taken back to hospital. Harry came back via his hospital transport in quite a state and was not able to cope with all this worry and the effects of chemo. I was a bit irritated by this, to say the least.
I seem to have spent ages on the phone to Rhoda again and Larry collapsed again in hospital the day after. It has been put down to a virus, but I think there is more to this than meets the eye. So this has caused added stress to the family.

Today was a sunny day even if a bit chilly and I felt I needed to get out by myself. Millie had been collected by her dad after her Friday night sleepover and she'd had her bath and hair washed and I managed to get her hair into a new style that my friend Audrey had shown us how to do. I gave Harry his lunch and decided to leave the house not knowing where I was going to end up.
I walked to the park and noticed that the tree that I'd snapped last May, was still wearing its knitted graffiti though it had faded a bit. The park keeper must have accepted it as it had been left on the tree. I sat on a sunny bench and soaked up the mild rays of sunshine. My skin hasn't had very much of that  lately as I haven't always managed to get out when I've noticed any.
I do feel guilty when I feel like this and everything gets on top of me. Don't get me wrong, I like to be fairly busy and have the grandchildren, help with Brownies etc....... however, its the illnesses and sudden bad news and unexpected demands that cause the problem. I guess I do like some time on my own and find this helps counteract stress. I also read and knit.
I have read two books recently that I couldn't put down. One was Pandora's Box by Giselle Green and the other, No Child Of Mine by Susan Lewis.

When they are here, our granddaughters practice their knitting and are getting a bit neater...... though they keep handing me their needles to rescue a stitch that has dropped or to sort out why they have additional stitches because they picked up a loop by mistake. Sometimes they knit so tightly that they can't get their needle into the stitch and I have to knit a row to get it right. I do think it would be good if they became proficient knitters though. So few people seem to be able to knit these days. 
Sometimes we do cross stitch together and they have made some lovely bookmarks that they have given out to various people as presents, who I hope cherish them after all the hard work that they put into their project.
When I get a chance I find knitting for the local premature baby unit is a very relaxing thing to do and someone else benefits too. Walking has always been my biggest stress buster in the past and it is such a pity that I can't walk anywhere near as far as I used to do, nor leave the house for very long because of Harry's needs.
What do others do to relieve stress?