141107 Curiosities served
2015-10-31 3:00 PM
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Falling deeper into the pit of doom and finally remembered the chart my CPN helped me compile for occasions such as these. One of the suggestions was to write it all out so here I am. This probably won't be pretty so you may want to read elsewhere.
There's just been TOO MUCH hard shit, or indeed HARD shit, for too long and I'm broken now. I can't even get my mind back to before I lived here, but given that moving house is reckoned to be a Big Deal, we'll take it from there.
I moved house, back with Bloke who has been my partner/friend since we were both 19, which is more than forty years, but with a whole lot of tricky stuff included as he never says what he wants in a straightforward manner, never initiates anything and generally needs pushing along all the fucking time, leaving everything to me. Which is OK when I'm on top of things but spirals into chaos when I'm not. So it was a big deal, giving up my beautiful (but unaffordable) flat, with all the pleasures and convenience of living in a fabulous city by the sea, to come and live in this shit-hole with zero cultural life (well, there's almost certainly dogging going on), and everything broken. For example here's the gate:
and that's not even on our to-do list as everything else is worse.
Within a week of us getting all our furniture in, YD and H came to sleep on the sofa as they were losing the plot in their tiny room. On the one hand, I was glad to have somewhere big enough for them to stay, but on the other, it was fucking hard trying to establish ways of living with Bloke and not winding each other up too much as YD's mental health was at breaking point, and indeed did break as did mine. We both managed to work through it and find a way to keep going, but then we discovered that SIL had been leaving GS alone for days on end and that GS was desperate for someone to take a bit of fucking notice of him, so he came to live here as well. He was quite clearly grief-stricken, as are we all with the loss of his mother, my daughter, YD's sister, but he was keeping it under tight wraps, which was so hard, seeing him all closed up, snarling, "I'm fine, leave me alone," whenever we tried to do anything.
During this time Reenie died, as did another very dear friend, whose funeral I led, but neither of them were properly mourned and grieved for, because the shit kept on coming.
YD and H had been told they'd be given loads of money if they took themselves off the housing list in Lewisham and moved out of London (deposit, two months rent, £1,000 moving costs and £1,500 sweetener for the landlord) so had been looking for a place down here, for them and GS. Nearly all the agencies refused to have anyone on Housing Benefit and those that would accept them didn't have anywhere with a downstairs toilet - essential for H whose MS makes stairs difficult and toilet visits frequent, both of which are likely to get worse not better. Eventually, after months of looking, they found a place, a bit expensive, but manageable, with the bung from Lewisham council and with enough space for YD to get her business up and running once they'd settled in. The bung suddenly evaporated as soon as it came to actually claiming it, "Who told you that?" "One of your members of staff, in fact several, on different occasions, once when we first became homeless and again when we enquired for specific details." "We might be able to give you some help with the deposit but you'll have to fill in a thousand forms and have the place inspected by one of our officers to make sure it's suitable and they're all booked up till after Christmas" or whatever, nothing doing.
Then they had the new twist: disabled people on Housing Benefit must now have a guarantor for three fucking years rent (a person whose annual income is equal to three years rent, who's prepared to sign it over to the agents in case YD and H default), because who knows whether this government will stop Housing Benefit altogether, and it cost nearly five hundred quid for all the fucking paperwork, to say nothing of all the inspecting of bank accounts and pay slips that had to be endured by H's parents, who luckily do earn that much between them, as we certainly don't.
While all this was happening we also had electricians rewiring the house, taking forever, the gas board laying new pipes under the road outside, drilling all day, forever, the toilet blocking, overflowing and bringing down the kitchen ceiling, trying to find a school for GS after all places had been allocated, so having to write 'special consideration' letters, going over ED's condition and SIL's indifference again and again and again, my niece getting married, another death and probably more that I've managed to forget. I started smoking again, which I am so angry about, I can't tell you.
By the time everything was signed and sealed on YD and H's flat, H was in the midst of a bad MS relapse, full of despair that he'd never walk again, so he was packed off to stay with his parents until he was better, leaving me and YD to gather all their belongings which were scattered all over the south of England. We were both on the verge of collapse, but he had actually collapsed, so we just plodded on. Bloke had disappeared inside himself and contributed precisely nothing. YD became obsessed with the vileness of the magnolia paint in the new place and, insanely, she repainted it all, with me helping, trying to keep her steady, not set her off, get it done.
Which it was in due course, pretty quickly, considering, and GS started school, which was the tipping point for him, and unleashed all the emotions he'd kept bottled up. He refused to go to school. YD keeled over. H came back, recovered physically but still shaky. Housing Benefit wrote to say they'd only pay a fraction of the rent. YD dug deep and negotiated getting support for GS, culminating in our remembering ED day two weeks ago. I took on Housing Benefit, making phone calls, filling in forms, writing more letters asking for special consideration, and generally plodding on.
And now I'm done. I had to give away my Patti Smith ticket, that's how far I've fallen.
So my plan for today is to a) rant - done and b) go for a walk amongst the autumn leaves.
Here's my painting from yesterday's art group:
It's from a picture in a book about medieval life:
and dates from 1645 or some such time. I finished it in a hurry and didn't get the hills in the background. It's Istanbul and I didn't have a clue about colours so just did what I liked. I am quite pleased with it, but have reservations.
I am struggling to feel grateful, but as always when I write that down I know how much worse some people have it, so I will say that I am grateful for friends, family, health, a home, a full belly
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