Friday, 11 November 2016

Missing Dad

Just Like Grandad
It's at funny times I miss my dad; when I'm driving somewhere new and I've no one to discuss the route with- I'm sure he knew the fastest way to get anywhere - or when I catch an episode of Deal or No Deal and I remember how, when he was ill and I was pregnant, we'd spend hours sat watching it and discussing what we'd do. 

I don't miss him all day every day, but I think about him often. I know that if he was here, he'd be project managing this whole Big Build. He'd have spent hour after hour here getting the job done. My Father-in-law too. The pair of them would have been hammering and sawing and building and fixing, putting to shame lads half their age. 

I miss them both.

The Big Build, as exciting as it is, is a huge reminder of the important people missing in our lives. The two men, who'd have built it single-handedly if they could, and the two women who would have filled it with such warmth and love. 

Trying not to drill their fingers to the roof
It should be John Joe on the roof, teaching his grandson how to hold the saw correctly.  It should be my dad with Sean on his lap in the digger, teaching him how to drive it, as he did with me when I was 7.

There are times I look at this project, the house that it will become and how it will change all our lives and I feel incredibly lucky, truly blessed to have such people in our lives to help us achieve this.  Yet there are other times when I am acutely aware of the people that are missing and I know that I would trade it all in a heartbeat to have them back.

We'd have had a fight with the two dads about the flat roof- of that I'm sure. Neither would be impressed with that decision. And John Joe, my father in law, would be cursing me that I've still not painted that side gate! He'd have given up nagging by now, I guess, and done it himself. 

I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts as such. Not the spooky, white sheets over your head kind anyway. But spirits, or souls, or positive energies or whatever. I believe in that. 

And whilst they may not be physically here, giving the orders, cracking the jokes and wheeling barrow after barrow load of screed through the house, I know they're both here, watching over it all, tutting when I'm not bringing the tea fast enough and rolling their eyes at each other. The foreman and the site manager.

I hope they're proud of what we've achieved so far. 


Dad looking amused at my dubious sawing skills





Monday, 31 October 2016

Just Bog Off!!!

This is Hugh.

Hugh is 6.
Hugh uses a wheelchair.

Hugh likes to go out, just like other 6 year olds.
Hugh sometimes needs to go to the toilet when he is out, just like other 6 year olds. 







This is a disabled toilet. 

Hugh is disabled.









Hugh has a special key that lets him use disabled toilets.












Hugh can't use this disabled toilet though. 

Hugh can't sit or stand by himself. 





Hugh wears nappies. 
Just like Teddy.







Where would you change Hugh?



On the floor?
Just like Teddy? 

Hugh looks at Teddy on the floor.


"Bog off Mum," thinks Hugh. "I'm not lying on a toilet floor!!!"









Where would you change Hugh?



This is a baby changing facility.

Hugh is NOT a baby. 
Hugh is 6!









Teddy can fit on the changing table. 

Hugh can't,  because Hugh is not a baby. 








Hugh looks at Teddy on the changing table.

"Bog off, Mum", thinks Hugh "I can't fit on that baby changing table!"






Where would you change Hugh?



In the boot of the car?
Teddy doesn't mind!

Hugh does.



Hugh thinks, "Bog off, Mum! I'm not lying in the boot of the car!"



Where would you change Hugh?




"How about here, Mum?" Thinks Hugh.

This is a Changing Places Facility.

It has a hoist to help Mum lift Hugh. He's 6 now and 6 year olds can be quite heavy.
It has a height adjustable bench to lie Hugh on. This helps Mum's back.







The changing table is big enough for Teddy.


And it's big enough for Hugh. 





Over 1/4 of a million people would benefit from a Changing Places Facility.  
Sadly there are less than 900 of them in the U.K. 
For many people an ordinary disabled toilet is not enough. 

Sign the petition here to get that changed!






Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Big Build - Disaster Strikes


Morrisons cafĂ© appears to be my go-to place when I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I think. Having come close to bursting into tears again after discovering not only woodworm but damp in the house I figured it was best to get away and find some perspective. Ordinarily I wouldn't leave the house with Hugh the day after being discharged from hospital but the sound of the circular saw screeching as it ripped through the floorboards in my bedroom was upsetting him too much, as well as setting my teeth on edge, so we left in a hurry. As it is, he is sat opposite me snoozing contentedly while his pump feeds him a milky lunch and I munch on a cheese and onion toastie. 

 
The platitudes that I usually console myself with "it'll all be worth it in the end" and "at least we found it now and not when the job was finished" aren't having the desired effect and I had to strongly suppress the urge to scream. In truth, I'm feeling a little hard done by. This never happens on DIY SOS. 

 
So, in an effort to redress the balance and stop myself sulking like a child, I'm working on some reasons to be cheerful and I'll return home with renewed positivity. 

 

1.    Our carpenter. Most of the people helping on this Big Build are friends we've known for years. Stephen grew up with most of them. Some of these friendships have lasted 40 years (yes he really is THAT old!). What they're doing is amazing but they're fuelled by a lifetime of friendship. Not so for Neil- he only entered our lives after the reception teacher encouraged our sons to be friends 3 years ago. Despite knowing us such a relatively short time, he has worked tirelessly to get our house back to a more inhabitable condition. He's there now, while I'm sulking in Morrisons. He's there more than I am, I reckon. And whilst he might take the piss out of me for not making enough cups of tea and he can be quite annoying after a few beers, we really couldn't have done this without him. 


 
2.    Hugh's home from hospital and pretty healthy considering. Sometimes when Hugh's had a bad run of seizures he can be groggy and off colour for days. Instead he's full of beans and really happy. It means I can leave the house with him quite easily. And when we need to evacuate the house for a few hours while woodworm treatment commences tomorrow, this won't be an issue as he's ready to go back to school anyway. 
Happy to be home from hospital
 
3.    So far (I really shouldn't jinx it like this) but Sean's and Hugh's bedrooms have remained unaffected. Hugh's bedroom is his sanctuary. His favourite place in the world is his bed. It's because of this we've resisted moving out to my mum’s while the building work is carried out.  (Well that and the fact it would be a nightmare to get the kids to school in the morning from her house). He can still chill out and listen to his music and watch his bubble tube and his flashing disco lights. Having this space keeps him calm, keeps him happy. And I'm grateful for that.

 
4.    Sean's room has bunk beds and the bottom can either be a double bed or a settee. Lately it's been serving as our living room/dining room. We eat our dinner in there, Sean does his homework in there and we play cards in the evening in there. Yes, cards!!! We have no TV at the moment as the aerial is disconnected. It's a bit like living in the olden days! It's been quite fun actually and Sean has loved learning new card games. Tonight, with no floorboards in our bedroom, we can pull it out into a double bed and we'll still have somewhere to sleep. That's something to be thankful for. 
Does this count as 'sitting down to eat together as a family'?

5.    There's a curry in the slow cooker and wine in the fridge. Thursday evening sorted. 

 
So, positive mental attitude resurrected, I'm able to face the mess and the chaos that awaits.
 
I think. 

 
Or maybe not ... *goes off to cry*