Sunday, 29 November 2009

If I had a photograph of you.....

...Anyone remember that song from the eighties? I THINK it was by Flock of Seagulls, who were fronted by that bloke with the ridiculous haircut (look 'em up on Youtube, you'll see what I mean).
Anyway, I'm online, trying to negotiate my way thru the minefield that is choosing a camera for my son's 10th birthday on the 11th of December. After successfully persuading him away from a polaroid camera (I THINK so, anyway!! Have you seen the cost of the films?????), and onto a digital camera (maybe with a printer), I've spent many boring hours (well, it feels like that) looking, and I am now totally and utterly confused! My dad, being the techno-geek of our family, has been asked to help, and keeps emailing me suggestions of various cameras, with varying degress of fabulousness. But it doesn't help when deciding on which one to spend my money on, as I haven't got a clue what most of the jargon means, I'm afraid! Unlike a lot of people, a camera is one of those "big" purchases for me of little means, so I'm also afraid of making a mistake.
A-ha! I thought....let's look at However, it seems that even good ol' Which have got in on the "sign up here to see our full reviews" business, so that's no good either. Hmm, what to do?Think I might have to let Grandad do the deciding, on the basis that if anything hideous goes wrong, it's his fault, cos he chose it :-D
I'm sure it will be sorted in time!
Time is a thing which has been stressing me out lately, actually. There's so little of it towards the end of the year, what with the fact that most of my family seem to have been born in December (including my brother and sister, who are twins. How inconsiderate of them to be two months premature, back in '72), and My Son & The Swede, to name another two!
This is the main reason why I haven't posted much recently, as I've been full of busy, creating Xmas and birthday lists for many people, and trying to be extremely strict with my budget, so I can afford it all. How I used to be able to fit in a full-time job, will never cease to amaze me. I truly was working myself into the ground back then.
I also need to think about the following things:

Try and decide (and get prices) on a carrier to shift all of our worldly goods next summer. I'm very suspicious of the fact that none of these people give prices on their websites. All I want is to find out how much it costs per tea-chest sized box, surely that isn't too hard? So anybody with any recommendations, please fire away. I'd be very grateful!

I need to remember to give my landlord two months' notice at the appropriate time. I'm concerned that they seem to have this thing about leases starting and finishing on the 1st of the month. This could be impossible for us, as My Son doesn't finish his current school year until the 1st of July, so it's likely we would need a few extra days.

I also need to prepare for the fact that my crazy ex-flatmate (who I happen to owe some money to) might drive down the street or check the landlord's website during my 2 months' notice period, see that we're moving, and start harassing me again. To cut a long story short, I found my best friend of 11 years a flat in the same block as me, when she was looking to stay in Edinburgh for the new job she got last summer, and after a few months, it became too financially hard for her. I was also finding it tough managing, and so because we had flat-shared before, we decided that myself and My Son would move in with her and her daughter, and I would take over the lease to help alleviate her financial problems (they were slightly worse than mine). Her flat was also much nicer. The idea was that we would save a lot of money on bills. We came to an agreement whereby the deposit she paid would transfer into my name, and I would pay this off with her month by month until she eventually moved out. However, it quickly became clear after moving in, that she had developed extremely severe emotional, anger, and mental issues. This would result in her regularly screaming and shouting at me and threatening to beat me up because say for instance, she thought I had borrowed a hair product of hers (I hadn't), and she terrified My Son so much that he wouldn't get out of bed one day. I said to him "Why won't you get up?" and his reply was "I'm not coming out til auntie X has stopped shouting". That did it for me. There was also the matter of the fact that a great friend of hers was, charmingly, a drug-addict. I rest my case. I wasn't fond of getting up in the night and finding her junkie friend raiding my food out of the fridge on a binge, or come-down, or whatever they call it.
Hence she was ejected from the flat when the landlords "found out" she was there, however, she naturally blamed me, and got violent, and I now have the dubious honour of knowing some of the police I had to call numerous times (when I was about to get my head kicked in) by their first names.

Phew. Sorry about that. I knew I had to tell that story one day, but 6 months on, it still hurts like hell. Not only what we went through, but also the fact that I lost the best friend I ever had, because she turned into an absolute nutter. I've actually been incredibly lonely since then, as this person was like a sister to me, and believe it or not, we had some brilliant times over the years. I hope I don't sound harsh, but we quickly became so terrified of her, that standing by her, really wasn't an option, and we had to cut her loose. I stand by the fact that she had to go, but, being a good person by nature, I still feel bad about the fact that she had to be chucked out forcibly by the landlord. Naturally, she has tried to harass me since, as she (wrongly) assumes I don't intend to pay her back (I've made it plain she will get what she is owed), and so I'm terrified of what might happen once I give notice on the flat. If she is keeping tabs on things, she will no doubt start her harassment campaign again (for example, bringing the junkie round to shout at me via my door buzzer).

And what job does this person do, I hear you ask? Well, I'm afraid that I'm about to scare the hell out of you by revealing she is a teacher!

Yes, it seems that crazy people do actually fall through the net, and get into the system. I wonder every day what her employers would think if they had heard some of the rants she did in the house, calling the poor kids in her class "thick p*** b*******".

Anyway, moving on, as you'll be getting bored now. Where was I? Oh yeah, things to do, number 3:

Buy NOTHING this week (food? Pah! We can manage on what's in the freezer), and then I can afford to book the tenpin bowling that my son wants to go to with his friends for a birthday treat.
I also need to buy food on the day of the birthday, for the various guests that are coming.

Last but not least, I'm actually get a bit scared and anxious about our move. I think I've mentioned in a previous post, that it's just such a huge thing. We definitely want to go to Sweden to live with The Swede, but I hate moving at the best of times (The last time was bad enough, & I was moving within the same block), but an international move, well, that's a biggie!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My little monster...

Well, My Son is still behaving badly on a regular basis, and since I broke the news that we are moving to Sweden, it seems this behaviour has come more often. I have talked to him at great length about how everyone needs to move on in their lives, and change does happen (no-one's life ever stays the same all the way through), but I have also tried to reiterate that although it might seem scary, this change is actually going to be for our good and for the future of our family.
Don't get me wrong-he's not against it, I don't think. At times he is extremely positive about it. However, at others, he "hates me", "hates The Swede", and "everybody is an idiot" kind of thing.
I feel like I am living on a knife-edge, just waiting for the day when he does something so horrendous at school that there is no going back.
Today at school, he was kept in at break-time because he fought with one kid, and called him gay. This led to a mortifying discussion with one of the senior members of staff, during which I desperately tried to stress that I promote equality at all times...I am sure you know the kind of cringe-worthy discussion I am talking about. However, his behaviour then apparently improved in the afternoon.
Tonight he was sent to bed after calling me horrible names. However, ten minutes later, what do you know...the apology note came out from under his bedroom door, professing his undying love for me etc etc. My Son is so damned sweet at moments like drives me mad, this constant switching of behaviours, and all the associated worry. You'd think from reading some of this that he was a little devil, complete with horns, but nothing could be further from the truth if you look at the pic.....
Sigh. Well I'm off to watch "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!" to cheer myself up...if I can stay awake that long, that is!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

"If I ruled the world" My Son

Hello everyone, and apologies for not blogging for well over a week, but nothing of note has really happened...until today...

My Son and I often have deep and interesting conversations on the mind (and leg)-numbing walk to school each day. Today, out of nowhere, he decided to tell me how he would put the world to rights, should he be in charge. It was one of those occasions when you really wish you had a pen & paper handy, because what your child said was so profound or funny (or both). So don't expect me to remember all of his nuggets of wisdom, but here goes with the ones I can remember, anyway. Oh by the way, I definitely think My Son comes from the Jeremy Clarkson school of blunt speaking!!

If I ruled the world.....

Prisoners would have satellite tv and playstations removed from prisons, and instead would have a bare cell with only a chair and a hard bench to sleep on.

People who let their dogs crap all over the pavement would get an automatic 10 day jail sentence.

Racism would be punishable by a 10 year jail sentence.

Workmen would be prevented from leaving big messes like roads half-dug up for weeks, with nothing noticeable happening to them.

He would invent a solar-powered water system which would water the crops and give people enough drinking water in hot African countries.

If someone in one of these countries died, we would remove their family to a better country and help them start a new life.

Solve world pollution. How, he isn't currently sure.

We should remove all of our soldiers from Afghanistan.

Then drop a big bomb on Afghanistan.

Ditto Iraq.

All households would be given £10 per week "to help with their shopping and bills". (When I questioned whether this would be enough, he kindly upped it to £20).

I have asked my son to remind me of what else he thought of this morning, but we can't think of any more for now. I like (at the same time as I don't like), how childhood innocence about solving world poverty and pollution is mixed with things like removing our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Definitely very thought-provoking. Especially from a 9 year old.....