Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's turning into an interesting fortnight

Given that I've been completely unable to pick myself up from this last bout of post-viral fatigue thingy, and that I have been struggling around work (and banned from leaving the house otherwise, by a very concerned Girl) in pain and exhaustion for about two weeks now, today I gave up and went to the doctor's. This involved missing yet another day of work, but I don't think I'd have got through it anyway. The doctor was truly lovely. It's such a shame that I have to change GP practices now that I've moved. I'm going to hang on at the old place for as long as I can. She took me very seriously, agreed that things don't sound good, talked me through ways to deal with various ridiculous-sounding symptoms, more clearly confirmed the diagnosis that she's been hinting at, organized blood tests, made one referral immediately and promised another when she can arrange it, and is writing me a letter for the managers and HR people at work. The Girl very, very kindly came into the doctor's office with me, which helped me to remember things and push for what I need. Irritatingly, one referral that I could have had is now impossible - the chronic fatigue clinic at St Bart's has just closed. Ah, the marvel of the vanishing NHS funding. Now you see it, now you don't. But the doctor is looking into what else might be available for advice, treatment etc. I've even said I'll pay for one or two appointments if she can find me a private centre or specialist. Yes, better people than me refuse to go private on principle, and I admire them immensely for those principles. However, if it's a decision between living like this for years and paying for a couple of appointments that can teach me to manage this condition, I'll go with the latter. Especially given that it's seriously affecting my whole life at the moment, from work (which I can barely cope with and don't know what I'm going to do about it), to not being able to walk any distances beyond a few metres (although I do have a pretty blue stick now, which is helping), to having to rely entirely on The Girl for everything including getting the shopping in and cooking the dinner. She doesn't mind, but that isn't the point. Oh, and I'm still not getting paid for sick days, which means I can't afford to do anything nice - so it's sort of good that I can't go out... Anyway, after sitting in the waiting room for ages, both before and after seeing the doctor, I was then sent off to the hospital for the blood test, which I was thinking would take hours, but was actually fairly quick. By this time it was much too late to go back to work (I was considering it, although I think The Girl would have killed me if I actually had) so I came home. I am now going to make tea and pasta. I can just about cope with those. Yay for the extremely bright spots in this somewhat irritating situation, which are The Girl and her infinite patience, as well as our beautiful flat. Which has fewer boxes in it than previously. Quite soon I will get round to blogging about life as an attached person, and other things about which I am having thoughts at the moment. For now, though, it is cup of tea and as mindless a DVD as I can find. We still don't have any TV service, cable or otherwise. That's another story.

This rant brought to you by English Teacher, Too Tired To Paragraph.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's nice when your new place reflects your personality. Or annoying...

Well, we've moved. It took us the entire weekend, as we had a lot of boxes, and we're still living in complete chaos, but we're in the lovely new flat. Well, I say lovely, but it currently has all sorts of oddness and craziness and kitschness going on. But I'm sure it will be very lovely very soon. I'm almost sure...

I arrived first, having collected the keys so that The Girl could move her stuff as soon as she arrived. And, well, you know how you can wander around a new place thinking non-essential things like "Ooh, I could put my bookcase there," but not register something more important like "Hang on, there's no furniture in this flat" for about twenty minutes? The flat came with some very ugly furniture, and we had negotiated for most of it to be taken away, but we asked them to leave two sofas and one bed, these being important items that we do not have. These had been removed. We are currently living and sleeping on The Girl's sofabed in the lounge. This has been mildly amusing so far, but we've been promised a bed and something to sit on, and if we don't get them soon then we're going to get really very pissed off.

The next amusement, having spent hours moving all The Girl's boxes with the 'help' of removal men who were going as slowly as possible as they were being paid by the hour, was to discover that the TV doesn't work here because aerial reception is so bad. We can't even get digital. Never mind, we say, there will be Telewest, since it's already all installed here. Except that The Girl needs a BT line to connect to the company who provide her with cheap international calls, and you can't get Telewest TV without getting their phone line. Never mind, we say, we'll find another way to sort out the international calls. I am about to ring Telewest. At least then I'll be able to watch Torchwood. It's amazing how much you can miss TV when you've been without it for a weekend.

We spent all of Saturday afternoon putting up The Girl's bookshelves, which occasionally collapsed, and throwing away entire mountains of bubble wrap. Then on Sunday we made two trips over to the Lovely Flat, where I was very kindly helped with moving all my boxes by R's T and Former Flatmate. Then we unpacked all Sunday afternoon. We had grand plans to find a local and get a drink when we'd finished, until we realised that we will probably be finished around January. So we gave up and went to bed. I shall come home at a reasonable hour and try to keep going. The Girl has a show for the next three weeks, therefore she can't be home until really late for the next couple of nights, so it's me and my boxes for a bit. I am compelled to straighten out all her haphazard rows of books, which will take me a while, so I'll keep busy.The flat is lovely, and a very decent size and in a fantastic location, but it's decorated (how do I put this?) to very individual tastes. Which are not my tastes. Everything is brass, including an enormous mirror over the mantlepiece that I am just going to smash up one of these days (they left this but not the sofa??) and the light fittings are little fake candles decorated with fake drips. We're getting the interior designer (aka Former Flatmate) over to tell us how we can make it all slightly less appalling. Till then, I am mostly trying not to look. Oh, and we also have our very own Phantom Dennis. He has been switching off the lights in the bathroom and hiding things that we need. I will have to leave him some sort of peace offering in the hope that he will start to like us and do more useful things instead.

I am very happy. :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm dreaming of an inclusive, multi-cultural, pluralistic holiday season

Those who know me are very aware of how I feel about our 21st-Century version of Christmas, complete with its crass commercialism, incessant advertising, screaming children, completely-lacking-in-imagination media saturation, tinny-music-blaring-out-of-speakers-in-every-freaking-shop 'carols', and general mad rush to buy stuff that causes shopping centres to become a complete nightmare for at least two months of every year. In short, I believe that it is sent to us directly from the devil himself, yes indeed. So it may come as a surprise to these people to hear that this afternoon I did most of my Christmas shopping.

This is entirely the fault of The Girl, who is getting quite excited about her first proper Christmas (what with being Jewish, and all). She decided that we would make a list, order a huge number of books-and-things from Amazon, and then have a leisurely wander down the high street to see if we could find a few more goodies. And so, I am now the proud owner of many gifts. In November. It's a bit odd.

The weather was utterly beautiful today. I love cold, bright, autumnal days. More of those, please.

It could all almost make me happy that it's nearly December 25th.

But not quite.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Journey

We're setting off on a journey, The Girl and I.

We don't quite know where we're going. We know it will be somewhere good, though.

It's not long since we pulled out of the driveway. We've been in familiar territory so far, but we're still insisting on looking at the map. The Girl likes to follow maps, but she doesn't like how much I panic over attempting to read them. (I'm dyspraxic, which can lead to a range of interesting moments, from "I can't find the North Circular on this. I don't believe it exists," right through to "I'm going to throw the bloody map out of the bloody window if you don't tell me what bloody page we're bloody well on and stop quoting bloody road numbers that mean bloody nothing to me, OK?") And if I'm honest, I like the map, too. It can be a lot safer following someone else's route plan than just looking out of the window and enjoying the view, without any structure to what we're doing.

But there's no route plan for this journey. No one has driven exactly these roads, in exactly this order, before. We've never been anywhere close to the place we're headed for. The Girl has spent some time somewhere in the vicinity of where we're driving now, but she can't really remember the route she took - and anyway, she wouldn't want to drive the same way twice, especially since she didn't end up where she wanted to be. We want to go somewhere new, somewhere that's ours. And that's the problem with following the map too closely. Too many other voices, other expectations, are getting in the way of what we want to do, where we want to go.

As we begin to move beyond familiar streets and onto the motorway, there's an incredible sunrise across the horizon ahead of us. The Girl and I are sharing a bag of chocolates, listening to the morning news on the radio and beginning to notice the scenery.

And I want to throw the map out of the window, stop for coffee and start enjoying the ride.

So we're going do just that.

In actual news: I'm still sick, but I'm getting better. It's got very cold recently. The Girl's central heating really doesn't work properly, so I'm at home enjoying my own.

Oh, and The Girl and I move into our new flat in about three weeks time.