Almost daily diary!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've done it!

Oh my goodness, I have done it! I have put a holding deposit on a house for the three of us.

Now I know I've done this before, about 2 weeks ago, and the landlord refused us in favour of a 2.4 family unit. I was upset then, it seemed that I was never meant to escape and I have to say I still liked that house better. However we have kept looking over the last 10 days or so, and after much mind boggling confusedness, sometimes seeing several properties daily, I realised I needed to make a decision.

The children fell in love with a fairly new house in a very built up area. I have a dream to be surrounded by more greenery and trees. There were 2 rented houses, one in each category. Choosing between them was hard.

Last Friday night I felt as though I was loosing my mind and couldn't think straight. My wonderful S.O. took me to the country and his family for the weekend. It was such a relief not to think for a few days and when I returned, things seemed not so bad but I also knew I could no longer wait for the perfect house. I was lucky to have a couple of options and so I needed to decide.

Tuesday night I spent quite a while on the phone to my favourite and very sensible friend. I had tried talking it through with Mum, but she was hopeless! Not her fault, just too close to the situation I guess. Anyway, my wonderful friend listened, reflected back to me and after a while I realised which move was best, sometimes just verbalising the whole thing brings it all into perspective. 'If the children are happy, you will be too' she said, very wisely. I knew she was right.

So yesterday morning I put down a holding deposit on the childrens favourite house and, subject to references (because the landlady has agreed to have a single mum as a tenant already) I should have keys a week tomorrow.

Gosh, I am scared! But very excited too, just keeping a lid on that until my references have cleared and then, well, a whole new way of living I hope!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Mediation yesterday was neither good nor bad. The finances, which we were supposed to be discussing, were pushed to the end because half of the time was spent with husband going over what had been agreed regarding the children weeks before, mostly insisting on deciding a date when he could have both children week on week off.

I have tried hard to push this option to the back of my mind. Last session we just said as and when, no date, leave it to the children to decide. But no, he wants to plan a moment in time. I know it will happen one day, when they are older. I dread it, hope that they will feel too comfortable in the familiar arrangement that they will have got used to and not want to change it, hope that in two years time everyone will have a different perspective....

However the reality is that husband wants to plant the seed of living with him week on week off, now. Hoping that it will become what is expected when the time comes. The mediator asked me what I thought, he mentioned not brainwashing them. I said I did not want to lose them to a 50/50 arrangement, but that when they were older I would trust them to choose. I cannot rock the boat and stake my claim forever. I felt that so much progress was made last time that I didn't want to go back 10 paces. So I agreed that they could decide, in 2 years, whether they wanted to live with their Dad every other week.

I have to trust them, worse, I have to trust him not to put pressure on them. Two years is a long time, things will change for all of us, but I know it will fly by in reality. I hope I do not live to regret not being more assertive, though I don't think I could have refused, it would have jeopardised everything that had gone before. For now I have them, for now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Half term

It has been a strangely lonely half term, and this is only the feeling I have, in reality it has been reasonably full and fun.

Most half terms, unless we are away, which becomes more and more unlikely these days, are spent enjoying late mornings, meeting friends and playing (the children) and drinking tea (us mums) It is all very pleasant and sociable and keeps me sane. However one arrangement with a friend on Monday did not happen because of illness (theirs) and it left the beginning of the week very empty. We had all been looking forward to seeing them, the children and I. My friend R has a nasty chesty cold and her daughter is worse, they are very fed up not to have done anything all week but feel ill. Poor things.

Yesterday I had a very long call from her regarding all her worries for her eldest daughter who is incredibly neurotic and hardly sleeps, keeping her mother up until 2am most nights, there are health worries and mental health too,she talks about her husband troubles and constant money problems. I listened and wished I could wave a magic wand. In the end I had to finish the call in order to go to a house viewing. I didn't like to stop her mid flow.

Then last night I had a cryptic text at about 10pm. 'Are you there?' it said. Goodness me, I thought, I hope her daughter hadn't taken a turn for the worse, or that her Husband hasn't been harsh with her again or...

I texted back,'Yes I'm here, do you want me to call you?'
'No can't talk out loud' she said. Then another text...
'One of the guinea pigs has just died, I don't know how I'm going to tell the girls in the morning'

I texted back my sympathies and said soothing things (I think). She has a lot on her plate and sometimes small things can be the last straw. Another message from her minutes later 'And now Eldest Daughter has a nose bleed'
'OMG' I texted back 'I don't know how you cope'
'I don't know how you cope either' she acknowledged later.

We all need good friends sometimes

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last Wednesday (part two)

When the old sea dog emerged from the interview room I offered him his seat back, it took him a while to understand me, but he refused my offer, I was glad I had offered.

Number 2 was called in, a large woman, very large. She waddled towards the small room. I wondered how much of the room she would take up with her vastness. The sea dog sat in her chair.

When she reappeared from the interview room, she took four paces forward, towards the seat she had occupied earlier. She shuffled forward again and stood, almost toe to toe, with the Old Sea Dog. She stared at him in silence. The tension in the room rose, a pin could have dropped and crashed to the ground. I could see the poor mans confusion. It took him a while to realise what was going on. Eventually he stood, gave up his seat, and walked to the centre of the room as she sat down heavily, filling the seat as before.

I wondered to myself if I should ask him if he would like my seat again, then person number 3 was called. Obviously the third seat became vacant, but the Old Sea Dog remained on his feet. One experience like that would be enough for anyone in this less than comfortable environment. I felt the tears again. There was no kindness in the room.

Then another man, sitting two seats down the row from where I was sitting, stood and motioned to the Sea Dog that he should take his seat instead. I had noticed this man earlier mostly because his mobile went off every few minutes, sending a jolly Middle Eastern tune, or perhaps it was more 'Bollywood', around the waiting room. He was a short stubby man, dressed from head to toe in black, I couldn't make out the language he spoke into his phone.

The Bollywood ring tone man gently insisted to the Sea Dog that he should use his seat. The Sea Dog gratefully accepted. The Bollywood ring tone man then sat in the seat belonging to the person in the interview room. Woe betide anyone who expected that seat back again!

The right thing had been done. There was kindness in the room, it wasn't totally a 'dog at dog' world.

We sat in silence, the rest of us, avoiding gazes, only the occasional mobile phone conversation added interest to the icy room. One by one the seats became empty, people moved on, the tension drained but the coldness remained. Outside the snow fell.

Was the wait worth it? No, not really. I learnt nothing new about my position. No financial help was available. Joint funds mean no help, despite my low income. I am lucky, I guess, to have any savings at all. It's still a tricky 'on the edge' type of existence alone though. When I am penniless I can live rent free. I hope it never comes to that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Wednesday (part one)

I am the last person in the waiting room. There is a biting draft blowing around my ankles caused by the two inch gap between the ill fitting front door and the stone step beneath. Outside it has started to snow, though over three hours ago, when I was queuing outside, the sky had been blue and the day held such promise.

When the doors opened at 9.30am I was given a card with the number 13 on it, there were two more people behind me. By the time we had all passed through the doors into the chilly room, all the seats were full and someone was occupying the floorspace near the only bit of wall without a door in it.

I stood

The atmosphere was tense. Everyone in the room needed attention, urgently. There were 10 appointments and 15 clients.

Within a few minutes a man came out of the office to address the whole room, explaining the system; a five minute interview with each person in the room to identify need and then an interview to deal with the problem, if you were lucky...

Number one was called, an older man, with the look of an 'Old Sea Dog' about him, large misted eyes and possibly hard of hearing, he stood and entered the interview room.

I went to sit on his seat and waited. I read the posters around the room, domestic violence, help with debts, racial violence, teenage pregnancy... It was a depressing place. The tears stung my eyes, and rolled silently down my cheeks as I fished for a tissue in my pocket to hastily mop them up.

When the old sea dog emerged from the interview room I offered him his seat back, it took him a while to understand me, but he refused my offer, I was glad I had offered.

Number 2 was called in, a large woman, very large. She waddled towards the small room. I wondered how much of the room she would take up with her vastness. The sea dog sat in her chair.

The room was still full, and twitchy. In the corner was a radio blaring out the local station, lots of jolly tunes in such juxtaposition to the mood of the room. It wasn't until sometime later that I noticed the thick chain that secured it to the radiator cover. Above the radio was a clock on the wall, it said 9.30 am, the time that the doors had opened, when I left four hours later it still said the same time in the waiting room. . .

Friday, February 12, 2010

One step forwards and seven back.

I have had the worst week in ages this last seven days. Wednesday was a horrible day and I need to write about that soon, but after having a week to ten days of mental turmoil (plus the last year or so!) about whether I can afford to move out and rent a house for the three of us, I really thought it was all over. I made the decision, wise or not, to live for the moment. Mental health was more important than long term financial security.

So yesterday I took the children to a second viewing of a lovely house. They instantly liked it as had I on first inspection. It was cheaper than the other good one we had seen the week before. So, after weeks of sleepless nights, I took the plunge. Said yes, wrote the check and took the form away with me to fill in for references etc.

Apparently there was someone else having a second viewing today. The agent told me if I could get the form back to them first thing in the morning, they could cancel all the other viewings and the house would be mine subject to references. The children and I spent the evening at home (without husband) chatting excitedly about it all. There seemed no doubt that the house would be ours and that we could move in in a few weeks. All I needed to do was to fill in the form and post it into the agent before work this morning, which I duly did.

This afternoon I had a call. The other viewing had taken place, so both my 'profile' and the other family's profile were put to the landlord to choose which tenant he wanted. Bear in mind I could pay a substantial amount of rent up front.

But hey, as a landlord who would you prefer? A married couple with 2 children or a single mum. It wasn't really a surprise, an easy decision for him I think. Who would want a single mother in their property with two children when a nuclear family is so much more 'reliable'?

I'm sure you can tell I am feeling very raw. I am sobbing as I write. Poor Small Sprog is heart broken too and Tall Girl is swimming and doesn't know yet. I don't want to tell her, she will be devastated too. That's how much we need to get out of here, there really does seem to be no end, even when I try to force the issue.

Everything happens for a reason they say. I really wish I could see the reason behind this one. . .

Monday, February 08, 2010

My kindhearted boy

Small Sprog has gone tobogganing with his cub group tonight. Husband has taken him because I am taking Tall Girl to something else. Small Sprog has been very excited about going.

"I'll take my camera mummy, so you can see what it was all like!" He said this morning when we were alone. He knows that all the photos of the children that his dad takes, on the digital camera, I am never allowed to see, not even the birthday ones.

Husband has a VERY expensive camera which was supposed to be a joint possession. Seems I have lost my half! He downloads all the photos onto his laptop and then immediately deletes them from his camera. I have lost a years worth of memories. But I still have my children, so I can't really complain I guess.

Anyway, I was touched at Small Sprogs thoughtfulness. He wanted to take his camera so he could show me his fab night out. Just how he was going to take a photo of himself tobogganing I don't know, but it was kind and thoughtful of him to think of me. Bless him.

So tonight as I was kissing him goodbye, he said to his dad "I thought I could take my camera. Then I could show. . ."
His thought process stopped for a split second ". . .Tall Girl what it was like"
"It's OK, I've got mine" Husband said. That was it. No question of arguing the point for Small Sprog.

I gave Small Sprog an extra squeeze. I knew he was protecting me and had thought about the situation. I wish, in a way, he didn't have to think like that at all, but I am very thankful for his thoughtfulness.

Friday, February 05, 2010

To Let

Funny how things move on. I went to look at a house last night to rent. All of a sudden it seems possible (unless you look at the finances that is)

I have found myself looking about me recently thinking about what I must remember to take, wondering what I shall be allowed to take. The property that I looked at was unfurnished, I will need to take stuff, we have enough here, but I wonder if he'll let me, physically I mean. It's not going to be pretty is it, the day when I take furniture out of this house?

The house was almost perfect for us really, as rented houses go, but as it is the first I've looked at it felt wrong to commit. Also I have to steel myself until 22nd February, when we have our next mediation session though, as you know, I don't have much hope of that working.

So, I am preparing myself, mentally I guess, for a move of some sort. Over the last year I feel I have lost the ability to organise, the stuffing has been knocked out of me a little, I am not the competent woman I used to be, not inside. The thought of organising services, bills, mortgage or rent repayments single handed seems very scary from here. I used to do it. I used to own my own house and live there by myself, it seemed easy, once. I feel I have 'lost the knack'.

Tomorrow I am off to see another property to let. At least I will have more than one to compare then.

PS. Just realised this is my 450th post!

Happy Weekend to you, whatever you're doing.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Small Sprog the diplomat

'Would you like to sit in the back seat Tall Girl?' Says Small Sprog grinning. How could she refuse?!

I have an ongoing battle with both of them about who sits in the front seat of the car. They can battle about whose turn it is when we are only going on a 5 minute journey, let alone a 'proper' journey! It's endless.

I have asked them to take turns, be sensible and share. I have threatened that if they can't sort it out themselves then they'll both go in the back of the car, always. I have suggested that they could try being kind to each other, along the lines of; 'Would you like to go in the front today, My Lovely Sister'! None of these really works, surprise, surprise!

Until yesterday evening on the way back from Small Sprogs Extra Maths. They both ran to the car, racing and jostling for position, Small Sprog slightly ahead, reached the door, opened it wide and said 'Would you lie to sit in the BACK seat Tall Girl?' I did laugh, rather than offer the front seat, he limited her choices to the worst option! She just had to take it! I wonder how long he'd been thinking about that one?!

He's off school poorly today, I'm not really sure he is really poorly at all, while I sit here with him and worry about the fact that I am having another day off work due to child sickness. . .

Monday, February 01, 2010

Is there no end?

Today I saw my solicitor in order to go through the finances and get it straight in my head before thrashing it all out with husband in mediation in a few weeks time. No problem I thought. That light twinkling at the end of the very long tunnel was certainly shining more brightly last time I looked.

The solicitor and I went over the figures, what I need, what he was offering, the difference between the two. I took a deep breath, 'I'm not sure that this will get sorted out during mediation' I said to her. She nodded her agreement. Court would the be the solution in the event of that being the case. 'So how long would it take then?' I said 'If we have to go to court to settle the finances?'
'You should be sorted by this time next year' she stated
'This time next year?' My heart sank.

At home tonight Tall Girl was unhappy. She wants it all over. Home isn't really home any more. 'It's not like it used to be'
'Will you be happier after we are all separate?' I asked her, steeling myself
'Yes' She replied without hesitating.

The solicitor tells me not to move out. Financially unsound move, she says. But for all our mental healths sake? What price can you put on that? Tall Girl has managed well so far, but right now she is feeling the stress. Small Sprog has been not right for a while now. Decision made. We cannot stay.

My day off this week will be used to seek out suitable rented accommodation, find out what I need to know (It's years since I have rented anywhere), everything is so expensive, all of it more than I earn a month, and there's not much about either. However there will be somewhere for us. There must be. As Tall Girl says, 'we just haven't found it yet'.....