I'm having a rubbish day. Everything's annoying me to a ludicrous extent and I'm feeling so very shouty that I know if I start, I just might not stop.
I'm a bit stressed is all, and I'm not very good at dealing with stress. Some people thrive on it, others panic, I get catastrophically irritable while getting on with it then eventually get drunk and not care anymore. But it's still the middle of the day and I can't crack open a bottle just yet. I'm fully aware (thank you very much, no need to point it out) that there are plenty of other people out there with lives that are so unbelievably shit compared to mine and who just swan beatifically through it all. Well, good for them (I'm being polite now), but they're not me and I only care about me just now.
I also suspect that now I've reached the grandmotherly age of 46 and being definitely perimenopausal doesn't help. Today I am most assuredly a Grumpy Old Woman.
"So what's up, you crabby old witch?" no-one in particular is going to ask me (because I don't have many friends and those that I do don't give that much of a shit as they're all miserable old bats themselves - Hi Carol and Sam!!). I'll just write a list as it's easier. I wish I was capable of a more stylistic way of writing whereby I can work everything into pithy and witty paragraphs but, frankly, fuck that. I'll just get annoyed that it's all not as pithy and witty as I want it to be and hurl the keyboard at the cat. So a list is safer, not least for the cat.
1. The allotment
I only went down once throughout the whole of October. This is bad. The weeds don't stop growing just 'cos I can't be arsed to pull them out of the ground. It's not as if I have far to go, it's in walking distance of home and I do actually rather enjoy it when I'm there. But there's a lot of work to do down there at this time of the year in general, plus I've got five fruit trees on order that will arrive any day now so I should be down there preparing the ground, and I just can't be bothered. This doesn't, however, stop the little voice in my ear reminding me about it every time I look out the window and see it's not raining....
2. Jewellery sales
I've had rubbish jewellery sales this year (although please check out my new guilt-free chocolate jewellery range). The credit crunch has hit me same as everyone else I suppose, but there's nothing much more disheartening than having to get up at sparrow fart on a cold dark Saturday morning when you'd much rather be snuggled under the duvet, drive 45 minutes to a craft fair, then sit there until 5pm and come away having sold nothing more than three pairs of earrings. 'Depressing' and 'pointless' are words that spring to mind here.
3. Lost pen
I'm seriously gutted about this. Half a dozen or so years ago, when The Lovely Husband worked at a job in the City that he hated but which paid a stupidly large amount of money, we had enough cash to give ourselves some really nice treats and for Christmas he gave me a set of Montblanc Meisterstuck pens in a leather wallet - a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen. These are shamefully expensive but classic, elegant and beautifully engineered to work faultlessly. The ballpoint was the best pen I ever had and about 2 weeks ago I lost it. I was using it in Sainsbury's to cross stuff off the shopping list and didn't have enough hands to put it back in the leather wallet. So I either put it in the pocket of the coat I was wearing or just dropped it into my handbag with a mental note to fish it out when I got home. Of course, I forgot to do this and I didn't realise it was missing from the wallet until a couple of days ago. Cue much frantic searching through every pocket of every coat, turning handbag inside out, searching inside of car. Nothing. Gone. I asked at Sainsburys today if a gold and black pen had been handed in but it hadn't. I didn't know what to tell TLH but eventually plucked up the courage. "But that was a gift from me!" was his reply. Which didn't help assuage how badly I felt because I KNEW THAT!!! And it's not as if I'm one of those people who loses stuff - my house may look like a tip but I know pretty much where everything is. I'm now looking on eBay to try and replace it but then you run the risk of it not being genuine.
4. TLH's Health
I know he won't want me to go into details here but suffice it to say that, mid-October, TLH suddenly and inexplicably developed an unsightly (although not serious) condition that has slowly spread. This is a worry in itself as we can't work out what has caused it - our diet hasn't changed and I'm using the same washing detergent as always. I've provided various unguents and salves but it doesn't seem to be clearing up. He could go to the GP but all they'll do is prescribe something with steroids in and, if we're lucky, request a blood test. Which might, I suppose, help symptomatically but won't address the underlying cause. I've been going to a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner since 1991 and he's always my first port-of-call for anything like this, and what TLH has is eminently suitable for treatment this way. But TLH was brought up in a household that would give the Christian Scientists a run for their money in its level of scepticism for any kind of medical personnel (until it became absolutely necessary), and that's conventional medicine we're talking about here. Anything involving needles, herbs or spinal manipulation is to be dismissed out of hand. Never mind that it's a medical system that's existed for several thousands of years and is used by a country with the largest population in the world. I've offered to take TLH and sit in with him, but I don't get a response other than not having the time for a brief GP's appointment never mind a half hour drive to an appointment that is likely to take at least an hour. And while this is true (he's busy with work at the moment), it's still deeply frustrating. I'm wondering how long it will take until he's decided he's had enough and is willing to try anything. Which is a shame because I can't help feeling it might have cleared up a lot quicker if we'd gone sooner. I only want what's best for him but, you know.....
A close family member is going to have elective surgery in Budapest. She's 72-years old and knows what she wants. I've agreed to go along for the fortnight it will all take and act as her nurse/babysitter/cook/minder while she's recovering. I mean, she's paying for everything, all the accommodation and both our flights out there, plus all the food so I'm getting it for free BUT I have to spend the first four days there on my own while she's in the clinic (don't suggest my going out there four days later - it's too complicated to work out, trust me) and I'm leaving TLH and 'his affliction' at home. He'll have to cope with all that on his own as well as doing all his own cooking etc. (which, in an ideal world, I'd be thrilled at not having to cook but I'm still going to be cooking albeit a few thousand miles away). It's actually bittersweet, this having to go to Budapest thing. I am quite looking forward to going but it's a long time to be away from TLH and the cats - the longest we will have been parted in 15 years, in fact. Plus I'm going to miss the local bonfire for the second year in a row, and I LOVE a big bonfire, especially as the one in our village has the most spectacular fireworks display, best enjoyed by starting the evening in a local pub, then buying a burning torch and joining the procession to the field where the torches are flung into the huge pile of branches and pallets to the accompaniment of the sound of the local brass band and the smell of frying onions from the burger van. Then getting a stiff neck from craning it upwards while thousands of pounds' worth of rocket-propelled explosives rattle the windows and dust the sky with multicoloured stars. And I shall miss it all.
6. Craft Fair while I'm away
Slap bang in the middle of when I'm away there's going to be a craft fair that I've booked to do. TLH has very kindly said that he would do it for me but this means that I have to ensure that everything is packed properly and he knows where everything is before I leave, which is in 4 days time. So that's something else I've got to think about and make sure everything's where it should be.
TLH's mum and dad are 85 and 95 years old respectively. Time is catching up on them and TLH and I, plus his sister, have come to the decision that we need to be more proactive in looking after them. TLH is going to visit them the first weekend I'm away to help around the house, go shopping, do household chores, fix stuff, that sort of thing. I fully suspect that we'll end up alternating with TLH's sister in going to visit every other weekend, so that there's always someone there at least once a week. The trouble is they live 166 miles and 3 hours drive away from us. It's a worry having to consider how we can make their lives more comfortable considering how fiercely independent they both are and it will take massive amounts of persuasion in order for them to accept any kind of outside home help (which would ease the pressure on TLH and his sister).
Well, I think that's enough to be getting on with. I feel a bit better for offloading and props to y'all if you managed to read this far without shouting and screaming at the screen (which I deserve, frankly). There's some other stuff too, to do with my own parents' monetary situation, the old girl who runs the stables where I used to ride, how the neighbours view the state of my back garden, the major, major, major operation that one of my closest friends will undergo at the end of November, the fact that I've not seen my brother and his wife for several months now, even though she's heavily pregnant, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.
But that's enough for now.
Just so you know there is good stuff in my life as well, and that I'm not about to open a vein just yet, the red Japanese Maple has finally come to its senses and is starting to change colour:
I coveted a multicoloured chandelier for our bedroom which has now gone up:
I realised that I didn't put up a picture of the landing upstairs after we'd finished painting it. One of the walls was painted in Dusted Damson, the other in that pale beige colour that I've forgotten the name of. I also put one of those fabulously minimalistic Scandinavian clocks on the wall above the stairwell. It's all looking very lovely as long as you ignore the fact that we still don't have carpet yet on the landing or the stairs, but that will come:
After the apocalyptic weather of yesterday, today was gloriously sunny and blue-skyed and I thought my purple callicarpus berries looked especially fine against such a beautiful backdrop:
And we have a small colony of ladybirds overwintering in our bathroom. It's almost like having your own live nature programme going on above your head while you wee. The number of bugs in the colony varies from day to day, but it's usually between 7 and 12, and their configuration changes regularly. Sometimes they're in a long line, sometimes in a big pile, all on top of each other. I've been trying to find out what they eat (it's their larvae in the spring and summer that eat all the aphids) but to no avail, otherwise I could do my best to provide it for them - any ideas? Anyway, here they are as at lunchtime today:
I might be able to update my blog from Budapest but I won't know until I try. I know I'm not the most prolific of bloggers but if you don't hear from me until the end of November, you'll know it's 'cos I've been out of contact. Hopefully. On the other hand, as I say to TLH when I go out to do the weekly shop, "I'm off out now. If I don't come back, avenge my death."
*UPDATE* I asked TLH if he'd read today's whinge and he said he had. "Just a minute", he said and rushed off out of the kitchen somewhere. He returned almost immediately. "Here you are, have this," he said, "I don't use it" and pressed into my hand his own Mont Blanc Meisterstuck ballpoint pen. My eyes filled up with the thought of such generosity. I did protest so we agreed it would be 'an extended loan' until the borrowers return my missing pen. He's so lovely and I'm going to miss him terribly. I don't deserve him...