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Easter Hangover 🐣🍫
This week’s domestic hazard.
I want to talk about door handles. Oh yes, I do insist on bringing the most exciting topics to your inbox. Those sticky-outy dangerous bastards are the bane of my life.
For a little context, my flat is a reasonably compact space. One narrow corridor from the entrance where most rooms lead off. Each door has a handle that protrudes about 2 inches from the door. These are lever-style handles or murderous sleeve catchers.
Every door I pass through I get brutally attacked. Every. Bloody. Time. Yes, it’s partly poor design and partly parky bouncing off walls. But it is a hundred percent annoying, dangerous and a constant reminder of how poorly I move through spaces. It is a rented apartment which means we are restricted on what improvements we can make.
It is hard for people who don’t own their homes to make the necessary adaptions to cater for chronic illnesses. Even if you have a sympathetic landlord, they do exist - somewhere - then there is the cost.
A quick Google shows that here in the UK getting a handrail fitted in your shower can cost anything between £80 to £150! Now I’m pretty handy at DIY so pricing one to fit myself would still come in at £50 or more plus the potential mishaps of me fitting it myself. (Yes, I know you’d love to read about that one!)
We are a family of four living on one full-time public sector wage and whatever I can contribute via writing. Finding the amount of money needed to make our home safe is a big stretch, even if our lease allowed it.
I’d love to know how people cope with low incomes and benefits to make their living spaces habitable for their illnesses. Please comment and share your thoughts on this.
In the meantime, I’m seriously considering pool noodles to cover the door handles.
Orange Blossom Bellinis
175ml chilled blood orange juice
1 tbsp orange flower water
chilled champagne or prosecco
Mix together orange juice and orange blossom water, then divide between 6 cocktail glasses. Top up with champagne or prosecco and serve with nibbles like olives and salted almonds.
This week in parenting.
18:47 Friday Evening
‘DO I TELL THE ARMY I HAVE A TATTOO?’ Lily* yells - at that volume she probably just has.
‘What? Come here and what are you on about?’ I’m confused, I thought Friday was over.
‘On the application form, do I just write chilli pepper tattoo?’
‘Application form? Lily, it’s Friday evening why in God’s name are you applying for the army now?’ I am only one glass of wine into the evening after a week of well, a lot. The only application form I’m interested in is for more wine or takeaway.
‘Can’t this wait until another day?’ I know from experience that everything with Lily takes at least sixty million more aeons than planned.
‘You said you wanted me to move out.’ I say this every hour of every day, about the children, the dog, the plants and even the birds on the bird feeder. We all know who the problem is but they would starve without me - so there.
At 19 years old it’s all good and she is ready to make a move. Since leaving college she has had a chance to work, earn some money and have independence but Lily is a unique soul and normality isn’t for her. She has always shown militaristic tendencies not only towards her long-suffering sister. It will be a good life and career.
It’s a tough one for us as parents, however. We have strong pacifist leanings and feel ambivalent about the armed services; even though my family have some history. There is also the idea of Scottish folk traditionally being used as cannon fodder for the empire and so on. This is the part where you have to step back from your stuff and allow your children to forge their own lives. But damn! It can be hard. Emotional acceptance and constantly adjusting to the changes of your offspring certainly keeps you on your toes.
As it turns out the army knows its audience and the form only takes two glasses of wine to complete. Now we play the waiting game. The interesting part is she had looked as if she might not ever get to this stage. Especially just last week when she was talking about moving into a flatshare. Kids are mercurial and led by the strangest things.
Take Daisy*, who is now 15 years, world doesn’t move fast enough for this child. I took her to Edinburgh for a few days this week and it went something like this:
On the bus passing through Dundee. ‘What courses do the art school offer here?’
‘Umm, hang on’ I consult the phone. ‘There’s…’
‘How much would it cost to live here?’
‘Could I get a job at the V&A?’
‘What is the theatre like?’
Arrg. Every moment of her sweet life has been rammed to the gunnels with questions. Daisy is curious and usually wants the answer yesterday.
This is of course, wonderful but I feel like I’m on a waltzer ride. This series of questioning is applied to every city she can think of in Scotland. She is heading for the arts probably theatre and television - watch out commissioning editors a tornado is coming your way!
After three days in Edinburgh getting her home is tough. She is adamant she wants to stay, there is a teen tantrum brewing. It is a long three-hour bus ride with a truculent adolescent. It’s not that Aberdeen doesn’t have some charms but for a cosmopolitan, insatiable culture gobbler like Daisy, it is a wasteland.
Sometimes the choice we make for our children at a younger stage don’t fit so well as they grow. The security and ease of Aberdeen have perhaps run its course but moving isn’t an option just yet. Another little reminder that you can only do your best as a parent, we are not gods.
I am exhausted. Travelling with Parkinson’s is tiring, difficult and the stimulus of the city, people and excitement have floored me. But I still have to coach Daisy through the emotional frustrations of not having life immediately where she wants it. Eventually, we get home. She stamps her way back into the routine. Several hours later, after protest banging in her room, she emerges.
‘Thank you for taking me to Edinburgh,’ She snuggles up beside me on our sofa.
‘You are the best mum, ever.’