Monday, 25 October 2010

Alcoholics Annoymous

I met my husband 19 years ago, in a nightclub where we were both very much the worse for wear!
Maybe this should have rung a couple of alarm bells then.
At the time we met, we were both just into our twenties, I was a student nurse and my husband was a camping salesman who went out with his mates every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Thursday night - meet in the "Wellie", get drunk, end up in a night club, Friday night - meet up with best mate in the whole world in his local village, get drunk, sleep on the sofa at mate's mum's house, Saturday night - meet mates get drunk, somehow manage to find a way home!
I think you may be getting the picture.
When we started going out, I would see him every night of the week except for a Friday - not allowed to meet the best mate yet!
If we stayed in, we would inevitably get some wine and cider and drink it all and feel just a little hungover the next day.
I shared a four bedroomed flat in our nurses residence and two of the bedrooms were taken by student dietitians. One of their projects was to study the lifestyles of their flatmates and keep a record of what we ate and drank for a week.
They chose to study my husband - diet wasn't too bad for a lad who was 21, alcohol intake - 121 units per week - his main tipples were Pils and Diamond White - we now know that each of those are worth at least 1.5 units each and not the 1 unit we allocated them!
The Government recommended intake at that time was 21 units per week for a male - so 5 times the limit was pretty good going I thought!
We all thought it was a laugh but did nothing about it.
Fast forward to about 6 years ago. Hubby feeling a bit rough and unfit, so decided to cut out the cider he drinks - still on the strong stuff most nights of the week, with wine at the weekend. As an aside, I don't really drink all that much anymore, maybe a couple of glasses of wine at the weekend, hubby will finish the bottle off both nights.
Cider stops, and 2 years later, states that he feels much better!
Then comes a very difficult time in his life - made redundant, and unable to find a job for 6 months. Things were very fraught and money was tight - he was able to claim jobs seekers allowance but was in the process of setting up a business and so all of his money went to that - apart from the money he started spending on the cider again.
I raised my concerns but he just brushed it aside as I'm stressed, I'm allowed at least one thing aren't I? At this point he would wait until I disappeared upstairs for a bath before drinking so that I wouldn't know that he had had a drink! This just shows how bad things were at the time.
Managed to find a job about 12 months ago now and although it is nothing like what he wants to do, it covers the majority of his share of the bills and we just about get by.
Hubby has a few friends that he has kept in contact from school with, they meet up every now and then, usually on birthdays, stag do's etc and all get very drunk. Even went to Magaluf about 3 years ago - I was worried as he tends to get lost quite easily and starts looking for the London Road - wherever he is - city or country! - and then walks up it to get back tour village!
Came back from there pretty much unscathed - wearing the same clothes he went out in 3 days before, sunburnt soles of the feet - fell asleep on the poolside! -wearing another chaps boxers - slept in the chaps room on the last night as he couldn't get into his room and woke with only 30 mins to spare before they left to come home - few drunken stories you know the rest!
This time last year, the eldest of the group celebrated his 40th birthday. House party about 40 minutes drive away - I'm never invited allegedly - so drove over, would catch a taxi home and then I would take him back over the following day. Went to bed, and woke around 5.30am as he stumbles in through the door. Leave him to it.
When he finally wakes up and I ask if he had a good time because of the time he comes home, I find out that he actually caught a taxi to someone else's house so that his taxi wouldn't cost too much! The local taxi firm at the new location wanted to charge him £25 to come out our way. Hubby being a bit of a spendthrift, thought I'll walk into town and find a taxi there.
Got to town, started walking up the London Road (!) looking for a taxi, none would pick him up because of the way he was swaying up the road! He passed the last village he would likely find a taxi to find that the taxi office was shut -it was about 3 am by this time, so he thought I'll just walk on to home. A new bypass has been put in which does cut the distance home by about 30 minutes when you are walking, however there is no pavement! He even slipped down an embankment at one point and because he had his "best" shoes on - they are smooth on the sole - he really struggled to get up the embankment! You get my drift?
He then spends the rest of the day feeling very rough!
In September this year, I had a long discussion with him about how much alcohol he was drinking again -he decided not to drink for a month - it was a very long month, headaches all the time, very grumpy, just not a happy atmosphere in our house - detoxing is never fun, I have seen it lots of time through work. Felt much better for it, and has stopped drinking in the week again with just one bottle at the weekend. So much better.
Friday night was this friend's 41st birthday! Repeat?
House party, this time I drop him off, we're not going out and about so the money I would spend in the pub I will get a taxi home. As I dropped him off, ring if you are not coming home just so I know you're not stuck down the embankment!
OK he replies.
6 am - I wake -bed empty, sofa empty, no husband!
Managed to wait until 8.30 before I sent the text that I would pick him up if he wanted me too.
OK comes the reply at 10 am.
Return to collect him -and get dragged into the house by the host - I have never met these people - hubby's choice - come in, have a coffee - I don't drink hot drinks but thanks anyway - I'm introduced to all of the friends I should have met over the past 19 years, and get asked why I didn't come along last night! I look at hubby and just say, no babysitter - the truth? I was never invited!
You must come next year and stop over. OK
Get hubby home around 11.30 am - provide water and red bull in the car along with the comment just a phone call at anytime would have been good so that I don't worry what has happened to you! Didn't decide to stay until 5.30 am comes the reply!
He collapses on the sofa and basically doesn't get up until 5.30 pm!
The state he was in was just undescribable. I don't know what to do now?
He doesn't agree that he has a problem - am I being too judgemental?
Should I just take the bull by the horns and tackle him about it?
I'm struggling to cope with him when he is like this and I know he verges on the edge of depression but won't accept that either!
I'll just wait until we get to the next time and then go through all of this angst again I suppose!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Home alone

Our son turned 11 about 4 weeks ago and is now in his last year of primary school. When he moves up to High School next September he will have to catch a bus to school as the High School is in the next village about 3 miles away. He will have to leave the house about 7.40 am and then come home sometime after 4 pm.
Since October half term last year, he has been walking to school on his own if I am on a late start at work. Since half term of the summer term this year, he has been allowed to walk home on his own when my husband was on his day off. New key cut for him and attached to his rucksack so that he can't leave it in the door when he got home!
This term, we have made a decision to try and get him more confident with coming home alone and have allowed him to walk home to our house each day and be home alone for approximately 45 minutes if I am on an early start if he has no after school clubs, in which case he would not arrive home until after I have got home.
Tuesdays are football after school club. I got home at 4.15, he should arrive home by 4.30 at the latest.
4.50 pm - no son. It is parents evenings this week along with a book fair at school. He volunteered to help yesterday, which was no problem, so I thought maybe he had popped in there again tonight after football. Walked down to school - no sign of him, book fair packed up, no football coach around, saw the after school club supervisor - who knows him - but she hadn't seen him either.
Looked in and around the school - still no sign.
Came home and started to phone people - started with one of the football coaches - his mum runs the local Guide unit so had his phone number! This coach hadn't been at football this evening so couldn't tell me - but did offer to ring around if I hadn't found him later on.
Rang 3 other mums who all said the same - he had been at football, but they hadn't seen who he left with! Panic starting to set in.
Rang a few other friends houses with no luck.
At 5.20 pm decided to bite the bullet and ring my husband just to check if he had told him to go somewhere else after football.
Husband hadn't - definitely not a happy bunny. He was working late tonight about 50 minutes drive away and would not be home until later. Told him I would ring him and let him know when I found him.
Decided to go and drive around our village - as I pull out of the drive, one grass covered child cool as a cucumber walks into our cul-de-sac!
Parked the car and asked him where he had been. Ben's house he replied! Where does Ben live I ask -on the green round the corner from school!
Once inside the house, I explained to him - calmly for me - about how worried I had been and that I had been ringing lots of parents trying to find him!I also told him how sick I had felt not knowing where he was. He should have come home straight from football, or at least rang me from Ben's house to let me know where he was and what time he would be home.
I also said that if he couldn't be trusted to come straight home, then he will have to start going back to the childminders after school - this is not something he wants to do.
Rang my husband but he was unable to come to the phone - his boss took the message and said he would let him know. 5 minutes later, hubby rings back. I explained to him where he had been and that we had discussed that it had been wrong to do it. Hubby's reply - keep him up until I get home !!!
That is not a good thing. Told son that daddy is not happy with him and that the mood he will be in tonight when he gets home, will be a mood he will never want to see again, so tonight will be very fraught I think.
Of course I am now wondering if this is a good thing allowing him home after school on his own to build up his confidence and for him to get used to being home alone?
I am hoping that after this episode this evening that it is something that will never happen again but do I trust him not to do it, or do we revert back to him going to the childminders?
Will have to wait and see the outcome of the discussion between him and dad tonight!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sleepover at the National Space Centre

Well, I'm back and very tired but it was an experience! There were 100 Brownies and Guides along with plenty of Young Leaders and Guiders. This is what I slept under last night along with 24 Brownies from a Pack who I had never met and to be honest, there's a few I would prefer not to meet again!
I managed to arrive about 10 minutes before the stated arrival time for all the leaders - despite our city centre being closed off because of some protests that were happening and having to do a 10 mile detour - to find that because some of the girls were arriving by coach with their leaders then they were already there!! Therefore I was quickly introduced to the brownies and then left with then all while their Brown Owl went off for the leader talk - would have been good to have gone I think?
The National Space Centre had everything well planned out and thumbs up to them for a great time. Unfortunately it would have been better without the non-behaving brownies!
We had quizzes and word searches to do on arrival while we waited for the last of the Brownies and Guides to arrive. Then we had a quick welcome from the organiser, a safety talk from the Space Centre Staff, and then we were split up into 4 groups to go and visit all of the galleries. Two areas were out of bounds for the visit and I believe that they are always out of bounds - not sure why?
Spent about 60 minutes doing the galleries and then we went into the theatre dome for the first of two shows. Very informative but because it was a 180 degrees show, very queasy!
Then we went for our packed suppers, then spent just over an hour doing some craft, split into two groups and one did hand puppets, astronauts, Hubble telescopes and satellites while the others made rockets and then took them outside to fire them up the walkway by the front door. Then swapped over and did the other crafts. Went back in for the sky at night show - I declined to go in which was just as well because we were waiting for one set of parents to pick up a child who wanted to go home and another one wanted to speak to mum and dad as she was homesick - good for her though as she decided to stay after that phone call.
After that it was 10.30pm - time for bed!
Lights went out around 11 pm and they all finally fell asleep around 2 am :(
Woken up at 7 am, time to pack, clean teeth, have breakfast and visit the shop if you were a guide - it had been decided that the brownies would not be allowed din the shop much to their disgust!
Home time 9 am - I got home just before 10 am
The National Space Centre is not as good as Conkers for visiting - I wouldn't go back time and time again which I have with Conkers, but as a sleepover destination, it is very good. The staff from the Centre sleep on site as well, so only do aim do a few each year - they have done 3 this year, mine will be the first next year.
The children were on the go from the minute they arrived and everything was well organised from both the Centre's point of view and the Brownie organiser.
My only gripe is about the behaviour by the girls who were given a very unique opportunity to sleep somewhere extremely special :)
The Division they are from is a privileged area, and so usually money is not an obstacle for them - although there will always be an exception to the rule. However, the behaviour demonstrated by these children, leaves me in absolute disgust at both the parents and the school about how they discipline their children and teach them manners.
While I can accept that there will always be problem children, the number who appear to be in this Division is unbelievable especially as this is a small Division because of its locality in a very rural setting!
Maybe, our village is very fortunate to have a school which ensures that manners and politeness will always be a high priority and that we have very good Brownies?
Anyway, this sleepover has given me a good idea on what to expect and I now have a lot of work to do between now and February - the first of which is to chase the other District Brownie Units to see if they want to come as no-one has replied to an email about coming along - can't be bothered? Probably not!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Time flies

Well it's been a long time since I last blogged!
Much has happened - I resigned as both DC and holiday advisor in June and have left things to them all. I was professional about it and made sure that I handed over everything which needed to be done, even made a disc with all the paperwork on as a back up!
Despite handing over two jobs I still seem to be lacking a lot of personal time - why haven't I found some more time?
I was fortunate enough to go to the Guiding Centenary Camp at Harewood House as part of the CAST team - the adults who supported every activity going on - and met some fantastic people and have made some great new friends.
After that experience I have now volunteered to go and help at Charnwood 2011 international camp as part of the first aid team - that will be fun too!!
Work remains a challenge especially as the other sister has been told to improve her performance or risk being performanced managed in another 4 months time and then being downgraded, so she is now trying to be very proactive but failing miserably and making everyone's life a misery at the same time - oh well.
I hope to start blogging a bit more regularly now but time will only tell - I will make more time for me!
I am off to the National Space Centre this evening to help another Brownie Holiday Advisor with her large scale holiday licence but also as a bit of background research as I'm going to be taking 100 girls there in February so this will hopefully give me a bit of a head's up of what to expect.
Will tell all tomorrow