The fork in the road

Buckle up people. You’re in for a ride. This is about Black Dog and mental health…

I had a fever for three days in late August. I got better, although Hubs stayed home to take me to the GP on one day as I felt so awful with it, he was worried about me driving.

I got better, but was sniffly, put it down to hay fever and dug out my antihistamines and soldiered on.

I did the Bloody Long Walk for Mito, 35km. My left foot was sore at about 32km, but at that distance, we just soldiered on. We got bused to the start line; but at the finish line, we had to get a tram back to the City. All up I did nearly 50,000 steps that day. I got into bed when I got home for a nanna nap.

DOMS set in good and proper, I was hobbling like John Wayne, popping anti-inflammatories and paracetamol to get through the next couple of days. Still snuffling.

My DOMS subsides, my foot is still sore so strap it up and head back to the GP on Wednesday night, second visit in two weeks. She pokes it, I don’t scream, we don’t think it’s broken, but I have an x-ray referral just in case I need it.

Thursday night, my nose starts running like a tap. Friday morning, my throat is scratchy and sore. I post about disdaining the person so hard who gave it to me on Facebook.

Friday afternoon, my foot is really, really sore; I book an x-ray appointment at the hospital near work. Still snuffly and sneezing. I get the x-ray done and head home for an early night.

Saturday morning, my body says stop. Just stop.

Tuesday this week, day four in bed, I call the GPs office and get the last available appointment of the day. Third visit in three weeks. Tim looks me over and say well done on getting your ‘flu jab this year otherwise you’d be ‘properly poorly’. I say I wonder what that looks like as I’m feeling terrible.

I’ve got a secondary infection in my sinuses; of course I have. I get a script for antibiotics, and manage to take two doses before bed.

Wednesday morning, I get up out of bed and nearly fall over. I’ve got so much congestion in my head, it’s now affecting my balance. I steady myself and go about getting the morning underway.

Archie wants breakfast in bed with me so we can chat together in the morning, I bring the tray in, lay down next to him and my whole vision is disrupted, I’m hanging on to the bed so I don’t fall off it. I start to feel sea-sick with it too.

When I can move, I sit back upright. This is not good. Hubs had an early start, so was already out the house. All I’ve got to do is get Arch to school. We finish off our morning jobs, teeth, hair, reading. and I get him up the hill. Come back home, prop myself up on pillows and settle into Midsomer Murders on the Netflix.

I get lunch, tidy that away and then settle down for a nap in the afternoon. I get up and fall out of bed. I then start being sick. When I’m done, I try to get back into bed, but keep falling over. I’m stuck on the bathroom floor, sobbing. What do I do now? I text Hubs, then call him, then text him. I text two friends I used to work with. Message another friend I know is in the office, can she page the other two?

I’m still being sick every time I move. The floor rocking and rolling underneath me. I’m crying, snot, vomit. It ain’t pretty. Hubs calls me back, we agree I need help. I call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Not something you do lightly in Australia as it will cost you >$1000, that is one thing that is automatically covered by our inordinately-expensive-for-very-little-reward-health-insurance.

What with one thing and another over the past few weeks, my mood has slipped again. Not badly, but enough for the little depression bastard to start making suggestions to me. Like “You’ve got a balance issue, you could ‘fall’ down the stairs and no-one would know. It would be an accident.”

Here comes my epiphany. I’ve literally got one part of my brain telling me to end it, here’s an easy way out. Handing it to me on a platter. While I’m in the middle of being ill, snot, vomit, sobbing in fear; another part of me. Not my brain, ME. My soul.

“I don’t want you to die”.

me

My phone rings, the health line have called me back to try and work out what’s going on and triage me. We work out I’m not having a cardiac moment, or anything serious; it’s more likely vertigo. She’s going to send an ambulance out to me, it’ll be a little while, but they will have medication to help me feel better.

Fricking vertigo.

I crawl to the doors to open them up, since the burglaries, there’s a screen door on, you ain’t getting through that. I also pull on some yoga pants, I’ve propped myself back in the bathroom with a towel around me when one of my friends calls “I’m on my way” She used to be a nurse, she won’t mind the mess I’m in.

She doesn’t, and when I start bringing up bile, she rubs my back and puts a cold washcloth on my neck. We talk about all sorts of shit, laughing. She gets me some water to my level so I can clean my teeth. I loves her I do. Hubs comes home, they do a handover and she heads back to work.

The ambulance arrives, they give me a wafer to put under my tongue to help with the dizziness and nausea. We go back and forth about me heading to hospital. I’m still not sure I want to go, I’m not that bad after all, I’ve only got vertigo. When he says to me, “You’ll be feeling like you were again all night if you don’t go”, that clinches it.

I’m not going to the inns and outs of the hospital stay, as it’s a big building with doctors in it and that’s not important right now. I was admitted overnight as they were still considering me a fall risk. I’ve been sent home with stemitil that I’ll need to take until more congestion has cleared. If I move my head too quickly, I’m still unsteady on my feet. Bed rest for the rest of the week.

The doctor that discharged me this morning thinks I’ve had the flu for three weeks, the flu jab carried me through, being stubborn carried me through – but my body spoke louder. So I’m listening. I’m stopping, resting and I’m going to find out who it was that told me, audibly. I don’t want you to die.

In all my years of struggling with depression and anxiety, I’ve never had such a clear delineation between it and me. Like Eckhart Tolle’s “I can’t live myself”. It was that big.

I am not my thoughts, you are not yours. Who am I? Let’s find out.

Going Viral

I had an odd week last week. Hubs had to stay home to look after me one day, which unless I’d had surgery, was unheard of before now. Archie came in to kiss me goodnight, surveyed the state of me, then kissed me on my head. The next morning he appeared beside my bed and decided that I still wasn’t well as, ‘You’re so pale Mama.’ Hubs took me to the doctor, I got told to carry on as I was and just ride it out. I carried on with the paracetamol, fluids and bed rest.

I basically did nothing for three and a half days, went back to work on Friday; managed an hour then came home again.

Not today

Picture credit: The wonderful C.Cassandra, Hubs got me her KickStarter package for my birthday last year. http://www.cassandracalin.com/comics-nottoday.html

I did watch the new season of Queer Eye, as I’d been saving it up for when I felt rotten and I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful. If I could sprinkle as much love and consideration through the world as the Fab Five, I’ll be a happy woman.

And on my last day in bed I realised that if I changed my VPN location, I unlocked the different programs on the Netflix. To say I was filthy about not realising this before now would be an understatement. I could have watched the US The Office from start to finish by now. Oh well.

All in all, not much to report. Although the funny thing we’ve noticed in our group chat about Erika, is our lows are synced. We all seem to struggle on the same day or night. HellCat said today that the chat is a nice place to hang out because we can all say what we feel and not worry about being told to ‘Get over it’.

I’m in the middle of it, I don’t want to get over it or get used to it yet. I spend my entire life trying not to feel emotions (Helloooo alcohol!) I want to honour Erika and ride this out properly by feeling it and being with it. Which is why when I got upset watching Arch play in the pool after his swimming lesson, I let the tears fall. I said to Hubs that I was worried that I hadn’t done enough and that I was missing her. Classic grief guilt, no more no less. My face after wiping the salty tears away on a towel is not so forgiving, I’m red raw :/

But I’m proud of it. In a funny, awful, sad, muddled way. Proud that I said to Hubs, “This hurts. This is why it hurts. I’m being visited by emotions and I’m gonna sit here with them”. As I was also wearing my Woman’s March t-shirt at the time, it was on top in the drawer, no other reason – it probably also looked a bit odd. #UnsatisfiedCommunistScumbagFeministGoblin

Erika’s lisp and gentle mouth always sounded and looked incongruous when dropping the F-Bomb. But I know she’s doing the sign of the horns with one hand, flipping us the bird with the other and cheering us on as we wobble on our paths.

It’s the best any of us can do really.

Yesterday was not a good day

Despite having all my hardware removed, I’ve still got my ovaries in, so hormones – those pesky little critters are still rampantly waging war on my moods. Combine that with a very late night the night before, I didn’t get home until midnight, I was cactus yesterday.

I could have easily stayed in bed and hidden away from the world, instead I hid in my phone and stuffed up my mood even further. When will I learn?

I’ve decided to not look at facebook for a couple of days. I’m not looking at twitter at the moment – sheer red rage at the orange twat-waffle and NRA lobbyists mostly.

My mood has not been helped by leaving a set of hand-over notes that were ignored by the person covering my role while I was away. Instead of having meeting papers in one place for me (brought forward folder) and one place for BossLady, (her daily pack); I found papers, agendas, things to sign and approve, OHS walks – anything and everything, all over the desk and shelves behind me.

When an autographed approval comes back to me, I scan it, save the PDF with the same naming convention in our files, stamp the hard copy with today’s date, update my spreadsheet and send the PDF on it’s way electronically. I then put the hard-copy into my pending tray to file each Friday afternoon when my brain is fried and all I can do is filing and clean my desk.

Never under-estimate the amount of people who want hard-copy bits of paperwork, as well as the same scanned bits of paperwork.

me

I had six days out the office, and its taken me nearly two weeks to find (what I’m hoping is now) everything, which is pretty impressive. Talk about a sense of humour failure. But more importantly, it also made me feel anxious and flustered because before I left the building, if I was asked for anything, I could put my hands on it straight away. Maddening.

This week I’ve been so tired, I looked up ‘How long does jet lag last for?’ It ain’t jet lag, pure and simple. I am an emotionally stuffed piñata. Hubs and I had such a good time away over the weekend, real-life in the week is hard to get back into. I am so far off my normal rhythm, it ain’t funny.

In an effort to combat this, I signed up for a 30 day Pilates challenge at my gym. You can only book into the classes 2 hours before they’re run; so far on day four, I’m yet to get a spot in one.

I can’t get comfy on my chair at work.

My back hurts.

I’m grumpy.

I miss Erika, spending so long thinking about our shenanigans has made me realise that despite the friends I’ve made over here – sometimes you need people around you knew you from before. Before divorce, before breakdown, before Hubs, before Archie. People who know you from days of yore and see you at your core.

Coven

Give me a couple of days to get out my funk, I’ll be ok. Until then, we’re all off again this weekend (we have a house-sitter), we’ll have a good car conversation on our drive up, I’m going for a run, we’re going to hang out with Hanno, drive the wee man’s RC car and watch an Am-Dram panto #HesBehindYou

I read this on Instagram from Andrew Johnson:

Imagine if we treated each new dawn of each new day with the same reverence and joy as we do each new year.

Angie Lynn

Tomorrow we start again. I just need to get through today. As I keep saying to Ian, sometimes you can’t get through more than a minute at a time. But anyone can do anything for a minute.

For Erika

Before I start, a bit of housekeeping: if there are any people with children here, let them be noisy – don’t shush them and take them out. I can wait and work around you. That being said, I am likely to swear a little bit and I will cry, you will also have to work around me. If anyone wants to come and stand beside me while I do this, thank you. Lastly, this looks long, but it is only really spaced out, so I can read it through my tears.

When Ian asked me if I wanted to speak today; he said I could send my words to Jane who would then read it out for me. But if Erika taught me anything; it was to get up and get on with it, even when you didn’t want to. Just keep going. 

For many of you, the past few weeks would have been a blur. I’m all over the place, I’m only here from Melbourne for a week. I don’t know my arse from my elbow, although I know it is Tuesday but only because I’m here in a dress talking to you. I started a new job the week before Erika died; I’m still in that learning new processes, period of confusion and breaking in a new boss limbo. We’ve also only just got Archie back to school after his two weeks winter holidays. Add the fact it is bitterly cold in Melbourne at the moment, is not helping my confusion on this beautiful day.

None of that matters though, because I simply cannot fathom I am never going to see Erika again; that she won’t get to meet Archie; that I can’t post Princess Bride quotes on Facebook while I’m watching the movie, that she’ll like every single one of them and volley them back at me; or that whenever I see a rabbit, kitten or Metallica video, I can no longer share it with her.

In fact, it’s inconceivable.

But I don’t want to stand here and rattle on about how awful it is, as every one of us is feeling that, the Man in Black reminded us that ‘Life is Pain Highness, and anyone who says differently is selling you something.’

‘Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.’ That quote is from Glennon Doyle Melton. 

Most of the poems on bereavement I found, are awful and not Erika. Death is nothing at all? Bull shit. Death is everything. I know it is only technically the opposite of birth; but it also the full stop at the end of a sentence in a paragraph that many of us were still writing. That quote was me. 

We celebrate births, then dither about what to say when someone dies. What I want to try to do today is celebrate Erika, to try and share with you how daft we were together, how much she shaped and helped my life over the past fifteen or so years.

We met in the early 2000s at a clothing company based in Andover, specialising in selling clothes to grumpy old women who would complain, vociferously, about anything and everything. Helen and I sat opposite each other in customer service; Erika was in an office next door. Before I go any further, can we also acknowledge that Helen’s beloved Dad passed away a couple of weeks ago, his funeral is on Thursday, let’s all give our love to her and her family too?

James Meade clothing was all hideous print blouses, high waist trousers and mostly polyester. If you walked too quickly through the warehouse, you could set it on fire. 

Customers would phone up and complain about buying a hideous print blouse, for it to be on sale after they’d brought it. They wanted their money back. Their parcel hadn’t arrived. They wanted their money back. The colour in the catalogue of this blouse was red, you sent me scarlet. They wanted their money back. 

A never ending stream of vitriol and bile which was not helped by calls being held in a queue for us to answer. If you answer a call and put people on hold to tell them their call is in a queue, it costs them money. The customers would only hear a phone ringing and ringing and ringing; they didn’t understand, or care, that we were all flat-chat on calls until we got to answer theirs. They wanted their money back.

Erika was away when I started, I bustled into the lunch room one day and saw her sitting there. I told her she looked like she needed a hug. So I gave her a hug. She then told me that she’d just got back to work after burying her Dad and she needed that hug. I probably gave her another one just to make sure.

We had an archaic vending machine in that lunch room, where you’d put your money in and hope you’d get what you asked for. One day I asked for Maltesers, but they got stuck. I went to find the key to open it, in the meantime, Helen had also asked for Maltesers and, of course, got two packets for the price of one. Helen just thought ‘Result!’ and promptly shared them out. I got back to the lunch room and shrieked ‘You Bitch-Troll-From-Hell!’ to much hilarity and the name stuck. I was re-christened Maddie-lion and Erika was Furriner.

We all took the day off one day to have a Bar-B-Que at my house. We went to the butchers in Ludgershall, then the supermarket, and ended up with enough food to feed the five thousand. Over the day, Helen and I bombarded Erika with British culture, including Bagpuss, and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life which she watched in either bemused horror, or bemused amusement at our hysterics. We’d also all got firmly stuck into cider, which made Helen’s task of making a dress to wear for an upcoming night out more difficult than it needed to be. Feeling slightly shady, she was worried it was a bit too short after she’d got carried away and tried to even the hem up. Sending Erika out to her car to get some fancy shoes to see what the dress looked like with heels on, Helen wiggled into the dress while I refreshed the ciders. Erika tottered back with two shoes. They were both black, but not a pair and both for the left foot.

I am so blessed with my close friends; I call them my coven for all the cackling and mayhem we create. In truth, I have many best friends, those people that when you meet up with them, it is like no time has passed.

Before the age of smartphones, Erika never had her phone on. It was either off all together, or on but on silent at the bottom of her bag, or on but had no charge. To get around this, I would text Ian, then ring him, he’d pass his phone over to her, we’d chat for hours. 

Then my world collapsed. My first husband decided he was leaving me. I can still see this day so clearly, I left my desk at work with my phone and called Erika. Her phone was charged, on, and sitting on her desk when I rang. 

Erika sent Ian to come and get me. Initially I stayed with them for a couple of nights. When I was told I had to move out of the house I had lived in with the ex-husband, she told me I was moving in with them. She wasn’t going to have me living in a council flat on my own. They helped me pack up my stuff, going backwards and forwards to try and collect everything over one weekend.

Amanda who I worked with at Sandhurst was on the phone with her sister Sara one day. Did Amanda know anyone who wanted to work as a PA in the Chairman’s office at Cable&Wireless? Amanda knew of the situation I was in and suggested I would be ok, and that I needed a new opportunity. Mum brought me a suit for the interview as I’d lost so much weight, nothing smart enough I had fitted me any more. When I got the job, I surveyed my wardrobe. I had precisely four outfits to wear to work. Getting worried about my severe lack of clothes; Erika reminded me that as they had dress-down Friday, I would wear jeans. That, when I got paid in a couple of weeks, I could buy a top or two. Now get out there and do it.

Erika and Ian let me stay rent-free while I got my life together again. I’d buy the groceries when we all went to the market, or treat her to John Freida’s Frizz Ease, as she’d never buy it for herself. Other times I’d be home, the front door would open and Ian would say ‘I smell cleaning products’. He’d also have to announce ‘I am coming up the stairs’ after he scared me shitless that many times by apparently just apparating into my bedroom.

Mon Bears took me to France for a weekend away. It had been a long day driving over, I decided to take my contact lenses out in the carpark of Carrefour as my eyes were itchy and dry, I was using disposable ones then. But before I could put one into a tissue to throw it away, it flew off and got stuck on a windscreen. Ian and I have been reminiscing over phone calls and messenger, he reminded me that ‘I had to separate the two of you before you could stop laughing’. 

Erika, Wiz along with the rest of my coven, nursed me back to health, back to life. 

Wiz, Erika and I would have tat competitions. Trying to find the worst thing we could as a holiday souvenir. The only caveat was it couldn’t be an outright souvenir, like a fridge magnet, or shot glass. It took some effort I can tell you to find things. I have a variety of memories from all over England, but my favourite is a tray from Montreal that would maybe hold a tea-cup, but only if empty. Truly useless.

Erika asked for the recipe for my sticky rice, not realising that I’m just hopeless at cooking it. She made a soup for Ian and I from the left over veggies after a roast dinner, whizzed it up, then realised she’d left a bay leaf in – so painstakingly sieved it all out. We’d bake for hours to make scones, biscuits and cakes to raise money or to take to offices for birthdays. Leaving the kitchen in a trail of destruction, and Ian to do all the dishes. One day Erika and Ian were coming over for lunch with Dan and I in Portsmouth. I was on the phone to Erika trying to navigate them in to the car park under our building when they drove past me walking to the store at the end of the block, as I’d just found a huge, surprised grasshopper in the bag of salad. 

I moved to Australia in 2008 to be with Dan, Erika gave me a Jasper thumb stone, auspicious for long journeys. Dan and I married in 2009, with Wiz and Erika arriving at the ceremony with wedding tat from the same Clintons range. A truly shitty wedding frame and a cake slice that was so plastic you’d either break it entirely, or fling the cake across the room if you’d attempted to use it. Erika put a wedding album together for us, and even with our official photos, we’ve never needed to put together another one. Then our Archie arrived in 2011, the Jasper stone also came into the theatre when I had to have Archie by emergency c-section. Erika sent a package of love to him, with post-it notes on everything, painstakingly telling me what, why and when she’d found things for us.

Our friendship slipped a little for a couple of years; life got in the way for all of us.

I’ve come back to the UK twice before this trip. Once for my brother’s wedding, again for his 40th. On my last trip here, Mon Bears came and got me from Wiz and Jim’s house, we drove around, not sure where to go and ended up at the seaside. We walked along the prom, eating ice cream. We went to lunch and talked and talked and talked. The bridges that were broken were mended.

I knew I’d be coming back for a funeral at some point, but I never thought the first one would be for Erika. Again, it’s inconceivable.

Ian, being Ian, apologised he had to break the news to me over the phone that Erika had gone. He has been humbled and amazed at the messages he’s received. Ian has told me that people he didn’t even know existed have sent him messages, and he knows they knew Erika because of how they describe her.

From her lary leggings at zumba, to her stamps and crafty buddies, to Charli at the Wakkie Hair company doing her hair, given free reign with colour and cuts. From Erika’s love of the sublime to the ridiculous, including, but not limited to: Harry Potter, heavy metal, rabbits, kittens, sci-fi books, Stargate, Dungeons and Dragons, Red Dwarf, The Hairy Bikers and Nigella, chicken wings and chee-bor-gays, both our fridges groaning with condiments, the airer that she hated me hanging washing on, but she loved me so accepted it; she taught me how to fold a fitted sheet instead of rolling it up into a ball and hoping for the best. Her absolute love of self, the endless selfies, she truly was “This is me”, I’ve so many memories. Such a long receipt of love to show everyone. 

It only remains for me to say, “As you wish”

concentrate… concentrate… I’ve got to concentrate… concentrate… concentrate…

I started crying at work today, then found I couldn’t stop.

It’s a funny thing, when the seal gets broken, all hell breaks loose. I do know where it came from, but holy moly the force of it took me by surprise.

BossLady was mortified she’d upset me. The girls in the office were great; one took me out to get birthday cake for our early afternoon tea; another brought chocolate knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat the cake; another offered me some aromatherapy oils.

My packing is progressing. I added a bikini to the pile over the weekend, much to Hubs surprise. But if there is a chance of sun; it being the UK summer, that chance is small, but if there is a chance. I’m sitting out in it doing SFA.

I ordered two new pairs of jeans yesterday. I often wear black jeans to work and ironing them yesterday morning, I realised they were getting a bit tatty. I also ordered a matching pair in Indigo, which for some reason, I’m inordinately excited about.

Other than that, we’re quiet. I washed my make-up brushes over the weekend, caught up on washing and need to get some groceries tonight. I’d have gone last night, but some eejit decided to go round a roundabout too quick and topple his truck over; which was full of logs, so not exactly light weight. I joined the back of the queue and inched along. It took me over an hour to get home last night.

Poor Archie is in the middle of a growth spurt, we’ve dropped his medication down to 1 tablet a day over the holidays, only down from 1.5 (the .5 at lunch), but he’s eating us out of house and home. This morning he was complaining of a sore back and legs, but they had an off-site trip to a big indoor playground he’d been looking forward to with his holiday program. By the time he got himself going and outside his breakfast, he was feeling better in himself, and decided he’d go and make a decision about what he played on when he got there. I told the educators to call me if he wasn’t coping this afternoon and I’d come and get him. But either way, we’re having an early night tonight.

Thanks for spending my lunch break with me.

Oh, stewardess! I speak jive.

I’m on the train home from the city after having a riotous dinner with Alice. We worked together in London, and like most of my good friends, simply pick up where we left off.

She is based in Sydney now, but was working in Melbourne this week. I tootled in after a crazy, awful, busy day.

Within about 5 minutes, we were back in the vernacular, bouncing Inglish off each other. She’s just been back to the UK, a FIFO for the Spice Girls and visited Boots for me. I’ve got a shopping list for her from Primark. And pickled onion monster munch and Penguin biscuits.

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was good to see her. And as she’s back down here again next week, we can do it all over again.

I love my Australian friends, but I like being able to talk about flip-flops and Revels, Lorraine Kelly and Sainsburys.

Alright, give me a Hamm on five, hold the Mayo.

Hubs and I are working on getting our new routine into place with me working away from home again. I say ‘away’, it’s 14km (8 miles) away. On a good day, I whizz through in 20 minutes. The longest it’s taken was one night, when it took 45 minutes to get home.

My new BossLady lives in Geelong and drives up each day. Two hours. Although today the traffic was feral, so it took her three. I got a train to London each day, which was about 90 minutes. By Thursday, I was buggered (technical term). How she drives that far, 92km (57 miles) and functions as a human I don’t know.

The only way we’re getting through the week is getting as much done as we can the night before, batch-cooking and stocking the freezer to grab dinners out. And packing lunches before we go too.

I’m still aiming for high protein, low carbs. I cannot be stuffed with macros, life is too short for that; but I aim for around 20g of carbs a day, which when you don’t have gluten is easy. I eat buckets of greenery like spinach, salad leaves, cucumber and celery as they’re ‘free’ – and top-up the total with other veggies. Sprouted seeds (yummeh), broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, zucchini and eggplants (courgette and aubergine in English).

Sometimes I just pile it all into a lunchbox and pick at it, I’ve also got a jar of nut butter in my desk drawer. Other times I’m more culinary and make a proper salad. Either way, I’m happy.

With the greenery goes at least one boiled egg, cheeses and cold meats. We had bratwurst for dinner tonight, we’re all looking forward to cold brattys tomorrow!

For the flights I’ve packed some rice puddings, muesli / protein bars and today a travel mixed-pack of my post-run protein shakes arrived; along with a whey hot chai drink, which I’m road-testing as I type. Probably a bit too sweet for me to have too often, however I did get those for emergencies.

I love my food, but I can’t run the risk of having something with gluten in if I get desperate en route. My tummy is still not 100% happy; my IBS is in flare up with me being a bit stressed and frazzled. The last thing I need or want is a #CoeliacMoment in the plane [horror emoji] it’s bad enough using the bathrooms on a plane at the best of times.

I made Hanno’s bed again tonight, the suitcase is on there and the UK trip herding has begun again.

We have clearance Clarence

My leave has been approved at work. There’s a form for special leave so I can go into a negative balance at work and pay it back. I’ve also had an initial conversation with the lady who will cover the role while I’m away.

Word

Then the rest of the day went a bit crazy. I’ve had a crash course in Visio, which is now my new favourite Microsoft program. I am disdaining Word so hard right now, I want to put a table in and ….

I tried changing the section to landscape, then the header went phut. Unlinked it. Got that sorted out, saved it; it reverted to the stuffed up one. I tried a couple more times, then I gave up. I’ll have another play tomorrow.

Hanno was down for the weekend, I quickly cleared the bed (onto the floor, so far so teenager) so he could visit. I’ve stripped the bed, I’ll make the bed in a minute and start the packing herding again.

I’ve also stopped taking the extra anti-depressant meds. I’d only gone up by half a tablet; but it was enough to make me feel slower and dopier. Not what I needed.

Aside from that, the weekend was good – Archie enjoyed his birthday. We had a great meal out with Hanno, Manny and Auntie Susie. We pottered about the house, caught up on the washing – which given the weather was no mean feet. Thank goodness for a tumble dryer.

Quiet couple of days. #BoringBlog

There’s just no stopping in a white zone.

I dug out a suitcase from under the house today. Brought a clear wallet with some empty bottles to decant smellies into. Tried to find another pair of yoga pants for the flights, and failed. Admittedly, I only tried one shop, but I don’t want running tights, and I don’t want tracksuit pants, I want in between, none of which I could find.

Still doesn’t feel real though.

Trawling through Erika’s photos to find my favourite one of her that showed her sweet and kind nature, was not a good hour or so. I was a complete mess to be honest. I was doing the ugly cry, and my head was so congested at the end of it, ugh.

Still, in amongst the snot and sobs, I had several laughs at our shenanigans, so it wasn’t all bad. As Glennon Doyle Melton says, “Grief is the receipt you get for loving someone.”

In other news, we had Archie’s 8th birthday this weekend. He had a great day, although we managed to get to Ben and Jerry’s too early to get his ‘Pupil of the Week’ reward, that remains in the bank for another day. We had a family dinner in the evening, all the meals were lovely and we had a good conversation too.

I’ve also been pottering through my clothes and bags. I brought a new bag, which means an old one needs to go. I ended up putting two bags into the charity pile, Archie’s old welly boots and some other clothes that I do like; but every time I put them, on I take them back off again. Times change.

As I pack for the funeral, I am going to review what I’ve got in the spare room. Do I need it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again at full price? If not, it’s going. I have a weight on me I’m trying to shift.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my running stuff to work. It’s time to get back out there again.