I’m Still Here!

I never realised how much work came after moving house, especially when the 11 year old boy you gave very specific instructions to just ignored them and threw everything wherever it would land. Clean bedding and clothes mixed in with dirty bedding and clothes. And books. And Lego. And used batteries, rubber pineapples, sweet wrappers, roll-on deodorant, and a colouring book I asked him to throw out maybe three years ago because it was a year before that the last time he did any colouring. All of that in the one suitcase. At least he took the time to zip it up. Next time I’m either doing the whole thing solo or I’m offering better payment to the boys than a takeaway and a bag of sweets.

I did send the ex a message last night telling her exactly what I thought of her and her mother. I realised that she’s been taking the piss for the last six months, keeping hold of a set of keys to my house, and bloody hell it felt good to put into writing the frustration that she’s caused over that time now that she doesn’t have keys to my house any more. I’ve deleted her number now, that chapter is closed, but I just couldn’t go out with a whimper after considering how much the last few months has messed me up.

If the last week or so has taught me anything it’s how much I really enjoy writing, as even though real life has distracted me for a while, I’ve still been thinking daily about things that I might write about. And I’m still playing catch-up on the reading too, though I think I’m only three days behind so it’s not too bad. And I will catch up! I’ve been thinking about starting a separate little series of posts about absolutely random words – what they mean to me and how I react to them, just to see how the absolute random nature of the words we come across in our everyday lives might affect us when focussing on a single one of them. I don’t know though, I might do a practice run and see what comes out!

This feels less than inspirational now I’m reading back through it, but tonight it’s all I’ve got!

Stressful Days

Wow, the last few days have been wild, but I have landline internet again so I don’t have to worry about using my meagre data allowance up any more! I’ve tried to keep on top of reading the blogs I’m following but I’ve fallen way behind, so there’ll be some notifications coming your way that I’m liking posts from days ago. I am actually reading them though, not just steaming through them and hitting the like button to clear them from my notifications!

Moving house was, in the most part, far easier than I’d been worrying about for days. I picked up the keys, the removal men came and picked my stuff up, put a right dent in the door of my fridge freezer for which they refunded me 25% of their cost, and it was pretty much all wrapped up within three hours of it starting. I’m not a control freak but I wanted it all over as quickly as possible, so I’d dismantled furniture and moved everything into the living room to make it as simple as possible. Did the cost of the move include them bringing everything down from upstairs? Yes, it did! Would I bring everything down myself again in future just to get it over with more quickly? Absolutely I would!

I mentioned previously that my mother and the boys were down to help out. I’ll start with the mother. She is an island. She’s an island in the sense that she just sits there while things go on around her. I love the woman but at this point that’s all I’m willing to say about her contribution. The kids have been a mixed bag really – Alex helped with the packing while William lay there pretending to be asleep. After the move, Alex refused to lift a finger while William walked about 15 miles over two days helping me bring little bits backwards and forwards from the old house to the new, and was rewarded with as many chicken tikka sandwiches as he could handle.

Sunday was a bit of a shitter, the ex turned up to collect her stuff while William and I were there. William treated her in a way that I wish I could – monosyllabic grunts and ice-cold glares because he’s seen how down I’ve been because of her. I wish I could have done the same but I was as nice as ever, helped her load her car, helped her carry her bags out, all of the stuff that I promised myself I wouldn’t do. Afterwards I regretted not making her do it herself, but I know that if the same situation were to occur again tomorrow I’d still offer to help. And I’d regret it later.

So here we are now, I’ve messaged her asking whether we can just sit and have a drink and a talk, not with any hope of reconciliation but just because I have nobody else to drink with or talk to, and she’s being as deliberately evasive as always. I should know better. I tried to explain in the simplest terms why I feel like shit and she doesn’t care. As long as she’s happy, that’s what matters.

I was a little annoyed, upset, pissed off, down, angry, frustrated, confused, devastated, disconsolate, wired, and drunk.

To now, and this place is an absolute mess. I’ve had to work yesterday and today, and I’ll be in work until 13:00 tomorrow as well. After that I’m free until Monday, and hopefully I can make this place feel a little more homelike in that time. Getting some books on the bookshelves will help. My books. My Katharine Kerr collection, which will take pride of place across the top shelf rather than being relegated to a box because the ex didn’t like how worn they looked after multiple readings down the years. My heavy metal dvds, relegated for the same reason.

It doesn’t yet feel like the start of something new in here, but I’m hopeful that, soon, it might. It just might.

The Most Perfect Words

I’ve been thinking about lyrics that make me happy recently, and about how, outside of the context of the songs they’re in, they’re really not that inspiring.

Take this, from Dissection’s Soulreaper

Woeful one of endless sight beyond the veil of time
Of grand darkness you are the keeper
My soul is black and black as night are the ways of thine
Wield the scythe of the Soulreaper

Within the song it’s perfect. Outside of it, not so much.

Or this example from Agathodaimon’s The Darkness Inside

Life sometimes feels like a nightmare
When every step you take is a wrong one
With only binary choices there
Seeming fair?

They say that time does slowly heal
But memories amplify the pain I feel
Forever haunting me, it’s so unreal
And still we dream… as we walk down the line…
We forever sleep

Again, perfectly serviceable within the confines of the song, but missing something when taken purely as words.

Have you ever read something that just blows you away, that makes pretty much everything else you’ve read before or since become almost insignificant with the absolute power of the impact it has on you? Have you ever come across Shakespeare’s 94th sonnet? If not, then you have now, it’s right below…

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces
And husband nature’s riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed out-braves his dignity;
   For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
   Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

For me, this is the absolute pinnacle of the English language, nothing I’ve read before or since being introduced to it coming close, not even the rest of Shakespeare’s considerable catalogue. I do have to be honest and say that, while I’ve read through much of his other works, they didn’t interest me. Pretty much nothing else written before 1970 interests me. Apart from Faust, that was incredible, or at least the translation I read of it was. This though, this has meant the world to me for a long time. The final couplet is enough, I could live off just that for a long time, but the whole sonnet is just a level above everything else.

To me, it sums up life itself.

Anger and Frustration

I thought I’d have an early night tonight. 12 pints of Strongbow should at least give me that small release, especially with tomorrow being a work day, and having to travel into the office for it as well.

It’s not happening though, I feel as wide awake and present as I’ve ever been. There’s just constant thoughts going round my head of sending a message to the ex. Something along the lines of, “Are you aware of what a monumental bellend you’ve been, or do you think your conduct has been totally acceptable?” The word Bellend has been through various drafts in my head, including a couple beginning with F and one with C. I save that one for when I mean business.

I won’t send a message, some good advice tonight and my nature prevent it, though I wish I could just let rip, just once, and let someone else deal with the fallout for a change.

Happy Birthday, Dadders

My boys have heard people calling me Rodders for so long that they started calling me Dadders. They forgot my birthday today though, which definitely hurts. The rest of the family forgot too, with the exception of a single sister and my mother. That doesn’t bother me – I’ve never made a big deal of it and would prefer not to celebrate it to be honest. I got a message from my favourite colleague though, and she made sure to mention it at work so I got a card and some goodies from them, which was most appreciated. My birthday isn’t on my facebook account, so I’ve had no messages from friends either, which suits me, but does make me wonder just when I became so far removed from absolutely everybody. It’s my cousin’s birthday today too – same day, same year. The possibilities of what kind of kinky madness happened 38 years plus nine months ago are something I will never spend more than a fraction of a second thinking about. I’m sure it was all entirely coincidental.

It’s been a bad day though. The ex (who I am sure I will stop whining about soon) decided last night was the best time to get in touch to sort out when she’s picking her crap up. So today has been filled with me answering her questions, her swerving mine, and me not really functioning in any other way. I’m still trying to keep the mother entertained, we watched the last events of the Olympic cycling this morning, I played the Xbox for a bit, we watched Man on Fire with Denzel (I love Denzel) and now we’re watching Deepwater Horizon. For me it’s a distraction, but my mum loves Denzel, and she’s seen Kurt Russell is in Deepwater Horizon, so she’s happy enough with this as well.

I’d love to lose my shit with the ex, to tell her exactly what I think of her. I’d also like to point out that the calm, measured way I’m behaving now, not reacting to her provocations and just trying to be nice, is exactly the same approach I employed with the mother of the boys a few months ago, an approach she decided to move out over.

Maybe I should just move forwards living as a dickhead instead of a doormat. It’d take some effort, but I’m absolutely sure it wouldn’t be so painful.

Trapped (More or Less) With an Old Woman

Sometimes, you have to think on your feet due to the actions of others. Sometimes, when that other is your 75 year old mother, all you can do is to hold your head in your hands and try as best you can to go with the flow.

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and my mother, who’s been trapped in Scotland since last March, and who I last saw in November 2019 due to lockdown madness, had told me she was travelling down to spend a few days with me and would be with me by 13:00 on Sunday. That’s all good with me. Yesterday (Friday) I got a message from her saying she was 90 minutes away and would get a taxi to my house when the train arrived. She’s lucky I was working from home, but working I was, and getting the house in a fit shape to receive her with so little notice, all the while receiving phone calls and emails, was an absolute nightmare. At least I’d thrown my empties out first thing before I started work.

She’s behaved quite well so far. It took me repeating myself four times before I thought to ask if her hearing aid was switched on. Apparently it’s broken. I was at a bit of a loose end this afternoon so I watched The Expendables, and didn’t notice her look up at the television once, but after the film she engaged me in a twenty minute conversation about how the bad fella reminded her of Max von Sydow. I replied that he made me think of a younger Gabriel Byrne, neither of us looked at Google, and she decided she was hungry.

I wasn’t hungry, so I told her to just help herself. I’ve never known her to eat vegetarian food before, but she decided she was going to have my Linda McCartney mozzarella burgers. I was saving those for tonight, for before she arrived, to have on lightly toasted burger buns with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and jalapeno sauce.

I wouldn’t change my mum for the world, but I’d change her timing if I had the opportunity.

Drunk Poem

You don’t care, you have no interest,
but you look.

You don’t care, you don’t engage,
but you ask.

You reject and you distance,
but you need to know.

I’m not quite sure what the above means, I scribbled it down at the end of another drunken evening. It might be autobiographical, but it could just as easily not be. One day I will figure it out.

Cloudy Days

It’s not been a great day today. I’ve been off, off in the way that I was a few weeks ago. Overthinking the stupidest things to the point where my heart’s pounding and I can think of nothing else. I’m still massively distracted by the idea that the ex, the one who refuses to return her set of keys, is going to turn up while I’m out at work. I’m not even bothered about the stuff in the house, it’s all replaceable, but I’m driven to distraction by the idea that she could come around whenever she chooses. She probably won’t. In fact she almost certainly won’t, but I can’t reconcile myself with that idea. Only ten days until I move out and I can end this chapter of my life, and hopefully the stress that it has brought with it.

Work was difficult too. I got no pleasure out of the things that normally provide a distraction and the day ended with an extremely difficult phone call with a lady whose son was the victim of some terrible abuse. She asked questions I was unable to provide the answers to, and there was nobody more qualified available to pass her on to. I just felt weak after that, and I felt the need to fill my evening with cider.

The only saving grace was the fact my favourite colleague was in the office. She provided some much needed comic relief, someone to talk to, and a distraction from my own thoughts for a while. We’ve agreed that if life doesn’t get better in the next 12 months we’re disappearing together, getting married on a beach somewhere (Blackpool will do) and enjoying life without outside influences. Obviously it’s never going to happen, but we enjoyed the conversation in the moment, and that was very much what was needed.

A Little Moan

Good evening. As the title might indicate, I’m going to have a bit of a moan today. Not a particularly long one, but a moan nonetheless. What has inspired my anger and frustration today? Well, it’s the way the kids’ mother talks to them about me.

I had a great weekend with the boys, though spoiled a little, perhaps, by some of the questions they asked me. “Dad, why did you keep dropping out of college?” and “Dad, why didn’t you go to university?” Those were two of the most memorable, mostly because I never dropped out of college once, never mind multiple times, and, as I showed them, I have a certificate confirming that I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. It’s not something I’ve really talked to the boys about before; I’d rather encourage their academic achievements and appreciate whatever level they’re able to reach than to put a standard in front of them that they feel they’re forced to aim for or surpass. I don’t have certificates on my wall, or even a graduation picture – I didn’t bother going to the graduation and the certificate lives in a folder in case I need a copy for any future job. It’s made more frustrating due to the fact that their mother did drop out of college three times, and didn’t go to university, though I’ve got no interest in pointing this out to them.

It’s been a recurring issue since we were no longer together, her telling them that they’re not allowed to listen to the crap that I listen to, that they’re not allowed to support Liverpool, that the things I watch are rubbish, that I ate steak from a restaurant floor… I could go on and on. She has a desperation to prove to the boys how much better than me she is, to the point of just making up lies because she knows I’m not going to do the same. It’s annoying because she gives no thought to how these things will impact upon me, or the boys, or on my relationship with the boys.

I can only imagine her reaction if I tried out a similar tactic.