Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Why I Haven't Written in a While

Time flies even when you’re NOT having fun, it seems. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I last wrote. I could claim I have been so busy with all the preparations and celebrations of the holidays but nothing could be further from the truth. I literally didn’t set foot outside the house for most of the holidays and we didn’t even celebrate at all. It was really a pretty miserable holiday time for me.

Yes, I had a terrible Christmas and New Year, there I said it. I think one of the reasons I didn’t write until now was that I was rather embarrassed to say it. I guess every holiday can’t be like a Hallmark card but we all have expectations that put pressures on us and we feel guilty when we don’t live up to them. Well, sometimes you just can’t put on the happy face and pretend you’re having a jolly time.

It was not really anyone’s fault the holidays turned out so bad. In early December I got some sort of flu virus and just couldn’t bring myself to do any decorating/baking/cooking etc. Robbie is somewhat of a Scrooge and doesn’t like or feel the need to go to a lot of fuss so our Christmas decorations never got put up. He did get a live tree early in December about the time I was starting to feel bad (after I had specifically said I preferred for us to look for an artificial pre-lit tree to save us trouble and work—remember, I was the one who waded through ankle-deep needles and had to vacuum them last year!!). I, rather crankily, pointed out that it was way too soon to put up a real tree since by Christmas it would probably be brown and the needles would have fallen off (trees over here aren’t as fresh as I’ve had in the US). He had also bought it from a hardware chain and it was already wrapped up in netting so you couldn’t tell what it even looked like AND it was only 3 ft. tall! Needless to say, it sat outside for the birds to enjoy through Christmas!

Then, a week before Christmas I either got a relapse or a different virus and was really sick with the whole abdominal, fever, aches, etc. I did get my flu shot earlier but I didn’t get the additional swine flu vaccine. But I called what I seemed to have the “Jurassic warthog flu” because it seemed so much worse than swine! At one point I was begging God to kill me but then I thought I don’t want to ruin Ben’s Christmas so I lived! Ok, ok, I was probably delirious with the fever. Of course Robbie’s nursing skills were minimal and not very helpful so I think I got dehydrated and that made my recovery a little longer. Robbie at least went with his auntie down to his sister-in-law’s and had a Christmas dinner but did he think to bring me back anything to eat? NO! So there I was sat in the house, ok, I hadn’t felt like eating for weeks but I thought I’d at least get a turkey sandwich when he got back. I still haven’t gotten the story of why he didn’t bring me any leftovers but let’s just say, he was NOT my favorite person for a long, long time! I made him make me macaroni and cheese around 8:00 after he got home but honestly, a turkey TV dinner would have been better. See what I mean about a terrible Christmas?

The other reason I’ve been housebound is that up until this week we’ve been buried under snow and ice. It’s apparently been the worst winter they’ve had in Britain in 30 years. I’m not sure how much snow we ultimately had and it was in some ways worse down south in England. It started, if I remember correctly, about two weeks before Christmas and for a point there, it snowed every day. We definitely had a White Christmas and it was pretty but then I watched it from inside. As I said, in some places in England people couldn’t get anywhere and things came to a halt. On the news they talked about one woman who went out to buy her Christmas turkey and wasn’t able to get home until just last week! People were abandoning their cars along the roads and one department store opened and people spent the night in their bed department. Grit and salt stores were running out and even ambulances couldn’t get to people. Worse than the snow was the ice and because of that, I didn’t even try to go outside. The LAST thing I needed was another fall. Hospitals have been so crowded with broken bones they’ve had to suspend non-urgent surgeries and out-patient clinics. So as I said, up until last weekend I wasn’t able—or even tried—to go outside my door because Robbie couldn’t keep our stairs and sidewalks clean and ice free enough.

Needless to say, I’ve been suffering a bit of cabin fever but physically I’m recovered and back to normal (or as normal as I can be). The district nurses have been really good and able to get to me every week which has been a God-send because we weren’t able to get to the hospital to keep my appointments. Twice the poor girls had to park at the road and walk up our hill because they didn’t want to chance being stuck in their cars on our road up to here. The council pretty much kept the main road cleaned off as best they could but side roads like ours were pretty much left. Our neighbor got stuck once and some of the other men had to come out and help with shovels and pushing because the car was sort of angled across the road and kept any other cars from coming in or going out. Robbie wasn’t home from work yet or he would have not been able to get in.

Robbie mostly didn’t have any trouble getting to work and back the whole time from the snow on the roads but two weeks ago his car broke down. He’s not sure if it was caused by the cold or just would have happened anyway (what is a “head gasket”?). Luckily he wasn’t too far from the office but unluckily because of the holidays and other things, he had just let his auto club membership lapse. Again, luckily, his auto insurance has a call-out service but, again unluckily, because of the weather, it took nearly a week to get them to come out and 4 days for the garage to get to his car. He had to take the bus to work and home for a week. Good thing public transportation is pretty good here, for the most part and the closest bus stop isn’t too far from our house but he was having to get up a lot earlier in the morning.

So, horrible holidays are over and believe it or not, I’m pretty optimistic about 2010. I don’t know why but I have a good feeling about it. Either that or I’m trying to keep a positive attitude about it. We actually had sunshine on Monday and yesterday but today’s grey and cold—just above freezing, about 35ยบ so I need to go out and do some laundry. Because of the ice and snow outside and on the steps Robbie has had to do the laundry and of course he doesn’t do it “right”! On top of it all, for a while, the pipes to the washer were frozen and Robbie spent a good part of one Saturday getting them cleared. Then the washer wouldn’t drain because that pipe was frozen! He had to turn on a gas heater he had stored out there and warm the garage up enough to get everything running again. So, I better try to get out there while I can. We’re supposed to get some more snow and cold weather tomorrow—groan!

Keep warm everyone!