Getting my G20 on.

I don’t know if anybody outside of Brisbane realises but we are hosting  the G20 Summit this weekend and for a relaxed holiday city like us, the security is crazy!  Obama’s secret service detail requested that a roundabout outside the University of Queensland, be demolished so that the President’s motorcade would not have to slow down when transporting him!  Request denied!

US decoy helicopters.
US decoy helicopters.

Tomorrow has been declared a G20 public holiday in Brisbane, making a lovely long weekend.  With the extra day break and the predicted temperatures of 38-42 degrees celsius, most of Brisbane has made their way to the beautiful Sunshine or Gold Coast to enjoy the beach.

Beautiful Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland
Beautiful Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland

But not me!

What to do on this momentous occasion?  Well, I could wander into the City Precinct and go people watching. Don’t really want to get frisk searched or mixed up with the many protest groups already there.  I could go shopping.  Many of the Shopping Centres are closed.  I could do housework and fold clothes from Mt Washmore – actually I just might do some of that.  I’ve been wracking my brain for what to do.  It is just this kind of weekend, when most of my friends are away, that I can fall into a deep depression and crawl under the covers and not come out (obviously with the air conditioner on).  So I decided I needed a plan – thank you Pinterest!

Mandy’s Stay at Home Pampering Weekend is about to be planned.  My mind, body and soul are going to be nurtured and loved and spoilt and hugged …….. by ME!!  I am going to rest, relax, drink plenty of water & G & T’s! I am going to slather and lather and scrub and smooth!  I am going to pray and think and read and write! I am going to move and swim and listen to music and dance in my kitchen!  And I may even plan my food for the next few weeks and I will definitely be sneaking in a few “get ready for Christmas” activities!

Watch this space for G20 Spa updates!

Christmas crockery has made it's way into my cupboards!  Oops!!
Christmas crockery has made it’s way into my cupboards! Oops!!

What will you be doing this G20 weekend – wherever you are in the world?

Rant!

Today I am diverting away from my original goal of always trying to write positive and mostly uplifting posts because today I feel angry and defeated!

To set the scene, most of my readers know that I have been struggling with anxiety and depression in a most debilitating way for me, of late.  It manifests as avoidance of living a full and productive life and ends up with me crawling back under the covers and feeling totally incapable of attending to the most mundane day to day tasks –  like preparing meals and getting the mail and showering etc.  It also makes getting to work impossible and coping with phone calls, meetings, money things, a pipe dream.  Talking to people becomes my worst nightmare.  I just can’t / don’t want want to / can’t!!!

The great thing is that I got help at the right time and am slowly coming back to the Me I want to be.  That was until yesterday!  After much thought and being guided by doctors and family and friends, I decided I should approach a government agency that I have today named  Stinkalink.  It has been a long  drawn out process that has been going on for months and the upshot of it all was that firstly, I had to use up the majority of my meagre savings before I would be considered.  Then I was considered ineligible because my condition was not stable. Next I was given a much smaller interim payment while I was being treated and stabilized but this was cancelled because I had not been told to report my weekly earnings if I did attend work. I was also required to  apply for  jobs even though I have a job that is being kept open for me and job application would be one of the worst things for my anxiety levels. I was, also, required to front up for fortnightly face to face meetings at the Stinkalink Office even though I was told I had to report and submit my paperwork online.

After returning to the doctors for more complete reports, which stated that they thought I was stabilized but was not hopeful of significant improvement for 12 – 18 months. I resubmitted my claim.  Yesterday, I was phoned and told that my claim has again been rejected because ……. wait for it ……. I was hopeful of significant improvement in 12 – 18 months (which meant hopefully building my work hours up to 20 hours per fortnight).

I have been rejected because I am trying to get better!  You read correctly – I have been rejected because I am trying to get well!

I feel so angry and defeated but I was required to face up at Stinkalink  today, for a face to face meeting, where the man on the phone yesterday said, I should see a Social Worker to help me cope.  So show up I did.  Of course, no one there knew anything about a Social Worker, who was only in on Thursday / Friday and so they would give them my phone number.  I was also told that my current benefit would be cut because I was earning too much in the fortnight – I am working a sum total of 8 hours per fortnight but that is apparently too many hours.

Next I asked why I hadn’t been given a Health Concession card – only to be told I had been issued with one on the 3 October – but they had forgotten to notify me!!!  Do you realise how many doctor & psychologist appointments I’ve had since then????  Not to mention prescriptions from the chemist!!  The solution, apparently, is for me to go back to each place and request a refund.  So I began with the Chemist, who promptly printed off a list a mile long and said to take it back to Stinkalink which I did and I had to fill out another form to ask for  consideration.

So today I am finished with Stinkalink and I will reassess whether I will attempt to lodge a 3rd claim but today I am finished!  I have retreated to the couch, in front of the TV with this …….Comfort food

And I don’t care because at least I am eating something and I am not in bed with the covers over my head!  I just need to rest and recover from a shitty day but I will not give up because you can’t kill weeds and I am Lantana!!!

Rant over – unfortunately I feel no better!

I Miss You, Adrian!

Today it happened!  For the first time, since beginning The Mandy Diaries, a couple of months ago, I don’t really know what to write.   I am thinking, should I write a post about my obsession with Christmas?  Too early?   I should write about being a single parent of three grown men?   But is that really interesting?  Maybe because I wrote about my Mum, I should also write about my wonderful Mother-in-law?  She does turn an amazing 96 years old this week!  I just don’t feel motivated to write about any of the above things.  I need to write about something but I feel blocked.  I  am just not feeling it.  For me to write it, I must be feeling it.  So what am I feeling?

I just miss you, Adrian!

There I’ve said it.

I miss you, Adrian!

It’s been five and a half years since you died and as the years go by, the loneliness does not get better, it just gets different!  Sure the day to day functioning improves.  Change happens because it has to and because you want it to.  But, for me, the aloneness  hits often and hard and when I’m least expecting it!  Like today!  So this is what I am feeling so I will write it.

I miss you, Adrian!

Family Baby Patrick
First family photo.

We were a team for 30 years – 28 of them married and living away from each of our families.  Yes, the leave and cleave thing ….. we did that alright!  We were different but we were the same.  One of our mutual friends, when hearing that we had met, fallen in love and were to be married, said  that we deserved each other!  We laughed at hearing this but as the years passed not a truer word has been spoken about our relationship.  We loved hard and played hard and fought hard and we never gave up on each other.  Our life together was littered with hard stuff – lots of it!  Loss was a common theme.  We lost babies before they were born.  We lost our beloved Ministry.  We lost our fathers.  We lost businesses.  We lost our health.  We lost money.  But we continued to have each other.  Loyalty was our thing.  If you picked on one of us, you got both of us.  When one couldn’t any more …… the other did!

I miss you, Adrian!

Adrian wheelchail

Our life together was sprinkled with amazing stuff too!  We had three incredible boys who now are, creative and adventurous men who show tenderness and loyalty beyond measure.  We had a wonderful extended family who went on this journey with us but allowed us to choose our own path.  We had friends that went beyond the bounds of what friendship should expect.  We had shared celebrations to make memories forever.  We had holidays and football Grand Finals and weddings and music and a lovely home and great food!  I still have every one of these things, today! But ….

I miss you, Adrian!

Not the big  things because you are still in all those things.  Not so much the physcial  things because I see you every day in our sons, that have so much of your ways about them.  Not even the doing, as much as the being!

I miss you, Adrian!

3 Monkeys
Photo credit to Andrew Barclay.

I miss the banter and verbal jousting that we had.  I miss the knowing look across a room, that told me that you saw me and was on your way to rescue me from that boring person or topic, in a conversation.  I miss watching out in a crowd to see if the person you were talking too, needed rescuing from you!!  I miss calling you up to share some life altering sporting news that only you and I would see as life changing!  I miss the deep breath we took together, before we faced the world of decision making – whether it was a School Principal, an Oncologist, the police or hospital on the phone!  I miss being able to share news and talk about mutual friends that no one else knows.  I miss knowing that I don’t have to cope alone, no matter what the situation.

So today, that is NOT a special or important day. NOT an anniversary.  Not an especially hard, lonely or emotional day.  These are the things I miss. These are the things I am feeling, so these are the things I write about.

I miss you, Adrian and I’m thankful.

Grave

I can pee with the door open!

Did you ever have so many options that you didn’t know where to start?  You know, the jobs are piling up but your thoughts keep wandering to other things.  The weather is beautiful so the outdoors is calling.  The cricket is calling, so the TV beckons.  The tumble weeds, from your cat, are beginning to resemble a desert rather than your kitchen floor. Just one more level to be conquered on Candy Crush.  Bills to pay, phone calls to be made, groceries to be restocked, books to read, birds to watch, blogs to write …. and of course the really big one!

It is only 63 days until Christmas, people!!!!

Fev's fur tumbleweed!
Fev’s fur tumbleweed!

It was during one of these many days of options, that I thought about the things I love about living alone.  It doesn’t relate you say!  Oh for me it does – big time!  You see, when Adrian was alive and the kids still lived at home, my days of options were limited.  Indeed, mostly my days were mapped out for me around the needs of my family.  We went to swimming when the boys needed to.  To doctors appointments when necessary.  School events and social events revolved around the family.  Meals were expected at certain times to fit in with each persons busy schedule, as was the whole laundry thing!  I was teaching full time, so if stuff didn’t get done – chaos reigned!  I longed for the day when I could choose what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it.

Well, that day has arrived and it is everything I thought it would be.  I can wash when I run out of undies!  I can cook whenever and whatever I feel like eating.  I can stay up as late as I want and sleep in if I need to.  I can choose the food I buy and know that when I go to the cupboard for something …. it will still be there and unopened!  The toothpaste always has a top on it; the lights are always switched off when not being used; I can pee with the toilet door open; empty toilet rolls no longer can be found piling up on the floor …. need I go on?

It is truly everything I thought it would be – and worse!

Who knew that having so many options would do my head in so quickly?  Not me!  How annoying is it when the bathroom needs cleaning and you have no one to blame for the toothpaste on the mirror, but yourself?  How soul destroying is it get up in the morning, only to remember that you decided to make yourself a smoothie for dinner at 11:15 pm last night and so there is no milk for breakfast or even for your morning cuppa, until YOU drive to the shops to buy some?  Then of course there are the days when you have put something important in that special place, only to find you have no idea where that special place is any more!

You have to make the decisions!  You have to take the responsibility for those decisions – right or wrong.  No more arguments  I mean discussions, about who or what or when or where or how or how much.  Just options, for you to choose from.  It’s what you longed for or is it?

And then your kids come to stay or you have overnight visitors.  Schedules all of a sudden become important again.  You spend long hours chatting and eating and planning outings.  It is so much fun to prepare and consider and be a part of a team again. You realise that you have become quite sloppy and ill disciplined and that structure feels good and necessary and comfortable.  You bask in the inclusion – for a while!

Questions start to slip into your mind, like – How long are they staying?  Do we have to eat that …… now?  Would it be rude to chat with my laptop on my knee, playing Candy Crush at the same time? I’ll turn the sound off!!  Why can’t they put the toilet lid down?  Not to mention Fev’s antisocial behaviour that kicks in!!  You love these people of yours but something has changed.  You need your space more than ever before.  You need to choose the TV shows that you want to watch.  You need to be able to lie on the couch in your pj’s, if you really feel like it.  And mostly you need to be able to pee with the door open, so that the loose doorstop will NOT make that dragging sound every time you open or close the door!

Loose doorstop!
Loose doorstop!