Sunday, 26 November 2017

I hate Christmas

It's November and already I'm sick of Christmas. So, in no particular order, here's a list of things I hate about Christmas.
  • It starts too soon. As soon as Bonfire Night is out the way the Christmas adverts start on the TV, Christmas stock starts appearing in shops, decorations start going up in shops and later in November in people's homes. It's just too much, too soon.
  • Everyone wants your money. The shops want your money. New shops open up selling cheap junk to try to get more of your money. Charities want your money more than ever, t'is the season of goodwill to all men after all.
  • Black Friday and other sales. Why do we even have Black Friday here in the UK? Again, it's just a way for shops to part fools with more of their money. The sales stock is all just junk they couldn't sell at full price so now they try to sell it for closer to what it's worth. New stock is also shipped in just for sales. This stuff might have the same brand on it but it has been made cheap, it's been churned out using cheaper materials, cheaper processes, anything possible to get the cost down. Before the sale stock this will be listed for sale at hugely inflated prices somewhere you'll never find it so that when the "sale" starts it'll have a huge discount on the price tag. It's not a discount at all, it's cheap rubbish being sold for closer to what it's worth. And people will push each other over to waste their money on it. Same thing happens when the sales start again on boxing day.
  • You're expected to be jolly. I will be jolly on my terms, not when it is forced on me.
  • People turn into idiots. For example, there was a Santa in the car park at the local Coop in a sleigh giving out sweets while people stood around with collection buckets. It was the local Rotary club out doing their thing try to part people with their money. I would've happily ignored this but I was with my son. He's six and the magic is real at that age so I took him over and he had a chat with Santa. During this chat an old lady pushed in front of him while her husband took a photo of her with Santa. Yes, an octogenarian pushed in front of a six year old to get a photo with Santa. I have never wanted to punch an old lady in the face as much as I did right then. Obviously I didn't, that would've rude.
  • Christmas shopping. I do my best to do this all online but there are times when I need to visit the shops. How am I expected to be jolly in busy shops where everyone else is meandering around lost in their own little world oblivious to the world around them?
  • Christmas shopping, again. Finding presents for Matthew is easy and can be fun. Finding presents for John is hard and can be a very depressing reminder of everything he can't do.
  • Over commercialisation. It's just too much. It's in your face constantly. Maybe that's a repeat of my first point but I don't care.
  • You can't go to the woods to get away from it all either because they've set up a bloody Santa's Grotto in the car park and they're selling Christmas trees.
  • Facebook getting flooded with photos of presents piled on the sofa on Christmas eve. Look everyone! Look how much we've spoilt out little brats this year! Look! LOOK!!
  • Religion. I don't believe in God the rest of the year, I'm not buying into the Christmas story and religion now.
This list is not definitive. There are many more things to hate about Christmas, many more things I hate about Christmas but I think I look enough like a miserable git, so I'll leave it at that.

However, I will list a few things I like about Christmas.
  • The Gävle goat. If you don't know what this is, look it up.
  • Mince pies.
  • Food in general, there's loads of it about.
I'm sure there's more about Christmas that I do like but I'm tired. Feel free to add any of your own likes/dislikes in the comments.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bad moods

You know those days where you wish you could just go back to bed, have another's hours sleep then start again fresh? Well today has been one of those days.

My day started at about half five when John woke up. As usual I changed him in bed before carrying him downstairs. He's usually quite active when he wakes up but while I was changing him this morning he managed to kick me in the face. Twice. 

This set me up for the day in a bad mood. Once you're in a bad mood, if you don't get out of it, your day is just going to get worse. 

I tried to cheer up, I really did. But I was just too tired to shake off my grump. The day was full of all the usual little things that normally wouldn't bother me. But today, thanks to my mood, they did bother me. I was overreacting and snapping at things, not thinking things through, acting before thinking. I even managed to launch poor Matthew down the back of the sofa, head first!

Eventually the day came to an end. The kids were in bed, I took the dog for a long walk in the dark and by the time I got home I was in a much better mood.

Days like this happen. It's how I respond to them that makes the difference between a bad day and an ok day.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Photography Project pt2

If you don't know what this is about it's probably best to get the background from the first post here:

Ok, this is another image from the series. I like the concept but not sure about execution. You have to study the photo to see what's happening here, maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, in this photo I'm taking John for a walk with the dog. The dog doesn't want to stay on the lead walking the streets so I've got John in his off road wheelchair and we're going round a route I walk quite often. This could pass for an "other" road on an OS map and I've rode up and down here on my bike but pushing John up here isn't easy. The surface is scattered with large rocks and at the point I'm at it's very steep. However, John likes to be out and enjoys being out and has a good sense of adventure so as long as he's enjoying the ride then I'll take him anywhere I can.

Here's another photo I took that's along the same sort of lines as this:

I took this on the same day. I like this photo but there's not much struggle in pushing John across a field. You can't tell from the photo how rough the ground is but I like the open background and the dramatic sky.

The simple pleasure of a lie in

When you become a parent you pretty much forgo the opportunity to lie in bed undisturbed on a weekend. However, every now and then we have very little to do at the weekend. We use this time to lie in bed. Today I got up at about half five while my wife stayed in bed. By about nine she was up and it was my time to go back to bed. I quickly fell asleep. It was a beautiful sleep and lasted longer than expected. About half 11 I was woke by Matthew poking me in the eye.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Time to start thinking about a new car

When I say car, I mean van. When I say van I mean shed on wheels.

I shouldn't really complain though. Whatever we get it will be bigger than the current car so we can fit more stuff in.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Photography Project

A few months ago I decided I would like to try to put together a series of photos about life with a disabled son, the problems that arise and stuff like that. I'm not 100% clear on the brief myself but I thought it will become more apparent as time goes on. Eventually I was thinking I could display these in a gallery setting of some sort, I just need to develop the concept further until I'm happy with it.

I'm only got nine photos so far and I'm not even sure I'll keep all of them but I thought I'd start sharing some of them here.

This is the first photo I took. It's very dark and without context it's probably hard to see what's going on.

This photo was taken at 3:07am. John wakes up most nights and it can be a struggle to settle him back down to sleep. One way I try to do this is just to climb onto his bed, sit him on my knee and cuddle him. Doing it this way I can attempt to stop him throwing his arms and legs round and he settles down again, eventually going back to sleep. However, John is getting big now and has long arms and legs and just getting hold of him can sometimes be a struggle.

To get this photo I already had my camera, tripod and flash ready. I'd done a test set up during the day and knew what was needed on the night. I had everything ready to minimise any delay in dealing with John, after all he's more important than a photo. The night came and as usual John woke up. I quickly set up my camera in position. I order to capture something in the middle of the night I knew I'd need additional light so had my flash ready on it's lowest setting and diffused with a small softbox and bounced it off the wall. I didn't want the flash to bother John at all and this was probably the bare minimum I could get away with in terms of light. I then used my phone as a remote control to shoot the photo. I had John settled so it should've just been a simple case of tap my phone and the camera takes the photo. I set a 10 second delay so I could get my phone out of shot and that's when he got his feet free and started kicking.

This wasn't the easiest shot to get and I don't fancy trying to repeat the process. There are a couple of issues with it but I don't know if that's just me being picky.

I took a few shots while everything was set up and this is the other candidate for the middle of the night shot:

This was taken eight minutes after the other one at 3:15am. John is a lot calmer now and so am I. The focus is better as well. However it doesn't convey any of the struggle shown in the first photo.

In case you're wondering, on this particular night John eventually settled back to sleep and I got back to bed at around 5am. Two hours is about the average length of time I'll be up with him when he wakes up. This morning it was from about 2am to 4am.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

The benefits journey pt2

So far so good. I went back for the meeting with my booklet filled in. The guy there checked through it then proceeded to tell me all about how to apply for jobs through the job centre. Thanks but no thanks.

Next step is to apply for carer's allowance and wait. This could be a long wait. Carer's allowance people take about 8 weeks to process new claims apparently. As I am applying for income support I need an income to support, this will be the carer's allowance that my wife was getting. Unfortunately you cant just transfer this from one parent to the other, so she had to cancel it and I had to apply for it.

It's going to be a lean few weeks until this is all sorted but as long as I can pay the rent then I'll be happy.

I hate Christmas

It's November and already I'm sick of Christmas. So, in no particular order, here's a list of things I hate about Christmas. I...