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.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Farting in hospitals

The main problem with staying in hospital rooms is the total lack of ventilation. If you're lucky enough to have a window, chances are you can't open it. The rooms are super heated and there's just no airflow.

This means that when I fart, it doesn't go anywhere. I have to pace around the room to try to get the air moving a bit to stir and hopefully thin out the atmospheric soup. After a few minutes of pacing this seems to work.

Then you leave the room for a few minutes to get a drink of water and when you come back in the smell hits you. It never left, you just got used to it. You accept your fate and let another one go just in time for the nurse to come round for the obs.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

School photo taken at home

Quick, hold him still while I take a photo!

Still better than the school photo.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

School photo scam pt2

About three years ago I posted my thoughts about The Great School Photo Scam here, well it's come around again this year.

This time the photo isn't too bad really. The poor quality sample on the order form probably hides the full quality of the image however it's still not great. The lighting is very flat and my sons expression is more bored than happy.

As I said last time, I have a camera and I take some great photos of my son, I have no need for the school photo and I'm certainly not paying £16.50 to download it. In the last year or so I have been developing myself as a photographer. Is it time for me to step up and do some sort of pop up portrait session? Not because I want to make some money out of it but because I think people deserve something a bit better than what the school photo offers.

School photo:

Random photo I took while we were out one day:

I know which one I prefer and if I took the time to set up lighting and a backdrop then I'm confident I could get a much better photo than the one from school.

Adventures in plumbing

A few weeks ago we noticed the sink in the bathroom was leaking. Instead of doing anything about it at the time we declared the sink out of use. It wasn't until a few days ago I decided to have a look to see where it was leaking from.

I though the trap was full of sink goo and water was leaking somewhere because it wasn't flowing away properly. I cleaned out the trap and a nut (I later learned that this is called a flanged back nut) that holds the pipe to the sink fell apart while I was poking at it so it seemed pretty obvious this was causing the problem. Replace the nut, fix the sink. Simple right.

I went to to a local DIY shop and bought what I thought was what I needed. it was a piece of pipe with two nuts on. It was size converter thing with two nuts as I didn't know what size to get. Got it home and quickly realised that my bright idea to get both size nuts didn't work. They were the wrong type of nut.

What I bought

So back to the shop for the correct nut. This time I took a bit of the broken nut and one of the assistants knew straightaway what it was and helped my find one.

What I needed

I got home and fitted the new nut. This was pretty straightforward and it was beginning to seem a bit too easy. I ran the tap for a bit whilst admiring my handiwork and as I sat there watching it water started dripping again.

I tried tightening up the nut a bit more before trying to trace the water back to where it was coming from. Nothing other than where it was dripping from seemed to be wet. I took the trap off again, and like the idiot I am, I emptied it straight back into the sink.

The trap has a chrome finish and the bottom is corroded. I put this down as external initially as a result of the water dripping from it but on poked at the corroded bit and it crumbled to a hole.

There's a hole in my trap

So another trip to the DIY shop was called for. All I wanted was a new trap. Turns out you can't just buy a new trap, I needed to get a whole new trap with the pipes thing. I'm sure there are proper terms for all this but I'm not a plumber so I don't know what they are. So I bought a new trap with all the trimmings. Fitting it should be easy enough, however, this new one is bigger (fatter, not longer) than the old one and the waste pipe needs trimming. It's a metal pipe and takes some getting through with my wood saw but I manage it. Finally I have fixed the sink. For the first time in ages I feel like I have achieved something. And here it is in all it's new, non leaky glory:

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Benefits Journey - pt 1

So now that I'm not working it's time to claim some benefits. I've been paying into this system for long enough, it's time to get something back.

Housing benefit was easy enough, I was able to do that online and while it seemed like quite a lot of questions I got there in the end. The payments for this have gone up and down and every time you give them some new information it's re-assessed. However, I think I've finally got my head around it and now it's time to apply for income support, or whatever it's called.

I figured this would also be pretty straight forward, a quick search online and it seems I can apply over the phone, saving me a trip to the job centre. I phoned up. I was on the phone for about an hour going through a long list of questions. I was quite happy with this and at the end of the call I was given an appointment to speak to someone at the job centre. Not ideal but there are hoops you have to jump through and this was the first. I was offered an appointment the same day so I took it knowing that I needed to go shopping in the same area anyway.

I got there and they had no record of my appointment, this didn't really surprise me as I'd just got off the phone about half an hour before I arrived there. They figured out that I did have an appointment and after a short wait I heard my name called by a very stern sounding male voice. I went over and the bloke surprisingly pleasant. However, he didn't really know why I was there. After a short conversation it became clear that I needed to fill in a form. Not surprising really. This form is a long one though, and I need to do my shopping and get home for the kids getting home after school. I made my excuses and left clutching a 62 page form that we were just about to go through.

From this I am presuming the phone call didn't really achieve anything as after a quick flick through the form a lot of the questions are looking very familiar. I thought I was there to present some ID but it seems I'm there to repeat my life story. Anyway, I've got an appointment to go back next week with the form filled in. So that's something to look forward to.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Quick Update

Just a quick update following on from the previous post.

I crashed pretty hard. I took some time out from work and eventually returned in February. I managed four weeks before getting signed off again. It's now August and I haven't been back. Soon myself and my employer will be parting ways. They've been great, I haven't got a bad word to say about how well they have treated me over this time. But enough is enough. They're going to stop paying me eventually.

The harsh truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I tried it just wasn't possible to maintain a full time job while being a full time carer for my son. He's grow and his care needs have grown with him.

These days anything I do for myself needs to be planned in advance and can be, and often is, cancelled at the last minute.

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 bee...