A typical day

I make no apologies here.  The situation is this.  I’ve just finished watching Prisoners Wives (apologies for any grammar or spelling errors, this post will be unedited) and yet again it has reduced me to tears.  Why I ask myself……so let’s start from this morning.

This is the life of a prisoner’s wife:  Wake up at 6.30 – this is self imposed since my decision to get chickens.   I have to open the door so they can skulk about like nervous ninnies and decide whether to enter the great wild world.  They have my sympathies, I too would stop on the front step, sniff the air and thing, no, sod it, I’m going back to bed.  However, I don’t have their laise fair attitude (another spelling error I suspect).  So I wander up the garden with cats in tow to try to entice them out, give up, go and have breakfast myself (home made granola which is gorgeous, big shout to my sister Julie for the recipe) with home made yoghurt (better for you than the purchased stuff – in my mind…….. ).  Before leaving the house, I change the bed linen having to rake off 4 cats who have, like shift workers of old, settled into the warm area recently vacated by me.

Then it’s off to work I go.  Am currently two days left of my temporary assignment until I take up my full time post.  Am doing the job, but being paid the wage of a temporary secretary.  Arrive at work at 9am.  Eventually go to lunch at 2.30 due to the amount of work I have to get through.  Only go at 2.30 because if I didn’t, there’d be no food in the house for the evening meal.  Rush around Sainsburys and manage to spend only about £55.00.  Probably forgot half the stuff I was supposed to buy – BUT I AM ON A BUDGET!

We will mostly be eating stuff from the freezer this week and for the remainder of the month as I have realised that I will not be paid until the end of the month.  This means that I must eat into the meagre savings I have managed to claw (that’s discounting the £110 that the nephew owes me for purchasing two tyres on my car that he managed to blow out after a mini accident – if he’s reading, he still owes me this). So, food shopping taken care of, I rush back to the office in Mike’s car (I had to put petrol in that car, so am not using my smaller car because it needs fuel and I can’t afford to put any in).  Rush back to office.  More work. Have to deal with a guy I work “with”, that’s a key word here, we work together – so why does he talk to me like I’m a raving lunatic?  Not just me, but others in the office note his behaviour but don’t say anything.  Grit your teeth girl, deal with it.   Get’s to 5.30, emergency job, goes tits up, I have to leave in the end or else stay until midnight.  Just before leaving I manage to order my husband’s hearing aid batteries on line and whack out an email to the probation service asking if they will need to visit prior to Mike’s home leave.  I’m panting like a dog now.

Home at 6.15.  Put the chickens to bed – well that was easy, I don’t think they actually got out of bed – by torchlight ’cause it’s too dark to see where they are.  No eggs, but I didn’t expect any.   They still look terrified, but I feel their pain.

Ben’s not feeling too well so I say I’ll do dinner.  Start to cook, I dunno, pancake pie or something, mushrooms and gruyere cheese.  Start frying the onion and Mike calls.  he tells me his sister want to visit on the 17th, so that’ll need arranging, his daughter’s boyfriend wants to come see him on Saturday, that’ll need arranging and then he asks if I’m ok.  Tell him….. Just tell me what you want to do and I’ll get on and do it.  Feeling a bit like a Social Secretary to tell the truth.  Then I chill out a bit and we have a nice chat – I can’t leave him thinking I’m anything but fine and dandy can I.  It’s a front I’ve had to put up since he went inside, I can’t let it drop now.  I haven’t heard from Beverley,who visited with me on Saturday and who’s awaiting a call from the bank manager, but I persuade him “no news is good news” just so i don’t have to phone Beverley to find out what the news is (I dreamt last night it was not good news and that was upsetting enough without hearing the truth).  so we part on good terms.

Back to dinner.  Then a lady phones, and I apologise, i don’t remember your name off the top of my head and this is a cut free blog…… I had expected her call, but forgot about it, and she is writing a screenplay and would like to hear my take on being the wife of an idiot who comes home and announces that he’s a criminal (sorry, that’s not strictly true) on being the wife who knew nothing about the crimes her husband was committing.  So I run through some history, and it’s painful, I get a knot in my stomach remembering so well the times we just walked and walked and walked, when Mike couldn’t hold his head up, wouldn’t look around him, and every 5 mins had to stop because he was having a panic attack.  just walking aimlessly for hours at a time because there was nothing else to do whilst our life was crumbling under our feet.

Then I go back to the pancake pie.  By this time I feel the need for a stout shot of whiskey – and now it’s all gone.  I eventually call a halt to the pancake pie and tell the nephew who’s lying on his death bed that he’ll have to have last weeks’ Ragu that’s been languishing in the fridge waiting to go mouldy.  I chuck in some spag, and we make, sorry, I make a bolognaise of it.  I do the washing up, continue with the bloody pancake pie and then realise it’s nearly 9pm and Prisoner’s Wives is on  I park the pie to watch it, to rail against it’s portrayal of male prisoners as if they are children because it’s “Family Day” (we don’t get that at the open prison), and the ridiculous story line of the man having a quickie with his wife – eh….. sorry, did they have a lubricant…… I digress, then, when it’s over find I’m grizzling.  Perhaps this is the whiskey, or perhaps it is the life I now have to lead.  But I’m tired, I’m truly tired.  Before going up to bed I load the washing machine with the bed linen and stick it on delayed action to take advantage of Economy 7 electricity prices and I put on a loaf to bake overnight so that the nephew can at least make himself a sandwich in the morning to take to college.

Yes, I have just found 30 mins and luckily my mum brought me up well and made me go to typist school or else I would have been here bloody hours typing out this tirade.

So, a final thank you to my mum.  She’s no longer here as our family know.  She was a huge part of our lives and would be distraught to discover what had happened to me and her son-in-law.  She’s here in spirit, in the empty space in the bed where my husband should be.  She’s sitting there, tut tutting as good mother’s always do and telling me “it’ll be alright in the end”.  Because it will.  I’ve come this far and I’m not giving up now.

Leap Year Day

As regular spammers of my blog know, and those from various African countries who offer me large amounts of money, I spend my fiddling around hours listening to Radio 4.  The PM programme has been asking listeners what they will be doing on Wednesday 29 February – Leap Year Day – and I’ve been racking my brains as to how I could celebrate the day.

It suddenly came to me.  I have to work, can’t afford to take time off and there was the answer to my problem.  I have been offered a brand new, full time role at the company where I am currently temping.  And then it came to me again, February – it’s been a full 2 years now since “before all the evil”.  I really can’t believe where the time has gone.  I have gone from poodling around, spending my time learning German, learning the piano, sewing, cooking, gardening, all those old time skills, to having to earn a living to support myself and my husband.  And I’ve done it.  I’m bloomin’ pleased with myself.

In fact I’m so pleased I helped myself to the last dregs of a bottle of red without bothering to dirty a glass (saving on washing up is also a busy worker’s role).

Two years ago (I shake my head at the memories), two years ago, just before Valentine’s Day, that fateful day Mike came home and little did I realise our lives were to change forever.

I am happier.  I am almost off the anti-depressants (will be by the end of the month – another milestone for me).  I’m in control of my own finances.  I can make ends meet.  I have bought a chicken coop (whoops, how did that get in there).  Spring is on it’s way, I can sniff it in the air.  So I am relishing that extra day.  It will also be 75 days more to tick off until Mike’s first home leave.

It can be done, you can turn your life around.  I know I’m extremely lucky in that I have a roof over my head with no mortgage or rent to pay – without that I’d have been done for.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t have had the upkeep and bills to pay. The house is still terribly dated, but that can be fixed up later.  Work is the key thing, without earning my own money I don’t know what would have become of me.

So I’m pleased and proud to be working on that extra day, and rather than take a day off and celebrate, I will be celebrating inside, at work and planning my next achievement!