I am grateful for: People who understand.

I had a wonderful experience yesterday, despite us being in limbo waiting for the situation at Husband’s workplace to be resolved.

We need to start genuinely considering what we are doing next, as Husband is not sure even if this gets resolved that he wants to go back to this job. And having just the one part-time job (less than 10 hours a week) is not enough for us to live on and pay off the mortgage and our debts.

Husband’s mother suggested to us that now that Husband’s got a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, he would be eligible for more help and support in finding and maintaining employment, or accessing training and further education, mainly from JobCentrePlus and their Disability Employment Advisors. They were very supportive of Husband’s sister which is why she recommended it.

Husband was not very keen at all; we have been through the system many, many times since he left college and had numerous encounters with the JobCentre and Jobseeker’s Allowance, all of which have been bad. But he realises we have to at least try, so I rang the hotline to get some information about it and how Husband could access this.

We were off to a bad start immediately as the lady answering my call a) wasn’t quite sure what I was asking and b) did not seem very interested. I had a bit of time yesterday before going to do my voice work, so decided to swing by our local JobCentre myself to spare Husband the stress, and just ask what was available and how Husband could access it. I realized I might not get to see somebody as you are supposed to have an appointment but went to the Information Desk (it was empty) and waited for someone to come over.

A security guard came over and asked if I needed help and I explained why I was there. He asked me to wait and then went to fetch a lady who is one of the DEA workers there. She asked me to come round and sit at her desk and tell her what I wanted to ask about.

What a change! When Husband was previously on JSA he couldn’t speak to anyone unless he had an appointment and here I was just being invited in.

I explained our situation briefly and that Husband was having a hard time at work, as he has a zero hour contract and hasn’t been given any hours now for three weeks. And how soul-destroying it is and how it is wrecking his self confidence at the moment.

She was very understanding and seemed to understand how hard it would have been for Husband prior to being diagnosed as he would have had to come up with coping strategies to be able to cope with work and things. She also said that if we were to access the services she would like to speak to him as Aspergers and ASD is such a spectrum and as such, people who are in different places on the spectrum require different kinds of support at work.

She gave me the names and numbers of three different support groups and Remploy, and said that there is different support available for Husband, but that he has to decide what he wants to do next. Once he does, she said to come back and we can take it from there.

Above all, she was interested in what I had to say and Husband and his story.

So: I am grateful for people who understand. It’s like balm for the soul to not have to explain everything in great detail, because people understand. What a difference it makes. Despite everything that is going on in our lives as the moment, that really made my day and I for now think that things can get better as this support will be available to Husband.

 

 

Current mood: In limbo.

These last two weeks have been spent trying to keep Husband distracted as his mood has been quite low.

Since his boss left at the end of July, Husband has not been given any hours at all. Suspect that now that Deputy Manager is in charge, this will be a staple as she has been quite mean to Husband in the past and is know for gossiping about other members of staff.

One of the things Husband was marked down for on his appraisal was for not being available as he ‘took so much holiday’. The last three breaks he has been available almost the whole time and he has not been called in at all. It’s like he can’t win.

Husband is feeling very low now. Part of it is because he feels like they are wasting his time; he said to me the other night that if he had known he would not have been called in at all, he would have suggested we go away somewhere.

The other part of it is of course that he doesn’t feel wanted. Not being called in is really eroding his self-belief and he’s told me that he felt like he had a purpose there when he was at work. He really feels like he is the odd one out and that he isn’t liked.

He says to me that it is constantly churning at the back of his mind.

To make things worse, Husband went in at the beginning of August with his July timesheet. To find that there were two new members of staff there. We don’t know, of course, if they are volunteers or paid staff as the workplace often take on volunteers. But nevertheless, that means hours that Husband could have had are given to other people. This smells like constructive dismissal to me, on top of the discrimination and bullying husband has had to face at work, but we’ll see what the union rep says.

We are still waiting to have the meeting with the employer with the union present. This week was suggested but we have not heard anything at all.

So we are in limbo effectively while we are waiting.

Husband is unsure what to do now. We have spoken about it and he understand he will inevitably have to find something else to do, but is unsure if that means new job or going back to college. Both of which he finds daunting as he is so paranoid nobody is going to like him and he is going to ‘mess things up.’

I am not going to lie, I am worried he is becoming depressed again. It is ‘ok’ for now as I am at home but I am concerned what will happen when I have to go back to work at the end of the summer.

Still haven’t heard anything regarding husband’s PIP assessment either. The form was sent off in the start of June and Capita has sent us a letter to say they are processing it, but it will be a month since that letter at the end of the week. So need to chase that.

Part of me wonders why it has to be so hard for some people to just be nice, and treat someone with a bit of dignity.

The goals of this year’s staycation.

I’m done working at the college and the university for the summer (apart from the odd Saturday 10am to 2pm) as I work term-time. Won’t be back at work now until the 28th of August now, and not back full time (six days a week) until the 1st of October.

Part of me wants to bask in this. You’ve worked SO had and this year has brought out feelings you didn’t even know you possessed, you DESERVE a rest!

But not going to lie, it feels super weird to not be at work. It’s quite unsettling, the lack of routine. It’s been about two weeks now and I feel ready to come back!

Because of husband’s work and the grievance we have decided to pursue, I feel a bit in limbo at the moment as I don’t feel we can go anywhere until this has been settled. We are due to travel home to Norway in the end of August for a week to see my family but that’s everything we are doing travelling wise.

Husband’s workplace have received our grievance and confirmed that they have received it so we will see what they do with it. They have to investigate it and respond in a timely manner, they cannot legally ignore it according to our union, so we’ll see what happens with that. Work itself has been very calm and nobody has mentioned the grievance at all. However the quite frankly infuriating way husband has been treated at work this year is not diminished or excused by this period of apparent calmness. I don’t trust them and am very interested to see what they come back with once they have investigated our allegations, as the burden of evidence is on the employer, it is THEIR responsibility to prove husband has not been discriminated against.

Anyway. Yes, Staycation this year. So in an attempt to make it more structured, I sat down and wrote a list when the staycation started, naming some things I want to do this summer.

I have added to it though as I’ve completed things. I know, I know, I need to relax! But let’s face it, as I work six days a week from September to June, WHEN will I have time to do things like:

  • Visit the Windmill. We have a working windmill that’s open to visitors and in all my years of living in Nottingham I have never been to visit it.
  • Clean the whole kitchen. Cupboards, inside and out. Sort them. Doors. On top of cupboards. Clean oven. Clean outside of oven. Pull oven out and clean behind it. Done! YASS!
  • Clean the windows and windowsills I can reach. Done.
  • Visit husband’s sister and husband in Wales. We are going, this weekend!
  • Write a review a week. Since finishing at work I have written two. I write and publish my reviews here.
  • Go through our clothes upstairs and my clothes in the bedroom to sort and donate/sell/give away stuff not used.
  • Dust the blinds downstairs. Done
  • Visit the park up the street, bring food.
  • Go to Wollaton Hall and walk around the lake.
  • Tidy, wipe down and sort the shelf by the bathroom. Done.
  • Copy down all my reviews and store them somewhere safe.
  • Do our tax returns. Done.
  • Get a will written?
  • Take our duvets and pillows to the launderette. Done.
  • Do 30 minutes on the exercise bike every day. Pahahaha. Not even done this once yet. I am so bad at this whole healthy lifestyle thing:(
  • Clean the covers of the two Poang armchairs. Done.
  • Defrost and clean the fridge freezer.

What about you? Do you have anything you’d like to do this summer? Are you having a staycation?

Some news and a gardening update.

It’s been an interesting week and a half.

We are having a heatwave here; husband has been melting and his joints have been giving him a great deal of bother – this happens every summer. Remedies consist of eating Ibuprofen as though they are sweets, having cool cloths and taking cool showers, and for tonight, setting up the sofa-bed in the much cooler downstairs sitting room.

The heat has done wonders for the garden though, everything is just growing away there. I have discovered that we now have aphids on the sweet peas I planted – I need to use something on them that is safe to use on edibles as well as the sodding rosemary is growing next to it. Many people have suggested washing up liquid in water so will make that up tonight in a spray bottle and try to get rid of them.

Husband’s parents did an amazing thing for us yesterday; they came and helped us tidy up the front garden and cut things back. We have so much space there now, I’ll get us a rake on Tuesday so we can tidy it up and then we can perhaps put our tables and chairs outside there. Not quite sure when I’ll have time to sit in them but never mind.

Have had a text from the DWP to say they have received the PIP form.

We stayed with friends from Saturday to Sunday and had a lovely time eating good food and playing games. A much needed break and a lovely treat for us, husband really enjoyed it.

Last week we went to see the union solicitors at their surgery. It proved to be a very interesting day. They took a look at husband’s contract and recognized the name of the employer; they are quite confident they have had to represent someone from the same place before. We have decided to go ahead with a formal grievance due to disability discrimination and bullying and harassment, as we cannot sit and wait for the employer to get it together, not to mention, employers are obligated to respond to it.

Not oh, I don’t know, push husband’s performance review back for the 6th time as they needed to have a different meeting that afternoon.

That meeting also proved very interesting as the manager announced suddenly and unexpectedly that they have handed in their notice and their last working day will be in the end of July. Everyone present including husband was very taken aback by this. Not even the deputy manager knew and asked if it was a joke. The manager would not say why they had handed their notice in and was and has been very tearful since. Some of the staff are wondering if the manager has been given a choice by the board: To either hand in their notice or be asked to leave.

The union rep has written a blistering letter to the employer – I showed it to my manager and she said she was feeling faint at reading it and it is not even addressed to her! Just need to put the finishing touches on it. Husband pities his manager now and wonders if we should send the letter at all. I feel that even though things are hard for the manager now, they are still at the end of the day the manager and is responsible for what they have said and done (and not said, and not done!) up until this point.

The manager is still an adult who has to face the consequences of their behavior.

Such as sending husband a text at MIDNIGHT on Monday this week to ask if he could come in to work Tuesday morning.

The delight of zero-hour contracts.

 

 

 

 

 

A much needed calm week.

This week has been quite calm, which is what we have both needed.

Aside from the Parliament seemingly imploding. Found this on the bus on Monday afternoon on one of the seats.

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Tuesday I spent going over the PIP form for husband – I’ve sent it and just need to wait for the outcome now. Based on advice for friends and family we are preparing ourselves for that it may not be straightforward. I photocopied everything as I like having paper copies of everything, ’cause you never know.

Had an unexpected and delightful surprise as the lovely receptionist I used to have lunch with who they moved, was covering at the site where I work on Wednesday. I shared my lunch with her and we had a good chinwag which was much needed.

Term has finished for this year at the uni where I work weekends, so I have Sundays off now until October. Today has been spent soaking and scrubbing the detergent drawer, eating things and doing some gardening.

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Things are still growing, that sage is just savage now. Need to work out how I can dry some. But at least the nasturtiums are coming along!
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Bought two hanging baskets from eBay and have planted the chive and lemon balm, plus the two nasturtiums I have managed to save from the cat in it.
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We have sweetpeas! Just a new, mind, but there are loads of buds on there and they already smell HEAVENLY!

The cat came in and seemed quite agitated. Initially I could not understand why but then looked out the kitchen window.

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The present the cat left me<3

She is quite pleased with herself.

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Next week we are due to get some advice from husband’s union about what to do next and how they can help us.

Unsurprisingly we have been told by the management that his review has to be rearranged due to another meeting being held at his workplace. This is the 6th time this meeting has been rescheduled.

 

Good morning (?)

Guess who came and attacked my toes this morning to say ‘It’s time to wake up, I want my breakfast!’ at 5.45am?

This little lady!

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I wanted my breakfast and besides, you had slept long enough anyway!

Nevermind. I got my self-employed work done for today, plus I finally filed away all the paperwork in the in-tray that was full to bursting. And I folded the laundry upstairs ready for husband to put it away today while he’s at home.

Really need to sit down and discuss the PIP form tonight with husband. It’s a 40 page behemoth that is due on the 10th of June, so the aim (note the word used here, aim) is to do maybe one or two pages a night with notes for when we sit down and fill the form in. It asks very detailed questions about what help and support he receives with all manner of tasks so best get on with it.

Last week in review: Being through the wringer.

Yesterday was Sunday again.

Husband made me a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Husband’s parents came over for a cup of tea and a chat before they took me to work as they were going that way anyway. So had to knock the house into shape before they came over as I was going to be at work that afternoon.

On Sunday I:

  • Took two bags of rubbish out and the recycling out.
  • Did the dishes.
  • Wiped down the counters.
  • Cleaned the bathroom.
  • Changed the sheets and made the bed.
  • Dusted and hoovered downstairs.
  • Changed the litter tray and newspapers.
  • Washed the kitchen floor.
  • Did 2 loads of laundry.
  • Finished my media analysis work and did all the surveys in my inbox.
  • Worked from 2pm to 7pm.
  • Listed four items on eBay.

Last week really was mixed bag.

On the upside I got some really nice reduced stuff from Sainsbury’s on Thursday, five packs of Stork for 29p each (they were £1.15 each), six packs of Dairylea cheese wheels at 34p each (used to cost £1.45 each), two packs of Flora (were £1.20, now cost 29p) and two packs of Cheese strings (Cost £1.45, now 34p each).

On the downside: Because my husband’s workplace decided to change his contract to a bank staff contract, we contacted the union to see if this could be challenged. It was decided that the union rep would ask to be present at the second part of his performance review meeting which was due to take place next week. (Yes, he had his performance review in February. They have still not arranged to have the second part of the review)

He had a response to say he was not allowed to attend, which is within their rights as it is not as such a formal meeting, but I was permitted to attend as my husband’s advocate. However they were quite concerned he had asked and were wondering why he wanted to attend. I was really not looking forward to having to do this and was really on edge all week. Thursday husband did not unbolt the gate for me to get in and I was incandescent with anger as I’m not tall enough to reach over and undo the bolt. I went in fuming and shouted at him as he hadn’t unbolted the gate when I asked and I’d called his mobile three times to ask him to come down (which was on silent). He stormed off and me, overcome with feeling, bit down on two of the kitchen mittens and screamed for a good half minute.

Husband could still hear me screaming even though I’d muffled myself from upstairs so he came down and we talked it out and hugged.

On Friday I had an email from the rep to say the boss had called three times (he could not answer as he was in a meeting) and left three voicemails, each one sounding more concerned than the last.

Then on Saturday husband had a voicemail saying the meeting has been postponed until next month as there was something else booked. I have let the union rep know but I am yet to have a reply.

Then. Today, husband rang me while at work.

He has had a serious allegation against him at work – at his other workplace.

I just broke down and cried hysterically in the office, rang union rep but he was in a meeting so left him a voicemail crying to say to ring me as soon as he saw the message. Then rang husband’s family who were out so they came over and my manager sent me home as I was a crying wreck. Cried on the bus to my sister on the phone and cried as we sat in the sitting room at home trying to lay a plan for the meeting husband has asked for with the head tomorrow.

I am not crying now but just feeling very flat and so tired this evening.

I am just SO tired of fighting all the time. So tired.