The last two weeks in review: Both losing faith in humanity, and having it restored at the same time.

These two weeks have been very mixed. No surprises there, as the Silver household normally is.

Last Monday was incredibly busy at work with students trying to finish their work and submitting it within the deadlines, all while the computer systems continued to crash and freeze. This has been on-going since the latest Windows OS was installed and people were pulling their hair out as it kept happening. All we could do was restart the PCs for them and keep encouraging them to save their work.

I just felt so unprofessional as even though it’s not our fault and we can’t help it, I didn’t feel we were delivering a very good service. In addition to this several of the students had their work saved as files that were so large the email system rejected them as being too large, so were not able to email their submissions to their tutors. We found ways around it but those two things combined with a chair that got vandalized left me feeling quite drained.

And to top things off we found out later that three of the students had formally complained about the PCs, understandably, but also about the staff in the library that day saying we had been unhelpful and laughed at their troubles.

I am absolutely incandescent. We were nothing but as helpful and understanding as we could be that day given everything we had to deal with. Not to mention one of the students who complained was barred from coming and seeing us for a term due to behaviour earlier in the term.

All the same, it left me feeling quite drained that evening. Didn’t have the energy to cook so we had takeout. Not great for the budget.

Tuesday was a bit better. I had a day off which helped my mood a lot, plus Husband’s visit to Occupational Health went very well.

The appointment went really well. I accompanied Husband to the appointment not sure what to expect. I needn’t have worried however as the occupational health nurse had clearly taken the time to read about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it can present, and went through the information carefully with Husband, checking repeatedly that he was alright and if there was anything he wanted to ask.

It all went swimmingly – until we got to the vaccination history. As Husband will be dealing with items that have human blood on them in his work, he needs to have the Hepatitis B vaccine. Husband hates needles. But to help him they have booked him an appointment to have the injections and blood tests done at the occupational health clinic so he can have them done in peace and at his own pace, rather than having to go to the drop-in sessions.

For some, it may seem like a small thing. However given everything we have gone through these last two years, anyone treating Husband with a bit of dignity and making adjustments so that he can participate fills me with immense joy.

Wednesday and Thursday last week were spent getting the garden together. I have planted nasturtiums and sweet peas and will try my hand at tomatoes this year. I have also planted some flower seeds we were given.

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Before. Garden has become a bit of a jungle…
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…and after. Need to borrow something to trim the hedge with as it’s growing out of control. Contemplating having the garden landscaped as it would mean less maintenance we would have to do.
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The weather has been lovely and warm, and the Cat has been enjoying the garden, at least.

Saturday after work I met up with Husband and the family and his parents very generous paid for a meal out at the Wetherspoon up the road from us. A lovely gesture and it meant I didn’t have to cook after a long day at work.

One thing I have been thankful for as well these last two weeks are my colleagues at both workplaces. Colleagues have listened and offered advice and support, and given us stuff and help.
A receptionist I like at work and I managed to have lunch together and she very kindly gave me lunch, and gave me lots of leftovers to use up. My supervisor gave me a box of cereal she’d bought but didn’t like so gave it to me, and a colleague at my weekend work has been giving me lifts partway home which saves me so much time. It also meant I was able to swing by Tesco Sunday night to get these beauties:

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My lovey bargains from Tesco. Note the muffins, 8p a pack!

I have continued to use my smartphone responsibly (?) and have installed Shopmium and continued to use Job Spotter. Shopmium has netted us £10.02 in free groceries via their cashback, and I have gotten a £10 Amazon voucher from Job Spotter and I am working on another one.

This Monday was an odd day for us – it was our PIP anniversary. We are still waiting for a court date for Husband’s PIP claim.

Tuesday was spent doing washing and things around the house. The weather these two weeks has been lovely and warm so have gotten several loads of washing done.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent at at my weekday job – I enjoy my work and like my colleagues and (most) of the students, but several changes to our procedures were announced this week and I am not sure I can stand behind these changes and how it will impact how we deliver our service. It has made me wonder if I have a future there. It left me drained and Friday night was spent feeling really off and unsettled.
It’s hard to explain, but I felt really flat and drained, and my skin feeling prickly and my hair kept standing on end for seemingly no reason.

So once again we had a takeout.

Must stop dealing with feelings by eating stuff….

Saturday and Sunday have been quite quiet at the university – this is a good thing as we have two new hires starting this month. My colleague very kindly gave me a lift almost the whole way home on Saturday. As the weather was nice I decided to do the right thing and walk the rest of the way, which I enjoyed.

Sunday morning was spent lounging around at home, and moving stuff upstairs from the bedroom in preparation for the carpenter to come next week to make the bespoke cupboards for the bedroom.

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The Cat enjoying a quiet Sunday morning.
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Got these lovely things when I swung by Sainsbury’s on my way home. Three packs of ham for the freezer and some satsumas ❤

Next week is half term, which gives Husband and me a nice week off from work, which we sorely need. We’ll get some time together, we’ll celebrate Husband’s birthday, and I will travel down to London to see my friend and her sisters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An affirming April.

April came and went by so fast!

  • Part of this is because two weeks of it was taken up by Easter. I had a lovely time, spent one week at home with Husband and another week at home.
  • Food spend is continuing to be good and we are being very frugal, keeping below our targets. Part of this is because my sister and her family were generous when I visited at Easter and sent with me a lot of meats for the freezer. In addition to this I have managed to continue to go to Foodprint and get bargains. They now have a referral scheme with the Salvation Army foodbank in their area. Customers can donate a sum which they make vouchers out of, and people visiting the Salvation Army can ask for a voucher if they’re in hardship to get food from it.
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    Lots of lovely food bought over two weeks from Foodprint, saving it from the bin. I was especially pleased to find the peanut butter. Where were you when I did my challenge in December, hmmm?

    I have started to keep a very detailed grocery log and depending in how it goes I can perhaps post it in a few month’s time to show how it’s going. Or not, depending.

  • I am thankful for my colleagues this month who have continued to be supportive and kind. One of my colleagues who works a different shift to me normally has been working with us at the weekend. It’s been so nice to catch up with her as we normally don’t get a chance to talk. Two Sundays in a row she has offered me a lift partway home which has saved me a lot of time on my commute on a Sunday night. Last Sunday her generous offer meant I had time to swing by two of the shops while walking home to get these lovely things:
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    Packs of ham, 25p each, wholewheat thins, 21p and some lettuce, 21p.

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    Lovely red peppers from Sainsbury’s, 14p each.
  • We had three full days of glorious, gorgeous, hot weather. It’s gone back to being normal spring weather now, so I have continued to peg the washing out. One night it was so cold, but we managed to resist turning the heating back on.

Things that could have been improved about April are:

  • We are still waiting for a court date for PIP. We are in May now and on the 21st of May it will have been precisely one year since we started the application process for Husband’s PIP claim. The gent who will be representing us has said it may be some time yet. Because of this, it’s holding everything up at the moment. I don’t want to book any flights home or travel until we know when our court date is. Goodness knows what people who don’t have anyone to support them do in the meantime.
  • The higher-ups at my weekday job is continuing to be vague with what will happen to one of the sites I work at on a Monday when we finish for the summer. People who work and teach there have been kind enough to tell us their departments are being moved out to other sites, and by our reasoning they will not need our services there if there isn’t anyone there. However we have about eight weeks to go until we break up for the summer and we have not yet been told officially if we are going to be there when we return in September or not.
  • Logging in to eBay after a long hiatus, I have discovered that all my listings (the unsold ones) have seemingly disappeared!

Plans for May include:

  • Having a local carpenter bespoke cupboards built into the alcoves of our bedroom, one on either side of our bed.
  • Celebrating Husband’s birthday. Still need to fully decide what to get him.
  • Reclaiming the garden.

I also want to let you know something wonderful and precious has happened.

Husband has been offered a job!

I helped him apply for a vacancy in January and spent a considerable amount of time doing it as the application form was quite complicated. At the end of it we got to the dreaded Equality and Diversity questionnaire. Now, every time we get to this, Husband and I have to discuss the nature of the job he is applying for and if it would benefit him or hinder him if we choose to disclose that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

In our experience, even before he was formally diagnosed, declaring anything did not count in his favour for the great majority of vacancies he applied for and he wouldn’t hear anything back. Even from jobs where we have made it clear through the person spec that he has the right skillset.

But we nevertheless decided to declare it for this job.

January, February and almost all of March passed and we heard nothing. I was a bit upset by it, but mostly resigned, as it’s just something we have come to expect.

Then suddenly at the end of March, Husband had an email, inviting him to interview.

By this time Husband had been getting some good quality support from the Work Health Programme and so they spent an afternoon with him preparing him for the interview and working out good responses to give to questions they may ask. So Husband felt confident and well prepared.

So naturally he thought he’d bombed the interview.
Two people interviewed him and the person taking notes shook their head every time they put the pen to paper. Every time. For the whole duration of the interview. He then had a technical task to do which he did flawlessly and quickly. Nevertheless he left the interview feeling quite cross  and unnerved as he’d felt he had prepared well for it.

We had resigned ourselves to that Husband would get a rejection email but to our immense surprise and joy, he had an email a few days later offering him the position. It’s full time which he wants to try, but there is always the option to ask for a reduction in hours if Husband feels he cannot cope.

At this stage we are waiting for the background check and references to clear, then a contract will be offered. Once this is all done Husband will work his notice at his part-time job before starting.

Of course I, being paranoid and based on the $%^& we have had happen to us over the last year and a half, won’t lower my guard fully until Husband a. has signed a contract and b. passed his probation period.

All the same, I feel hopeful. For the first time, Husband has been offered a job despite (and I am truly sorry to say it like this, but it’s how it feels being rejected all the time) declaring that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Husband is overjoyed and has made statements like ‘Now that I’ll be working more, maybe you don’t have to worry so much and I can look after you’ and ‘With me working more, maybe you can work less so we can spend more time together.’

Sure, money is nice, don’t get me wrong.

But what I want above all else is for Husband to have some confidence and faith in himself again, and to be happy.

Here’s to hoping this new start can provide those things.

 

 

A manageable March.

Goodness, where does the time go?

Good things about March were:

  • The snow/Beast from the East/Hysteria from Siberia. I had two days of enforced rest as the college was closed due to the adverse weather at the start of the month. This was sorely needed after my trip home in the previous week left me feeling really worn out and distressed.
  • We had brunch with our old neighbours one Sunday and got to meet their baby. It was so nice just to see them again and hear about how they were getting on with stuff.
  • Did some product testing for Sensory Dimensions, got £20 for doing this in Love2Shop vouchers.
  • Spring is coming! It’s getting lighter outside and I can start pegging the washing out.
  • Our neighbour who minds the Cat has been very supportive.
  • Husband has got a lot of support through the Work Health Programme. As he feels wary of travelling to unfamiliar places they have met him in town and then travelled to their office together so he feels more confident doing that on his own now. They help him fill in job applications. And they reimburse him for his travelling to and from the sessions which is a great boon to us. It has really helped my mood and how I am feeling as it means I have less to do and I know he is getting the support he needs with getting work.
  • Counselling has continued for us both, I have found my sessions helpful as I have identified some things I need to work on.

Things that could have been improved about March were:

  • Still no court date for our PIP tribunal. We are still waiting.
  • Work situation at one of my jobs is very unsettled as there’s been a change of management there and we are worried they will come for our department next, in terms of looking at where they can make savings.

Thank goodness for Easter.

Well thank goodness for Easter – have had two whole weeks off work. Heavenly and weird in equal measure as it was lovely yet strange to not be at work.

This Easter I have:

  • Read a lot. I have read Penny Dreadfuls (gothic horror stories), Everything, Everything, and Pandemic 1918. I keep finding books while shelving in the libraries I work at, and now have three books on the go, plus one our neighbour lent me.
  • Supported Husband with TWO job interviews. Will wonders never cease?
  • Used vouchers gained from surveys to do two badly needed replacements, so got a new vacuum cleaner and toastie maker and only had to pay the £10 the vouchers didn’t cover.
  • Spent quality time with family and friends and neighbours.
  • Attended Sharing Sherwood for the first time in months and really enjoyed it. Got some nice food from it as well.
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    The menu from Sharing Sherwood; the fritatta was delicious!

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    Saving food from the bin, one dinner at a time.
  • Had lovely and relaxing romantic candlelit dinner at home with Husband.
  • Found coat hangers and a cake tin for cheaps in the charity shop, and a cardigan for myself. Also found reduced deodorants in Boots so added it to our stash. Some of them will go to the foodbank.

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    A lovely 11 inch tin I got for 50p, and some more coat hangers for the laundry routine, 30p per bunch. And all the deodorants!
  • Been to Norway and seen my family. Going there the flight was so empty I had a whole row to myself. Score!
  • My sister and her family gave me two nice skirts and a dress, and sent me home with a load of food for Husband and myself. I came home with two packs of lamb mince, two huge packs of bratwursts, two lamb steaks, a pack of pork, four packs of reindeer dogs and a pack of nice steak. It will really help on the old grocery budget.
  • Pegged washing out!
  • Got some nice bargains at Tesco after work on Sunday (Got time and a half for it as out of term as well).

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    My lovely bargains from Tesco. I do like going by, you never know what you might find! Husband was delighted with the 45p pie and 32p coleslaws. This cost me £3.87.

I wonder what this spring term will bring?

 

 

 

Feeling serene. For now.

The last two weeks have been strangely serene.

As in, things have gone well at home.

I feel calmer than I have done for a long time.

I have been keeping myself frugal and have been using up my toiletries.

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All used up and ready to be recycled! I find that using a pair of nail scissors is the best way to get into the packaging to get the last few bits of product out.

Spring is coming. It’s getting lighter and warmer every day, which is really impacting my mood in a positive way. I have been able to hang the washing out which is heavenly. Husband thinks I am odd in that I am so enthusiastic about this but it a. smells nice b. doesn’t make the house damp and c. it saves us money and saves the environment as I don’t have to run the dehumidifier all the time while it’s drying.

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Got the washing on the line before work on Sunday and it was dry when I got back ❤

I have managed to get some nice food bargains and managed to get to Foodprint as well.

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I go by the Tesco Express every Sunday after work to see what bargains they have. Managed to get these last night so Husband is very pleased; mushrooms is one of his favourite foods.
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Some lovely food bargains from Foodprint – £2.95 for this, and it saved it from going in the bin.
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Got some more lovely bargains yesterday at Foodprint, 30p a bag. This will become a lot of lovely lunches for me, and it has saved it from going in the bin.

It is however with Husband and supporting him that things have been the best.

After a shaky start with the Work Health Programme, it has gone really well.

There is someone there who can help Husband apply for jobs and sit with him and help him fill in application forms. As Husband’s isn’t sure of the way there yet, a worker has been meeting him in town and travelling with him there, also reimbursing his travel costs which is a great boon to us.

His first session went very well – in that he has been invited to an interview for one of the jobs he applied for.

We have also heard back from another place where he applied in January, where they want him to come for an interview.

What is special about that place however is that they have invited him for interview, even though Husband declared he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

This might not sound like a big deal as you would expect society to have come further than that, but it is to us.

Every time Husband applies for something, we eventually get to the dreaded Equality and Diversity section. And every time, we have to sit and genuinely discuss if we should declare if he has Asperger’s Syndrome or not.

In our experience, the great majority of the time we have declared it on a job application, even though he qualifies for the job, Husband has not heard anything back.  We have also had the same experience with regards to declaring epilepsy or not.

So I am positively delighted that Husband got an invitation to interview, even though we chose to declare his disability.

The only thing we are wondering about is the interview itself – it says in the invitation that Husband has to do a dexterity test for it. I wonder what this means? Some say it’s to test if he can handle equipment without dropping it, and some say it’s about taking things apart and assembling it.

No matter. The point is that they’ve invited him.

Earlier in the year I came to the realisation that if I didn’t have hopes or expectations for something, then I would then not be disappointed if things didn’t work out. Sounds pessimistic perhaps. Therapist called it a self-preservation strategy and I do think there is some truth to that.

But I do have some hope now.

EDIT: Holy hell on a stick, just realized this is my 100th post!

 

 

A Fatigued February.

Good grief.

I thought January was tough, but that was seemingly just the warm-up for February.

February has been really tough for us.

  • I spent most of February feeling tired and overwhelmed with everything that is going on with us and our family. This culminated in me crying hysterically for the best part of two days and realizing I need some serious help with supporting Husband as I just felt like I was drowning. This feeling is not as strong now, but I can feel it’s still there, below the surface.
  • While visiting my mother and family back home during half term, we had to have her admitted as she  was very ill and they discovered she had pneumonia. She seems more herself now but is still incredibly weak. I found visiting her quite distressing as she was so confused, and I couldn’t help her or make her comfortable. The three days following it were spent walking around in a fog on autopilot.

At the same time, February had good parts to it as well:

  • Managed to forget to pay the credit card bill for January however the credit card company waived the late fees and interest as a one-off. This saved us £38.
  • The student loans department wrote to me to say we qualified to have the interest paid on my student loan written off for 2014, so that’s £1440 gone from my debt.
  • We were well under on the grocery budget – got some good reduced bargains and food at Foodprint. Also got some freebies through couponing.
  • I got to see my sister and her family, and my brother and his family.
  • My sister and her family very generously gave us a lot of meat and fish to take when I travelled back to the UK, which is helping our grocery budget a lot.
  • I managed to get six hours of free counselling sessions through the employment support hotline at one of the places I work.

Many colleagues and people on the internet have asked me about PIP and if we have got a court date yet – we are still waiting. We are in March now, and we started this process in May last year so it’s been almost a year we have waited for this to be resolved.

 

 

This week: Placid.

I am pleased to report this week has been much calmer – something I really needed.

Monday I went to work had we had a quiet day, so had the energy to do errands after work. What I wanted to do was ensure I did not have to go anywhere on Tuesday so got all my shopping, as many chores as possible, and the postal run done after work. Went to Sainsbury’s after work and was confused for a moment as I didn’t understand why the shelves were so bare – then it hit me. Of course. Winter. Or something.

Husband’s mother accompanied him to the JobCentre Tuesday morning, so I could potter around the house, but feeling stressed at having to go anywhere. Which was really nice – I got some overdue jobs done and feel very pleased with myself:

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Getting leftover wax ready to make it into new candles.
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New candles, cooling in the window sill. You are supposed to put them in the fridge but our kitchen is so cold the windowsill does the job.
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Before….
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… And after! All filed away ^_^ It didn’t take me long to to do either, so why am I so averse to doing it?
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Something that I’ve put off for a long time. Cleaning the oven.
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All done!

Wednesday was very cold here in the UK, with a strong wind and heavy snowfall. Sister gifted me a sheepskin vest so wore it to work and I am glad I did as it kept me warm at work.

After work I had the first of six free counselling sessions I have managed to get (eventually) through work. The counsellor is not too far away from home so I can get there, do the hour and then walk home from there. So we will see how that pans out.

Bless her, she could see why I am feeling overwhelmed – she said one of the things I discussed with her would be enough to crack someone, let alone the several things we have going on, all at the same time.

Thursday morning we woke up to this:

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Our back yard. Funnily enough the Cat didn’t want to go outside, can’t imagine why?
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The view from the office.

The college was closed Thursday and Friday due to the adverse weather so I had two days of rest at home. The uni also decided to close Thursday afternoon and was closed all day Friday. It’s been so cold so haven’t had much choice in keeping the heating on. Hopefully spring will come soon (?).

Thursday I didn’t go leave the house at all but Friday I braved the Hysteria from Siberia and went to Foodprint and also went to get some other bits and pieces from Wilko, Boots and Lidl. Lidl was so busy, with people buying milk and bread like the world was about to end.

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My lovely bargains from Foodprint. This cost me £3.10, sadly the hummus had gone moldy so had to throw it out, but still pleased I went as we got some nice fruit and veg, and some treats.

Husband was especially pleased with the malt loaf and promptly had two slices of it with butter when I came home.

As the university was closed on Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning, we came in on Saturday to 67 missed calls on the renewals hotline and over 120 unanswered tickets, so as most of the day was quiet in terms of visitors we spent a lot of the day replying the enquiries we had missed while we had been closed and answering the phone.

Sunday we had a lovely brunch and a chat with our neighbours from our previous house and we got to meet their now 7 month old baby. Worked the Sunday afternoon as normal and went by Tesco on my way home to see if there were any bargains to be had.

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My lovely bargains from Tesco; some littlegem lettuce and some carrots.

I’m glad this week has been more relaxed, here’s to hoping next week is more of the same.