Monday, 28 June 2010

I Am Tired of Things Going Wrong.

It's enough to drive a woman to food. Drive? Huh. I'd be so lucky. I was up bright and early and out on the road as usual, taking my son to work when all of a sudden my car just lost it's power. It just died as I was driving along a packed, fast-moving road in the middle of rush hour traffic. Fortunately I was able to steer it into a side road just before it stopped moving. I braked..and then realised I was partially blocking someone's drive! I put a note of apology through the letter box explaining the situation. We abandoned car and walked (and walked!) back up the busy road to a junction, where there was a McDonalds. Son decided this was the place for breakfast and somewhere he could phone his boss to explain why he was going to be very late to work. I joined him in a 'breakfast' an egg and sausage McMuffin. (I had tea with it and let son have the hash brown.) From there I made the necessary phone get my car towed to the garage. I also had to phone an old lady - a family friend who recently lost her husband. I'd been chatting to her a lot at my sister's wedding recently and promised I'd keep in touch. I'd planned to go and visit her today and I was going to take her out for lunch. I had to phone her and cancel that, so I felt bad. (Why does "My car has broken down!" always sound like a feeble excuse? )

From there, I walked home, in the warm morning sunshine. So, before 8.30am I had completed a three mile walk! I'd have enjoyed the walk if I hadn't felt so stressed and fed up...and it hadn't been during the busy rush hour when the roads are full of rtraffic as people go to work. All I need is ANOTHER bill..I just can't afford for things to go wrong now I don't have an income. I live on my occupational pension and that just about covers the house and food costs. There is not a lot left over. Last week I finished my course of dental treatment and was landed with a bill for over £230. (I am reluctant to visit the dentist these days because of the seems like an indulgence.) A few weeks before that I'd had to tax and MOT my car...There are so many things round the house that need fixing but I just leave them because of the expense. Goodness only knows how much the car repairs will cost. I am finding life tough being on a limited income. When I worked (all my adult life) if something had to be paid for it was paid for and I didn't have to deliberate over it or worry too much about it. I am a homeowner, so if anything goes wrong which the insurance doesn't cover, I have to fix it. Even the insurance companies have policy holders pay the first few hundreds of pounds of any even claiming costs a lot of money, despite monthly premiums costing more and more every time a policy is renewed. It's all very depressing.

Money worries can really eat away at a person I am finding. (And when something eats away at me, I try to counter it by eating anything!) I'll have to find myself another job. I am frightened however of being a liability to any future employer. I still have to attend several consulations at the hospital for various chronic complaints and there aren't many days that go by without me having to take pain-killers. Who am I kidding anyway? Sadly here many people are on the employment scrap-heap once they hit 50. Not many employers take on older people, and even little part-time reception/office jobs pay a pittance. From reading the job columns it seems employers want the most wonderful people possible to man the phones, sit at a reception desk and do simple clerical duties. The situations vacant ads read "Must be conversant with systems A, B and C and also have experience of astro-physics, and rocket-science. Those who have worked as brain surgeons would be considered favourably." That for a filing clerk? Mind you, people don't have to file things away any more...I could do the paper shredding? Nope. I am not qualified enough :(

It's at times like these, on stressful days that I could bury my head in the sand....not deal with troubles. I have to of course and one of my usual coping strategies was (is?) to eat...and and think. Today I stopped for breakfast at Mc Ds with my son, and that was OK. I drank a large glass of water when I got in from my long walk, and now, in the middle of writing I have just gone to the kitchen to make myself two slices of (wholemeal) toast and honey and a big mug of tea. I am in danger of over-eating today...just because. I am however aware of what I am doing so I'll control myself.

In the great scheme of things my problems are minor, but they are still problems. My Dad used to always say "Something will turn up." He lived his life going from week to week, pay packet to pay packet. The only time he didn't show up at work for his factory shifts in front of hot furnaces was when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Poor Dad. He was such a gentle, quiet, kind-hearted, giving man. He'd give his last penny to anyone with a sob story. He often did. He read his Bible before falling asleep every night. He thought every cloud had a silver lining. He died at sixty four, just two months before he was due to retire from work. Life can be grim, sh*tty, hard can't it? Mum was an incredibly cheerful lady, despite having had the most unfortunate of childhoods (Think "The Magdalene Sisters" and Irish orphanages.) One of her little sayings was "You have all the riches in the world if you have your health and strength." Bless her - those cruel women boxed her little five year old ears at night until she was left deaf. Her health wasn't the best but it didn't stop her doing anything. She was an incredibly plucky lady. She truly believed the best things in life were free, and I have to agree with her - although a Lottery win wouldn't go amiss! I am the product of two, gentle, hard-working unassuming people and I know my life has been so much easier than theirs was. They gave me a great start in life and by their examples I learnt so much. Eating all before me today won't solve my problems, it will only make me fatter and more miserable. I have to walk back to my car with the keys at some point today - another three mile walk is on the cards. Oh, make that six miles...I have to walk back home again too, unless the tow truck driver drops me off. I'll take the walk. I think lots when I walk and if this cloud has a silver lining then it's the exercise that is built in to having a car break down on me! :)

I'll get through this, even if we have to live on soup and bread for the next month or so. What did Scarlett O' Hara say in 'Gone With The Wind"?  (I love that film...I'd have snapped Rhett Butler up! Oh Clark Gable as Rhett. Drool. Drool.)

"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

I'll have put a plan in place by sometime this afternoon hopefully. I think I might be doing a lot more walking this week. It's all good. Now I have to plan a small but healthy lunch and a meal for us all to eat tonight. I shan't try to eat my troubles away because that strategy just doesn't work!

I know it, you know it.


  1. I'm very sorry that things went so poorly for you today. Unfortunately, this sort of life isn't uncommon for anyone, not even young, employed folks. My family also was very poor and we lived with the specter of bankruptcy my entire young life. My mother was a compulsive shopper and juggled bills (skipping the electric this month to pay the phone, skipping the phone next month to pay the electric) to permit her to live beyond her means at our family's expense.

    Anyway, I'm not commenting to complain about my childhood, but to say I'm sorry about how hard things are for you now. Car woes are the worst. However, you didn't do too badly on the McDonald's front. A sausage McMuffin is 370 calories. Ditching the hash browns was a good idea. Egg McMuffins, by the way, are only 300 calories. I've had them before for breakfast. It's the flexible option sometimes and it's not all that bad as an occasional choice. And, as you say, eating won't fix anything, though I do understand the impulse to do it because it'll make you feel better in the short term. Boy, do I understand!

    One thing you may want to consider trying while you wait for a job opportunity is find a volunteer situation. My sister and a friend of mine both volunteered for a few years at their current places of employment. They proved their value, made personal connections, learned skills, and eventually were offered jobs. If there is the chance to do such a thing, you will not only gain skills and meet people, but it'll add a dimension to your life which can be quite fulfilling.

    In my sister's case, she volunteered at a library and my friend did so at an animal rescue facility, but I'm guessing there are many places that might be possible volunteer opportunities. The nice thing is that, as a volunteer, you can set your own schedule most of the time.

  2. Grump: I would much rather have to fix a car than fix a daughter. The grass is always greener on the other side of that lovely, stone wall. I like your "silver lining" theory, it reminds me of my sainted mother who always said "Onward and Upward", even when our lives were falling down around us. This too shall pass. Jo

  3. Oh Grump! To be honest you thoroughly deserved a Maccy D's breakfast after that - the walking will have more than paid for the calories anyway.

    The money thing is a pain in the arse. I hate "just getting by" which has been the story of my life (says she who's going to Thailand, but I'm hoping it really is cheap once we get there cos there ain't much left over!!). You'd think it'd be enough motivation to at least finish a writing project, wouldn't you! One day mebbe ...