Macy's Annual Review 2009

Posted on 10:27 In:
Because as someone once said, "History happens to the little people too..." Also since 2009 was a bit of a Big Year for me, it deserves it's own summary....

January. Barrack and Michelle Obama move to Washington. Macy and Cherub have just moved back to Cheesetown from Glasgow. We are ( it will prove) conveniently close to my ex W who's living just down the road.
Israel attacks Gaza - W is admitted to the Southern General where he is to have his left lung removed in his own battle (sigh, see what I did there?)

February. Gordon Brown hosted the G20 Sumit looking for an economic recovery. Meanwhile hopes were dashed here in Cheesetown as W's biopsy result showed his tumour to be malignant. He had Angio Sarcoma, a cancer of the lining of the blood vessels.

I got a phone call from W to let me know there would be no recovery for him, that he had anywhere between 4 and 14 months to live.

The year's just started and it stinks.

March. The Madoff scandal broke, AIG posted billions of $$ of losses . The Big American Bank I work for announces there will be swinging job cuts.

April. First rumours of swine flu appear from Mexico as W's chemo starts. This is not a good time to be starting chemo.
The Solomon Islands truth and reconciliation commission opens; W and I are talking in whole sentences and in detail for the first time in years.

May. Patrick Swayze makes his first public appearance since the announcement of his cancer. For some reason Cancer is becoming a bit of a topic of 2009.

June. Madonna adopts her second Malawian child. I ask the Big American Bank if I can work part time, given my own family circumstances. . I am warned that there is a review of jobs and this may affect any decision made as to my future employment. I reply that if that's their attitude, then I should be focusing on what's important (paraphrasing here...).

July. The last WW1 veteran, Henry Allingham dies. W is not coping well with chemo, but manages to go on his own trip to France with the Cherub. On returning, he is in a lot of pain. I tell him that there is no need for him to feel he has to go through this alone. Cherub and I will stay at his when he's recovering from chemo or infusions. This is the only time I see him cry.

August The Lockerbie bomber is freed on compassionate grounds. Similarly the Big American Bank completes its review, and lets me know that I have been selected for freedom on compassionate grounds aka redundancy - surprise!!!
By the end of this month W is staying at mine when not at the hospice.

September. Earthquakes in Java and Georgia. Similar earthquakes as W not only stays at Cheesetown between hospice visits, but introduces me to the mother of his older son for the first time... We're both fine with this. We're past worrying about history.

There is an outbreak of syringe needle stabbings in China. Here in Cheesetown W's pain is bad and I am becoming an expert in administering diamorphine intravenously.

October. Stephen Gately dies. The Cherub jokes to his dad that he might meet him now... it's a bad joke. Times are bad.
W dies at home, 20th October.

November New Zealand qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1982, it feels unfair that the expatriate Kiwi, W didn't get to hear this.

December The Tiger Woods story erupts. Another idiot who needs to learn the hard way what matters in life. Unemployment figures rise yet again and I officially join their numbers.

ROLL ON 2010.

Yes really snowed in. We had snow: not the-annoying-stuff-on-the-ground-that-makes-the-car-skid type of snow; not the stuff-that's-rubbish-for-snowballs type of snow. This was the real thing, the deep-and-crisp-and-even-St Wenceslas type snow. The roads blocked between here and Q'Ferry type snow. The forget-about-even-trying-to-buy-last-minute-presents, and the-airport's-closed-again type snow.

Yeah, and yadda yadda yadda everywhere else has better and deeper snow. I know.

But it seemed a shame not to show off Cheesetown...

Enjoy the winter slideshow - if there are a lot of graves it's because Ned and I shortcut through there on our way up the hill... nothing more macabre...

Yes really. Cherub and Macy have finally made it three yards across the road to the church....

We went because we were invited. Cheesetown Parish Church was holding a service specifically for all those who had been bereaved in the past year.
We went because I felt that it was time the Cherub visited a church what with it being Christmas already and all.
We went because the minister had visited and prayed with W in his last days. W had already said that actually he did believe in some kind of God, and did want a minister at his funeral so when Petal suggested she fetch the minister, I felt it sensible. This was the same minister who would give W's funeral. A bit of continuity never hurt.

We went because it is an 11th century church, and I've always wanted to see inside.
Maybe we went because there's an irrational part of me that wants to feel that W is not finally dead. As in stone dead.

And it was a good service. We had a pretty full house - a lot of bereavements in Cheesetown this year this year then....
And the church is beautiful in side. All whitewash, dark wood and candles; red roses as the altarpiece.

After the minister's welcome, we started with a hymn - In the Bleak Midwinter. So far so good.

We then had a prayer. And I tried. I really did, but the cynical part of me was starting to kick in.
Nor did my cynicism lift during our minister's sermon. The message of her sermon was that there can be no life without death, no love without grief - that's the deal. "That's the deal" was the refrain throughout her sermon.

And it is, yes, I can see that. But that's still no reason for W to die aged 48. And I'm not clear why praying to a God to "lift the burden" is going to help any when he has clearly so not done so at any earlier point when it would have made a difference. I really can't see why the Cherub got the raw deal when the rest of his pals have fathers and families.

Sorry. I went, I tried, I failed to get any kind of comfort. Maybe cynicism is always going to get in the way.

How fantastic is this? The Cherub has become a pensioner at the ripe old age of 13. Because his dad worked for a fair minded employer, who provided a Final Salary Pension Scheme...the cherub is entitled to a pension until he is 21 or leaves school.

The cherub is, at this moment, earning more than I am... Obviously I haven't told him that because I don't want him dictating a shopping list full of pasta, Ben & Jerry's and popcorn anytime soon.

Compare and contrast with the letter I received last week from the administrators of the Big American Bank's pension scheme. As I was made redundant with less than 5 years service, I am to transfer my pension before the 31st December or lose all my employer's contributions. Current circumstances notwithstanding....

And with the clarity of the recently TEETOTAL I understand two things.
1. Exactly how expendable people are in the financial services INDUSTRY.
2. Nothing, not fame not glory, not even SKINNY beats a final salary pension**

**Memo check out Craig's post retirement prospects as an NHS dentist.

Craig the dentist is a GENIUS. He looks about 18 but the boy knows his stuff. Specifically he has SAVED my back molar.. in a completely pain-free half hour he drilled and filled and completely saved my tooth. The tooth I was sure was doomed.
If I said I loved him to death and wanted to have his babies I'd only be exaggerating a wee bit. Bless his wee white dentist mask.

But I'm beginning to wonder if he feels the same way about me...Look, for Christmas he has prescribed me DRUGS.
Drugs which mean I cannot take alcohol.
Drugs I need to take over the whole of the Christmas holiday.

And looking up Google , as you do, I also found out that Metronidazole is prescribed for horses and dogs.

Stop the press - no alcohol even after stopping???? CRAIG what have you done???

Yes. There are times when it feels as if I'm living my life as a Cautionary Tale to scare young arts students ("if you insist on studying Social Anthropology you will end up like Macy, mark my words.....").

I'd been putting it off as well. Sitting in a grey/ beige office with furniture screwed to the floor, answering the standard questions - "How realistic do you feel your job expectations are..." Well look, in the past couple of months I've needed cheered up. OK? And I wasn't in a hurry to go over what I've been doing since being made redundant... Helping someone die...well I didn't feel like discussing it with some civil servant.

Anyways, since I already had a dentist's appointment to look forward to last week, it seemed as good a time as any to make an appointment to go down the job centre. Just to round the week off nicely.


But look - it's All Different these days. The furniture still looks fixed to the floor, and the staff look like they'd rather be anywhere else, but those of us visiting on are no longer unemployed - we are jobseekers. I am appointed an Advisor. My Advisor, Allun, and I will draw up a jobseeking agreement together. Under my advisor's guidance I will find gainful employment around the Cheesetown area.

Allun's guidance is fairly unique. Allun was also made redundant recently. Also from a Big Bank. We spend some time discussing Allun's redundancy after working for the Far Eastern Bank doe eight long years. We discuss the trouble Allun had finding work, started work at fifteen, never been unemployed a day in his life....we discuss the causes of Allun's redundancy, globalisation. We discuss redundancies of some of Allun's friends. We discuss the difficulty of having to rely on the partner's wages... I remind Allun I don't have a partner...

We agree we should next meet 15th January.

Memo to self. Find job to cheer Allun up....

It was a dream not a vision

Posted on 08:26 In: ,

Sparkle is much more in tune with her spiritual side, having been through some mills in her time herself.
Whilst I had only a very strong feeling of my dad's presence at one point after he died, Sparkle actually saw hers.

So I was interested to hear from her last week,

Sparkle "You know I dreamed about W last night..."
Macy "Really?"
Sparkle "Yes, he was actually driving a Winnebago! But it was so vivid. The Winnebago was huge, and he invited me in, while he went into the toilet...I could hear him in there and everything, that's how VIVID the dream was"
Macy "And how was he? Was he better..?"
Sparkle "Oh yes, he was right back to how he was before he got ill. He had his hair back, and everything..."
Macy "Oh that's good!"
Sparkle, "But you know Macy, it was just a dream, it wasn't a vision like last time..."

Macy "Oh I know, I know..... it's just I still worry about him. If he's alright.. and everything...."

This one's for ME!

Posted on 16:13 In: ,
I was going to call this one "F'nac, Fags and Tears" after yesterday's post. Then I imagined the (disappointed ) traffic headed towards this blog, what with "fags" being US for homosexuals and all....
Anyhoots, following the comments to yesterday's post, I've spent the day being HUGELY CHEERED by the mental image of me going into full drama queen mode, belting out the showtunes, whilst the Cherub and Ned try to hide the remnants of the whisky...

OK - it's not as if I can summon up a Michael York look alike (if only). But the club scenes do look as if they could have been shot in the New Liston Arms round the corner....

Elizabeth - thanks for that suggestion!

Breaking news.....

Posted on 16:53 In:
This just forwarded from my Recruitment Consultant

Unfortunately we have decided not to bring Macy back in for a second stage interview. We felt that Macy interviewed well but wasn’t quite what we were looking for in terms of experience and fit. Having said that, she does have strong experience and so we would wish her well in finding a suitable role.

Kind regards

How would the Observer have known anyways?

Posted on 07:37 In: ,
OBVIOUSLY I need to get a proper obit written up first...

Pain relief - or the legacy of St W

Posted on 11:27 In:

Wednesday night it started. The first inkling of don't touch the tooth, it'll HURT MORE. Nothing too crunchy for dinner... tsst pffft, great, a dentist visit to arrange.

Thursday it really KICKED OFF. Pain on a major scale; pain drilling into my right jaw; total total MISERY. Up in the wee small hours ransacking the bathroom cabinet for PAIN RELIEF. Re-reading the small print on the paracetamol packets to try and decide what the real maximum dose would be - as opposed to that puny 8 a day guideline they give. Would 8 during daylight hours, and four in the night still be within safety margins?? What levels of stupidity are they assuming on the part of the drug using public that they have such low limits.... What about if I had 8 paracetamol and then another couple of Ibuprofen?? And why are paracetamol sold in such small packets?

NB at times like this Sensible Self is nowhere to be heard....

Then I remembered.... The Drug Stash. Still with W's other stuff, leftover from His Last Visit.

Immediately after his death the district nurses took away any drug with the word "morphine" in it. Yes, although they cannot deliver drugs to patients, they must remove drugs once said patient is dead...{This one could be the subject of a blog post on its own... but I digress}
Because the drugs would be destroyed (guidelines say they cannot be recycled amongst patients) Nurse L decided I may as well keep the others that could be re-used, the paracetamol - big white boxes of 24 a pop - and the Diclofenac. Maximum 3 a day....

Desperate times, desperate measures. W liked Diclofenac...No time for too much research on this. Assume if cancer patient is told max 3 a day, same will apply to toothache sufferer.

What joy. How good is Diclofenac?
And waltzing through Cammo estate with Ned yesterday, I did sort of vaguely remember reading about celebrities addicted to prescription pain killers....
I'll worry about it later. Until Thursday when Dentist Craig is due to re-visit the abscess, I'll float on....

Behold! The tree is a TRIUMPH

Posted on 10:22 In:
Yea verily... why bother spending when you can be brilliantly original, as I said to the (still doubtful) cherub.

Obviously John Lewis had the idea first....

And obviously we're never going to get the house as tidy as their studio...
But behold!

Cheesetown's first minimalist tree!

Mark my words, next year they'll all be having one.

It has been FOUR days

Posted on 07:13 In:

Yes, count them, it has been FOUR days - or as I estimate it 111 hours at time of posting - since my interview....

Yes. They were interviewing another couple of candidates at the beginning of this week.

No, of course they don't work weekends or evenings - so subtract 95 hours from that hourly total.

Well I've done the sensible thing of prompting the recruitment consultant to show my INTEREST. I've been good and not jinxed this in any way. I have thought beautiful and wonderful POSITIVE thoughts.

Well, guess what, I've had enough of the waiting. I'm jinxing it now by blogging....

Please, please please can I have a job for Christmas? I'll be good (at it), I promise....

French Homework

Posted on 19:38 In:

The cherub has french homework to do. He has to write a short paragraph about his family.
In the past year the cherub has lost, through no fault of his own, one stepfather, one stepbrother, grandparents in law and, of course, his dad. This should be an interesting exercise....

He's getting me to check it over.
He has written {and I'm very kindly translating for you all here..}
"There are three people in my family. My mother, Ned and me. Ned is a dog. He is big but kind."

"OK that's a start toots, but "gentile" means kind, I think you mean Ned is a big softy..
Sighs. Well the teacher said it was OK.
"OK. My bad. .. What about your dad? You could add your dad just died last month."
Nah. If I wrote about cancer they'd know I'd been on Google translate.

Sometimes I just miss him

Posted on 19:11 In:

I miss him. Add that to your list of the blindingly obvious if you want, but sometimes it really is just as banal and basic as that. I miss him.

I miss him not being there to tell things to...I know already what he'd have had to say about recent events ..

"Macy, you are not fat " (Because, god help him, he'd already had to repeat this endlessly through most of August and September)
"Cheeky wee fringe there Macy" (Because he knew how to annoy me)
"Did the bridge collapse or something?? "(Because the man was incapable of making any kind of drama, being supremely laid back)

But knowing what he'd have had to say isn't the same as laughing about it all with him.

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Posted on 11:19 In:

Oh I know, here we go again. I've been trying not to make it sound as if I live at Crisis Central. There are some things that I haven't mentioned much. One of them was that as of October 2008, just before W's diagnosis, Ned started taking fits.**

Fits that were alarming to watch, not least because of the distress he was in during them. The fits would last about 10- 30 minutes, and involved much shaking, yelping, eye rolling, and saliva. Afterwards he would be disorientated for up to another hour; not walking straight, confused - think punch drunk and you get the idea.

So we went to the vet, who ran a battery of (expensive) tests, and declared it idiopathic - cause unknown. Rare in so young a dog, but controllable, as long as we gave him the right drugs. And brought him in to have his blood checked every quarter, because there were SIDE EFFECTS to these drugs.
For the past year, therefore, I have been feeding him drugs. Ned Likes DRUGS. Since he gets them with a blob of butter, he reminds me if I forget. But after a few months, because I was worried about SIDE EFFECTS, I started cutting down the dose.

So yesterday morning was all MY FAULT.

We were walking along our usual route in the fields behind Cheesetown, when Ned lay down beside the river.
Cute I thought. He's watching the ripples in what had been a stream, but was now a small river following the recent Cheesetown Floods.
Then I realised he wasn't watching leaves and twigs floating downstream, he was starting to convulse. And my only thought was - Keep him out of that water if he's having a fit. He'll drown in it.
For the whole of his fit, I managed to keep him out of the water. As he thrashed in the mud, I was guiding him away from the river. To hell with it. It's an old jacket. The jeans will wash.
It was only after his fit, when we were both filthy anyway, that he FELL IN.

Now every year, there are stories of dog owners drowning after jumping into frozen lakes, or fast flowing rivers to rescue their dogs. And I always thought - how could they be so stupid?
Well now I've got an inkling of what goes through their heads, because there was no way I could NOT jump in after him - though keeping it in perspective THIS water was only knee deep, just fast flowing and COLD. I had to keep his head above water, and stop the hound from being swept down to the reservoir.
And the only way I could do this was by getting in there myself, and trying to hold him close while 18kg of collie thrashed around.

We were both fine. Just wet. Very wet.

Going home through Cheesetown's suburbs though, we gave an old guy the chance to prove that his powers of deduction were as yet unaffected by age.
"Aye, yi been in the wattur then?"

**On hearing the dog was epileptic, W joked to the cherub, "Hey EVERYONE you know isn't well these days. Except me of course...."

Memo to self - Re Interviews

Posted on 14:23 In:

Memo to Macy
From Sensible Self

Before the interview remember:-
1. Do NOT under any circumstances attempt to trim your own fringe. It is NEVER a good idea. Why exactly did you think it would be different this time?

2. Do not assume that interview suit, last worn February 2008, will still fit. Not if you lived on Haribo gums whilst giving up smoking it won't.

3. Shoes. Remember the too-tight suit needs matched with SHOES, not your usual wellies or trainers. (The following are also hopeless: cute blue silk pumps, Uggs, black sandals, green eco shoes, vertiginous spike heels, moccasins, flip flops, everything in patent leather, brown sandals, walking boots, furry slippers, striped ballerina slippers..chiz)

Never mind princess, if all else fails, remember you are not yet being interviewed as style editor for Grazia.

Pre Interview

Posted on 09:13

I have to call in at the recruitment consultant before heading off to my interview. Recruitment consultant will prepare me for my interview, and check my passport - presumably to make sure that I'm not actually an extremely clever MIGRANT who has disguised herself with a Scottish name, pale skin colour and strong west coast accent. Though it strikes me that if I've got this far, I might have been able to forge the paperwork too....
Anyhoots. I digress.

On the phone last night, the recruitment consultant has already explained that this Esteemed Financial Services Institution is looking for people who can give 150%. I have refrained form pointing out that they'll be lucky to get 50% from me, seeing's how I'm planning on going home evenings and weekends. But then, since my best is about 300% better than anyone else, this probably averages out OK.

RC: Now Macy, are there any parts of the interview you think you might have a problem with? Any questions you would have difficulty in answering?
Macy: No -o-o-o not really. The only question they could ask me, where I might wonder how best to phrase the answer would be that old chestnut about what I've been doing in the past year. Do they know at all?
RC: No, no they don't. What do you usually say?
Macy: Well I usually just come straight out and say W died. Because, erm, he did. Sometimes people become a bit flustered; other times they just ignore it..
RC: Mmm.. maybe better to not mention it at this stage.
Macy: I could, but then I think any employer is going to have to know some background, just because it does affect my current ability to work 150% for 24 hours a day.
RC: I think I might phone and mention it first then.

To Be Continued.

The Cherub has his Uses

Posted on 19:20
"Andrew says to come back to his tomorrow afternoon"

"Oh .. right... why what you doing?"

Deep sigh, "Well you've got that interview tomorrow haven't you?"

OMG I completely forgot! Thanks for reminding me!
Too late to get my hair done then.


Posted on 13:40 In:

The cherub never fails to surprise. Yesterday he announced he was CAN'T WAIT for Christmas.

Yep, here I am worrying how he's going to get on without the annual visit to Edinburgh Winterland with his dad, or the annual Christmas Day footy match after present opening. Dur, I forgot he's focused on the possibility of getting a PSP, or WWE SMACKDOWN 2010, or Skate 2. School holidays and disco might also have something to do with it too; maybe not even in that order... a Blonde Girl has been figuring in texts lately.

Then, as if there was any doubt about this EXCITEMENT being GENUINE, this morning he put forward his PLAN for the 23rd December.. yes, bear with me, the 23rd.

On the 24th he won't be able to sleep for excitement. To make sure he gets some rest he's planning a sleepover on the 23rd. He's rounding up some pals for an all-night X Box session.
On the 24th we have to go to his gran's. Being exhausted from his sleepover, he will go to bed EARLY. Miss sitting up with aged relatives, wake up to presents.


Life is good, non?

Welcome to the car crash...

I have a complicated bereavement. I was only reconciled with my ex, W, months before he died of cancer. Luckily (for him) I was made redundant and able to care for him while he died here at home - October 20th.
Currently getting through it with our son, aka the Cherub, dog Ned, and friends here in CHEESETOWN.

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