Logistics Spaghetti

Large families come with a non-edible spaghetti-like organisation.

Last year we maintained 4 school diaries, Ashley’s medical appointments, Cerys’ medical appointments, Mum’s normal medical and dementia appointments, Mum’s home organisation and care team and Gill’s anxiety appointments.

The older girl’s are both at college (16+ and 18+) this year so more of their organisation is up to them. We still seem to be booking dentals and opticians though.

Fortunately for us, family is an organic process and will, with time, become less tangled.

I use a google calendar, there’s a whiteboard in the kitchen, letters on the fridge and as an indispensable last resort, Gill’s fantastic memory.

The girls contribute to the pen board – “if it ain’t on, we don’t know” is our maxim.

Add to this the normal day-to-day which includes repair and maintenance men for Ashley’s equipment and for the household machines, constant Amazon deliveries, school trip and uniform payments (all electronic now), food deliveries (I’m not going shopping!) and Lord knows what else.

As a list it’s long and scary but in reality it works.



Day 4

Just be mindful people.

It’s funny, the older you get you more you see the same things coming back round.

As a kid and in my early teens everyone seemed to know about meditation and yoga.

It was seen as a little quirky: dippy hippies sitting cross legged humming to themselves.

As academia helped ramp up my stress levels I reluctantly got dragged along to a meditation and yoga class.

One of the exercises which really worked was tensing and relaxing every part of your body. It was a simple and effective awareness and relaxation activity which I still use today.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear my daughter describing the same exercise to me as part of a package being used at school.

People like packages, rather than using their own common sense.

The latest trendy pastime is Mindfulness. Originally hacked together by Jon Kabat in 1979 it is churned out in businesses and schools now as a quick fix to the stress of modern life.

There’s nothing new in what I’ve read.

Common sense dictates we all need a break.

Take some time away from what you do to switch off.

Smell the roses.

Watch a sunset.

Do a little yoga or tai chi.

Walk the dog in a wood.

One thing that won’t “fix” things is paying any amount of money to use a package which just rehashes common knowledge.

Most of all, change your mind set to see the importance of the real rather than the ephemeral. Don’t carry old baggage. Learn to forgive. Love yourself.

Tying yourself into a tight ball and then buying in to rehashed populist McTherapy is just a waste.

Parenting a disabled child

My son, Ashley, has a list of disabilities.  Readers from my old blog will be familiar with the problems we’ve encountered and the challenges we’ve overcome.

Folk have asked how we cope: how we accommodate his medication, therapies, appointments, finances etc.

They’re also curious to find out about the “disappointment” of having a disabled kid: how we mourn for the child and man that could have been; how we feel when we compare him to his able peers.

They’re a curious bunch.

The short answer is based on perspective.

Basically, it’s “what else is there?”

He’s 11 now, soon to be twelve, so we’re not Newbies.

Much of the day to day stuff is simply routine and with three other kids and an elderly Mum we rarely sit and ponder our lot in life.

Gill and I communicate. These aren’t just words. When it comes to Ashley, everything is shared. Decisions are rarely made without a conversation, even if it’s by text.

This gives us a lot of strength and stability when it comes to trusting the other partner.

Mostly we see things coming. We know the creams that don’t work. We know how to deal with lazy or arrogant consultants or their registrars.

More importantly we know him. His behaviour is transparent to us so if he’s ill we know it.

The other important aspect of our lives is the family. The world no longer revolves around him as it did when we were first dealing with his conditions.

The fun that is six people in a house all with different characters doesn’t leave time to dwell on one person too much.

Our best coping strategy is Ashley himself. His a charmer, a cuddler, a cool DJ, a smooth dancer and has an infectious laugh.

This isn’t a blog about living with disability. Some bloggers seem to dwell on this.

We blog about what we know and this family is only partly about disability, so the blog reflects this.

I look forward to your comments.

Day 3

We continue in a positive vein.

Jo is taking her Nana to a garden party tomorrow.

This was inconceivable a short time ago.

Mum still loses track of things.

She’s phoned Gill a few times about shopping (which she doesn’t need), about her having her money card ( which she doesn’t).

I feel progress is being made on all fronts.

Gill bought a shed which arrived today.

It’s in a bzillion pieces so I’ll have a go on Sunday.

Heather is a bit adrift waiting for Uni to start in December.

Jo likewise is waiting for her GCSE results, but will be starting her NCS soon.

Ash has a new medication for his psoriasis and they’ve asked for photos of his patches.

Life goes on. Sometimes it’s hard but it does go on.

I need to lose weight again. I’ve put on about half what I lost. I know I can do it.

Time for bed.

Take care.

Day 2

I think it’s important to keep in mind that life moves on.

We kid ourselves that it doesn’t. But look up and you’ll see lots of changes.

My little girl is going to university in October.

My timid daughter sang a solo yesterday. (so proud)

Part of the mire I found myself in was my fault.

The perspective I had was weighing me down.

Sometimes things change very slowly but they are always changing.

Getting stuck in the past is very destructive.

Unfortunately we cope by identifying with the past.

Never really been a carpe diem kind’a guy. Impulsiveness gets on my nerves as it underplays the importance of responsibility.

I’m more “stop and smell the roses“. Dig in and live life with grit and determination but don’t let it weigh you down. Appreciate the blessings you have, even if it’s Mum’s Dementia knocking off for a day or a kid who finally, finally tidies her room.



A New Blog

Okay, welcome to the new blog.

My old one with almost the same name had to be locked for personal reasons.

This one will definitely carry on in the same vein for as long as I have stuff to post.

To the uninitiated, I have been blogging for over thirteen years, initially on 20six then on various platforms, some of which died and some of which were just boring.

I settled here a few years ago and built up a nice hit rate of 200 a month, making friends as I went along and letting people into the nonsense of our lives.

In summary, I am a 50+ Dad of 4, happily married to my Gill.

The kids range from 18 to 9 and Ashley, whose 11, is profoundly disabled. I’ll do a tab for him soon.

We live near Manchester in England and like it. Even the rainy days.

As for posting, I will rant and whine a bit but I really do treasure your input.

Not sure how I can drag my buddies over here but I hope they all make it.

Right, better get on with setting up.