It was Tuesday morning and I had just awoken. I felt a little reluctant to go for a walk but thought I would do anyway knowing full well that I would enjoy it. However before I was even dressed I received a call from a lady asking if I could check a power outlet for her. As it was reasonably close by and a simple job I agreed to do it, though after getting dressed and having my breakfast. An hour later I was at the house and soon had the job done. On my return home I left the van on the driveway for I had decided to take a trip to the timber and builder’s merchant to purchase timber for the gate I am constructing. I found that the timber I had at home was unsuitable and of insufficient quantity anyway. Starting from scratch with pre-treated (against the weather) timber was a better option though I intended to purchase some coloured wood preserver to give it an extra coat when the work is finished. First of all though I had to take measurements so went into the house and then into the garden to do so. Off I went to the depot a mile down the road and found a young man in the yard where the timber is stored. Having selected what I needed he cut some of the timber into two pieces so that I could transport it home on the roof rack of the van. The money I had just earned more than covered the cost of the materials and my purse was more or less left intact! I have noticed that happening quite often lately since my ‘official’ retirement. It was approaching lunchtime on my return home. I removed the timber from the van and stored it ready for use on another day. I wasn’t going to make a start so near lunch time and afterward I probably wouldn’t be in the mood anyway. E had been informed that her mom had been discharged from the hospital as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. E was telling me how reluctant she had been to go and how much of a struggle the paramedics had getting her in the ambulance the previous day as she had fought tooth and nail resisting their efforts. Obviously they had persuaded her to go and be checked out. She confesses to not liking hospitals for fear of the possibility of dying there one day. I suppose many old folk think that way because they would prefer to pass away quietly at home. E drove off to see her later in the afternoon but I stayed at home watching the rain pouring down as promised.
….and up and down. Nothing doing on the electrical front on Tuesday saw me working again at home on our latest little project at the top of the house. I had decided to begin painting the walls with the emulsion paint. E had an appointment at the doctor’s surgery late morning so she didn’t bother to do any work before then. I began by painting over the patch we had mended on the ceiling that had required more work doing on it before the top coat of paint could be applied. Leaving that to dry I started work on painting the lower parts of the walls beneath the worktops before I got a call from a guy asking me to change a light fitting in his house some fifteen miles away. Down with the paint brush, off with the overalls and off to the job. E had just left the house and it was eleven o’clock. I was back home twenty minutes after twelve with extra cash in my purse. It was too near lunch time to resume painting so I ate lunch. Whilst I was preparing it E arrived back home but she wasn’t alone, her mom was with her. She had invited her to see the work we had done in the two bedrooms (not the room we are currently redecorating). I was taken by surprise for it has been almost fourteen years since I last saw her. Since my transition I have not been invited to any family gatherings at her house or anywhere else for that matter. I do not know who is responsible for that but I don’t blame anyone. We said little to each other but she seemed quite amiable and I was as polite as ever. She didn’t stay long and E took her home. Her mom is in poor health and she has aged a lot since we last met. She is 88 years of age after all. E didn’t return home until long after I had eaten and had returned upstairs to continue with the painting.
After she had eaten she joined me. She began applying an undercoat of paint to the worktop surfaces. I managed to do almost all of the walls before emptying the paint pot. It was by now after five o’clock and it wasn’t worth opening another. I didn’t think I would like the colour lilac but it does make the room look brighter and fresher.
E has an aptitude for winning competitions having won so many prizes she has lost count. Many of those prizes have been high value items such as a holiday for four in the Caribbean, a weekend break for two in Vienna with two concerts thrown in, televisions, cameras, king sized beds, computer tablets and phones and many other items too numerous to mention. She does however spend a lot of time on her computer on-line which is a bit of a drawback but she evidently enjoys it anyway. On Thursday afternoon we had a surprise visit from our eldest son and his four year-old daughter. E would normally have gone out shopping around the time they had called but she was in no hurry. Soon afterwards the front doorbell rang and it was a parcel delivery. She had won another Android phone together with an Android tablet which incorporates a projector. How things have developed in recent times. Impressive as these things are for some people they hold no such fascination for me, that is I have no use for them; the ones I own get minimal use. Anyway the four of us ended up in the cellar hallway where the walls, although exposed brick, are painted in satin white emulsion and one is large enough to test the projector. We played a video on YouTube, a song our granddaughter wanted to listen to and she stood there in awe while it played. I was impressed by the quality of the projection too I have to admit. It is amazing that such a bright light can be produced by a portable device but of course it is only because of LED technology that these things are possible. I remember seeing my first ultra-bright LED component more than twenty-five years ago when I was using them in the construction of electronic devices of one sort or another. It is only within the last five years that LED technology has really taken off. E will use her new-found tablet when it is her turn to run her group’s quiz, then she can project questions and pictures onto a wall instead of having to produce them on paper. In that respect I think the device is well worth having. I don’t know how she wins so many things. Now she tells me she is trying to win another bed so that we won’t have to buy one for the bedroom refurbishment! I said it would be nice to win one provided it met our preferences but I doubt even she could win one to order!
We have endured many days of rain and high winds lately but on Sunday morning it was bright and sunny, hardly any wind and no rain either. I had a restless night with little sleep because I had done very little during the preceding days and simply wasn’t tired enough. That meant I was awake early, around five-thirty but I didn’t arise until another half-hour had passed. I had breakfast around seven and around eight I decided to go for a walk into town. Usually the streets are fairly empty at that time, especially on a Sunday and this Sunday was no exception yet there were a few people about in the centre at least, hardly anyone in the approaching streets. It was quite cold though and I could feel a frost in the air though none was on the ground. It was probably five or six degrees (Celsius of course) and according to the forecast for the day it would reach twelve. I was well wrapped up so it didn’t matter. It would be busy in the town later for many of the shops there would be open. For me Sunday is The Lord’s day, a day of rest from work and I think only those who have to work on the day should do. Alas, the country has turned away from its Christian heritage allowing secular ideology to take over. According to Scripture countries who turn their backs to God will no longer prosper but try telling the masses that! No-one wants to listen. Anyway my walk took me through the shopping areas where one or two coffee houses had just opened their doors but I wasn’t tempted to go in to any of them. A voice called out ‘Good morning Shirley Anne’ and I turned to see who it was. It was a man named Archie, someone who I know who often visits my local pub with his wife, Ann. He was off to the gym for some exercise and then a swim in their pool. During the summer months I often see him out running. He would be around sixty-something years of age I guess. I carried along with my walk and nearer to home on my return I was approaching a woman taking her dog for a walk but didn’t make eye-contact with her as she drew closer. I didn’t want the dog sniffing around my legs as dogs do, especially if encouraged. I was about to walk past her when she said ‘Hello Shirley Anne’. I stopped and looked but I didn’t recognise her and she continued ‘Don’t you recognise me……from the pub……we met there a few times?’. I apologised for not remembering and even now as I write this I am finding it difficult to remember more about our meetings though I did recognise her once we started talking. Sometimes it is awkward opening conversations with people, even if you know them, when you are taken by surprise. She asked how I was doing and did I have a nice Christmas. I tell people the truth, yes I am well but no I didn’t enjoy Christmas for I don’t celebrate it in the way she was inferring. Many years ago it happened that I was not invited to family gatherings once they knew of my transition yet those closest to me were. I had no support from them and they continued to go to these gatherings which meant my Christmases since have been spent alone. In more recent years I made the decision not to celebrate Christmas but for Scriptural reasons to do with my faith. Now I suppose that will be the excuse for not receiving invitations even if that is not the real reason. Once the festivities are over I am expected to react to my family as if their treatment toward me was anything but favourable. I love my family and would do anything for them. Sometimes I wonder if it is appreciated. So I arrived home after my walk beginning to feel tired but wanting to go out again as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. What I do know is this will be my last Sunday walk of the year………..roll on 2016.
On Saturday evening E went off somewhere all dressed up, not that she ever dresses in finery but she was dressed for socialising and not in her everyday clothes. She arrived back home around eleven-thirty and I was in bed. I didn’t see her on Sunday morning as it was around ten-thirty by the time I got downstairs. I found the note she had left on the kitchen table telling me that she hadn’t been able to close down the garage door after putting the car away. The door is a roller-shutter type, shown on the right. She wasn’t around for she had gone out again and for the day I was to learn later. I knew immediately what had happened with the garage door. It had become jammed when it was opened and then unwound itself as she attempted to close it. Well thanks very much I thought. She gone off somewhere gallivanting whilst I had to attend to the garage door. I didn’t mind really, after all she wouldn’t have a clue how to fix it whereas I might be able to. I skipped having anything to eat, got the ladder and toolbox from my van and set about attempting to repair the door. First of all I isolated the electrical supply then pulled out the lever which mechanically disconnects the motor from the door mechanism, something akin to using the clutch to disconnect a car’s engine from the drive wheels but in this case it is permanent as long as the lever remains fixed in position. This enabled me to pull down the door until it reached the floor which was surprisingly easy once it had been unstuck. I was then able to re-engage the motor by operating the mechanical lever and test it electrically once the power had been switched on. I found that the door rolled up but wouldn’t stop at its predetermined position and then jammed itself in place. If I set it to close it would simply unwind but not drop down. The solution was to reset the limit of upward travel and therein lay the problem, for me at least. I removed the cover on the control panel to see if there was a way to make an adjustment but nothing was obvious even though there are adjustment screws on the electronic panel. Without the electrical diagram I would be groping in the dark so I was forced to leave it and call out the guy who installed and looks after our garage doors. If I am at home when he calls I shall be able to ask how the adjustment is made and will then be able to do it myself if I am that way inclined. Getting him to call is the problem as he is usually very busy. In the meantime I have instructed E to stand with the door as she opens it and to interrupt its travel as it reaches a certain point so that it won’t over-travel and jam up again. Closing the door presents no problem. So for a few days she will have to put up with the inconvenience of getting out of the car if she’s been away from home so that she can watch the door and stop it. So that was my Sunday morning, my day off, my rest day. It is just as well that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath as it says in Scripture. I did nothing else all day but remained at home. I was experiencing some aches and pains in my back again though nothing like those I had been suffering with a couple of weeks ago. Just as I was about to have something to eat the front door bell rang and it was my eldest son. He doesn’t have a set of keys to the house and though we offered to give him some he refused. His younger brother has no such qualms, he has a set of keys. He had driven over in the hope that he could store some more of his belongings in our house. More than two of the rooms in our house are filled with his and his wife’s belongings whilst they are looking toward getting their own house. They presently live with their daughter at her parents house about three miles away. He didn’t stop long, he never does. As he left my eyes filled up and I felt so alone and lonely…………but that is another story for another day.
The job I started on Tuesday I managed to complete on my return on Thursday. The incorrectly installed kitchen power outlets were rewired and an extra one added too. The guy was very pleased with what I had done. Whilst there he engaged me with stories about his life and again had me in stitches laughing. I learned some sad things too, his poor relationship with his son who had essentially robbed him of many thousands of pounds. He had loaned the amount to him but his son absconded, refusing to pay him back or even to offer to do so. It left a bitterness that has kept them apart since. It is such a shame that families have problems like this. His wife died about six or seven years ago and the only company he now has is with a woman who lives about twenty miles or more distant from his house. The plan is to repair and decorate his house with a view to selling it and then move across the country to settle on the east coast, presumably with his lady friend. He retired about three years ago when he was seventy years of age. It is not really a good age to be uprooting to live somewhere else and I wish him the best in that. Speaking of families and their problems, I can very much relate to that for I have had a rough ride with mine at times, not with all in the family, just a few of them. I said to the guy that indeed it is written in Scripture that ‘a man’s (woman’s) enemies will be the members of his own household.’ (Matthew 10:35-37 in context). That of course is referring to the opposition one is faced with when they become Christians but I suppose it is often true in the secular household too! I had spent most of the morning at his house so by the time I had returned home it was time for lunch. Soon after I had returned, E did too. She had been out all morning at her friend’s house and had taken a suitcase filled with, I assume, prizes for their quiz games when they have them. I didn’t ask, in fact it has been almost three months now since we last spoke. She treats me badly at times and after the last episode I had just about had enough. I pray her attitude will change and she comes to her senses. That is family for you though isn’t it? They say a dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend for they don’t treat you like some people do but the dog shown here unfortunately lived in Rome when I was there eleven years ago! After lunch I received another job request and scheduled it for the next morning whilst E went to do the weekly shopping with her mom.
A couple of weeks ago I posted something about my son’s car being sold. This car, a Lexus, was personally owned by him but as he now has use of a car provided by his employer he has no use for it. I say ‘was personally owned’ for on Friday he phoned us to say that he was coming over to arrange the sale of the car. He had been let down by the four would-be purchasers who each claimed they wanted the car but this time it looked as though someone was seriously interested. However when they arrived at our house to view the car they back-pedalled on the price after agreeing what they would pay. Sadly they left and I thought my son had again been let down. Whilst having a meal he asked us what we thought and I told him to accept the slightly reduced offer. A few minutes later the interested party returned and the deal was struck. He allowed them to drive the car away once the money had been transferred to his bank account. Over the years I have been very generous to my sons, bailing them out with ‘temporary’ cash loans but never accepting repayment from them. A month or so ago my youngest had not been paid his monthly salary and he needed a loan. I obliged as I usually do and he told me he would repay me once the car had been sold. There is an outstanding debt on the car which he will have to clear with some of the cash he received. I think he was expecting that I would take the repayment from him but I told him to forget the debt which I am sure he was relieved to hear. He works hard and I know he and his girlfriend are only just getting on their feet whilst paying off their debts. Things are slowly improving for them so I wouldn’t wish to make their lives more difficult. I am happy to help them, both of my sons, for I know how hard it is these days to get by. When I was their age life was much easier but nowadays things are not the same. The recession hasn’t helped those starting out on their own and I cannot see much of an improvement for some time yet. Now my son is just waiting for the cash transfer to clear, a couple of days is all it takes and then we can say the car has finally gone forever. His girlfriend has booked a week’s break for the two of them in Barcelona and by the time this is published they will already be there as the went on Sunday. I think it was by way of a treat for his birthday on the 10th.
Life is a waiting game. We spend many hours in our lives waiting for one thing or another to happen, We may not realise it but waiting promotes patience and patience promotes peace. We may not like having to wait for certain things but often we have no choice. Stuck in a line of traffic waiting for it to move can be infuriating especially if we have an appointment to keep but there is little we can do about that except start out on our journey earlier. Many think their urgency is the problem of others and get annoyed if the rest of us take little notice. Waiting for other people who might not be as reliable as ourselves as far as time-keeping is concerned can step up the anxiety in us unless we can remain at peace with it all. Those amongst us who seem to have no sense of urgency in their lives are our children. We have to keep on top of things and take control in some circumstances. Of course many children expect things to be done for them at home. It takes a disciplined heart to negotiate around that one. As they grow we expect more independence on their part and more responsibility for their own lives and by and large that is what happens. Once in a while they may return for help, perhaps some physical assistance with something or financial help to get them out of a problem or situation. I don’t remember ever having to rely on parental help once I flew the nest. Not so with my own children. It may be a sign of the times and probably is. Job prospects and salaries may not be as they once were when I started out in life. Both my sons have asked for financial assistance a couple of times, one more so than the other and I have obliged. What they both need, apart from better jobs, is a little spare cash for a rainy day. One of my sons is currently saving as much as he can for a deposit on a house so he will have such a pot of money to fall back on. The other son it seems hasn’t been able to save much and when something out of the blue happens he has to rely on my generosity. That has happened a few times over the last five years or so. It happened again on Saturday when I had to deposit some cash in his account to tide him over. The father of his boss has just died and for some reason that has affected my son’s salary getting paid on time. He hadn’t that financial cushion he should have by now. I encourage him to save something each month even if it is a small amount. Either his situation won’t allow a small amount of saving or he just doesn’t know how to save. Maybe he just spends too much. So I have been patiently waiting for better times in the lives of my children. It is a good thing that I save when I can isn’t it?
I had no electrical work to do on Friday. I had arisen reasonably early so after breakfast I thought I might carry out a repair on the smaller greenhouse where a panel had been partially blown out of the frame because of the recent high winds we had experienced. I had placed the green (garden waste) wheelie bin alongside the panel the previous evening after discovering the damage and in order to prevent further damage. The small greenhouse is fitted with plastic panels rather than glass. However it began to rain and the wind had picked up again before I got the opportunity to do anything so I decided just to leave it until the weather improved. I did other things indoors instead, like re-registering online with my main current account provider after they had finally sent me the new password and security details. Even so the process wasn’t at all easy and it took E and I a fair amount of time to do it. The bank’s security measures are certainly robust to the point of being over the top. At last I could do some online housekeeping and moving about of my spare funds after three weeks not being able to. Of all the good things about using the Internet, online banking is near the top of my list. We have certainly come a long way since the days of standing in a queue waiting for a teller. E mentioned that our eldest son would be paying us a visit just after lunch and had asked if I had an electric multimeter he could use whilst working on his car.
I have a few meters of course, what electrician hasn’t? We had just finished lunch when he arrived with his young three year-old daughter. He had wanted a meter in order to find a suitable supply for the newly installed ‘dash cam’ he had bought and fitted himself. I rendered my assistance whilst he successfully located a suitable supply. It took us some time to connect a couple of wires to the car’s fuseboard for it is located below the dashboard in the passenger foot well area. The supply had to be one that was switched on when the ignition was switched on so that the camera was not switched on permanently. Once the work was done he drove off to purchase a cigar lighter socket which would be connected to the two wires we had installed. The camera lead cable would plug into it out of view beneath the dashboard. There was no option but to connect the camera this way as there was a special voltage control circuit inside the camera’s lead plug which had to remain in circuit. Anyway everything worked in that the supply was at the camera when the ignition was switched on but unfortunately the camera itself wouldn’t automatically switch on, which is what it is supposed to do. It could be switched on manually at the camera and it would switch off when the ignition was switched off. It was by now getting dark and so we left the car and went indoors for an hour before he and his daughter left for home. E had been entertaining her granddaughter whilst we were working on the car but now it was my turn. We don’t get too many opportunities to see our granddaughter (who calls me Aunty Shirley) so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her. Our son will investigate why the camera doesn’t operate as it should and perhaps it is only a simple matter of programming the device. He will of course return the camera if it still refuses to work properly. The camera itself is very small and hides behind the interior rear-view mirror so effectively you wouldn’t know it was there. Once they had gone home E and I had to prepare the evening meal so the day had been spent doing something completely different from that which was planned.
I didn’t get to see my eldest son on Christmas Day, or anyone else for that matter but he had been overdoing things and had stayed at home to rest. He had been working extra hours in his role as a policeman but I think he’d been busy at home too where he lives with his in-laws. By the time my youngest son had arrived home on Thursday night I was already in bed so I didn’t get to see him until Friday morning and then it was only for a relatively short time. He was off to see his girlfriend’s or should I say partner’s parents for an afternoon of festivities. When he did show his face he remarked that the shower in the upstairs bathroom wasn’t working properly. He said that the water pressure had dropped somewhat since his last visit. I checked it out and found nothing wrong. I knew I wouldn’t find a fault as I’d used the same shower an hour or so earlier. It was simply a general pressure drop in the water supply to the house but even so it was minimal. Pressure does vary a little when there is a great demand, that is normal. Actually the pressure was quite high when I turned the control to full flow but then of course its temperature dropped accordingly. He wanted high temperature as well as full-on pressure. What a shame. I told him there were other hotels in town and his reply was that ours was cheap! In fact it is free isn’t it? You just can’t please everyone. Who’d have children eh? After lunch E left the house too. She was visiting her mum again in order to see her nephews who apparently couldn’t be there on Christmas Day so there I was again, home alone. I didn’t go out into the garden to work this time though I could have done. No, I chose to enjoy the home comforts of my hotel instead!