The aftermath

I’m saddened. Sickened. Heartbroken.

Due to the time zone differences I watched it unfold. I couldn’t even get drunk – my system rejected the buzz, so I stopped.

This morning my social media feed is full of my friends who are feeling the full gamut of emotions:

  • Fear
  • Despair
  • Terror
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Pain
  • Resignation
  • Confusion

There have even been a few quiet celebrations – and I don’t blame those people.

Where my fury lands is on those who are gloating in the face of pain and fear.

Because for so many of my friends that is what the next 5+ years represents. They are not upper class. They don’t have savings. They’ve had to use services that are being cut. They have mental health needs. They have children with special needs like I do.

I might live across the pond now, but my heart is still with them.

But I say this now. Great Britain is no longer “home”. It is where I was born. Where I was raised. The values I believe in, tolerance, respect, inclusivity, caring for your neighbour? No longer exist for me there.

The USA doesn’t feel like home yet either. So for now I remain rootless. I will continue to build a life for the kiddos and we will probably be fine.

I wish and hope with all my heart that those I love overseas are too.

To Scotland I say:

I’ve changed my mind. Should you manage independence in the face of almost certain opposition from Westminster I stand behind you.

To NI I say:

I’m sorry. I hope and pray that The Good Friday Agreement holds. I stand behind you.

To everyone else reading this I say (quoting from a friend who I’m not sure reads this blog, but if you do I hope you know who you are- you summed it up so much more eloquently than I ever could):

I work with people of all political backgrounds, belief, and upbringing. It IS possible to find common ground and work to represent everybody without compromising your own principles. What you do have to compromise are dogmatic absolutes. You will sit down and work with the MP you’d never vote for- and make positive change. You will advocate for the poorest, most disadvantaged in spaces they are never considered- and make positive change. You can lift up the voices whose principles harmonise with your own. You can create real, lasting, positive change.

It will not happen from behind tribal lines.

Things can change without compromising your core values.

Everyone cares about something.

The last 6 years have been an education for me. Everyone cares about something. Find that, make it your common ground. Forget tribal lines. Think human.

On that note, Christmas is just around the corner. If you can, think of your neighbours. Your town. People struggling. Donate something to a food bank. Give a gift to a child in poverty. Invite someone you know is struggling to Christmas dinner.

Do something kind.

And keep doing it. Especially as the weather bites down.

Because, there but for the grace of The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, go us all.

I leave you with this year’s Christmas photo of the kiddos. Because right now I need their simple belief in the goodness of the world. You’ll probably see this again, as I’m attempting to catch up on everything that has happened since late August!

I’m not political…

A very long ranty post is incoming. All views are my own. There may be facts obscured by emotions but today I am feeling all the feelings and I need to vent.

Politics.

I didn’t study it, I know very little about it. I can be gullible and credulous and I’m easily led. And I’ve been silent on this blog for way too long again generally.

But today is important.

Today: Thursday December 12th 2019 Britain has a choice to make. Between another five years of Tory rule under the floppy-haired, fridge-hiding* Bojo.


Incidentally does anyone else remember the outcry on GBBO a year or so back when Noel Fielding, a comedian hid in a fridge one episode to try and provide some tension relief? People were outraged at his apparent immaturity.

Now our PRIME MINISTER does it, live on tv, and nothing, nada. Tumbleweeds.


Or literally anyone else.

Now, anyone who knows me well in real life knows how I feel about Magic Grandpa. Oh sorry, I mean Jeremy Corbyn.

I used to truly believe in him. That first election after he took over the Labour Party? He swayed my allegiance from Lib Dem. He did. And I was actually okay with accepting my defection.

I had never planned to leave yellow. I had read a study that said all voters, sometime past the age of 30, decide that since they are no longer students (since apparently only students vote for the Liberal Democrat’s πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„) they need to decide upon their final party and make the permanent switch to either blue or red.

Putting aside the sheer childishness and naivety of that statement – there are how many other parties these days? It offended me to think that it was expected of me. I may have blindly clung on to yellow more than I should because of it.

Then Magic Grandpa appeared. He seemed strong, he seemed determined. To this political neophyte he seemed to have an impressive background and didn’t just blithely lick the boot** and ask for more..


** I’m looking at YOU right now BBC. Don’t think we don’t see the criminal behaviour of the last few days. Just because nothing will fucking come of it doesn’t mean we don’t see it


So I voted Labour. And watched. And hoped. And became slowly disillusioned.

The lack of leadership over Brexit. The refusal to actually be an Opposition Party. Refusing to admit what he believed about it – well that last one would have been difficult for him given how much he and Labour have been crucified in the media.

I have however made a key mistake over the last 4 years. I believed it was all about Brexit. It’s not.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I hate it. I will stand here until the end of time and shout:

I HATE BREXIT I BELIEVE IT IS BAD AND WRONG AND SHOULD BE STOPPED

Hell, it is why we emigrated!!!!

I still firmly believe that Labour should have been anti Brexit. But that’s not the important thing anymore.

Because while I have been blinded by Brexit, other, equally hideous things have been happening.

Cuts to services, vital services:

  • Schools
  • NHS
  • Local (non Tory) councils.
  • Benefits for our poorest and most vulnerable

Scandals:

  • Windrush
  • Grenfell

Food bank use has skyrocketed. People have died and are dying.

These happened under Tory rule. They’ve happened because of Tory rule. And if they get in for another term? Another full five years? Britain is going to be a mini America.

You don’t want that

I have bloody decent health insurance and we still see bills. Horrific ones. Terrifying ones. We will stay here because it’s proven to be better for the kids, but I’m still praying that America sorts it’s shit out before the kids age out of daddy’s coverage.

There’s so little social care here. It’s awful if you’re not comfy. And that’s the point. The whole point of this rant.

I’m alright Jack

Well bully for you Chad. What about Tracey down the street? You know, the nice woman with two kids and a husband who was made redundant because his job was shifted overseas because of Brexit? And now he can’t find work because he’s “too old”. Who now has to scrimp and save and worries for her house? She can’t afford childcare because it’s more than her house payment. (And that I know for a fact).

Or Jean-Luc who came here to study, made a life for himself, married and had children? Who now fears that they will be ripped away from the only home they’ve ever known? Who can’t “go back to where they came from” because they came from here.

Or Georgina? Child free by choice, single, and scared that changes are coming that will tear her world apart?

Or David? Unable to work because he has cancer but is constantly told he’s “healthy enough to work”? When he’s having chemotherapy that makes him violently ill. When he can’t walk more than 10 paces, but because he can do THAT he’s obviously well enough and should just “stop scrounging?”

Or Deborah – suffering from mental health issues and there’s no support. She can’t get a diagnosis let alone treatment because no one believes her and the services aren’t there.

Or Sam – somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum quietly attempting to live their life without offending anyone by daring to exist. Who just wants a “normal life” without hatred and fear.

Or any of the thousands of people who currently can’t get their medication. Or can’t get their kids seen.

Kids like our son who need extra support at school but can’t get it because funding has been slashed?

That’s what this government has done. And that’s why we’ve voted. I still believe deep down in my soul that Corbyn’s stand on Brexit is wrong. But it’s not just about that anymore. It’s about pulling Britain back to being somewhere decent and safe.

Remember 2012? Remember the Olympics? That Opening Ceremony? That was the last time I felt truly proud to be British.

How did we go from 2012 to 2016? From inclusivity and pride to Brexit and thuggery?

Please, today, let’s go back to 2012. Let’s be what we were. Not Colonial India but open arms.

I voted for Magic Grandpa. Despite my personal feelings and apparent political leanings:

I sucked it up and voted Labour. Because I believe that they will help the most people. Brexit or no Brexit, they will do the most good for the most people. People who are not me. People I left behind. People I love.

So today. Vote. And honestly? If you still believe the Conservatives are best for Britain? Vote for them too. If they win, let them win because they got the votes. Don’t let them win because:

My vote doesn’t count

It does. Remember, if you didn’t vote then complaining when things go to shit for you or your loved ones won’t cut any ice.

You’ve got a voice. Use it.

If I can do it from here? You can go to your local polling station.

I will admit that the hus-creature and I paid a ridiculous sum of money to ensure our votes were received in time, but that is because this election is important.

It’s going to make or break us.

Please let it make us.

Two years

As of today we’ve been living out here, in Massachusetts, for two years!

I’d say I can’t believe it, but I can.

It still doesn’t feel quite like “home” but I’ll say it now feels more like home than not.

Apart from the people we left behind, I don’t honestly think I have any major regrets left.

There have been some very hard moments in the last 12 months. We had to deal with the first death in the family (on the hus-creature’s side) and some similarly hard news on my own and that was tough.

I suspect that if and when the next immediate family baby is born I will find that equally hard but at least that will be a good thing that has happened.

It’s the hard moments that really make you realise what you did once you emigrate.

We’ve been discussing longer term options once (please oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster) our green cards are confirmed, and it’s making me a bit antsy. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to my audience that I very much would like to move out of here as soon as is comfortably feasible.

We’ve definitely decided to stay in Melrose until TT finishes school, but then might move further into Massachusetts but we shall see.

I think it’s part of trying to handle the giant cloud of uncertainty that this process leaves over your life – planning for when it no longer will.

The children are flourishing here though. #1 Son had a birthday party yesterday that was “organised fun” and despite constant orders to

Pay attention

From the party organiser…


No the hus-creature wasn’t able to take them to one side and explain, which I find myself (probably unreasonably) annoyed by…


He was able to come home with a smile on his face and tell me that he had had fun.

We also celebrated 19 years together and 12 of them married last week.


It helps that there’s only 2 days difference I will admit πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


Due to difficulties with sitter availability we split the difference and the hus-creature took me out on a wonderful romantic dinner cruise on Thursday night ❀️πŸ₯°

We spent some quality 1 on 1 time together with food, and booze and fantabulous views and it was amazing.

I was very spoiled and felt very loved.

We are over halfway through #1 Son’s summer camp and he is still coming out with a smile on his face which is such a relief.

We’ve had some minor breakthroughs with eating but are back on the ups and downs there sadly.

(He has now decided he no longer likes peas).

Got about a month and a half to go til Second Grade, and I’m still praying he gets to keep last year’s teacher as a. She is completely amazing and b. A little bit of stability will do him good.

I’m attempting a doctor-recommended diet which we are describing as “Keto aligned” as when you tell the counter staff at Burger King that, they give you this for your lunch:

Which is surprisingly non-horrible. Basically in an attempt to get a handle on my pain I’m to give up:

  • All dairy 😰😰😰😰
  • Enriched processed food
  • All added sugar in everything (including natural sugars like honey, agave etc)

As those of you who know me in real life can probably guess, this has gone down like a lead balloon. He would also very strongly prefer that I go vegetarian, but I put my damn foot down there.

That may well be where this journey ends, but right now? No fucking way.

Tea with cashew milk is 80% tolerable I have discovered:

And one of the local sushi places does a DIY Poke Bowl for $17 which was surprisingly filling:

So all in all? I’m not at “wanting to stab things” level of anger and rage yet. Though mostly that’s down to the hus-creature who is embarking on this with me to support me. Have I mentioned how much I adore this man?

In closing? Two years has flown past.

From this:

To this:

A year

We have been here, in America, for a year.

Wow.

My babies have grown and changed so much.

I think I have too. I never imagined being a full time stay at home parent.

It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But it’s also amazing.

I get to see my babies grow and change. I see every new skill they develop, and particularly in the case of TT, I know it’s mostly down to me.


Don’t get me wrong, nursery is, and was, great for both of them, but I know I’m teaching her things directly.


There’s still guilt – I’m only human, and there are times when I’m grumpy, or tired, or just missing the company of other adults. Even earning my own money. But that last one lessens slightly. As I keep the house ticking over.

I’m still bad at housework. I still don’t always see what needs doing at a useful point. But that is improving too.

It’s learning what needs doing vs what can wait. And what I can insist the kids do.

As it’s also my job to teach them how to become adults. Fully capable adults who will know this stuff.

Yes, they are 6 and 2. But they already know how to empty the dishwasher (within reason) and where dirty clothes go.

They are capable of putting toys away. Even if TT at least gets them out again immediately πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜­

It’s been a hell of a year, but it’s been a good one.

Here’s to the next one.

Nine Months!

Been here 3/4 of a year!!!

That’s a whole pregnancy!

(The comparison amuses me πŸ˜‚πŸ€£)

Our visas are 1 year and 3 days old!

Honestly? I think it’s starting to come together. It’s been a total rollercoaster of a ride but I’m finding my feet.

The kids are settling – though TT is finding it easier than her brother, but we’ve been here over a quarter of her entire life so that makes sense!

I’m within a stone’s throw of setting up my yarn business! Logo is purchased, shop is almost set up. I’ve bought the packaging materials to ship sold items.

I need to take photos of my snow dyed items then I’m ready to go!

It’s terrifying but exhilarating. Let’s just hope something sells!

Now onto some updates.

Yesterday #1 Son effectively had not just one but two play dates!!!

We managed about 10 minutes on a Skype call with his school friend from England! And it was lovely to watch the two of them interacting together.

She asked if her was top of his class in America bless her πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

They shared war stories – her with her broken leg, and him with his battered face lord love them both!

Then about an hour later the first official Melrose play date happened.

I love his little friend – she’s bold and polite and just great for him to have as a friend.

I have more trepidation about the transition to First Grade now. As here, you do not stay in the same class as you move through the school. Each year the classes get switched around! Now, admittedly I can actually see the logic in this, but as a mother of a special needs child who hates change with every fibre of his being, this concerns me greatly. And let’s not forget that the concept is totally alien to me.

Apparently the teachers do construct the class lists in advance, and the Principal has full right of veto.

I have already requested of his class teacher that he be placed with at least a few of whom ever in his class he is both working well with and playing well with outside – apparently these are different groupings.

Hopefully his new friend will be in his class. Her mum is very epic too – a civil lawyer who made partner in January! Her dad is a high flyer too (though I forget exactly what he does – something in Risk Management I think).

Might come in handy if you know, we ever need to sue a company…*

It was lovely to chat with a fellow mum. And she also confirmed #1 son’s improvement in recent weeks – she sometimes volunteers up at the school. Apparently her daughter is very vocal about kids who are mean to the class teacher or who don’t follow the rule and my son:

“he’s cool, he’s okay”

I honestly can’t tell you how much my heart swelled to hear that quote from a peer!!!

Sadly we had to cut it shorter than I’d hoped, as he got overwhelmed, but I’m learning too, so next time I’ll plan it a bit better.

They both go to the same nail salon as me too. I cannot wait until I can take TT there too πŸ˜πŸ’—

As for today? Well we went to the mall to get some new clothes for the kids – and thanks to the lovely sales lady running my purchases through on two orders instead of one, I got $240 worth of clothes for $120 – and TT is now completely kitted our for the warmer weather – so pretty much until October/November given the seasons here.

TT had a massive strop so we left in a bit of a hurry, but it was overall a success.


Until she did a massive poo on the living room floor, but hey let’s just gloss over that one…


#1 Son also spent some of his allowance today on this:

So he and his daddy are having fun building this tonight. They were so engrossed we lost track of time so we had a cereal dinner!

All in all it’s been a decent weekend. Spring Break is all of next week so I get to spend quality time with both of them. Which will be both fun, and probably have me crawling into the whiskey bottle by the end of the week!

Hey, at least I know myself right?


*Yes I do have a company in mind here….

Six months!

(And two days πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ – but I was busy with MLK stuff on Monday!).

I can’t believe we’ve been on this crazy adventure for half a year!!!

Well it’s not quite as crazy anymore – unless you count the weather!

We’re settling down into something like a routine I think. It’s been a blast, but something resembling normalcy cannot be sneezed at.

So, the hus-creature is pretty settled in his job. He actively prefers being in an office, even with a sucky commute (certainly compared to what it was whilst we lived in Cambridge). He’s happy and stuff gets done, and he has a great work-home life balance, which means I don’t have to get the thumbscrews out.


I mean, if he chooses to work on a sudden brainstorm after I’ve gone to bed? No skin off my nose!


TT is happy. She’s got her toys, access to her favourite films, her brother after 3pm and me. And I come quite high up the list it seems actually – and not just in a “I am bored of this film parental unit, change it”

And it’s been amazing to watch her grow and change.


I do wish she would stop throwing her meal plates and bowls in the kitchen bin though. I know she believes she is helping, but I swear we have lost at least a few that way now!


It’s harder to quantify with #1 Son. He still has moments when he talks about missing England, his old house, his old school, his friends. But he’s getting there. He’s a special boy who needs extra support and he’s getting it. We still have bad school days, but the bad moments at home at least are much less. And the levels of bad at school are overall reduced. We have to remember to adjust our own expectations of him at times, yet the moments when he surpasses or blows right past them make it worthwhile. His therapy will help him, the school are supporting him, and we have documented proof that he’s bright.


I’ll turn cartwheels when he has his first birthday party or play date though.


The cat? She also seems happier overall. She’s eating more, has more places to hide and nest in, and still has human company as and when she desires it. I think this has been as good for her as it has for the children – unexpected bonus.

Me? Again hard to quantify. I’m doing well, I think. I’ve got my operation soon (eeeeep), the Mothership is coming to visit and look after me and the monkeys (love you Momma!). I’ve applied for my SSN, and got my work permit.

My knitting is coming along amazingly, and I have projects planned for recovery and convalescence.

I’m firmly heading down the path to setting up my own dyeing side business. The hus-creature is helping with the practical questions, as I’m still stuck on “what should I call it”. But I can’t put us in the hole to do this!

I’ve got time to sort it. I know I won’t be doing Advent Calendar boxes for 2018 at least.

I’m still going to knitting group – it’s going okay. They are helpful and lovely ladies. One of them bought me a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies as (obviously) I have never had them before! And apparently I should expect casseroles etc to be left on my front porch post-surgery which is amazing.

I do still have bad days. I am still really bad at this domestic goddess malarkey, but I’m getting there. It’s becoming the new normal.

One month to go

I’ve started saying goodbye to friends and am planning my leaving speech (whilst still praying for a miracle to get me out of it!)

Some of the wonderful and crazy people I will miss:


I’ve cancelled some subscriptions, working on the TV licence – the swines don’t make it easy!

I’ve also signed up for some home schooling resources for a year for both children to try and provide some stability for them.

11 days of gainful employment left to go…