Dance with the Wolves

Location: St Annes, Lancashire, United Kingdom

I'm happy. I'm amused by life. I know who I am and why I'm here. I have a masters degree and very little money.

Monday, March 27, 2006

As one door closes - part 2

Spent the weekend with my daughter and son in law, they'd both come home for mother's day. Went out for lunch on the Sunday with my wife, my youngest son, daughter, son in law and his mum. Good day.
That evening we took the dogs for a walk and my daughter said that she wanted to move back from Oxford (with her husband - I'm getting good at asking relevant questions these days). She is lonely. The social scene down there is quite structured. It seems that the wifes of pilots (Officers) don't mix with the wives of lower ranks. Sargents and corporals' wives socialise with each other but not with the upper or lower ranks. My daughter's best friend is leaving with her husband who has been promoted to corporal and is transferring to another base. Its such a pity. Oxford is a beautiful place but it seems that you get frozen out of society if you aren't middle class or aspiring middle class. I detest this sort of class destinction and I thought that we had done away with this sort of thing - its the 21st century for gods sake. But more than making me angy it has given me something else to be concerned about.

My eldest son and daughter seem to be getting back together and moving on. I am very happy for them but I will watch them both carefully over the rest of the year to see how they progress. My son has had a lucky escape, he nearly lost everything including his life.

So in summary my children are OK BUT..

My eldest son is recovering from depression and trying to rebuild his life.
My daughter in law is trying to recover from the shock and trying to rebuild her family.
My second son is struggling with MS - he's moving to a ground floor flat quite soon.
My daughter is lonely and mildly depressed at the the thought of being without friends and family.

To top everything off I ran upstairs this morning and had to sit down as I couldn't breathe and my heart felt as though it was about to burst. I've got to get that gym membership sorted. Hope I live long enough to see my kids happy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A good Saturday night

We had a great family evening on Saturday night. My son D who has MS came over for the weekend and we planned a quiet time. My daughter had other plans. She arranged an impromptu meal and arrived at our house with food and drink and a game called cranium. We ate well, my grandchildren got to see their uncle and we sat down for a few riotous hours playing this wonderful game. We all had rather too much to drink but that just made the game funnier. It was the type of family evening we could have been having for many years. The potential was always there its just that I don’t think we were close enough to relax sufficiently to enjoy each others company as adults in such depth. Throughout my son and daughters splitting up/getting back together problems I have felt that I have become much closer to both of them but particularly close to my daughter in law. I feel much more in tune with her now because we have spent a lot of time talking things through. I now know more about her feelings and aspirations and I am glad that she is still married to my son. I know her likes and dislikes, what we have in common and more importantly I now have an idea of the type of birthday and Christmas presents she would actually enjoy. There are still issues to be addressed within their relationship but the love seems to have returned to their house and I am happy for them, they deserve to be happy and they deserve to be happy with each other.

I awoke on Sunday morning to the sound of my two year old granddaughter gently knocking on my bedroom door and asking me if I was awake. If you don’t have grandchildren you have no idea of the joy they bring to your life. To say that I love them both would be an enormous understatement. I don’t deserve grandchildren like these. I don’t think that I was a particularly good father and I think up until November 05 I wasn’t a particularly good father in law either. My son and daughter’s problems made me realise that I was too wrapped up in my own condition to be happy. I now know what is required of me and I also know that I love everyone in my family. I dreamt about them on Saturday night and again on Sunday night, something I have never done. I don’t now how much help I was to my son and daughter during their major bust up but I do know that going through that pain with them has changed me for the better. There is so much love in the family now I can feel it around me. It was probably there all along and I just didn’t notice. Here’s a big tip to any unhappy people out there: fall in love. Love can save you and redeem you, it can heal you but the most significant thing about being love is how it makes you see and interact with the world. I’m a Gentleman again, a Father again, a Dad again and I feel f@cking marvellous.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time to book another bloody holiday

Its been a while since my last update. There’s no particular reason – the geek in me has had to take a back seat as I have had to do other things, make plans for the garden for example – the work on that stopped when the snow kicked in. I’ve also had to investigate holidays and I really hate doing that nowadays. Over the last three years I’ve arranged and booked a holiday without any input from my wife. She doesn’t seem to have any imagination or adventure left within her spirit. Also over the last four years I have booked holidays that I have had to cancel because others have dropped out at the last minute or my wife has just said “no I don’t want to go” or “we can’t afford to go there”. I am pig sick of having to make this annual decision. I want to see the world don’t get me wrong. However I don’t want to lie on a beach for two weeks. Last year we ended up in Lesvos, an idyllic Greek island in the Aegean Sea, a really beautiful place with nothing to do but sit in the sun during the day, have a lovely meal and a drink in the evening and watch other tourists doing exactly the same things. As a restful time it worked perfectly. For all of the first week we lay by the pool getting tanned (my wife thought that we couldn’t afford to hire a car). I was stir crazy after that week and insisted we get out and about. We did in the end hire a car and got to see the entire island in the second week. My wife always wants to go to Spain or the Canaries (or Greece more lately) and lie in the sun. I understand that she spends her year in the company of small children which is enough to drive anyone somewhere warm for a little time doing nothing at all. Sadly I’m fed up with that. I spend most of the year talking to idiots. Coming up with last minute solutions to impossible problems caused by other f@cking people. I need a little more than a good lie down.
For the last 5 years I’ve wanted to go to America, to see the Grand Canyon specifically and to spend some time in the desert. I have also wanted to visit New York, San Francisco and New Orleans for many years now. I feel that time is running out. There are other places that I also want to visit, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, Peru, Hawaii and Bora Bora. If I don’t go soon I will never go. In Europe there also some countries I want to visit. Italy (I’ve never been!), France, Portugal, Ireland, Croatia, Sardinia, Corsica, Malta the list goes on and on. Nowadays I get the feeling that my wife is a little agoraphobic and a little anxious about visiting places that we have never visited before. Its loss of control I think. In the past she was a mother who controlled and managed the children. She was brave on their behalf. Now that the children are all adults she has to be brave for herself and she struggles with that. Its trust too. I don’t think that she trusts me anymore. She doesn’t trust my driving (at home or abroad) or my ability to keep her safe. Short of going off on my own I don’t know how this situation is going to be resolved. It is, as they say in this part of Lancashire, doing my head in.
My eldest son’s marriage problems have settled down a bit. At the moment they are back together and appear to be deeply in love. My daughter is still not wearing her wedding ring. She’s waiting for a romantic gesture of some kind that will signal my son’s love for her in a direct and meaningful way (after her fling she organised a trip to Gretna to renew marriage vows). I was surprised to hear that my son had never bought her any jewellery at all during their 17 year relationship. IF YOU’RE READING THIS SON SHE LIKES RUBIES! Mother’s day is surely an opportunity not to be missed. I really hope that they can rebuild their relationship into something that is as good or preferably better than it was originally. They had everything but lost track of themselves. They are lucky; they’ve had a second chance. My hopes and wishes will be with them forever.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Needles and pins

My daughter and my eldest son are considering getting a tatoo. They've been thinking this for quite a while and when they went to Amsterdam last year before their troubles began they decided to go ahead. They then decided to have a crisis tatoo something that would show their commitment and solidarity to one another. Now that their relationship is back to gether and on the mend they are talking about again.

Now I am quite clear about tatoos. I don't want one. At my age the texture of my skin is totally different to what it was when I was 30 and a tatoo would look awful. I know this because my father is covered in tatoos that he had done during the war. His tatoos are all about boats or mythical sea monsters and the occasional bare naked lady with hastily added under clothing after he was married. Stange though - he was in the RAF not the Navy. I digress.

My father's tatoos now only have one colour, dark blue, even though they were black and red and green when he was younger. From the age of forty he has said on many occasions that he wished that he hadn't had them done. I would think the same if my upper body was covered in sea snakes and galleons. Nowadays tatoos are cool. I like the ethnic ones the Maori inspired twirls, they look good but they do cover an awfully large part of your body. The tatoos that Wesley Snipes had in the movie Blade are good example. I also like the yakuza tatoos from Japan. But, and its a big but, would I want one? The answer has to be no. I don't fully understand why anyone would want one on their back. It would give their partner something to look at while they were having doggy style sex (I suppose thats a good enough reason as any)! I suspect the the real reason is that it hurts less on the back than anywhere else.

Back in 1999 I worked in an office where two of the girls went and got tatoos on their backs. They designed the tatoos themselves and went to person they could trust and ended up with something rhey were happy with. As a joke I bought a tatoo magazine for the girl who had the pink pig done because she said that in a perverse sort of way she enjoyed the pain. It was quite an extreme magazine and she said somewhat indignantly "do you see me as this type of person?" Of course I said yes. Exactly one month later she had another tatoo done on her stomach this time. It was a pattern from the magazine, a small dragon ridden by an even smaller goth-like woman. She said that she had almost passed out with the pain. I bumped into her in a supermarket in 2002 she'd had two more, on her arms this time. She was hooked but annoyed about the first tatoo she had done because it was too cute and prevented her from having a larger more expansive tatoo on her back.

These things can be habit forming! If I wanted a tatoo it would have to be in the form of a bar code across the back of my neck but it would have to be a readable bar code. You know the sort of thing Name, National Insurance number, Age and message, something like: Give this man beer!