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Oh, Fuck You!

Oh, Fuck You!

So I’ve been sharing a series of fucked up things on Facebook with the comment ‘Oh Fuck You’.

And I thought a compilation would be interesting.

So here I go:

Oh, Fuck you, 28th April 2019. San Diego Synagogue shooting

Oh, fuck you, you fucking terrorists, 19th April 2019. Lyra McKee Murder

Oh, fuck you, 13th April 2019. Texas lawmakers consider the death penalty for abortion

Oh, fuck you, 5th April 2019. UK Minister Mark Field calls the Sultan of Brunei a great friend.

Oh, fuck you, 4th April 2019. Special Education funding drops to 

Oh, fuck you, 28th March 2019

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Scotland Was Great But FlyBe Sucked

Hand drawn map of Scotland

Let me start this by saying Vicki, Kelly, Lyndsey and I had an amazing time in Glasgow this weekend. We ate and drank and talked and laughed. We shopped and saw comedians. We stayed up way too late and slept in not quite enough.

But it almost didn’t happen.

Originally, our flight back was at 1050a. Perfect time to get us all back and into routines with our children and back to work and school on Monday.

Then I got an email. Your flight is now 810. Groan, but okay, good to get back early.

Then during the week another email. 1300. Which was find for me, Lyndsey and Kelly, but Vicki was supposed to be at work. So I called FlyBe and asked them what we could do. We could take a partial refund, so fly to Glasgow without a return, we could take a full refund, so cancel the trip, or we could leave at 1.

So I gather my ladies and we talked about it. (Okay, we did it on Facebook Messenger. Don’t pick nits!) Vicki was adamant she would just cancel her bit because she had just started a new job and didn’t want to mess them about.

However, the lady she works for is very nice and when she heard she said she’d cover until we got back to Belfast.

So we were off!

And then FlyBe started canceling flights. On the Wednesday they canceled Belfast to Glasgow morning flights. More panic. Was the whole thing being canceled?

Then I realized they were having trouble with early morning flights but they hadn’t canceled any at the same time as ours on the Friday.

And then it was Friday and we were on our way!

Now, I checked us all in online before we left on Friday and printed our boarding passes.

We had all agreed we’d only bring small liquids so we didn’t have to check any luggage. And we all got on the flight fine. Remember that. It’s important later.

We then proceeded to have an awesome weekend in Glasgow. Too much junk food. Too much alcohol. Lots of laughs and gossip and serious talk. The perfect Ladies Weekend.

So we head home. And I try to check us in via the App. Which tells me a new app is coming soon and to use the website. Except the website would only issue boarding passes to be printed. And we had no printer. So we all said ‘Okay, no problem, we’ll check in at the airport.’

We get to the airport and go to check in. I check in fine. They get to Kelly, and she can’t get her bag into their stupid metal bag measurer so she takes some stuff out and puts it into a plastic bag with her hand bag and then it fits.

Then Lyndsey. Manages to squeeze it in.

Then Vicki. Who knows there is no way it will fit into that stupid thing. And tells the man that it fit on the way over so what’s the problem? No pay, no boarding pass, go over there, it’s £40.

Now Vicki had put some of my stuff into her bag as I bought way to much, so I paid the fee. I wasn’t happy and I started Tweeting that I wasn’t happy.

So we get to the gate. And they announce that if you don’t have an approval sticker on your bag, come measure it. So people queued up. And then the FlyBe staff realized they had no way to take money so they waived all of the fees.

So we paid for Vicki’s bag and no one else (well one other person who had checked in at the desk) had to pay?

Then I really started raising a stink on Twitter. And was told it was policy. And that they couldn’t speak to others with their bags. And then they stopped answering me when I pointed out that every person who was suppose to pay at the gate got off scot free.

Then there was an incident after we boarded where one of the Flight Attendants was very rude to one of us, but that’s not my story to tell and it has been sorted anyway.

And FlyBe still won’t reply to my comments about their horrible procedures.

And suddenly their app is updated.

And I’m still out £40.

So my advice, to all is to not fly Fly Be (or Easy Jet, who apparently have done the same thing) unless you club together to pay for one case to be checked before you get to the airport so that you all can put your shopping in it on the way home.

And this blog post is going to be turned into an email to FlyBe.

To the highest person I can find an email address for.

And I am not the least bit surprised they have had to be bailed out.

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I Was Going to Write a Piece of Fluff About My New Car

When a person in a Facebook group I belong to mentioned how tired she was of people forgiving Joe Biden for his sexual harassment.

And I realised how tired I was. Of supposedly good men’s bad behaviour. Of “it’s no big deal” and/or “it was a different time.”

It is a big deal and who gives a fuck when it was? It should never have been okay to touch women without their permission, to harass women, to rape women, to hold them back because they were/are women.

Adam likes history. It’s inevitable with a grandfather whose PhD is in History and who was a lecturer/head of department at Ulster University before he retired. He still lectures on history, actually. In any case, with a grandfather like that an a father with a BA in history, it would be weird if Adam didn’t like history.

So we read Horrible Histories together. We both really like them. And all through them, from prehistoric man to the Romans, Greeks, Spartans, Victorians, Edwardians etc etc etc from the beginning of time until right now women have been hassled, held down, held below. Made something less.

And we are tired.

We have fought and screamed and been ignored and we won’t be ignored any more.

But I’m also tired of other things.

I’m tired of Trump and his stupid fucking wall and his racism, sexism and bigotry.

I’m tired of Brexit and Theresa May standing in front of Parliament lying about what her government has done to children, the elderly, and the disabled. Pushing back, with lies, against the truth Jeremy Corbyn was saying about the number of children, elderly, and disabled people are now living below the poverty line. You read that right. Below.

I’m tired of the so called “ruling classes” who have no idea what the rest of do to survive. Who have no idea what it’s like to wonder if you can pay the rent or the heating or the electric. Who have never wondered how they are going to buy their children milk.

I’m tired of all of them. I want to send all of them into the sun. I want to pass a law that no one can run for office until they are made to live on what a single working mother with two kids in this country makes on her zero hours contract and the benefits that haven’t been cut. Yet.

I have no idea how the Tories won in 2005 and stayed in office all of this time.

I have no idea how Trump won. And I have very little faith he’ll be gone in two years.

I don’t have the answer.

But I’ll keep shouting.

And being tired.

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Why I was Fired in Two Days

So I was suppose to start my job the second week of September. And I did. For two days.

On my second day, my mobile rang. I was home, as I work 10 – 2 five days a week. And it was around 330 when my phone rang with the name of my company on the display.

I admit, I panicked. Why were they calling so long after the end of my day and on my mobile? It’s my private mobile, so the only people who have it are HR, recruitment, my bosses etc. So I answered it.

It was the Head of HR. And a solicitor. It seemed that I was wrong about it being okay that my Indefinitely Leave To Remain (IDLR) visa was in an expired passport. Well, half wrong. It was fine to travel on it that way. It no longer gave me the right to work. It had to be moved to a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) and until that happened? I was fired.

I had an email from my boss mere minutes after that phone call ended telling me she would keep my job open. She wanted me for it and no one else. So get it sorted and come back to work as soon as possible.

I, of course, spent a few minutes crying and kicking myself. I used to check the IDLR rules regularly! Why had I stopped? When had I stopped?

No clue.

Simon and I had a small amount of money set aside for something else but agreed using it for this was bettter. So I started to get organised to get my visa moved and looked into doing an ‘emergency’ application.

Remember how this was the second week in September? The first ‘emergency’ appointment available at any Home Office Visa office was 29th October. In fucking Liverpool.

I thought for sure that had to be an error. Surely there was some sort of problem with their online system!

So I rang.

Nope. No problem. That really was the first available appointment.

So Simon and I talked about it and I did some more research, which was telling me that people were getting their moved visas in just weeks. Not the six months the Home Office claims it can take.

So I got my stuff together and sent it in. That was around the 3rd week of September.

And I waited.

And then I panicked again. The rules about IDLRs had changed in 2012. I had been working for myself this whole time. Had I been breaking the law?!?!

So I found an immigration lawyer and gave them a ring.

I had not. In fact, by law, I didn’t actually have to wait to go back to work until the IDLR was moved. Having the IDLR, no matter what document it was in, gave me the legal right to work in the UK. But the lawyer wasn’t surprised my company didn’t want to take the chance, considering the fines start at £10,000.

So I kept waiting. And I got a text saying they had the information. And then another text saying it had been given to a case worker to review and I’d be contacted if they needed any other information.

What? Why did it need to be approved again?!?!

Because it was still in my name of origin. And to change it to my chosen name, I had to prove I had lived in the UK for the whole 15 years that I claimed.

Well, fuck.

So then I waited some more.

And then I got an email. Did I have any proof that I had lived in the UK from 2009 until 2017?

And I replied, um, I sent you all of the passports I have.

And she replied, no. You didn’t. There’s a gap.

And I hit my head on my desk and remembered that I had gotten a new US passport around the time Adam was born so our passport surnames would match. That’s a US government requirement, by the way. Not sure what they do about parents who have a different last name from their kids, as happens in this world, but for me it was easy fix nine years ago when we registered Adam’s birth with the US consulate and got his US passport and social security number.

So I replied again, I can overnight you my passport or can I just email you my tax returns for that time period?

And she replied that tax returns would be great and that I should have an answer in a few days.

And a few days later I did indeed have an answer. And my BRP arrived a few days later.

Biometric Residency Permit
Ta da!

And I went back to work 3rd December.

So all in all? Not paying the urgent price (plus flight and hotel) meant I only waited about a week past how long it would have taken had I paid and gone to Liverpool.

And my theory as to why there are no emergency appointments for weeks?

Brexit.

Which doesn’t even affect me personally in terms of immigration as I’m not an EU national. Of course it affects me personally in all the ways it will affect all of us in the UK. But not for immigration.

So I’m now legal again, until my BRP expires in five years. But I won’t be fired this time. There’s a grace period to get it sorted once you have one and need another one.

And I have a permanent reminder in my diary to check the IDLR rules every six months.

Just in case…

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I’m losing my dad – one memory at a time

I don’t talk about my dad much here or anywhere else online. We have a bit of a complicated relationship.

I last saw him just over a year ago when I flew to Ohio to visit. I went for two reasons:

He was diagnosed with dementia and he was turning 80.

Me and my dad Sept 2017

My dad and me September 2017

It was a good, if short, visit. It was just me as it was in September and Simon and Adam both had school.

So I’ve been watching him forget things via Skype.

Things like how a computer works (he taught me about computers), what a DVD is, and people. Not his immediate family, but my extended family, who used to be his family.

And it’s not that he forgets for a minute. It’s like he never knew it at all.

And now he’s fallen in his garage and broken an arm and a hip. My step mom called 911 and got him to the hospital.

And yesterday he had three pins put in the hip. The surgery went really well.

And his three grown children, me, my sister (who lives near them in Ohio) and my brother suddenly realised we all had iPhones and could talk for free on iMessenger!

So my sister has been sending updates. And my brother and I have been sending love and verbal support.

Because the three of us haven’t been close, physically or emotionally, for years.

But we are all losing our dad.

One memory at a time…

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The Menopause

Drawing of me with fire in the background

So, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I turned 50 last week.

And like a switch being flipped my occasional bout of feeling slightly warm has turned into hot flashes so hot I swear I’m on fire. So far my sleeping meds have prevented these horrible things waking me up, but I am expecting to have that happen any day.

So I went to my GP’s office and chatted to one of my favourite GP’s, Dr Mc, about what I could do, since I can’t take hormones, as they give me migraines. And he actually suggested natural remedies. He admitted that he had no idea if they actually worked or if it was all placebo effect, but we agreed even if it’s just placebo effect, anything is better than feeling like you’re on fire!

So one night this week after work I am going to go to Harland and Barrett and see what they have for “Menopause Vitamins.”

I promise to report back.

Unless I spontaneously combust before then…

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Why I Really Missed PIP by One Point.

As I mentioned previously, I applied for Personal Independant Payment in 2017 and took it all the way to appeal.

And I lost. By one point. I am one point not quite ill enough to receive the  money the government claims I’m entitled to. 

Except I’m not entitled to it. Not any more.

And everyone keeps telling met to reapply. That finding that one point, by starting from the beginning, shouldn’t be too hard.

But, for right now, the government has won. I don’t have the energy to start all over again.

And that’s what they are counting on, really. That they’ll wear down those of us who, according to them, are ‘fine’, so we’ll give up. Go back to work and not try again.

So I am, currently back at work, part time. 

And I’m exhausted and in pain. Like always.

But I’ve also been thinking about why I actually didn’t win my appeal. 

Because I don’t think it’s because I didn’t have enough evidence as to why I get anxious when I go some place new (the point I was trying very hard to get).

I think it’s actually because the appeal committee, who I met in person, saw the Robyn who covers her pain. And her exhaustion. 

Because that’s what a lot of us with invisible illnesses do. We cover. We put forth a facade of being normal. Of not hurting. Of being fine.

It’s not that we’re faking sick. We’re faking well.

And it can be hard to turn that off. To show how we really feel. 

How every step hurts. How our words get jumbled. How tired we actually are.

I am so used to letting no one, not even my family, see how bad I really feel, that it’s hard to drop the act and let it show. 

And why do I keep up the act? Because I have to. No matter how I feel, I have to get up and get Adam ready for school, and now me ready for work. I have to make lunches and help him with his uniform (Yes, even at his age. He’s still autistic, after all, and still has issues with fine motor control.) and wait for his bus with him.

Sure, Simon helps as much as he can. But he leaves the house over an hour before we do, to make it out to his campus for his first class. That might ease up a bit if Ulster ever actually moves to Belfast. (Perhaps a post for another day…)

So, as it always has, it falls on me. Except now, after Adam is on his bus, I’m on mine, off to work.

And I love my job. I really do. It’s the Administrative job I’ve always wanted in terms of autonomy, power, and the back up to use it. 

But it takes it’s toll. Even if I do not have a physical day at work, I still end the day exhausted. And some days have to be physical as there is a lot of cleaning up and organising my poorly neglected office needs.

So I spread that work out and make sure I have whole days of just sitting at my desk doing other things.

But even on those days I do 5,000 steps without even trying. Just from walking around the office.

It will become somewhat easier in a few months when we buy a car, because I won’t need to do any of the walking I do now to get to work. It’s not much, but what it is takes some of my energy. Not that driving isn’t tiring, but I don’t find it tiring in the same way.

But what I really want is to not have to wear the facade, ever. 

But I have to. 

Because my kind of illness? The invisible kind? Is still not believed by a whole lotta people. 

So if I grimace in pain, or don’t laugh off my word confusions or give in to the exhaustion as often as I truly want to, then people would think I was faking. Pretending to be ill.

When, really, I’m pretending to be well.

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Half A Century

In less than a week, on 5th February, I will be half a century old.

The big Five Oh.

50.

And I’m really good with that.

I wasn’t good with it for a long time. It seemed so very old. Half a century. Firmly middle aged.

And then I was. I’m not really sure what I did or said to myself to get to the point where I’m actually looking forward to the nice round number that is 50.

And I’m celebrating. Hard.

Out for dinner with Simon and Adam this Saturday.

Bryan Adams in concert at the end of February with some friends.

A trip to Glasgow in April with three of my closest women friends.

And a tattoo on my left shoulder.

a hand holding a fountain pen drawing in yarn a semi colon
copyright 2019 DTAT

The quality of the image needs to be improved, but overall that’s what it will look like. A hand holding a fountain pen writing a semi colon in yarn.

It’s taken me about 50 years to decide on what my tattoo should be and I’m very pleased with it. Can’t wait to get it inked on.

It’s a big year in general around here.

I’m 50.

Simon is 45.

Adam is 10.

Simon and I are married 15 years.

Surely it should be a great year with all those zeros and fives!

It’s certainly starting well.

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Commitment.

I was reading a really really good fan fiction series recently. It was Rafael Barba/Sonny Carisi from Law & Order Special Victims Unit. I can link to it if there’s any interest. It’s on AO3.

Anyway, along with being really well written, it had a fantastic timeline. It started with Sonny and Rafi as friends. The first story ends with them dating and admitting how they feel about it each other.

And then it jumps ahead. A year. Eighteen months. Three years. Five and a half years.

And I realised how realistic that is. I mean, sure, some of the inbetween stuff might have been nice to see. Their day to day lives together. Cases worked together and the like.

But the truth is, day to day life isn’t all that interesting. Even if you’re a cop and an ADA.

In real life you don’t ponder every day. You just live it. You meet your mate, live together, maybe marry and start a family. And you don’t really think about the years going by.

Simon and I have been married for 15 years this coming September. Together for 18 years at the end of the year.

And I certainly can’t remember every day. I remember big things. Our first real life meeting. When he asked me to marry him. Our wedding. The day we found out I was pregnant. Our son’s birth. Buying our house.

And some little things. Like the time my sister in law thrust my baby niece into his arms so she could pee and I found him there sort of staring at the baby in his arms, totally perplexed.

Or the time my sister did the same thing with my baby nephew and when she took him back, Simon had left red marks on his legs, he was holding on so tight.

But otherwise, years go by with nothing of note. We do things, of course, but every day things. We go to work and take care of our son and do things around the house and visit people and watch TV. Play games.

And, always, at the base of it is the fact that today is like tomorrow and the next day because we will be together until death do us part.

Maybe it’s taking each other for granted.

But that’s not always a bad thing.

 

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So It’s Been About Six Months

A capital T in a tea cup creating the pun A Cup of Tea

Since I’ve posted anything.

Lots has, of course, happened. We bought a house. I have a job. I fought for PIP and lost on appeal. By one point.

We have two cats who are just over a year old.

Black and white cat lying on her side in a bed.
Princess Ella
Face of a black and white cat
Jack the Clown

Adam is only about 10 inches shorter than me and will be 10 in June.

Simon is still a foot taller than me and will be 45 in March.

I am still as short as ever and will be 50 on 5th February.

Simon and I will be married 15 years in September and together 18 in December.

As always seems to happen with me, the busier I get, the more things I think to do.

Of course, my fibro and arthritis and other joint issues means I can’t do things as much as I’d like to. In fact I had the worst flare ever a week or two ago when I, literally, couldn’t move without moaning in pain. Luckily it was on a Saturday and I was find by Monday morning for work. But, I have to admit, it scared me. It still scares me.

But I’ve had lots of blog posts floating in my head. And about five stuck in my drafts folder.

One about relationships that last. And one about coming out nearly 30 years ago. One about my new job and how much I love it.

And one about the hell that was the fuck up with my Indefinite Leave To Remain visa that postponed my job by two months.

I guess I just feel like writing, is all.

So I hope some people are still around to read this thing. Perhaps the email notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘who?’.

But maybe, just maybe, the notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘Whaoo! I missed her!’

Finally, I am still knitting and crocheting (sort of) and quilling and doing tapestry and weaving and all that other fibre I do. And I am hoping to open a shop right here on this site.

The plug in is active. I just have to figure out how it works!

So keep an eye out. Some interesting things should be coming!