Saturday 29 December 2012

Looking forward

The run up to Christmas is often a stressful time and although I didn’t have any cooking to worry about this year, I still allowed myself to get stressed over presents.  But now I have time to relax and reflect on this last year and look forward.

I don’t think I was prepared for how hard my Mum’s death would hit me.  Having lost her in many ways as she succumbed to Alzheimer’s I felt as though I had already been grieving for her and therefore thought her passing would be a blessing and enable me to move on.  I was wrong.  These last months have been hard as she’s no longer there to talk to.  The routine of my life was disrupted.  I drifted.  Christmas approached.

As usual I denied it was coming.  I left things until the last minute.  I didn’t plan ahead.  Thank God I wasn’t cooking!  But the presents did get bought, and wrapped.  The cards were sent.  The world is still turning.   I just don’t like the fact that I allowed myself to be a Grinch. Again.

Part of my problem I think is that we have descended into chaos at home.  There is way too much clutter in my house but we are slowly beginning to tackle it.  It is going to take some time and co-operation from family members and I have to be patient.  I have to stop procrastinating.  This is beginning to sound like a list of resolutions and I’m wary of that.  I don’t want to set myself up to fail.  I want to be happy with my lot and find the positive in things.  (When your daughter buys you a book entitled “14,000 things to be happy about” there is a clear underlying message!)  So we may not have got up early yesterday or today but we did clear the bedroom desk of clutter and I did shred lots of old paperwork. Little steps.  There is still time for some little steps today. 

Maybe I will just have one resolution: be kind to myself and others.

It’s so much easier to complain than offer praise!

A friend of mine posted about how her rather curt e-mail to a supplier had obviously hit a nerve.  The supplier had responded by explaining her oversight had been caused by the pressure of Christmas orders and trying to run a small business while nursing a sick husband (man flu) and keeping a 4 year old son entertained.

Personally, I felt the reply didn’t address my friend’s complaint but she may not have reproduced the whole response.  However I was a bit surprised at other responses which were critical of the supplier quoting personal reasons for an oversight.  The feeling seemed to be that business issues should be kept separate form personal ones.

I can agree with that to some extent but there are many people out there who have bravely, in my opinion, set up small businesses to try and support their families.  This must take an incredible amount of work and must be stressful.  Starting up new ventures in the current economic climate is risky, even if you do have a good product/service to offer.  If you also have young children to work around it just adds another factor into the work/life balance.  I’m grateful that both my husband and I have good jobs and stability that don’t require us to have to look at alternative methods of making a living although it would be nice to have the drive and imagination required to set up a business.

But the point I also wanted to make here is that we are so much quicker to complain than we are to praise.  Perhaps anger is a stronger emotion.  It can certainly motivate us to pick up pen and paper (or turn on the computer) and rattle off a complaint when things are not to our satisfaction but can you remember the last time you wrote a letter of thanks for good service?  I’m not sure I can.  Note to self: must do better!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Wake me in the New Year!

This time of year has been difficult for me the past few years and 2012 is proving no exception.  I'm trying to focus on the positives - we have invites for Christmas Day (Nick's brother and his family) and Boxing Day (one of Nick's sisters and most of the family) and most things are ok in our little world.

But I'm still struggling with the run up to christmas.  I don't know if it's the weather/winter season - it has been very cold here although today is warmer or if it's the first christmas without Mum although she wasn't exactly here for the last few years.  It's probably a combination of all these things together with a horrendous work schedule and other complications.

My kitchen looks so much better but there are still things to be done.  My house looks a tip.  Our daughter is back home indefinitely and hasn't yet got all her things organised in her room so there are still things around the house.  I'm trying not to pressure her too much as she has split from her boyfriend of 7 years and is also having to look for a job as her contract expires in March.  She too is not in a good place.

My youngest will be home in January after over 7 months in the states so all 3 kids will be back at home.  Good job we have 2 bathrooms.  So I'm trying to be positive but that takes energy that I don't seem to have at the moment.  Today will be a wasted day - it was the staff christmas party last night which was a really nice evening, a much needed distraction, but too much wine consumed and too little water has produced the very predictable hangover.  Some lessons it seems are never learned!

Work anecdote for yesterday:
I'm definitely getting a reputation for being a grinch at work but there are a few others around.  We are also developing a group of microwave grinches.  Changes to lunch arrangements has meant that sometimes there is a high demand for the 2 microwaves we have in the staff kitchen.  It seems it's especially annoying when someone "cooks" in the microwave rather than just "reheating" because it takes more time.  A meeting set up to discuss the role of teaching assistants in the classroom got hijacked with their moans and complaints about rotas and the ongoing microwave saga.  The complaint seemed to really be what are management going to do about it?  Well they should be warned - if anyone raises the question directly to me the answer will be:
If you lot cannot resolve this conflict my answer will be to remove the thing causing it, i.e. the microwaves, because we are not obliged to provide them!  Or I might just cut the plugs off anyway!