I sit surrounded by boxes as I type this…

What follows is me musing about the past in this house… and how I got to where I am today.
I moved to this village 13 years and 6 months ago. Back then it was just my Fiance, me and our son. We had moved here because TOH had got a new job at a welsh civil engineering firm and it was a brand new, exciting start for us.
The first few years were wonderful. The house was perfect, we had a good income and our son was happy, which made us happy. Then the Landlords decided that they didn’t want to pay for the letting agency fees anymore and we went into a direct contract with them on the house.

Looking back, that’s when we should have realised something had gone wrong and that we should move. I’m not saying that the Landlord are to blame for everything that happened to us after that (how could they be?) but it was a definite sign that there was something wrong in their mind.

What happened to us and our jobs could have happened to anyone – in the end, we were both out of work and on benefits. That meant Housing Benefit too. The Landlord accepted that. What we didn’t like was the feeling that they had abandoned the maintenance of the house at that moment.
Under the agency, we’d had inspections every six months and any problems we had with the property were fixed quickly. Now, we were left alone except for a visit or two when the Landlord wanted something out of us or when we had a serious problem that they deigned to fix.

There were a few occasions where the Housing Benefit was suspended temporarily by the council when something changed in our situation. At this point, we were still trying to find work and pick ourselves back up.

The Landlord did not like the fact that they had no control over the payment of the benefit. In fact on one occasion it was suspended for a couple of months when our daughter was born and we didn’t have enough money to cover Rent and Food – one of the hardest decisions that we had to make was between rent and food. We chose feeding the family over the rent,  hoping that the Landlord would understand; after all they had kids of their own.

Turns out we were wrong on both counts. 

So we ended up paying the rent we owed back gradually over a couple of years. The Landlord demanded that the rent be paid direct to them. We were fine with both of these situations. We had plans. I was trying to update my design qualifications and get supply work; TOH was retraining in an effort to find a new career. We were trying to get ourselves off of Benefits and back into work.

The slip down the ladder was so gradual that we didn’t notice it.

I had so much trouble getting supply work – I never learned to drive and it was hampering my ability to get to jobs. My mental state dropped and Depression became a large part of my life. It was already part of TOH’s; had been for a while – he’d been diagnosed with aspergers and the condition of his back was deteriorating rapidly and had forced him to give up on a career change.
Then Aspergers (aka High Functioning Autism) made it’s presence known in my first daughter and we realised that we were going to have to move to get enough space to be comfortable… but we didn’t have the money to do that anymore. We had another baby. This is something that we never regretted – each child fitted into our family. It made the house a little smaller but we could work with that.

My friends persuaded me to set up a crowdfunding campaign so they could help us and I started looking for a new place to move us to. TOH tried retail work.  Between his back and his Aspergers, it was completely the wrong job for him but he continued working in it as much as possible.

The Landlords continued in the same vein as before and the house gradually deteriorated in condition. When the Roof was damaged, we did as we should (called them and told them) but it took the intervention of the council and the police to force them to make it safe with a temporary fix.  After a small washing machine flood, the dining room floor came up with damp patches in some odd places and when we removed the furniture to pull the carpet up (as the landlord asked us) we found Wet Rot.

One of the Charities helping us called the Environmental Health people in.  The EHO was not happy with the wet rot OR the state of the house and informed the Landlord of the problems she expected them to deal with. The Landlord wasn’t happy with this and decided that they wanted to get out of the Rental game…

…thus we were served with a section 21 and told to move out of our home of 13 years.

We were plunged into chaos.

By this point we’d been put on the Social Housing list and were looking for any house we could get. The Crowdfunding campaign became urgent and between my own savings – essentially I cut out any luxury items and saved that money plus any money from book sales – the money that the campaign raised and my family we raised enough to go for a private rental house…

Every agency we tried refused to consider us as a possible tenant without a guarantor. We found that we were stuck with looking for social housing. The Council Occupational Therapist determined that we had a medical priority due to TOH’s back and we were added to the Accessibility register. That means that we are in the top band of the social housing register.

That sounded great, but sadly in our county there are not enough houses on the social housing register and the number of houses suitable for those with medical / disability needs are even smaller. Most of the latter are intended for older couples and thus only have one bedroom – so even when one comes up on the fortnightly advert the council produces, we can’t bid for it because it’s not big enough for our family.

You’d think that we’d be able to take a 3 bed house and that the council would adapt it for us… but no, that’s against policy. So we have to wait for the minute number of 3 bedroom houses that are either adapted or have a second reception room (a parlour house) for us to bid on.

That left us waiting for the court eviction notice from the Landlord. The council gave us a choice of emergency housing –

  1. Take a family room with disability adaptations  (one room with a double bed, a bunk bed and a single bed and a wet room bathroom)  in a Hostel and put our cats out for re-homing / into a cattery and our furniture etc in storage.
  2. Get a normal 3 bedroom house, that we can take the cats into and have a normal life in, but write a waiver absolving the council of any blame should TOH have an accident due to the stairs & his back.

We visited the Hostel.  Three people with Aspergers and a physical disability/pain induced insomnia, plus a very active toddler… and me. The space involved would have created some  dangerous mental issues for our children and ourselves… so we decided that the waiver was the safer choice.

And that’s where we are today.

Packing to move out of our home of 13 years into a house that is only ours as long as it takes us to find somewhere to go to. Could be as short as a couple of months, could be a lot longer – but at least we have somewhere safe to go to.

We’ve left the campaign open.

The money that has been raised so far is being used to move us to the temporary house and buy a cooker, flooring, curtains, storage and hire a moving van. However, unless a suitable council house presents itself, our only other option to get out of the emergency housing is to save enough money to buy a house.

Getting a mortgage is out of the question – even should I get a full time job at a local school, it wouldn’t be enough of an income to even be considered a good risk on a loan that big with our credit record.
Thus we have increased the goal amount to one that would help us buy a house outright and move us to it as well as any adaptations that may need to be done. I will continue to put my book sale proceeds into the fund and I have added some rewards to the campaign as well, as a thank you for anyone who does want to help us.

Here’s the link to the Campaign – https://www.gofundme.com/edkgfk

And here’s the list of the rewards.

£5
Level One
Get your name in the acknowledgements of my next Print Book!

£10
Level 2
Get the Acknowledgement and a Shout Out on my Facebook Author Page.

£20
Level 5
Get the previous two rewards and an e-book of your choice from my back catalogue

£50
Level 10
All of the previous levels and a signed print book of your choice from my back catalogue.

£100
Level 20
All the previous levels and the Print Book will be signed and dedicated to you or whomever you choose.

£200
Level 40
All previous rewards and a signed, print copy of my next Published book. While you’re waiting for that, I’ll send you a set of unique, hand drawn postcards.

£500
Level 100
All previous rewards plus an exclusive painting.

£1,000
Level 200
All previous rewards plus a one off, exclusively designed piece of Jewellery for yourself or whomever you wish.

I’ll send out rewards to everyone who has donated to the campaign when TOH and I decide to close the campaign – that could be when we get enough money to buy a house or it could be when a council house comes up.
Either way, we are not closing it until we can move to a permanent home, so keep an eye on the page for more news.

I want to thank everyone who has donated to us so far, I haven’t forgotten about you – you’ll be getting rewards as well, because you are lovely people who have supported my campaign and family through this stressful, trying time.

 

NaNoWriMo, Not Enough Sleep and Odd Dreams…

I’m doing NaNoWriMo again. This is my fifth year and I’m working on the fourth book in “The Secret of Arking Down” series. This doesn’t mean that the other books are finished of course. Of all of them, Book One is the only one that has been Published.

“Angel’s Crown” was the first book that I wrote for NaNo and was my first ‘win’ in 2009.

If you fancy finding out about it, check out the amazon page –

UK Readers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angels-Crown-Secret-Arking-ebook/dp/B009LR1IH2/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349425479&sr=1-2

US Readers: http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Crown-Secret-Arking-ebook/dp/B009LR1IH2/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349425883&sr=1-4&keywords=kira+morgana


 –
and maybe even buy a copy…  *Smiles and flutters eyelashes.*

Of course, I headed straight back to NaNo in 2010. By this time, I had come up with enough ideas, all interlinked, for a series, so for that year, I wrote “The Dragon’s Pendant”.

This was another win, but it almost wasn’t because I scraped in under the wire with just over fifty thousand words at midnight on November 30th. This one needs serious editing and isn’t scheduled for release until early summer next year.

Last year, I attempted NaNo again. I took book three in the series, “The Second Door” and tried to juggle writing, art & design coursework and family all at the same time.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a year which I won. I’d completed about thirty thousand words when I was forced to choose between homework and writing. Homework and family won and I let go of the writing for the moment.

I’m still trying to complete this book and it is almost finished, but there’s no way it will be ready for release until late next year.

This year it is the turn of “Daemon’s Will”. Things are going quite well at the moment, considering that we’re six days in and I’m just over twelve thousand words into the story.

I’m currently a full time carer for my Son who has Aspergers and is going through a rite of passage by going to High school for the first time. So I have plenty of time for writing.  I should be happy.

But something is obviously bothering me, because I’ve been having odd dreams. They aren’t nightmares, but they all seem to be about one thing: Sex.

Get your minds out of the gutter…

If you know anything about psychology and /or dream interpretation, sex in dreams isn’t actually about wanting more of it (well sometimes it is), more often there are other reasons for dreaming about sex.  Sex is about human intimacy, true and often that can be what you are trying to work out in your mind, but there are other reasons for it as well, depending on what you dream about.

For example dreaming of being raped can be as much to do with a violation of person space than it is to do with the act. It mostly about power issues between male and female sides of the psyche.

Feeling desire for someone else, most often of the opposite gender, is a basic urge for closeness. We are looking for a part of ourself that we have lost and the other character represents the closest we can get to it. If it’s a purely physical desire, then it comes from the selfish side of ourselves.

Now, I’m not going to recount the dream to you – for a start it involves a celebrity that I have a major crush on and I don’t want him to suffer from any rumours because I’m dreaming about him! I’ve never met him, I’m never likely to meet him, he’s a fantasy crush from the TV.

I will however say that he’s a dancer…

Now everyone who knows me will be running through what I’ve been talking about recently and will probably come up with the right person…

When I analysed my dream, I realised that what this dancer represents to me, isn’t him as a man, but the side of myself which I have never fully developed.

I’m fascinated with dancers and dancing. I find them sexy and exciting, which is the complete opposite of how I see myself. They are flamboyant and sensual; the female dancers are feminine in a way that I have never associated with myself and they have a confidence that I can only envy.

Dance is very controlled, especially ballroom, you have to learn the movements correctly and add them to the music in the right places for the dance to look flowing and effortless when performed. This dancer is also very masculine. He looks like the sort of man that would look after his partner, love and admire her with everything he does.

Right now, I feel very much feeling like a middle aged mum. I’m frumpy, flumpy and boring. The house is a state and I feel very much like I’m not in control of my life.

I’m having to live from moment to moment on not a lot of money (only what the government deems I am allowed to have to look after the children) and my partner isn’t helping a lot because he is currently an Art Student, which means he isn’t bringing any money into the house, but also means he doesn’t have enough time to help around the house. He’s always tired and when he isn’t sleeping, watching TV or playing on his games console, he’s working on his coursework.

So our relationship is at a bit of a low at the moment as well.

So when I’d finished analysing this dream, I came up with the following.

  1. I need to get in control of the things that I can control.
  2. I need to find the feminine, flamboyant side of me again.
  3. I need to take responsibility for my own actions to get what I want.

Add these three things to the fact that I can write all I want to at the moment, and I’ll be happy. Hopefully, realising these things will stop these dreams from bothering me, I’ll be able to gets some sleep and write properly again!

 

Sunday Rambling and other Nonsense…

I just spent an hour cleaning all the dust, cat hair and crumbs out of my keyboard…

Before that I was enjoying the peace and sunshine outside: you know, before it pours down again, got to make the most of the sun while it’s shining in South Wales or it disappears on you…

Before that I was attempting to build up TOH’s confidence and get him working on his final project, because I am so fed up with his self pity party about his artistic talents (which, by the way are pretty big and he just can’t see it) so I had a go at the stone wall he’s built up…

And of course he’s watching Ben 10 Alien Force with the kids which is a distraction…

…Yes, I’m procrastinating.

It’s not about getting any writing done and I know exactly what I am avoiding doing.

Even writing this piece is procrastination in itself. However, I need to get my head into the right frame of mind and writing about what’s bothering me helps me to do that.

Even when I’m not entirely sure what is exactly bothering me!

So I decided to try and work out what was bothering me by starting with procrastination itself – and I found this:

I worked my way through the brainstorm and found that today, my source of procrastination is my own fault.

I’m supposed to be working on my final major project, a piece of shoulder armour Jewellery. The design is fairly easy to make, overlapping plates that curve around the arm and go from neck to the back of the hand. The construction will be simple as well; holes drilled through the plates linked with wire.

Nothing massively difficult to do, I just have to make the plates.

And there’s my problem.

I have high expectations, so I get frustrated when something goes wrong that I get stressed. When I get stressed, I get a headache and I really don’t want to have a headache.  Every piece of the armour that goes wrong builds up the stress. Yesterday, I only managed to complete five plates out of twenty that I made, and I got a mild headache that meant I couldn’t concentrate on any more.

*sighs*

So I this morning I found myself procrastinating. Avoiding doing the work because I don’t want to get another headache. Now I know what I’m doing, I can get on and avoid the headache by taking some preventative measures.

While I was working out why I was procrastinating, I discovered a website by John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford University and winner of an Ig Nobel prize for the essay that I discovered in my search for the reason I was procrastinating!

“Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.

Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important.

If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. “

 This was the paragraph in the essay that made me blink and think. I have, in the back of my mind, a list of several important things I need to do. Here they are in order of Importance:

1) My Final Major Project –

The Shoulder Armour which is causing me so much stress. I’ve found several different ways to avoid doing this, all of which are on my list!

2) My Personal Evaluation –

This is a part of my college course that is due in on Monday. Illness and other things have got in the way so I really do have to get it done today…

3) The Washing Up – 

Dirty Dishes are my enemy, in that I will avoid doing them at all costs until I absolutely have to.

4) Cleaning the house form top to bottom – 

We have two cats and two kids. They leave a trail of destruction and cat hair in their wake. As their Mother, I’m supposed to tidy this up…

5) Feed the Family.

Today is Sunday. That means that I have a Roast Chicken to cook. That’s quite a lot of work, especially as I will have to wash up before I can get started…

6) Write an article and an interview for my Webzine.

To be honest, this should have been done over a week ago. It’s supposed to be a part of this month’s edition…

So you can guess what order the things will get done in! No? Well, this is probably the order they will occur in ; #2, #1, #3, #5, #6, #4 – unless I can think of anything else that is more important!