It’s been a month of highs and lows and one where I kept meaning to blog but never quite got around to it. April 30th through to today, May 31st are difficult weeks for me to navigate. Anyone who has read this blog will know that I lost my father and an uncle on one night, followed by another uncle six days later, my mother three weeks later and then my step-father a few weeks after that. I don’t dread the time anymore having come to terms with my loss some years ago but there is always the subconscious at work taking the odd pop at me when I least expect it. Today is the anniversary of my mother’s passing.
Grief is a strange old taskmaster that never entirely leaves me no matter how long the journey has been from the loss of a loved one. I have come to recognise it over time and even welcome a good old sob now and again as it means I haven’t forgotten what the person(s) meant to me. But I am not going to dwell in the past or let my loss define me; rather I thank God for what is in my life now and how fortunate I have been. So, I am not at all sad today, just reflective on what my wee mammy meant to me and how with time, we could have created so many more memories together as I matured into the many ages she had traversed before me. I think I may just have missed her wisdom more than anything in my life. R.I.P mammy, I love you. So, that is a few lows and nothing I can’t manage but it is enough, along with some renovations we are doing, to render me blogless for too many weeks.
One particular high was unexpected and still leaves me with a glow of joy. Some years ago I was quite a big earner of the old greenbacks, spondoolicks, dosh, whatever you may want to call it. I also had a superb expense account but nothing that quite matches that of the thieving fraudulent and ethically challenged gaggle of MP’s that have been ‘creative’ with their accounting of late. To cut a long story short – hah about time I hear you say! – four years ago, after a marathon effort at sorting out my tax returns, Her Maj’s taxman sent me a wee note saying they owed me several thousand pounds. Buoyed with delight at this piece of good fortune I did a jig of thanks to whatever God had blessed me that day, grabbed a cup of tea and sat down to call and claim my booty.
“Hello”, I chirruped in a light and jolly happy tone to the woman that answered; a first if ever there was one, I am usually subdued and fearful when dealing with the hand that wields a baseball bat over my finances.
“Name, NI number”, she barked back at me without any kind of pleasantry or even the most basic of telephone etiquette. Miserable old bag, I thought, as her blunt and rude tone bit into my good mood.
“I’m calling about the letter you sent. You know, ref number 1234567 etc, the one that says you owe me millions!”, I joked obviously delighted in my good fortune that it wasn’t the other way around. “Okay not millions”, I said as her silence at my wee joke deafened the airwaves, “but I have in my hot little hand a letter from you that says a number consisting of five figures and 49 pence, so may I have a cheque to that value please”, I carried on determined not to let this misery-guts ruin my moment.
Tap, tap, tap was the only response I heard as she thumped the keyboard rather too hard. Must be menopausal, I thought. as the silence stretched and I drank my now tepid tea just for something to do.
“Mrs MOB”, she barked over the phone like a sergeant major, "there is nothing here to say that we owe you that money".
“But you sent me a letter saying so”, I protested, feeling my good mood drain from me quicker than blood from a severed artery or indeed pounds being sucked out of my imagined fat bank account.
“Nope, not a thing, it’s a computer or record error”, she spat back at me with what sounded like unbridled glee in her voice.
“No, surely not, if you sent me a letter then it must be true, isn’t it”, I asked in desperation and by now sounding and feeling like a child who had been told that Disneyworld had gone bust. “Oh c’mon, you're joking aren’t you? Is there perhaps someone else that could check your findings, or verify......”
“.....NO”, she interrupted far too quickly in her hurry to dismiss me. “Now is that all I can help you with?” Call that help?, Call that Help? you miserable hairy chinned old boot, I wanted to spit back at her but self preservation kicked in and I accepted a shocked defeat before thanking her – God knows why – and reluctantly placing the handset on the receiver. Himself said I looked like I needed to be put on suicide watch and I felt how I looked.
We didn’t have an accountant at that time so I knew not what else to do but to file the letter away as one of life’s little snatched moments of happiness that turned ugly.
We have a fantastic accountant now, when she came on board she took up my case but got nowhere and I finally gave up the ghost and duly forgot about it until....
.......In April of this year, along comes a letter from the Inland revenue. ‘Dear Mrs Mob, H.M. I.R. owes you a five figure sum and 49 pence’ Oh for Christ sake, here we go again I thought. Bugger it, I can't be arsed chasing my tail over this one again, I decided, and went to file it. But himself had other ideas and took it to our lovely accountant. She drew the same conclusions as I had but with a sigh, offered one last time to chase it up. Rather her than me I thought, simply because I didn’t fancy another ten rounds with that hairy faced old bat who’d taken such delight in ruining my day all those years before. But in all reality, she’s probably been head hunted by a fundamentalist terrorist organisation to train their new recruits in torture and telephone techniques, so who cares eh?
The upshot is that I got a cheque about a month ago, with a guarantee that they will not come after me to return the money at any time in the future. Y’see the records for more than six years have been destroyed and as my claim was for that period, no one can prove whether that money was mine or not to claim. I almost peed myself with utter joy, well that and the ageing effects of the menopause, the joy just compounded things. I danced even more jigs this time as I kissed the cheque and himself in that order. We’d already started a renovation project on our house to sort our drive out, update the outside of the house and modernise our three toilet and bathroom facilities so this is a welcome bonus. The drive and outside of the house looks great. We now have those lovely square toilets with soft close seats, eco friendly with 3 and 6 litre flush options, and much more comfortable to lounge about on, if you get my drift. There’s something quite satisfying about being the first person ever to use a new loo. But, the soft closing seat is a revelation. You just have to touch the lid and it closes gently, but here’s the best part: On first use, after his return from the pub and needing to relieve himself of a few gallons of Guinness, himself toddled off to the downstairs cloakroom. Strange strangulated noises coupled with a few choice Anglo-Saxon words came hurtling through the door. On his exit from said room with the most cheesed off look I have ever registered on his moosh, himself enlightened me to his problem; each time he lifted the loo seat, it started closing down again before he could aim Percy at the porcelain. Crikey it must have been designed by a woman I thought as I laughed up my internal organs at such an unexpected bonus. The loo seat is now known as the Todger Trap and himself now has to adjust his position to accommodate our new purchase, well it’s either that or a mad rush to finish before all hell breaks out! Hah, result!
Around the same time as this we were in the process of selling a hideous purple suite that sat in our conservatory – got a hundred knicker for that just by telling the step-son that we wanted to get rid of it and his friend gladly grabbed it for it was in good condition – and this additional money meant we could treat ourselves to some beige leather chairs and foot-stools from Ikea. We had an expensive garden table and chairs languishing in our summer house so we moved that inside our conservatory. What with new lights and shelving, the room looks superb and has already lent itself to a few dinner parties using our raclette machines that we dragged out from storage and dusted down. We have had the most fabulous social times of late and this has made my April/May much more bearable.
To cap our good financial windfall, Himself’s pension went up unexpectedly by 25%. We hadn’t factored that in for this year and as our company has a contract with the Justice Office that pays superbly well, we are comfortable - for the first time in yonks - we've had some hefty financial demands in the past and God what a relief it is to be free of that. Himself is basking in the glorious feedback he has been receiving of late from his employers for a job well done – he does some very intricate investigations for them that requires a high level of professionalism so I am rightly proud of him. We’ve been having a mega clearout and selling our unwanted stuff on E-bay, thus generating some additional pin money. Lately with my investment income taking a bit of a battering from the latest financial crisis we thought we would have to tighten our belts a bit and put some of our plans on hold so this has all come as a relief and a welcome surprise and all in the space of six weeks or so.
But, every silver lining has a cloud and if I sound too delighted for my own good, I am reminded that life is precious and that at times there is a rug waiting to be pulled from under my feet. Something has happened of late that has made me sob in desperation and sadness but that is for my next post. I cried, off and on, for two days, picked myself up and resolved to find a solution. I’m in the thick of my research now and will post when I have a path to follow.
Life can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s not what life throws at you but how you handle it that defines you. I’ve not always been strong in my past but I’m not going to fall apart now, not when my wee pal and fur-baby needs me.