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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Not the best day

Today has not been the best day for me - not only do I have to contend with the aftermath of changing our number and how I feel about having to do that, but I have also had to deal with stroppy memos from the boss claiming once again that the standard of housekeeping has fallen. It is bad enough that I have to deal with one of these things, but put the two together and then consider the way in which both have happened, and you can see how the two things have conspired to tip me almost to the edge.

I have been aware for a while that the boss was not altogether happy with the standards in the home, as there has been a definite increase in the number of items written in the housekeeping book, but I did not expect her to write what I consider to be extremely rude and confrontational memos to her assistant regarding this, expecting her to deal with it in her absence.

When the Assistant Manager informed me this morning that there would be a meeting to discuss various issues on Wednesday, when the Head Housekeeper is back from extended sick leave, this was one thing, but when I read the memo that the Manager had sent to her Assistant asking to deal with it, it knocked me six. It stated that although she is aware that the Head Housekeeper has been away, and there have been three housekeepers in on several occasions (actually not that many at all), there is still no excuse for the falling standards within the home and there needs to be a meeting to address these issues. The memo goes on to say that this meeting is to be properly minuted and a note put on each of the housekeepers personnel files stating what was discussed and what the outcome of the meeting was. This sounds to me like some kind of written warning, which I believe is totally unwarranted, and which I want no part of. When I accepted the full time job which commenced at the end of February, despite the fact that I had been here for 21 months already part time, doing the exact same job, they insisted on a second three month probationary period. I am worried now that they will use this as an excuse to extend it, like they did the first one, again for trivial things which have been largely outside of my control.

Up until the end of February, when the department was fully staffed, we had three full time housekeepers and one part time. When my colleague left and I took over her full time hours, this created a part time vacancy which is yet to be filled. So, when the Head Housekeeper went on extended sick leave, barely one month later, following an accident, this left us one full and one part time person down. When there are two housekeepers in, one works downstairs and one upstairs, cleaning the residents rooms and doing the kitchen and laundry respectively. Three days a week all three of us work together and that is when the Head Housekeeper does her weekly tasks of cleaning other areas around the home - among other things, filling the soap and paper towel dispensers, descaling the shower heads and cleaning carpets and upholstery. This is one of the areas being complained about, which under normal circumstances would be fair enough, but these are not normal circumstances. It does not seem to occur to them that these tasks can only be carried out when there are three of us in, and where this would normally be for three days each week, for the past six weeks it has been for one day every other week.

Given the the circumstances then I think we should be praised for managing to maintain the home as well as we have done. The Assistant Manager, who has been given the task of dealing with this while her own boss is away (the mark of a coward if ever I saw one), has indicated to me that she actually agrees with me, and cannot see what the fuss is about, but she has to go through the motions of conducting this meeting anyway.

To me, after all the hard work that I have put in, it feels like a kick in the teeth, and coming on top of everything else, it has been too much for me to deal with. When I got home, and found that BT had still not changed our number, despite their assurances that it would take 24 hours to complete, I rang them to find out why and was told that they do not count weekends and Bank Holidays as working days, and it will not be complete until next Tuesday - suddenly one day has become six. I really tore into them and told them in no uncertain terms exactly what I thought. Luckily the same rule apples to the call barring which we also cancelled, as otherwise we may have been exposed to yet more nuisance calls.

With Coran away for the afternoon though, helping a disabled friend to move, by the time I got home and finished dealing with all this, I just hid under the duvet and cried. I don't think anyone can truly understand how difficult and how stressful the last few months, dealing with all this nonsense from my sister has been, and the prospect of yet another meeting with her CPN on Tuesday does not make it any easier, as I know that I will have to rehash the whole thing and justify to yet another person why I feel the way I do, and why I felt forced to take the action that I did. I am just sick and tired of people continually pussy footing around giving credence to everyone else's needs other than my own, because I appear to be able to deal with things. Well appearances can be deceptive, because the truth is, I am not dealing with things nearly as well as they think I am. Like DelBoy from Only Fools and Horses, I do not want to play the tough guy (or in this case, girl), but do so because it is all I know how to do. It is a protective mechanism designed to insulate myself from the knocks that life has dealt me, and the lack of support from everyone it seems bar Coran.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Keane - This Is The Last Time

The final letting go

After a month or so of blissful silence and peace, two days ago, we had another 2 calls from my sister, both from different mobile phone numbers. She was shouting so loudly and being so abusive and unpleasant that Coran could literally hear her at the other end of the house. I promptly put down the phone and added both of these numbers to our barred list and then telephoned the Police, like I said I would do in my previous letter to her.They came round the following evening and stayed for an hour, taking a full report and making all the right noises, but it turned out to be just that - noises, with very little substance, for yesterday morning they telephoned again to say that they would not be speaking to her, and were closing down the file.

The only advice they could give us was to go back to her care team and/or change our telephone number, something we had been resisting until that point due to Coran's business. It was clear from that that despite the fact that it was them who actually caused the problem, by giving her our phone number in the first place, they are not prepared to help us, but continue to simply pussy foot around her, because of her 'illness' and unpredictability. It does not seem to occur to them how much this impacts on our lives, and how powerless it has made us feel, instead they just sit there saying that we have to talk to the care team and in their own words "make them earn their money". Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Well, Coran and I decided that if they are not prepared to help us, then we have to help ourselves, so despite the inconvenience this will cause to both of us, in my role as Editor of the village newsletter, and for Coran in terms of his business, we have taken the power back into our hands and gone ahead and changed our number, knowing that this is the only guaranteed way to make sure that she does not call us again. There is nothing we can do to stop her writing, but we do not have to open her letters, and letters are far less disruptive than her constant whining down the phone, refusing to accept her humanity or the part that she has played in creating this scenario. So in the words of Keane, "This is the last time that I will show my face, one more tender lie and then I'm out of this place".I am sad of course that it has come to this, and I would have hoped that another solution could have been found, but it was not to be, for she showed a total unwillingness to meet us even a quarter of the way and we cannot have a relationship that is based on need, with we give and she just takes. Both of us have had enough.

It does seem so very final and I am so very sad that it has come to this, I am not sure if I will ever come to terms with the way in which this happened, and the way that she has forced our hand. It is like a grieving process, and I know that I have to let her go. The feelings though come and go, as I am sure they will for a while - feelings of anger, guilt and despondency at the seeming injustice of it all, and for the great loss of the person she once was and could be once again - the person that I may never see blossom into her full potential and become a functioning member of society. I have to though accept that it was and is her choice to remain in that situation, and so it was also my choice to accept that choice that she made and at the same time, to let her go. Maybe she will come back to me, maybe she will not, it is not my choice to make. The only thing I can do is to let her go with grace and get on with the rest of my life. With God's help, and the solace of some very good friends and a wonderful partner, I will get through.