Friday, June 19, 2020

It seems like a life time ago

I can't believe this much time has gone by. Doesn't it fly when you've been looking at other things?

Things have been so different lately.

Facehugger is now 2. I can't believe it. Grandson number 2 arrived in short order June 2019. Bug is now 1. Where has the time gone? I'm really enjoying being a grandmother. We have decided on Poppy and Oma since they already have Grumpy Granny, Granddad, Poppy S, Nanny K, and Nanny K. Confusing! I see the noisy, active little blighters most days as I am their full time baby sitter. Luckily for my sanity Facehugger attends day care 3 days a week. It does mean a long journey for Elder as she lives an hour away. On those days she drives an hour here, drops him off at a nearby day care centre, then brings herself and Bug to mine for the day. It's full on, but I'm loving watching them become little humans and doing little human things.

Teen is still here. Did I mention in any previous that she had moved in? She has been a huge help with my sanity. No, really she has. And now she is helping with the rent so that is a bonus. She's quite loud and annoying so life is pretty exciting when she's around. Actually she hasn't changed much even though she's no longer a Teen and hasn't been for nearly a decade. She's kind of taken over the house at present, as when our circumstances changed and she started paying rent I kind of bribed her by allowing her to have the whole front of the house as her domain. It works since there isn't any space there that I would really use. MOTH may have, but I make the rules. Heh heh.

Mmmmm dinner smells good. MOTH is cooking tonight. Corned beef, mash, cabbage, and white sauce.

Things have been a little odd since the start of the Covid-19 episode. I'm not quite sure where to begin. It changed nothing, yet it changed everything. At the moment things within our State are slowly sliding back to normal as restrictions are lifted in stages. We haven't had many if any new cases so we are now able to travel freely within the state. Hospitality venues, gyms etc are beginning to resume trade as long as they have approved Covid plans in place.

Teen had been unemployed as her store ceased trading for the duration. The first few weeks she found difficult as she is very routine driven and no longer had that security. She has now returned to work as her store has recommenced trading. She's not feeling well though (fibromyalgia) and has requested her hours be cut back. She is also thinking about a career change.

Elder and her partner have both been fully employed as "essential workers". Their routines have not changed.

MOTH was not successful in having his disability payment reinstated so has continued on the jobseeker payment. This has been a blessing in disguise as those payments have been doubled for the time being as a way of helping the unemployed cope with loss of income. I had thought at first that this would only be paid to those who were able to prove they had lost their work due to Covid but it turned out to be a blanket approval. He is now eligible to receive an age pension so income will drop a little.

Me? Now I need to make a decision about what comes next for me. When the Covid-19 began, Niece began to get worried, particularly as Facehugger and Bug had colds at the time. As the media coverage hyped up she began to behave strangely. One afternoon I was contacted by the social worker at one of her day programs and asked to take her home as they couldn't cope with her agitated behaviour. I broke down to the social worker and confessed that I was at the end of my tether and didn't know what to do. Later that night after no improvement in her thinking, we took for assessment. She was admitted as an involuntary patient later that night. After consultation I advised that I would no longer be able to care for her. After being hospitalised for several months she was placed in supported group accommodation.

For everyone in the house, it has been a godsend. It has taken a couple of months but everyone is far more relaxed, smiling more, and happier. I am sorry that she had that effect on everyone. On the other side, isolation has been a blessing because I have been able to recover and process what happened. I am feeling much better within myself. I never went out often anyway, so I didn't really miss it. Now, my income is slowing coming to an end, and I must decided what lies in store for me in the future...

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Slow Going

The more things change the more they stay the same ... Wait. What am I saying? Things haven't really changed. Not at all.

We are struggling through. MOTH is still awaiting an outcome for his appeal regarding the second rejection of his pension claim. This is from March 2019. The wheels of bureaucracy surely do turn slowly. He is still expected to work or study to meet his obligations. He is slowly working through a course they've started him on; something to do with retail. Who the heck needs or wants a diploma or certification in RETAIL? Heck, that's all on the job. But, whatever.

Things continue as normal with Niece. She seems to have dropped the fuss about the boy from the Tuesday/Thursday group but was slyly and quietly still stringing the Monday/Wednesday group fella along. We are at the point where she no longer mentions either of them. That doesn't mean she has given up the obsession, she's just quiet. We can tell her obsession is still rampant as she still vandalises her belongings with their names.

Her NDIS review was done in April. I have been asked to provide more information about her diagnosis for Autism and any intellectual disadvantage. These need to be assessed under the NDIS DSM-5 criteria. I don't know what that is but apparently it determines a level of disability and as far as I can tell, can have an effect on the amount of funding she receives. Where to get this diagnosis is a little tricky. The case worker from the group looking after her package - Carers Queensland - had suggested I start with the school she attended to see if they had some record. I still don't know if the school did. I was told they would have to check their archives and still haven't heard back. I'm not too worried about that one. I went to her GP to see if she had any suggestions. She put me in touch with a group she often recommends who deal with Autism in children, youth, and adults. I made contact but they are booked solid until 2020 and to contact them again toward the end of the year when they would be making appointments for then. If I couldn't wait that long, there were some alternatives who may be able to help. I contacted two of the three but neither was willing to take her on as a patient. So we wait.

The total package this year is more than last year so I intend to make use of it with more respite. We have had to source a new respite provider as the Autism Queensland group ceased that side of operations late 2018. NDIA doesn't help one source providers, as the person looking after her funding the responsibility of sourcing her providers is mine. That was a whole heap of fun. AQ provided a list of possible choices when they sent the closure letter. I had to go to the NDIS portal to search for providers. They really need to work on that system. It doesn't filter well enough. I was looking for short term accommodation as they call it these days but wasn't able to filter on that requirement. I ended up with a number of pages of providers that began with a 4. Two digits or three I can't remember. I did manage to settle on one who seem to be quite accommodating and less restrictive regarding dates than AQ.

Niece still has community access with AQ for four hours a week. A new person. Again. We have had a few new ones who do one or two shifts. The support worker she has now is a man who has worked with her before through the respite house. I really like him because he is a very strong personality and is very straight forward. He's been doing it for a couple of months now. The biggest problem is that he is very good at what he does so AQ sometimes take him from Niece's shift to work elsewhere. I think if they keep doing it I will actually complain. Breaking in a new person is just too much hassle. Teen was there to see the last lass who has taken a couple of his shifts when he's been moved. Well, she looks like a bit of a pushover. HAHAHA. I am still in contact with a previous support worker. I mentioned that to her last time we had a catch up. She seemed a little dismayed.

And Niece. Well. She's quiet about the boys but her behaviour still ... needs improvement. Her support worker, G, has worked with her previously through the respite house. He has had more time to get to know her now. He remarked one day that he used to trust her but not now. She's dodgey as. He has also noticed her penchant for finagling someone else into paying for things for her, having witnessed it first hand as he was not standing next to her at the counter. So there we are.

I've decided that there are far too many of her father's genes going and there will never be a fix. I'm trying to withdraw and to hell with it. She can deal with the consequences of her actions herself. I am not going to support her in any way there. Now if she does something I try to say when you do this, it makes you look like that, and makes me think this. If she gets in trouble in her day groups I just say well, here is the consequence here and whatever your day group decides is the consequence is the consequence. You will have to deal with that because I can't change anything. As an example, earlier in the year she was taken from her favourite activity on the Tuesday group because she was stealing food from fridges, eating ingredients that were to be used for cooking, etc. The last straw was an outing to celebrate a birthday and she was tasked with taking the cake back to the kitchen. She stuck her fingers in the cake and took a chunk of it.

Each time she stays in respite I receive a written report on moods and actions daily for her stay. During one stay she was reprimanded for stealing the food of another client. One with a gluten intolerance. She was unrepentant apparently just completely ignored the person who was in charge. They had been warned though in the client profile that she would be likely to do this. She has been spoken to by her Monday/Wednesday group for stealing food from the staff fridges and trying to hide it in the client fridge. She is now on a close watch. And just two days ago, I was informed that she has been waiting for the supervisor to leave the room so that only casual staff a there on the Tuesday/Thursday group and helping herself to food from the fridge for morning tea even though she knows they do not provide it.

She knows EXACTLY what she is doing.

However, it is still at the point where everyone in the house is stressed and health is suffering. Even mine. So I have set myself a 12 month plan. At her next review I shall push for a resettlement into supported or group housing although I am sure she would not be a good candidate for it. And to hell with the financial consequences....

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Tearing my hair out

When will it end? I really don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to continue her care but I have no option as she cannot return home, I have no work, and we cannot pay rent on the amount of income we would have. So, we continue to ride the merry go round.

She returned home. Ma told me she didn't want to. Of course not, I say, here there are RULES!

We had a talk, she and I. She promised to work hard on being an adult. Yeah. I think that lasted a week. I've tried using positive reinforcement, and am still having to constantly remind her if she wants me to say "good job" she really has to do her chores properly. Because I can't say "good job" and offer praise if she's made mistakes not because she genuinely tried but because of lack of attention to her task. And that's a lot of the mistakes she makes. Lack of attention. She's even forgetting routine tasks like setting the table or setting it incorrectly. Not following simple directions for basic tasks. Not bringing in the washing like she usually does.

I talked to her about behaving and respect and other adult things. I told her she could go out with the Thursday group again this year but it very much depended on her behaviour as to whether she would continue to be allowed. She returned that day and said she had a good day. I had my fingers crossed. She came home that day and said she'd had a good day.

She went out with a new access worker - another one - the following Friday in early February after she returned. She came home with a chocolate rose and I thought nothing of it. Two days later I discover it's still in the fridge. I tell her she had better eat it. She shook her head and had a certain look on her face.... No, she says, she can't. I looked at her dismayed. It had better not be a gift... It was a gift. She didn't tell me who it was for but I told her in no uncertain terms that if it was for that boy she had better think again. It was inappropriate, they aren't in a relationship, she can't have him because he didn't want to be in a relationship with her, and she'd better not be thinking about Will either because he has already made it known that he didn't want to be in a relationship.

She wasn't happy but neither was I. Here we are having made it to February and she's back to her old tricks.

Monday afternoon when she was picked up from her day program, one of the workers said Niece had been shaking all day and had something to tell us. MOTH and I are sitting in the lounge room and she stands there and tells me that the boy she has been bullying "bashed" her and "sexually assaulted" her on the train platform on Thursday. She'd even written a letter to him asking why he did that and telling him she would be taking him to court. MOTH and I were stunned. Of course we didn't believe her. The boy is quiet, well mannered, and unassuming. She, on the other hand, is well known as a bully and a liar who can't be trusted. She was determined to tell someone on Tuesday when she went back. We tried to impress upon her the seriousness of these allegations; they would be investigated and there would be consequences for all involved. MOTH and I both know she has more or less done this before when she reported another boy for inappropriate behaviour. On that occasion it was strongly suspected that she had been flirting with him; he flirted back and she didn't know how to respond so reported it. He got into trouble and she didn't.

I phoned my contact in the Tuesday group and left a voice mail. A week later I had heard nothing so I sent a text. I eventually got a reply saying that she had reported that the boy hit her, it had been investigated but the boy concerned had no recollection of such an incident and neither of the supervisors for that outing had seen anything. So again, she gets away with no consequences. I am so not happy about that.

Because I hadn't been sending her to the Thursday group outings due to her bullying she has excess funding left from her NDIS plan. I know that if this doesn't get spent she will not have it allocated again when her plan is up for review in July. This does worry me as I do not want her spending time at home. I have been thinking of withdrawing her from the Thursday group altogether and sending her to the Monday group that day instead. Does that make sense? That would mean Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday with that group and only Tuesday with the other.

But Monday this week she comes home with a large chocolate rabbit. This is the second time. We quizzed her as to where it came from and eventually she tells us that Guy gave it to her. It took some work but eventually she owned up to flirting with Guy.... AND WE'RE BACK TO THE SAME FRIKKIN PROBLEM. She was spoken to sternly by the Monday group coordinators for inappropriate behaviour with the males in that group late last year. But here we are, a new year, and it's like she's completely forgotten about that. AND HOW CAN I SEND HER ANOTHER DAY IF SHE'S BUSY WORKING ON ANOTHER BLOKE AS A BOYFRIEND. She has learned NOTHING.

It's no wonder my hair is thinning.

MOTH has tried to apply for the pension again. Did I mention in a previous post that Centrelink had decided that after 13 years or more he no longer meets the eligibility criteria? It's all changed and now he has to meet a 20 point table. Very very strict. His second attempt was again unsuccessful. He provided more evidence specifically related to an additional medical condition but still no dice. His GP was very surprised at the outcome. But what do they expect him to do? Actually attempt suicide? Because that's what it sounds like. Chronic depression and osteoarthritis with limited movement obviously mean that you can work or study full time, right?

Stupid bureaucrats who make these rules have never been in this position. Mind though, from previous experience, they can change the rules fast enough if someone in their family is adversely affected.

I need a job.... but I've been unemployed too long and need to go back to school to brush up on skills. Who is going to pay me to do that....

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


This month I have been on break. This break is enabled by Ma who looks after Niece while she visits her mum over the Christmas and New Year period. This break has been longer than previous and I think I really needed it.

2018 has been a bad year for Niece's general behaviour. It's difficult to think of anything positive she's done though I have tried often to give her examples when discussing her behaviour with her. There have been so many examples of undesirable behaviour though. She is still pursuing boys, stating she likes one boy, then bullying and pushing her previous boy to resume the relationship. Her day groups have really had to rein in her behaviour. I have discussed with one of them that if the bullying of the previous boyfriend continues she must be spoken to very sternly. This has gone on long enough.

For those needing reminding, she was in a relationship with a young man but continued to flirt and kiss others. She told her boyfriend that she did this and lo! He broke it off. She refused to accept it. And every time she sees him she pushes to resume the relationship. Even though they are not a couple she accuses him of cheating on her if he likes another. On her last community access outing she told her support working her boyfriend is in Europe. So he is holidaying there, but he's certainly not her boyfriend. This behaviour has affected his enjoyment of the days they both attend I've been told. And continued for more than six months. So yes, time to really get serious with her. She won't listen to me anymore. Last time I tried, I received the whole eye roll and "here we go again!" spiel.

Her other day group has already had a very serious talk with her for the same reason (boys) and I've been told her behaviour there has improved as a result.

Her community access support worker has taken a promotion in the last couple of months of 2018. While I'm happy for her I am not happy for me. This has been a huge inconvenience. I'm going to have to train another. I really liked R (can't remember what I named her previously) because as a mother herself she was switched on to the bull. The last three outings for 2018 have been three different people, and Niece has taken advantage of at least one. She came home with a gift. It was a very small one but still, she'd conned her support worker into buying it for her. I had to remind Autism Queensland that this is not acceptable. You simply cannot fall for that or she will pull that stunt all the time.

Then to top it off AQ no longer provide their respite service. While Niece has been away I have had to source another provider. I manage Niece's supports myself and don't pay a third party to manage them for me. The NDIS portal is pretty useless as far as searching for a service provider. They have heaps of companies listed but no way of filtering them for things like short term accommodation. There are pages and pages. I think the number began with a 4. More than 4 so at least 40 within 20km of home. Possibly as high as 3 digits. How does one choose? You browse the first few pages, click the links, and see if the provider offers the service you require. Easy, right?

Hopefully I have found a provider. They have been very helpful so far but we are not yet at the stage of finalising anything definite. The co-ordinator is yet to make contact so we can do a meet and greet. I'm crossing my fingers because this is a painful process and I'm not keen to have to keep at it.

However, while she has been away I've managed to spend some quality time with MOTH, dining out on a voucher we received for Christmas, and going to see Aquaman. I really enjoyed that movie. A little corny in places perhaps but visually stunning. And I don't just mean Jason Momoa. We celebrated Christmas a little earlier this year. Grandson was promised to go to his other grandparents for an extended stay so we did ours around the 20th. I missed most of him opening his presents as I was in the middle of a phone call and didn't feel I could terminate it. And then it was lunch prep time so I really did miss it. So did MOTH because he had to attend an appointment and wasn't home when they started. He was disappointed. I did give them permission to start though as Grandson is 8 months old and was tired and restless. I did enjoy the day despite missing that.

Pa and Ma celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary at end 2018. On the spur of the moment MOTH and I decided to travel up there to join the festivities. It was a very quick visit. One day to drive up, the day of the celebration to catch up with everyone, then driving back the next day. It was good to see siblings and even Bro had managed to travel from interstate. He seems so much happier than I've seen him for a long time. We stayed at The Oaks on Grand. Lovely room and very central. The meal was good as some of Sibling #1's friends who have known the family for a long time joined in as well. The meal was great; there was no restaurant in that venue when I used to haunt it many, many years ago. That part was a nightclub. I had fettucini alfredo. A basic meal but done very well.

The drive home seemed long. Somewhere along the highway there was a fatal crash and the highway was closed in both directions. Traffic had been rerouted off the highway and through back roads between towns with no real signage to indicate we were travelling in the right direction. We judged that by the amount of traffic on the roads. And even on this detour, some idiot in a 4WD decided he could pass multiple cars and came at us head on. We had to slow to give them time to get back in their lane. I mean TRAFFIC ALREADY ON A DETOUR FROM A FATAL AND HERE'S THIS IDIOT MAKING SURE SOMEONE ELSE WAS GOING TO ALSO PAY THAT PRICE. I was so angry....

Elder posted a photo from a picturesque place nearby so we took an hour detour from the detour and decided to swing by. We all met up and dined at the local with her, her SO, the Grandson, and a couple of Elder's friends. It was a very pleasant diversion.

Teen had moved back in with us after trying to fly solo earlier in the year. She had split from her then fellow who was making life a tad difficult and putting a lot of financial pressure on her. She couldn't afford to live alone. A search for housemates proved futile so she had to break lease and move back. She's moved out again but on the day she was to move out, the lease holders decided they were not renewing the lease after February so she's stuck again. Why are young people so unreliable these days? If they were considering that why did they offer her the space in the first place? She does have a new fellow though who is very articulate and personable. He also looks a little like Jason Momoa, so we give her a hard time about that. They went to see Aquaman and she gave it a glowing endorsement ... "I didn't fall asleep".

So here's hoping that 2019 will be a better year for everyone, both financially and behaviour wise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dusty's Scrapbook Part 3

This is it. The last plant. The last one. The last one to perfect. And I think... I think I have finally completed the tasks Mayor Epoch set for me...

And as I look back, I wonder at the journey it has been. It has taken some time and yet though the seasons have flown by, I feel very little older. It must be the air here. I don't know. Dry, dusty, yet clean. I don't know what went before but it seems to be slowly returning to right. I feel ... invigorated some days, tempted to dance and sing. I'm not very good a singing though. I can play the violin, play the strings in a way that can bring you to tears. It's beautiful after the sun goes down. I play while the sky darkens and the lights dance.

Speaking of which, the aliens are becoming daring. The "raids" are becoming more frequent. Even in daylight! I haven't really taken notice of whether this has happened since I first made contact.

I think I've mentioned the demise of Mayor Epoch who gave me the challenge. I've followed through regardless and passed my knowledge to his son, Mayor Chilliad. We have become good friends. Well, what choice did I have really? Spark chose him for a life partner so I must abide. They have a little one now. He is very ... determined.

Fuel and I have been bustling busy. Raising 12 children together, exploring space, fishing, and finding and cultivating cow plants has been ... a rush. Most of our children arrived in multiples so it has been a HUGE learning curve. Only the triplets Columba, Delphinus, and Carina still live with us. The others have struck out to find life on their own. Galaxia was Fuel's "gift" from the Outer Reaches. I wasn't sure at first but we managed to find a way. As a parent, we can only do our best I believe. What your children do with the wisdom you try to impart is up to them. You can only stand back and watch. Spark. Well, Spark. She has found her niche I think. I hope. She and Mayor Chiliad seem content at the moment but I have seen her out partying. At the Cliffs, the Ruins, and in the clubs. As far as I know she has cheated the system and owns no cow plants, even though they have a child. I am hoping that Mayor Chiliad does not like cake.

Cygnus became enamoured with the idea of vampires. She studied; it became an obsession. So much so that she left to live with and serve a vampire coven in Forgotten Hollow. I feel that Aquila too may have not matured in a way that I had hoped. He moved in with Rev Engine ... one thing lead to another and now they have twins. Fuel has never spoken of this so I don't know how he feels. He has little contact with his previous family. And I think I like that.

The very odd Cliff Dwellers proved to be very friendly once I got to know them well. When I had their trust, Precipice and Crag showed me the glory of the growfruit. It's beautiful. And perfect. Once when I was "lost" upstairs in their vast and confusing dwelling, I stumbled across a strange structure. Shaped much like an arched doorway. It brought back a subtle, elusive tingle of a show I may have watched as a child. One that involved a group of magic windows, one of which was shaped like an arch. There was a side panel on the doorway and I was compelled to experiment. Was this the evidence Mayor Epoch had mentioned? That may have been a yes.

I've learned to love gardening, including the cow plants. Getting my plants to perfect has taken such a long time of dedication and a lot of help from Carina's gardening group. I felt I needed a new hobby and so introduced the bees. Most of the time they are extremely beneficial. But occasionally ... OUCH!

I've built a rocket. Complete with all the upgrades! Fuel did help but I managed most of the work myself from parts salvaged and traded. I spent ages exploring and finding odd pieces of debris. I even managed to serve as a god once or twice for a civilisation of ... I don't know what. So many space miles. And suddenly, there it was! The wormhole. And I travelled through. A bumpy ride but so worth it. At the end was a blue planet. Unusual plants and other specimens to be found! Amazing! I've travelled far enough and notched enough miles to complete my collections and achieve my aspirations. They've even been recognised! By some ... distant murky institution I did not even know existed.

The last few years a new tradition has developed. Lotto Day. Everyone - or nearly everyone - buys a ticket in the lottery. One year, I WON! I REALLY WON! What do I do with all these funds. Fuel and I discussed this many times. But I did what I wanted anyway. What do I want with a new house with our own electricty supply?? I really like the one I have. Though an unrestricted electricity supply has its own appeal. Anyway, I bought a business. Specifically, I purchased the Mercantile from the Salamanders. So here I am. A business owner. I think I've finally made it.

And now ... now I think it's time for a rest. I'm sure I've done what I needed to do. Time to settle back, enjoy what life is left to me, enjoy Fuel, and finally get to know those grandchildren. I think I'll let the triplets run the business for me. Mmmm yes.