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Archive for January, 2012

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’d like it to not be.

Tomorrow is my birthday, my twenty-fifth, my quarter-century, the one I’ve been excited about since my eighteenth, and planning to do something fun for since my twenty-first.  But I really, really wish it wasn’t.  I have nothing planned.  I have no friends in this town that would want to go somewhere with me and do something special.  I can’t have anyone over to the house, because mum’s already at the end of her tether and she’d think she has to be cheerful and entertaining.  It’s ok though.  I don’t really like anyone in this town enough to invite them over to my house, anyhow.  Well, not grown people.  I know some very nice babies that I met when I was doing my most recent childcare work placement, and I’d quite happily spend my birthday with the babies, but they normally have, you know, parents.

This isn’t the first year my birthday hasn’t gone to plan, in fact it’s been a long time since I had a good birthday.  I’m not petty, I’d just like something good to happen on the anniversary of my birth.  Here’s a few chapters from the story of my birthdays past:

1980, seven years before I was born, Justin Timberlake stole my birthday, and I’ll bet that bastard has awesome parties.  With his stupid hair.  Blah.
1994, I turned seven.  It was the first day of the school year.  Mum has a great photo of me in my school uniform with a birthday badge on, pouting wonderfully!  Other than being the first day of school, that birthday wasn’t bad.  The teacher didn’t have anything much planned for the day, and since it was grade two, there was toys in the room.  We really just spent the day playing and talking about our Christmas holidays.  My dad hadn’t started working on the oil rigs yet, and when he got home from work that night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner.
1997, I turned ten.  This was the first year my dad was away on the oil rigs for my birthday.  Everyone tried to keep me cheery, and that just made it worse.  I didn’t want to be cheery, I just wanted my daddy.  I didn’t want to turn ten without my daddy home, and insisted I was nine for two weeks, until he got back.
My twelfth birthday, in 1999, was actually good.  I had a pool party at the public pool, and all my classmates came and were nice to me even though they hated me (probably because my mum paid for them to go to the pool) and also got me some really thoughtful presents, which I feel says maybe they didn’t hate me as much as they made out, or at least means their mums liked me.  I did get badly sunburnt, though, and my dad was away again, but since it was the third time dad had missed my birthday, it didn’t hurt as badly.  Going to the pool probably helped ease the pain, too.
The very next year was a double-curve. 2000, I turned thirteen.  A milestone, my first “teen” birthday.  My family had moved from the Gold Coast to Maryborough only two weeks before, and I didn’t know a single person yet.  Also, it was the first day of school again, my first day of year eight, my first day of high school.  Small and frightened and in the “baby grade” again for the first time since 1993.  I think my dad was home for that one, but there was so much going on in my head, I really don’t remember.
My sixteenth birthday I was really excited.  I had permission for the party of the century.  Mum and I set up the backyard for the best event ever.  I invited 136 people, and about seventy people told me they’d definitely be there.  Only my best friend turned up.
My eighteenth birthday was the year I gave up completely and decided not to even try to have a good twenty-first.  Just days before my birthday that year, my Grandpa died.  I spent the two days before my birthday travelling down to the Gold Coast and then at my grandfather’s funeral and wake.  My great-aunt bought me the most wonderful chocolate cake, and on my actual birthday, my entire family sat around a table together and ate it, brought together by death, the only thing that motivates anyone in my family (other than my mother and one aunt) to show love.  Problem here was, other than my Grandpa was recently dead and his funeral was freshly pressed into my mind, I’m basically the only person in my family who liked my Grandpa, so I’m sitting, on my eighteenth birthday, trying to enjoy some rather delicious cake, listening to the chorus of everyone else in my family verbally bashing my Grandpa, until I was forced to yell at them all in a most unladylike manner that they were ruining the only good part of my birthday, and that a man I loved greatly had died.
My twenty-first was as quiet as I could make it, because why bother?
And now I’ll be twenty-five tomorrow, I’m broke, jobless and my dad has cancer.

I had hoped to go down to Brisbane or the Gold Coast for my birthday this year.  I had hoped to see some friends, to hug and cuddle and sing and eat and drink with people who actually care about me.  I had hoped to have a happy birthday, but no.  Just another for the list.

I haven’t included every terrible birthday, because some were either hard to put into words, or I really don’t want to stir them up in my own mind.
I don’t mean to be depressing, but I just needed to vent, and surely I’m not the only person out there with what seems like a nasty habit of having terrible birthdays, and all you lovely people who hate the day you’re meant to be happy can feel less alone now.  Misery loves company, and all that jazz.

Signed with love, because there’s always love to spare, even when your world is falling apart,

The Pretty Kitty.

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So my dad has cancer, and that’s my life now.

I’ve told you about the cancer, well he started chemo yesterday.  He started all the preparation on the 3rd of January, but of course he never asks any questions, and won’t let mum go in to see the doctors with him, so every step of the road is a big surprise, where we don’t find anything out until after it happens.  Dad seems fine with this, but mum and I really aren’t.

Dad walked out of the hospital yesterday and tells us his clothes can no longer be washed with ours, and they have to be washed twice.  He needs his own laundry hamper, which has to be thrown away at the end of the cycle.
All of that would usually be fine, but our washing machine is broken.  It won’t go through the spin cycle and empty, so the water has to be bailed out by hand and the clothes have to be hand wrung.  Mum’s been looking for a good second hand top loader for a while, now, but the only ones she’s been able to find are above budget.

The one thing we did know going in was that dad would need to be driven to Hervey Bay hospital for chemo every two weeks for six months, and missing a treatment would mean starting all over again.  Some surprise information that dad brought us yesterday is that two days later we have to do the trip again.  Every two weeks.
He can’t get any of this done at Maryborough because, according to the government, Hervey Bay is close.  NEWS TO ME!  When I was sitting in a hot car for half an hour each way, I never realised how very close it was.  I’ve never thought of things a half hour away as being close.  Maybe that’s very city-princess of me, but when I was sweltering in the car for an hour round trip, I never once thought, “At least it’s nice and close!”.
Again, it wouldn’t be so bad if the air con in the car was working.  Mum says it’ll be at least $700 to fix it, so there goes that fantasy.  Twice every second week, we’ll just have to deal.

Until this whole cancer thing, my dad was the sole income earner for the household.  I’ve been trying to get a job pretty solidly for the last year, and before that I was arguing with Centrelink, trying to make them give me student payments, since I’m, you know, studying.  I gave up on the bastards.  I’m a delightful sponge, now.
My parents are now being dragged through hell by Centrelink.  My dad will probably get paid, but whether mum does depends on how sick dad gets.  Whatever dad gets won’t be nearly what he was getting from work, but at least it will be more than the sick pay he’s currently getting from his work.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten very desperate indeed for work, and have broadened my search to non-childcare jobs, even though it will be very difficult to finish my course if I’m working full time at a non-childcare job, and also broadened from just Maryborough and Hervey Bay jobs to Brisbane and Gold Coast jobs as well, even though a job outside this region would also mean finding a home.
That, of course, brings up several other issues.  Not the least of which is if I’m not here, who’ll take care of mum while she takes care of dad?
Also there’s the little issue of needing somewhere to live if I’m in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast.  I feel like if I were down there I could get a job like I have other jobs I’ve had- by going in places and actually talking to a human being with thoughts and feelings.  Problem is, I’d need to live down there to do that, and to get a rental place, one needs to have a job.  Never mind that even when I didn’t have a job, I’ve always, always paid rent and paid it on or ahead of time, if I don’t have a job before I apply, I’m not likely to get a house/flat/room.  It’s a continuous loop of suck.
If I had a job, I’d be able to make sure mum could get by no matter what.  As it stands, I feel guilty every time I eat food in this house, because I didn’t pay for it.

That’s really as much as I can complain in one go,
I hope I wasn’t too annoying!

Signed with love,
The Pretty Kitty.