Home straight

I know, I haven’t posted anything in a month – I’m afraid I haven’t had the time.   In two days time I will have been employed for four weeks, and I’ve been working hard.

My contract is only for 17 hours a week, but I’ve been averaging double that, and… well… let’s be honest, here – I’m not used to working, at all!
Caring is a full-time thing, yes, and it can be very hard work at times – but you almost always have the option of saying ‘I’ll do that later.’  You rarely have to set an alarm, you just get up when you wake up – and then wait for your caree to wake up and need something.

Now, I have to be at work by a set time, and I have to stay there until my work is done!  Can you imagine that?  No more doing what I feel when I feel, oh no.  No, I have to do what I’m told, the way I’m told, when I’m told…

So I’ve been exhausted.

I’ve worked hard (for me), and then I’ve come home and gone to bed.  Poor dog doesn’t know what’s hit him: I let him out of his cage at six in the morning, take him for a walk at seven, lock him back in his cage at seven-thirty, then leave him on his own, locked away in his cage, until six-thirty in the evening.
Then he gets another walk before I cook my dinner, feed him, then put him back in his cage so I can go to bed!

I’m allowed out driving on my own, now, and it’s been darned hard work.  Made worse by stupid mistakes.  A couple of examples:
I arrived at a customers house to find the previous customers shopping was still on the van!  The two customers were a good half-hours drive apart (two different towns), and the next six customers were all in the same town I was already in.  I had to finish the round, then go back to the first customers house at the end of my shift… during my lunch hour.
Another day, following the sat-nav to my first drop, I was told to turn up a road with ‘Road Closed’ signs across it – so I ignored the sat-nav and went straight past the turning.  I then drove a good 15-20 miles to the next turning, before following the sat-nav another 15-20 miles to the customers house.  Only… the house was next to the ‘Road Closed’ signs!

Those were my mistakes, I admit, but then I had one where the address given by the customer was a good five miles away from where they actually wanted the shopping!  Almost at the limit of our coverage, the address given was a farm that we do deliver to – but the customer was on holiday at a fishing lodge five miles away, a lodge that the people at the farm had never heard of!  On our trip sheets there is a space for the customer to give any special instructions, and written there was a note saying something like ‘2 Lake Lodge  new road’ which I took to mean that there was a new road near the farm with a few houses on it… No, they meant that it was a road called ‘new road’ – and when I put ‘new road’ into the sat-nav, it managed to take me to the right place.  Down narrow lanes, of course, but it took me there.

We go down some very narrow lanes, and the van already bears the scars of my driving.  I’ve scraped the door mirror along a brick wall; I’ve transferred paint from a fence onto the back of the van; I’ve pulled up at a customers house and had to remove a bush from the van door before I could open it – a bush that was happily growing in the hedge three miles back…

So…  It’s hard work.  I’m exhausted every day.  It’s stressful.  And it’s the best job I’ve ever had!

I’m loving it, I really am!

I’d better say, at this point, that I still miss my partner, and it still hurts.  Just this Saturday, for no reason I can think of, I found myself almost in tears while driving – several times during the afternoon.  I finally had a good little sob party about eight in the evening, which made me feel a little better.

I had a bad few months, then these last few weeks have been… well… good.  Not great, not ‘right’ but good.  I’ve been able to function almost normally, most of the time.  I’m coming to terms with the loss, whilst still feeling it quite a bit.

So please, when I say I’m happy, understand that I’m happy in spite of my loss, and that I’m quite pleased to be able to smile again.

Because that is what I’m doing.  I’m smiling.  Getting out of the house, meeting people, enjoying the countryside – all with a smile on my face.

It does feel as if I’m being disloyal – why should I be happy without my partner, sort of thing – and it will be a long time before I get rid of the guilt I feel.  Guilt at still being alive; guilt at how relieved I am that I still have some money to live on; guilt at the idea of being happy.  But I will get over it.  Eventually.

For now, I’m enjoying my job, and my co-workers, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do the job until I am too old and feeble to get into the van – then I’ll see if I can work in another department.  I don’t have to retire from the job, I can keep going if I want to – and I intend to keep going.

The only slight problem is this blog.  From the very start, this has been about me moaning about things – tongue-in-cheek sometimes, but moaning none-the-less – and I just don’t see anything to moan at any more!

The blog is for the miserable old bugger I used to be, not the happy-go-lucky person I am now.  Maybe I’ll go back to being miserable, someday – who knows – but, right now, well…  How can I put this?

Got it.

In January, the world ended.  The single most demoralising thing I have ever known happened.  Nothing, not one single thing I can imagine, could ever be worse.

So I’ve endured the worst – from now on, things can only get better.  So I might as well enjoy every day, and look forward to all the better tomorrows.
Because things can never get any worse, I have no reason to be the miserable bugger I used to be…

I’ll keep smiling.  It feels good, though a little strange…

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