Anger

Being a Pedant.

I seem to have gained myself something of a reputation. I get tagged in memes on Facebook on an almost weekly basis, usually things along these lines:

grammar nazi

Now, I’d love to tell you that my reputation was totally unfounded and that I am, in fact, super easy going and rarely judgmental, but that simply isn’t the case. I am, by dictionary definition, a pedant:

Pedant

It’s not just spelling and grammar which draws my ire (although a recent post in a Facebook group I’m in which used the abbreviation “4t” in place of the word THOUGHT made me feel particularly cranky), it’s lots of things.

For example, last week Burrito Baby and I went to a baby singing class at our local library with my friend and her son for the first time, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously, we were surrounded by a whole band of your typical ‘crunchy’ mums who dress their kids entirely in shades of brown and allow them out of the house without seeing either a brush or a flannel, but we had fun nonetheless.

The problem came, however, when someone pulled out an animal book and turned to a page bearing an image of a chimpanzee. She asked the kid to identify the animal and when he couldn’t she proclaimed “It’s a MONKEY!”. It took every ounce of strength for me to not rip the book from her hands and say “IT’S NOT A MONKEY, IT’S A FUCKING APE!”, but stop myself I did, not least of all to relieve my friend of the embarrassment of being seen in public with an utter lunatic. That was almost a week ago and it still keeps playing on my mind; I’m also not ashamed to admit that I’ve sporadically been checking with BB to ensure that she knows that a chimpanzee is an ape (yes, she knows the difference!).

What also keeps popping into my head though, is the question of WHY it matters so much to me? That other kid could quite happily navigate its entire life without needing to know that monkeys and apes are different creatures but it really matters to me that BB knows what is right. I think it stems from growing up being told that I was a clever child. When you’re “clever”, there’s a lot of pressure on you to be right and KNOW THINGS because it’s  just expected that you will. I also remember being mocked fairly mercilessly whenever I got something wrong; I was literally NEVER allowed to forget the fact that I mispronounced “Che Guevara” during a game of Trivial Pursuit at the age of about 7 and it was used as something to mock me with until I was almost 30. Even now, if Husband (my most trusted ally) tells me that I’ve got something wrong, the shame burns in me even though he’s never mocked or been derisive. I HATE appearing to be wrong or misinformed and I think this is why I expect others to be the same.

In the grand scheme of things, spelling and grammar may not be super important to someone else, nor might the differences between monkeys and apes or any other spectrum of (probably useless) knowledge that I’ve got squirreled away, but try as I might I just cannot stop caring about it all. Facebook still gives me rage almost every day because of stupid errors on memes and status udates and I still have a reputation of being a total Nazi about it all. As much as I’d love to be the person who’s known for being the funniest or most caring, I think we’ve gone past that point know and I’ll forever be known as that woman who judges people for their apostrophe usage. And, I think I’m okay with that.

Tell me I’m not alone! I can’t be the only person to whom these things matter a little more than they should?! Leave me a comment below (and I PROMISE I won’t be judging your spelling!).

 

Anger

Telling a Grown Up

It doesn’t matter what age you are when you finally tell someone that you were abused as a child, the questions are always the same; where, when, how, who…but perhaps the hardest question of all to answer is “why didn’t you tell a grown-up?”. It’s very difficult, as an adult, to look back and try to process the reasoning of a child. Aside from the fact that many survivors of abuse have huge chunks of repressed memories which don’t allow them to answer the questions, even if they wanted to, sometimes the overwhelming pressure which comes from being asked the questions in the first place is enough to render them unable to answer.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about these questions and I’ve come up with a number of reasons:

Fear

When you’re a child and these awful things are happening, there’s fear in all directions. Fear that the ramifications of telling someone about the abuse will be worse than the abuse itself, fear that you’ll upset people, fear that you’ll get into trouble and fear that no-one will believe you. If you keep the abuse hidden until you’re an adult, your thought processes are different but the fear is still there. You also, as an adult, have the added fears of being dragged through the trauma all over again and potentially dragging people with you. I think I kept my childhood abuse hidden because I was scared that no-one would believe me or that I would somehow end up the villain in it all, and sadly I wasn’t wrong to suspect this.

Guilt

When you tell someone about what’s happened to you, one of the overwhelming feelings is guilt. Guilt at having to upset someone by telling them what has happened and having to put them through a horrible experience. Seeing their heartbreak, even though that heartbreak is FOR you, can be unbearable and sometimes it feels easier to internalize it all and not force anyone else to go through the horrible spectrum of emotions that they might have to go through.

Disbelief 

When you’ve been abused by a manipulative older person, you’re often left feeling as though the abuse was somehow your fault or that you’ve somehow encouraged it, or even that you’ve overblown it in your mind and that it’s not worth telling anybody. This is never usually the case but when you’re dealing with something by yourself for a matter of decades it’s really easy to let the disbelief creep in.

 I’m sure there are a million other reasons for not “telling a grown up” or even telling your peers once you’re an adult but these are just a few that spring to mind. If you’re ever in a position where you have to ask someone “WHY”, use one of these answers as your guide, rather than putting it on the person who’s been mistreated.

If you’re an adult who’s dealing with the effects of historical abuse, you can contact The Survivors Trust for support, advice and counselling. If you suspect that someone you know is a survivor of abuse, one of the most important thing you can do is treat them gently. Don’t ask questions which could trigger bad memories and allow them to take the lead. They may not talk to your right away (they simply may not be able to find the words) but if you let them know that you’re a willing pair of ears, they may open up.

Uncategorized

Dealing With Utility Companies When Moving Home

What are the most stressful things you can do in your life? The top five are often listed as the death of a loved one, losing your job, a major illness, divorce and… moving home. Moving home is a hugely stressful experience which is compounded by several factors. There are things which are exciting and as well as those which we face with trepidation, starting out in a new area, perhaps unfamiliar area, making new friends and getting to know neighbours or packing up and transporting a lifetime of memories.

Then there are the more mundane aspects of moving home, such as sorting out bills, notifying utility suppliers and getting your new home all hooked up. Anyone who has recently moved home will know that whilst these aspects of moving are much more humdrum, they can end up being some of the most  frustrating aspects of moving home and are ones which you need to get on top of.

Why do I need to contact my new supplier(s)

When you move into your new home one of the first things you should do is to note down any meter readings and notify utility suppliers. This is to prevent you being charged for any usage by the previous occupants and for your utility suppliers to only charge you for what you have used. It does not have to tie you into a contract with them as many electricity and gas suppliers will simply put you on a rolling contract till such time as you either sign up for a specific tariff (which is advisable to get the best rate) or till you switch providers.

Finding my utility suppliers

If you have recently moved home you will need to find out who your new utility suppliers (electricity, gas, water and telephone/ broadband) are.

Who is my energy supplier?

The easiest way to find out who supplies the electricity, and gas if you have it, at your new property is to contact the previous owner, tenant or landlord. If you are purchasing your property, and are in contact with the seller,  either they or the estate agent may be able to help you. If you are moving into rented accommodation try contacting the letting agent and landlord to find out. What you should not do is wait till you start to receive bills from the supplier.

This is because the energy supplier may not know who is residing at the property, whether or not it is occupied, and most likely will be using estimated billing. Noting down the meter readings when you move in and supplying these to the appropriate providers will remove that and allow you to get on the best possible plan, tariff or contract for your usage.

If you aren’t having much luck getting in contact with the previous residents/ owners or landlord you can find out who your gas supplier is by calling the Meter Point Administration service (0870 608 1524). They can help find your home’s supplier and will issue with a Meter Point Reference Number for future calls to them.

For more ways to find out who your current energy supplier is, you can read more in this handy guide to who is my gas and electricity provider.

Who is my water supplier?

Finding out your new water supplier is much easier than finding your gas and electricity provider. This is because water is still a more regulated field with each water supplier only operating within a specific geographical area. You can look up who your new water supplier is, as well as their contact info with this handy guide from Water UK

Broadband and telephone suppliers

utility companiesWhen you move to a new property it is likely that any telephone and broadband supply will have been cut off and will likely need to be reconnected. If you are still within the minimum term of your existing contract with a provider you will need to remain with them and simply be reconnected at your new address with your existing account.

It is possible to get out of such contracts but this usually comes with a heavy penalty. You will need to notify your broadband and telephone supplier prior to moving (around a month before hand is the best amount of time). Inform them of your moving date, new address and whether or not you want to bring your account with you to your new home. Book in any broadband or TV service installations before your moving date to secure an engineers visit as close to when you move in as possible.

If you are outside your minimum term contract then you can begin to look at and compare other telephone, broadband and tv providers to find the best possible package for you. There can be pitfalls and problems when changing contracts as you move home. Broadband.co.uk have a great guide on what to expect and how to navigate through any potential issues you might have.

Baby

5 Perfect Baby Shower Gifts for a Small Budget

Baby ShowerYour friend or family member’s baby shower is happening soon, and you want to buy a gift, but your budget isn’t allowing you to overdo it… so, what do you do?

Choose one of these five perfect, baby shower gifts for a small budget, of course!

Matching baby shower shirts

This is a cute idea and a nice surprise for the mother to be if she is arriving after everyone; the idea is to have the latest baby scan printed on some t-shirts for everyone to wear together.

It will help kick start the festivities and while it might not be a useful item for the baby it’s a nice sentiment everyone can enjoy afterwards – even if they only wear theirs as PJs. You could just buy one for the Mum if your budget is really tight, but a site such as Helloprint offers good deals on bulk shirt printing.

Impression kit

Babies grow fast, so give the gift of everlasting memories with an easy to use impressions kit. Mum and Dad can take their baby’s hand or foot and imprint it on clay, then bake, to create a cute reminder of just how small their child was.

If the baby is being born around Christmas time, be sure to include some ribbon so they can make the impression into a Christmas decoration for the tree. You can pick up full kits with instructions but alternatively you could pick up some clay, a plastic mat and a rolling pin and wrap them up with a little note to tell them what to do with it.

Something handmade

If you’re a dab hand with crochet needles or know how to knit a cute hat, then these are inexpensive and useful gifts that are given from the heart and require a lot of time and effort on your part to put together. A blanket is another good option, something small enough for mum to pack in her changing back and take out with her is perfect. Here are some great patterns to try out.

Egg box socks

Take an egg box (a large one that housed 12 eggs would work best) and grab tiny socks in sizes 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. It’s an inexpensive, thoughtful gift that allows you to give the mother to be and baby something new they can use over the coming months.

Roll each pair of socks up and place them in the space for the eggs to create a cute display. The recipient will probably be a little confused when she first sees the box but pleasantly surprised when she realises what’s inside.

Frozen home cooked meals

Mum and Dad are going to be pretty busy caring for their new bundle of joy, so cooking might go completely out the window. Ensure they are getting plenty of good food that’s easy to sling in the microwave to warm up. Dishes such as chilli, lasagne, soup and spaghetti are great for busy parents and easy to put together for little cost.

Think about what the new parents will need and what will benefit the baby and you should be able to come up with an inexpensive but thoughtful gift to give at the shower!

Uncategorized

Healthy & Tasty Recipes the Whole Family Will Enjoy

image

It is a tough task to find healthy meals the whole family will enjoy. It is important that your food provides all the vital nutrients for your kids, so they will remain energized and in good health. However, you may have some picky eaters in your brood that may be tough critics. Luckily, there are a number of wonderful recipes that you can sneak in the important nutrients and successfully find the balance between tasty and healthy. Here are four delicious, kid-approved recipes that are hassle-free and highly nutritious:

Tacos

Tacos are a wonderful family meal as they can be customized for each eater. Create a taco station that has a wide variety of fillings that your kids can choose from. Make sure you ask your kids ahead of time which vegetables and proteins they prefer for tacos. Once you know their preferences, incorporate those nutrients into their meal. If you serve chips and salsa with the meal, make sure the chips aren’t too high in sodium. Garden of Eatin’ chips are a healthy, unsalted tortilla chip variety.

Dehydrated Fruit and Jerky

Dehydrated foods make for wonderful snacks whenever you’re on the go. Your own dehydrator will help you create foods that aren’t overly processed and don’t have any hidden sugar additives. These snacks can be made ahead in bulk, as their shelf life is six months to a year. The best fruits for dehydration include apples, pineapple, mango, bananas, plums and papaya. For a high-protein snack that doesn’t have a high fat content, you can make turkey jerky. For every four strips of turkey jerky, there are 170 calories, 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.

Crockpot Minestrone

A slow cooker is a mom’s best friend. It safely cooks your meals while you’re out and about.Crockpot minestrone is a great fall or winter recipe that is packed with flavor. The Family Fresh Meals recipe for this soup is especially healthy with the large number of vegetables that it incorporates. The vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, onion, zucchini and green beans, are paired with protein and fiber-rich red kidney beans and cannellini beans. The ditalini pasta is a good source of starch that will keep your whole family energized.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a beloved family favorite; however, the classic recipe has a large amount of cream and sodium. A healthy, alternative recipe can be found on Food Network’s site. This recipe incorporates two percent milk, fat-free Greek yogurt and low-sodium chicken broth as healthy substitutes. Chicken pot pie has a wonderful balance of vegetables and chicken that will keep your whole family satisfied. This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen for those hectic days when you need dinner on the fly.