Tuesday 30th June
The day was generally one of the two low points of the week… when I received a letter via email from my daughter’s counsellor, that was jointly written by daughter and counsellor. It said that although my daughter “wants to continue emailing with me she doesn’t want any more at this point – although she realises that her view may change at some point, she cannot do any more as this is too hard”. Although it is reassuring that daughter wants to maintain at least some contact, the firm statement that it won’t be any more than email for a potentially considerable amount of time made me feel very sad. On the plus side, in the afternoon there was a team meeting for my team which I was slightly late to and when I got to the table there was two different types of chairs, a ‘plain’ one that everyone else was sitting at and a posher one, and my colleague said “I left the posh chair for the pretty lady”… with the ‘pretty lady’ being me, as the other woman in the team was not in; so that was nice.
Wednesday 1st July
Off work again for another health appointment that I could not realistically get to if I only took half a day off work. On the way to hospital I popped into M&S for lunch, which ended up being afternoon tea, after which I had a quick browse and paid for some tights and a pair of shoes to a friendly check-out girl who then asked me if I had thought of taking out a M&S credit card – I said no, but showed interest… because, with my female ID I can now do this, and so she summoned someone from M&S Bank and said “if you could take this lady through the details quickly as she’s in a rush”… and after a few minutes I did have to leave her, as I had been warned by Michelle that it would take a while to park at the hospital… and she was SO right, the car park was full and would only let a car in when another one went out, so it took ages to park and I only just got to my appointment at Endocrinology on time. I waited for quite a while, then had my height and weight taken, then waited a while longer until the department head consultant called my name and beckoned my into the consulting room. He asked me a lot of questions, took my blood pressure, explained all about the HRT treatment…and THEN just wrote out a prescription for HRT and testosterone blocker! On my way out from him I expressed slight surprise, though said I wasn’t complaining, that I was walking out with a prescription when some people I know have had to wait weeks and weeks – he said that with some people there are concerns, but as I am “such a healthy specimen then there is no problem”. Then I went into a very pleasant nurse called Claire who took my bloods while we had a pleasant chat, and said it was nice to meet me as I left. Of course, I practically skipped out of the hospital with my prescription… although being a muggy day I was, at the same time, quite drained.
I did a bit of clothes shopping on Boucher Road and then, with a bit of time to spare, went back to M&S to their bank centre to do my credit card application… went was good, I filled out the application in front of a nice guy who guided me as I went from one section to the next – he pointed to the ‘additional applicant’ section and said “That’s where you can put the details of your husband or partner”. Husband! Finally onto The Plough where I had a delicious meal with my two friends and got ‘ladied’ to death by the waiting staff, although I wasn’t very hungry and so had just a couple of starters; we had a little walk afterwards before saying goodbye at our cars.
Thursday 2nd July
I was wearing the same, spotty floaty dress to work that I wore the previous night out – it’s a lovely, really feminine feeling item… but sadly I didn’t get any compliments, as such… although while I was having a chat with my PM about meeting my ex- that evening, and that I had texted ex- to say not to voice any uncomplimentary thoughts (which was quite typical of her during my marriage) he said very sincerely to me “Well I think you’re a pretty woman”! Aw, how sweet, huh! I told him how I was criticised a lot while married and he said that when my ex- meets me it is likely to be a case of “look in the mirror and then decide who’s the prettiest”.
So I caught my usual, later train to Newry, and once at my car waited for my ex- to arrive – we had arranged to meet there as I had a bag of clothes for my daughter to hand over. My ex- got out the car and, teary-eyed, launched into a one-sided conversation that I hardly got a word in edgeways, essentially labouring on about how upset my daughter often is, how she isn’t interested in anything (no change from last year then!), how she was eating little and not taking her medication (same as when she has previously had eating problems then), how ex- worried that my daughter might become anorexic (which we have worried about before), and how she might drop out of school… although why that would ever happen I can’t fathom. Of course, more than half the conversation was a repeat of a previous one only a couple of weeks ago, and was about how hard life actually is for my ex-… half of which is because she now gets no time to herself to socialise. I could wonder whether my ex- was tear-eyed because I was attired so much smarter and feminine than she was (in a pink vest and tent-sized navy safari shorts, both of which showed large layers of flab), but was told that she had left my daughter in tears, begging her not to meet me… which, later, turned out to be a lie, as my daughter’s response to that suggestion was utter disbelief. Then, of course, my ex- couldn’t help herself and her spiteful, insensitive side by saying “Well, you may be wearing a dress but if I saw you walking down the street I would still see <MALE-NAME>”; all that did was to prove as much as I ever needed reminding that I am so much better without that person in my life.
Friday 2nd July
I woke up in a down-beat mood after the meeting of the night before, feeling sad about my daughter, and my confidence just a little off after my ex-‘s comments. But work went well enough, my first day deputising for my PM while he’s on his summer hols. On arrival I talked to a woman who hasn’t seen me since I went full-time at the end of January, who asked how I was getting on and said I looked ‘well’ (which in Ireland means ‘good’), then a bit later a guy I have known for a couple of years had a chat with me and finished by saying it was nice talking to me. I ended up having virtually no breakfast, with little appetite with my ex-‘s comment still on my mind… but made up for it with a big, hot lunch, and sat in the canteen with a girl and guy from my department, the latter whom I thought had an issue with me… but all was fine with them. I had quite a number of emails from my daughter over the last couple of days, who is really excited about going to Irish summer scheme… and in one she said that she would email me while she was away and when I suggested she would be far too busy enjoying herself she said “don’t worry, I’ll find the time xx”
Weekend 3rd / 4th July
Saturday I was supposed to go for a walk with my group, but I awoke at the time I should start getting ready, drew the curtains, and saw heavy rain and grey clouds all around… and as I was very tired after a long week I closed the curtains and went back to bed for a couple of hours. When I did get out of bed the weather had brightened up, but there was soon another rain shower and so I wasn’t too bothered about missing my walk. I ended up having quite a productive day, doing washing, all my ironing, some lawn-mowing and pruning, as well as some tidying up around the house. I also phoned my parents… and was, as usual, mis-gendered by my mother (and corrected her) once again.
Sunday was quite a fun day, with two Meetup group events. The first was at the Ulster Museum, and was called ‘Slow Art Sunday’ which is where museum guides talk about three works of art at the museum to a group. I met the group, mostly women, in the café once I had bought a mocha, and chatted with a couple of the girls and a couple of guys – one of the women said she liked my dress (which is one of my favourite day dresses), and I complimented another girl’s sandals which were really nice… and then one of the guys started taking the mickey out of me by saying to the other guy ‘Hey, I like your shoes Jeff…’ but then he admitted that that kind of conversation just doesn’t work between guys. So we went up in the lift and emerged onto the Modern Art floor, and I started thinking “Oh no, not modern, abstract art which I don’t get at all”… except that we sat on some pre-arranged fold-up chairs in front of my favourite piece on the floor called “Chronicle of Orange” (see picture) by a lady from Northern Ireland and two museum guides then proceeded to talk about the work, and asked about our views on it from various angles, and talked about different techniques used in it. Then we turned around and talked about a ‘sculpture’, a series of polished silver balls in decreasing sizes with rings of deer hide around them… and I didn’t really get it at all. The last piece was a painting called “Eclipse”, a picture seemingly of clouds and a solar eclipse in shades of blacks and yellows, which was very interesting, especially some of the similarities to other works, but also the more one looked at it the more one saw other things in the painting. After that event we went onto the second event, a late lunch at a place called Deanes At Queens (near Queens University), where I had a nice salmon dish with risotto and scallops followed by a delicious chocolate truffle cake with raspberry and coconut sorbet; the chat was generally very good, although one of the women and the only guy there were really loud (whereas moi is quiet) and gave me a bit of a headache. I left with one of the women and we chatted back to our cars, and then I rushed to Sainsburys for a few groceries where I gave the guy on the self-serve checkout a smile, rewarded by a friendly hello which I returned. At 6.00pm I wondered whether Kirsty would be about, as she had her book group – she was getting dressed when I texted, and eventually I suggested to meet outside support group HQ (which I can’t go inside any more, it just feels wrong) for a few minutes; at 6.25ish she sat in my car and we had a nice chat for a little while until she had to go.