December is almost upon us

With dinky’s grandparents moving to Ireland, I have to make this the best Christmas ever, even in the hostel. We are still waiting for the CAMHS referral, and I’m going to see her play therapist next week on Tuesday to discuss dinky and what the therapist can do for her while we wait for CAMHS. I have an assessment on Monday with a place called steps well being, they offer support and advice to those with mental health issues on a number of issues, including housing. So that’s another step in the right direction. Everything is in place, but I’m an impatient person. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I hate waiting for things. We’ve waited 7 months so far in the hostel, we’ve waited 2 months for the CAMHS referral (not CAMHS fault, it was the GP surgery that held it up for 4and a half weeks) , I waited a month for the steps well being assessment, and I’ve waited 2 months to discuss dinky with the play therapist.
The other side of it is, everything stops for 3/4 weeks at Christmas. No play therapy for dinky, no appointments with S, and the CAMHS referral with probably lead to an appointment in January or February or possibly even March, and the steps well being place will probably start working with me in January.
It leads to an overwhelming sense of aloneness around the Christmas period for us. We won’t be lonely as such, we have each other, and on Christmas day another resident is staying here with her 18 month old. I’m not reliant on services, but at the moment we could really use the support and it is being withdrawn. I know we will get to January just fine, we will have the best Christmas possible and dinky has got nearly everything she has asked for. As long as she is happy I’ll be pretty happy.

Tomorrow my dad is coming up to play Xbox and moan about work, then he will be back Saturday, I have Sunday as a day of rest, and then monday is the start of a busy week.
I probably won’t blog over the weekend, but then I doubt anyone reads this anyway.

Another complication

Dinky is a result of a drunken one night stand with a friend… The one and only one night stand I ever partook in, but she is here because of it none the less. Her biological father has never wanted anything to do with her. He has never seen her or provided her with anything. His mum has seen her a few times and even had her overnight for a few days. Dinky is very close with her grandma, her husband and their 1 year old labrador Buster.
Yesterday I had a phone call from her grandma. They are moving to Ireland in just over 2 weeks. While it might be the right thing for them to do for themselves it is going to have a devastating affect on dinky. It is all well and good the grandparents saying they will have her over in Ireland for holidays and talk to her on the phone, but previously they have let dinky down plenty of times and even living just 2 hours drive away, they never saw her as much as they said they would. They never phone her as much as they said they would either. I don’t even know how to break this to dinky. She is going to be heartbroken. The grandmother said she would tell dinky what was going on but I’m worried that she will give false promises and offers which will never get followed through. That might ease her guilt knowing that dinky is being referred to CAMHS and is receiving play therapy at school, but it won’t do dinky any favours in the long run. She will get all excited about going to Ireland on a plane and it will never happen.
I worried that it will make dinky’s behaviour worse. I’m worried about how much it will affect her.
Then to top it all off they want to see her before they go, which might have to be a school day, so they want me to take her out of school. No consideration to dinky’s education either. I really am getting fed up with it all.
So I spent 30 minutes talking to the deputy head of dinky’s school about the situation. She is going to get back to me about the possibility of letting dinky have a day off companionate leave as she agreed with me that saying goodbye was important, and hopefully at least with a goodbye she can understand it more. Dinky is not yet actually compulsory school age as she doesn’t turn 5 until February, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Thankfully the deputy head is going to speak to dinky’s play therapist and get her to phone me so we can work out how to do this in the right way to minimise the damage to dinky.
It is just another thing to work out, sort and deal with.

So another week, another complication, and something else for S to raise her eyebrows at next week.

Bidding day… How it all works…

Bidding on social housing properties from the local authorities is different in different parts of the UK and so is the criteria.
Some areas work on a points system, which I think is fairer as priority goes to those who rack up the most points.
Here we have bandings,

A persons’ current housing circumstances means they will fall into one of the following bandings:

Band A+ Emergency or very urgent priority

Band A Very High Priority

Band B High Priority

Band C Medium Priority

Band D Low Priority

It is fair to say that if you join the housing register and you have been assessed as either band C or D your chances of being offered social housing from the council are very low.

Housing is allocated by banding first then by priority housing date (the date on which the housing application was made) those with the earlier date will be considered first.

Dinky and I are in band A, to get into band A+ we have to have been in the hostel/bed and breakfast for 12 months or more. We don’t qualify under any of the other criteria for A+. We were in the bed and breakfast for 12 weeks (double the amount of time as set out by government legislation) and been in the hostel for just over 4 months, so we have been in band A for 7 months. Only 5 more to go until we go up a band!
Most people don’t get housed until they are in A+.
There is something new in the pipelines, 3 hostels were shut down and have beenundergoing renovations to turn them into temporary accommodation 1 and 2 bedroom flats, in which a person/family can stay for up to 2 years. This was mentioned to S (my mental health nurse) and I will be considered for one of the 2 bedroom flats. Here is the rub… Do I move into temporary accommodation and then move into permanent housing, so that for a period of time we have more room…. Or… Do we stay in the room, get moved faster into permanent housing and reduce the need to move twice? The estimated completion on the renovations is early 2013. We will be moved to A+ in April 2013.

As far as bidding goes once you have a banding you get a bidding number and bidding commences on a Monday from 12am and ends Thursdays at 5pm. Bidding can be done online or through the property store in the town hall.
Thanks to my iPad and smart phone I can bid at home, it saves a trip to the town centre.
Today is bidding day!
There were 2 eligible properties today.. One not in the right area for dinky’s school, and one in a better area to get to school, so I bid at 9am. It gets rather depressing when before I even bid I read that there are 11 people in front of us on the list. So I bid anyway, got to show willing, right?
I check the status of last weeks bids and find I finished 20th on the list and my bid was obviously unsuccessful. Again a depressing outlook, I have to wait for the 19 people in front of us to be housed before we get to the top of the list. Even then, it all depends on what areas in the borough people are bidding on. Unfortunately Dinky’s school is situated in the most popular area, so more people bid for that area.

If it went on the points system I would bet I would be higher on the list given my mental health issues, dinky’s referral to CAMHS, and dinky’s education. Most of the families that have been in the hostel who have been housed have had children under 3 years. So an extra month wouldn’t be so bad but we have to travel from one end of the borough to the other for school Monday-Friday. We leave at 7.30 am and get home at 4pm. By the time I give dinky her dinner and do her reading and practice her letters there isn’t much time for wind down and a bath before I get her to bed at 6.30pm. This gives her the opportunity to have 12 hours sleep providing she goes to sleep soon after going to bed, and providing the woman downstairs doesn’t shout at her kids to shut up and stop crying at 4.30/5am and wake dinky, which she does probably 4-6 out of 7 days. So on average dinky is up at 4.30/5am gets to school at 8.40am, gets home at 4pm, goes to bed at 6.30pm, and finally falls to sleep around 7pm. So the least amount of sleep she gets is 9- 9and a half hours a night. At her age (4) she should be getting 11-12 hours a night.

So every week I check which houses/flats we are eligible for and bid on them. I try not to get my hopes up because we are still not high enough on the list.

Although we have gone from 35 on the list of properties bid on, down to 20 in the last 4 months. Which is progress, and progress should not be dismissed, but slightly celebrated.

We have got permission from the hostel managers to decorate the whole hostel for Christmas! So at least we can make the place feel more festive! It is going to be hard, but I have to make this Christmas as good as it possibly can be for dinky! So I have brought every thing on her list, and spent a fortune on decorations.

I can’t get too down about Christmas because even though the situation sucks, I at least still have dinky to celebrate with, if she is happy, I am happy. (which is why I am not happy about being here because dinky isn’t.)

On the upside, there is benefits to being disowned by your entire family, apart from the lack of arguments and family tension,there is also a big financial benefit! So all the money I would have spent on my 2 younger half siblings, my niece and 3 nephews can go on making Christmas special for the only person that matters…. Dinky!

I had better stop blogging, and get on with the washing and cleaning before I have to go get dinky from school…..

Where we are at…

So this is my first post…

My life is never simple… I said that to S (my mental health nurse) when I first saw her back in September but I think she took it as a depressive statement rather than fact. Everytime I see her there is a huge list of events that suck.
For example… I saw S on Thursday, in the two weeks before…
I phoned CAMHs to see if they got dinky’s referral that was sent in October, they hadn’t.
So I phoned the GP practice only to find it was awaiting my signature and for me to fill in my section.
I go down to fill it in and sign it, only to find the referral section filled by the GP was copied and pasted from August, and no relevant info was on there.
So I arrange a GP appointment to go over the referral and hope it can be redone so that dinky can get some support.
The GP appointment was a nightmare, the GP was condesending, patronising, jumped to conclusions and raised her voice at me. Of course I didn’t take it well, I shouted back and walked out.
I wrote a complaint and saw a practice partner who was also a GP to discuss the referral. While we were there Dinky managed to pull the cover of the scales, get herself stuck under the bed, and pull the cuff off the blood pressure monitor. She was also highly disruptive, kept interrupting and when playing was very loud. So the GP did the referral properly.
I signed it and it was sent.
We are on the first floor of the hostel and the woman under us has two kids.. A 2 year old and a 2 month old. The week or so before she had started putting the heating up to 26 degrees celecius. I am not a fan of heat. It makes me very irritable. So we got into this I turn it down, she turns it up, I turn it back down, she turns it back up battle. I asked others if they were hot and each of them said yes, it was too hot in the hostel. So I researched temperatures and babies rooms are supposed to be between 16 and 20 degrees as anything higher could increase the risk of cot death. I wrote a note and stuck it to the thermostat. She came pounding up the stairs. Apparently her 2 month old had a blocked nose and a little cough so it must be flu… I know… Hypochondriac in the house! I told her what the NHS website recommended and she ignored it and began shouting. I was not in the mood so I left it. Over the course of 5 days we had 3 discussions. She let slip that she always had her window open and that she didn’t put blankets on him. I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. I lost my temper a little and said that if she wanted to put her kid at risk because she was too stupid to close the window so be it. Then she said “I feel like I’m being picked on… Is it because of my colour?” I almost hit the roof! I am white, she is Asian. But that never crossed my mind! I told her “I don’t care if you are White, Black, Asian or pink with polka dots for that matter… If you wind me up and make me uncomfortable I will say something!”
Racist? I have never been racist, I always had this saying when confronting racists ‘everyone is human, cut us and we all bleed the same colour’. I can’t and won’t tolerate racism. The same as I can not and will not tolerate being called a racist because I disagree with someone who just happens to be a different colour on the outside.
Dinky started play therapy at school that week too. And I had parents evening, the teacher was nice, but said Dinky needs to listen more, pay attention, do as she is asked, stop talking constantly, stop using the toilet as an excuse not to do school work, and she can get angry and aggressive so much so the teacher (Mrs N) has learnt not to touch her and to remove herself and other children from dinky when she gets angry. Dinky is becoming increasingly worried about where I am which is the complete opposite of what should happen as children settle into school.
Nothing I didn’t know but it is still hard to hear. All of these things are on dinkys referral to CAMHS.
So when I told S about the fortnight in between appointments she was slightly taken aback. She conceded that I was right and that things never are simple in my world. I seem to spend the hour every fortnight just going through all the crap from the previous 2 weeks. She could not understand how I laughed about it all and how I seemed happy especially after being down the previous 2 times I saw her. I told her I am used to it.
I only have one appointment left in two weeks before she goes on holiday for Christmas.