Tag Archives: Christmas

You Can’t Argue With MS

play-doh brainAlong with sprouts, bad telly and a chocolate overdose, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a few arguments.

I now know I will never win another one as long as MS insists on using my brain as Play-doh.

I used to be quite good at thinking on my feet, remembering the punchlines to jokes and telling anecdotes without losing the thread halfway through. I could also hold my own pretty well in an argument or disagreement.

Those days have passed and I now sit with a slightly perplexed look on my face as I work out my response to a point made ten minutes earlier. In the spirit of fairness, I reckon us peeps with MS should be given a few allowances when it comes to arguing:

  • We should be given prior notice, giving us time to think of some clever and witty retorts.
  • We should be allowed to take notes during the aforementioned argument. A personal scribe should be allotted if, like me, your handwriting is now worse than your neurologist’s.
  • We should be granted ‘argument breaks’, allowing us time to gather our thoughts (and energy). Lucozade should be supplied as standard.
  • Similarly, a sofa should be made available if we start yawning, and the argument rescheduled for a more convenient time.

I’m resigning myself to the fact that I am now a pushover when it comes to arguing, although when The Teenager starts one (all too frequently over this festive season), I end up falling back on that age-old parent phrase – ‘because I said so’. Which isn’t very original, but you can’t argue with that one. This is normally followed by The Teenager storming upstairs and blasting out his music.

To be honest, I don’t really miss point-scoring and the hollow victory of winning every argument. My initial frustration has given way to calm acceptance and I have now added it to my list of things I have lost, along with heels and staying up past my bedtime.

So the next time an argument brews, I will stumble inelegantly away or just stay put and use one of The Teenager’s favourite phrases, ‘talk to the hand’..

Tagged , , , ,

MS Doesn’t Take A Holiday….

MS grinchWell, the big day has come and gone.

Shame I can’t say the same about MS, which had the bad grace to leave a few extra presents under the tree.

It started so well. We had our company Christmas bash – just me and the boss marooned in a restaurant full of proper office parties (all excruciatingly forced jollity, loud voices and a solitary woman crying in the loos).

We had a glass of wine at my place afterwards, where I amused the boss by holding up the plastic wineglasses my mum bought me for Hallowe’en after I smashed my last one. ‘Spooky ghost or howling skull?’. Awkward.

The next day I had champagne with the family while The Teenager was in London. I took it easy, inwardly congratulating myself but MS had other ideas. The last thing I remember is getting home, feeding the cat, tripping over, hitting my head on the door and knocking myself out. I woke up several hours later with the cat next to me shaking her head sadly.

Then my arms started to go numb at inopportune moments. Normally it’s one or the other, along with constantly buzzing legs and feet. So with two numb arms and dodgy legs, Christmas Day was a trial. We helped to serve Christmas lunch to a roomful of pensioners. Someone thrust a jug of gravy into my hands and motioned for me to go forth and pour. Gripping the jug as tightly as I could, I made my way round.

I did try to explain that gravy washes out of clothes quite easily, just pop a bit of Vanish on first, but they were unimpressed and a good few elderly ladies glared at me as they dabbed ineffectually at their skirts and blouses.

So now we are in that odd period between Christmas and New Year. Numb arms or not, I have still managed to polish off a tub of Quality Street (the pain was worth it). I fall asleep at odd times of the day, I’ve tripped over a stray bauble and am considering installing grab rails in the shower (you really, really don’t want to hear that story).

MS has certainly made Christmas that little bit more interesting. Laugh? Til I cried….

Tagged , , , , ,

MS Christmas Survival Guide

santa asleepChristmas is the one time in the year us peeps with MS can really blend in.

Over the next two weeks, it will be perfectly socially acceptable for me to nod off at odd times of the day, stumble and talk gibberish. Last Christmas, I fell up the stairs, followed by a round of applause.

However, a little forward- planning is still essential, so here is my quick guide to surviving the festive frolics:

  • Internet shopping – it’s still not too late! I have not had to brave any crowds, queue for hours or fight over the last Christmas pudding. Plus, I have a rather handsome postman I have seen so often I’m sure the neighbours think I’m having a clandestine affair (I wish).
  • Sleep – make the most of this time. No need to explain why you’ve dozed off in front of the telly for the third time that day, or fallen asleep face-down in your turkey dinner. People will laugh rather than gasp. They may even take a photo and put it on Twitter. Instant fame guaranteed.
  • Stumbling/tripping – let’s face it, everyone will be doing a lot of this. It’s practically mandatory. Why not have a festive quiz? If you trip, turn to your assembled family and say, ‘aha! Now was that MS or the extra-strong mulled wine?’ Winner gets the last purple Quality Street.
  • Cog fog – this is especially handy during Christmas. When (not if) a family argument starts and you’re asked if Auntie Doreen really did say that terrible thing about Auntie Doris thirty years ago, just put on your most tragic expression and tell Auntie Dot that you’re a hopeless case, you can’t even remember what you had for dinner yesterday.
  • Extra help – if you’re having a bad MS day, waylay a passing small(ish) child and tell them you want to play a game. Little kids love dressing up and pretending, so why not pop an apron on them and tell them you’ll give them two quid if they play at being a maid, like in Downton Abbey. That way you can have a steady stream of Twiglets, refills, magazines and chocolates delivered straight to your sofa. Plus you get extra Brownie points for entertaining a child for seven hours.

So, I wish you all a very merry (hic) Christmas. Hold your heads up high (with a sneaky peek at your feet), go forth and celebrate.

Tagged , , , ,

And Here’s One I Made Earlier….

starsWho knew crafternoons could be so stressful?

I had a couple of days off work recently, and inspired by countless articles in picture-perfect Christmas magazines, I had amassed a whole pile of crafty bits just perfect for creating a home-made Christmas.

Getting into an arty festive mood, I put some Christmas carols on, brewed some cranberry herbal tea, tied my hair up in a scarf, and set to.

After an exhausting afternoon spent weeping into my glitter, here’s what I learned:

  • Invisible thread is called invisible thread for a reason.
  • Air-drying clay does not dry in 24 hours.
  • The cat likes licking air-drying clay (ew).
  • Metal star-shaped cookie cutters are painful.
  • Potato stamping isn’t half as much fun at 40 as it was at 4.
  • Paper folding is not relaxing.
  • Cutting card with a craft knife is deadly.
  • Too much herbal tea was a mistake.
  • The magazines lied.

I don’t give up that easily, so the next afternoon, I put some hard rock music on, made some mulled wine and wrapped my hair tightly with an elastic band (glue guns and hair don’t mix).

First up, the easy one. Slice some oranges, put in oven at a low heat for four hours (‘a delightful aroma will infuseĀ your home with a wondrous Christmas spirit’).

Next, glue-gun some baubles to a distressed wooden frame, in the shape of a Christmas tree ( a simple, yet charming idea).

Finally, make your own candles (‘a bee-yoootiful gift for friends and family’).

My oranges curled up and died, sending out plumes of evil-smelling, acrid smoke, I became more distressed than my baubles and frame and after boiling up wax pellets for the candles, I realised too late that the wicks I had ordered were too short.

All I have to show for my efforts is a string of clay stars. After all the pummeling, rolling out, cutting out, three days of air-drying and chasing the cat away from them, I was determined not to be beaten.

The next day, I went to Poundland (three fold-out stars for a quid), chucked out all my magazine articles, cursed Kirstie Allsopp and Pinterest and flopped on the sofa to watch ‘Elf’ for the eighth time (with some re-heated mulled wine)….

Tagged , , , , ,

A Sense of Disconnection

life without the internetOh my days. Who knew that being with a much-reduced internet connection over the last week could be quite so traumatic?

The Teenager has gone through a whole range of emotions, from full-blown panic (‘how will I survive? I am utterly, totally disconnected’) to deep depression (‘wake me up when it’s over’).

I helpfully suggested he read a book or I don’t know, make something.

I was smartly told that whilst that may be acceptable for old people like me who went through their teenage years *gasp* without the internet, he’d rather sit in McDonalds like a saddo all day where they at least have free wifi, thank you very much.

Anyway, we’re back on track and a sense of normality has returned to our little cottage (it won’t last). In other news over this quiet week:

  • I had a letter inviting me to my graduation ceremony next May and did I want to hire a cap and gown? Which means my degree results must be on their way, eek.
  • The Teenager gave up his paper round. Enough said. You really don’t want to hear about it. Or the specially-extended lecture I gave him.
  • My smartphone (so badly-named) decided to get in on the internet act and freeze at inopportune moments, leading to a telling-off at work. Boss – ‘oi, get off your phone’. Me -‘ I’m not on it, I’m waiting for it to unfreeze’. Boss – ‘right, no more coffee or chocolate at break times’. Me ‘be right with you, boss.’ To show how sorry I was, when the phone worked I sent him pictures of cats doing funny things as that always cheers him up.
  • All the crafty bits I ordered for Christmas have arrived – candle wicks, wax pellets, craft knife, cutting mat, white card, Christmas essential oil, modelling clay and star-shaped cookie cutters. Much hilarity will ensue.
  • The cat kindly left a birds head outside my back door. Which I stepped on.

While we have been surviving without much internet, my mum (62 years old and a great-grandmother) whizzed ahead of us.

In between Skyping her sister in Scotland, she upgraded her phone from a brick-like Nokia to a Samsung all-singing, all-dancing model. The Teenager is quietly impressed, if a little jealous….

Tagged , , , ,