We were supposed to be going to Somerset this weekend, but we called it off because B was starting to fray at the seams a bit about the amount of work he had on.
This was a Slightly Bad Thing from the point of view of Ma and Sister-Natalie, because they both had really un-get-out-of-able things to do on Saturday morning and B and I had arranged that we would look after Pa whilst they were out. Pa can't be left, you see; he shouts continuously if he's left for even ten minutes and he needs help with even the most simple things. He still can't walk, or even stand independently and two carers are still coming in four times a day to lift him, dress him, toilet him, get him up and put him to bed.
So, we both felt bad about not going. But B was so stressed that we felt it was our only option; he has been getting stomach pain severe enough to prompt him to get a doctor's appointment on Monday morning.
Despite all their own issues, Ma and Natalie really rallied round for us, yet again. Natalie offered to meet me half way yesterday and take Leo for the weekend so that B and I could sort ourselves out. This would entail roughly a five hour round trip for her; and given that she and I haven't had the most comfortable of relationships over the last, well, two decades, was a pretty nice thing to do. Although she did point out that it wasn't me she was keen to see, it was the baby :).
In the end we decided not to take them up on their offer, both on the grounds that they had loads on themselves; and that actually, B finds hanging out with Leo quite relaxing. Instead, we worked until 2.30pm yesterday and then broke and went out for lunch in Welshpool. And then we did the same today and spent a couple of hours up in the garden. B has pretty much got done all he needed to be done; and that really wouldn't have happened if we'd gone away. As Jackylhunter pointed out, time is often B's Flexible Friend - and this was really a case of full head = no ability to think, plan or even make tea.
If you can't make tea, then you are STRESSED.
Natalie and Ma seem to have made out okay without us - they got a friend to come in and look after Pa for a couple of hours this morning. Natalie helped Pa with his toileting before she went out - it's something he gets really anxious about and she was very nervous about having to deal with it. I think you have reached a threshold in maturity when you have to help a parent wipe their own bottom.
On the phone earlier this evening:
Me: I'm just ringing to see how things went and how you all are.
Natalie: Situation normal really. Ma is skinning six rabbits in the kitchen and Pa wants the commode.
B: That's going straight on the blog you know ...
Natalie: [resigned and dry] I'm going to start my own blog I think.
I am really pleased that after all this time we are getting on better. It is partly down to B and partly down to Leo. I am not taking anything for granted about how Natalie feels about anything, but I am really enjoying it.
Now I am going to nag B until he climbs in to the space under the stairs and gets out another gallon of Apricot Wine. Then I am going to drink some Apricot Wine. And then I am going to bed.
Tomorrow I am going to plant some garlic, visit some friends and potentially go and meet a chap who restores rayburns in order to convert our two Rayburns Of The Mind* in to an Actual Rayburn.
* I bought another stove, a Rayburn-Analogue and it turns out to have a broken door-catch. I am in negotiations with the seller to pay for repairs. But I am also in negotiations with a chap who lives close to us to part-exchange both Rayburns Of The Mind for a functioning one.