Monday, 12 September 2011

Why I can't end this blog yet

Dear Sue,

I am able to come and see you at your flat on Tuesday 13th September at 10.00am.

I was concerned about some of the content of your email regarding your mental health and discussed my concerns with your ex social worker. I have referred your case back to his team, so they may be in contact with you.

I look forward to meeting you on Tuesday.

Yours sincerely,

Homeless Household Support Worker

Well, the end of the blog has to be 'got a council flat'

It's never going to happen though

I've been told that, the government is legislating that.

I must leave you for a moment, as I embrace the unknown.

Got to come back though, not least to identify that the unknown can be known (multiple emails accounts with google!)

Nothing is out of anyone's reach

Even a secure home for me and my son.

Everything is within reach

We have to believe


Embracing the unknown

I've been given a new email address with this new company which is powered by google.
Google is saying I'm signed in as sue and should switch.
Stiggers signs in as Sue.
Does this mean we can't sign in any more?
I've gone onto google to learn about multiple accounts
but I'm going to have to make the switch

The learning process is immediate innit

I've got to come back to you

Cos it's a blog about housing innit?

Here I go...

Embracing the unknown...

(but I'll leave with one more housing post
given it's a blog about housing)

Then I'll log out

Sometimes in life, you have no choice but to go for it, whatever 'it' is...


A bird in hand....

A bird in hand may turn out to be a Golden Eagle.

I read that somewhere this weekend. I don't know where, sorry!

I thought the dream job was a bird in hand, but this morning I'm not sure.

If it's not, it is a lesson learnt already, that what I want is out there, and it's spurring me to look at money making schemes, or to find out more about writing on the web (ha ha! What am I doing here!! Oh the mirth!!)

Must thank Frankie P, Marjolein and Anon for their comments during this very bumpy moment!

New boss is off tomorrow and I've not been given a brief yet....

Am I on?

I shall leave writing about work until such time as I register self employed.

I'm feeling very que sera sera
Or feeling that I should feel que sera sera
One should always feel que sera sera
and be

Friday, 9 September 2011

Dream jobs

Dear Universe (late at night)
I want a job. I really want a job that lets me work at home to be there for the boy. I want a challenge as well though. Do I want a challenge? No I want an easy life! Do I want an easy life? No, a challenge, none of that data input lark I can do with my eyes closed or shelf stacking with my soul switched off.

Alright love, you've got it.


Interview on Wednesday.

The job is editorial on a start-up website
Liaising with web designers to manage the look, feel and content of the page
Writing and updating articles
Recruiting staff
All kinds of stuff!!

A challenge!!
I can work from home!! I can only work from home!!
I can manage my time so I can still take my son swimming and to kungfu and watch the odd class assembly!!
It's progression from what I did before! What I did before baby and life went tits up!

Sounds too good to be true?


It's unpaid, commission only, none expected in the first three months and after that only on my performance. Feck!

I told him I'd let him know this afternoon.

If I take it I won't be able to blog as much.
I will blog, just not often.
Because if I take it....shite!!
What do I do????????
I can't just stare at my computer!!!!!

I guess I call him this afternoon

Eeek Eeeeek

This is a big risk, this is a huge risk
but do I
have anything
to lose?
do I
go for

Work, benefits and dignity

"Are you still working in the pub?" asked the new Lithuanian girl at the coffee shop last Monday morning.
"I don't think so no."
"Oh because [the boss] said if you were working there you could have your coffee for free but if you're not you can't so that will be £1.50 please!"
"Right, why would you tell me that?! Anyway, I was hoping to catch [the landlady]. She comes in here sometimes doesn't she?"
"Yes, they all do..."

And on we talked.

On Thursday I saw the school caretaker who sometimes came into the pub on my shift.
"I wasn't going to go begging for the job back," I said.

And that's what made me upset and angry about the whole thing. I made a mistake and I sent a message apologising, I went round to the pub a couple of times, I left messages, I never heard anything back. Did she want me to beg for the job?

If so I wasn't going to.

Being on benefits chips away at alot of us. Strips away our dignity. It'll be worse on jobseekers, reminded every fortnight of how desperate and futile some of our situations are. You don't need employers to make you feel like that aswell.

"She fired me without telling me," I told the caretaker. "So I quit without telling her."

The job will not go on my cv and fortunately for me, the prospective boss who met me there, didn't ask me about it. Just said: "You look very different to how I remember you when you worked in the pub."
"How so?" I asked, bemused.
"I don't know, maybe your hair was up that day."

Dignity. Those of us on benefits want to preserve what we have, not have it challenged and tested all the time.

Am I making any sense?

Been a long morning and the job centre can have that effect on you.

Happy Birthday Children

At my job centre interview this morning my details on the database were changed so that I could be moved from income support to job seekers allowance.

The change will happen on my son's birthday.

"Oh how lovely," I said to the job centre man. "Happy Birthday son, on this day your parent is being moved onto Jobseeker's Allowance whereby you will both be penalised if she does not actively look for work. When she does get work you can expect to spend less time with her. Many happy returns."

"Don't see it like that," said the job centre man.

I was silent but I wish I'd said 'tell that to my child'.

Mistress Ha Ha from boot camp was moved from one benefit to the other on her daughter's birthday. She was panicking yesterday when I saw her. She wants to go self employed but is worried because she doesn't have many clients (she's trained in a form of massage)

Job Centre man explained self employment to me a bit and said you have to estimate your earnings. I said 'what if your earnings are really low' and he said: 'the system understands that people might be on a low salary.' 'I might only earn £80 a month!' Fear and confusion, potent little cocktail that.

We can all, he said, look for jobs we want to do for the first 12 weeks, he thinks. After that we can't, we have to go for what's offered to us, which might be something we just do not want to do - like in my case - shelf stacking. Too bad.

Volunteering? Still have to actively seek for paid employment.
I think you can do work experience but I'm not sure for how long
that translates as - you can work for free - but I'm not sure for how long.

"Our records show that the child you are responsible for will be 09 [soon]
Once they reach this age, you will no longer be able to claim Insome support because of being a lone parent or single person with responsibility for the child."

Quite the task master our symbolic husband.

I must say, the perks are quite good if you do shelf stack for 16 hours or more. You get a one off payment of £250 and £60 a week for the first year (expect hardship in your second if you don't get a comparable raise) Housing benefit is payed for a month so you worry about that, presumably, after your first pay packet.

Housing benefit. Ha Ha said her claim was stopped and she had to re-apply and was given no warning or anything. Jobcentre man said I wouldn't have to do that, this is a "seamless transfer".

These changes to lone parents, forcing them out to work, is so patronising and unnecessary.

Stress stress stress stress stress all tied up with Red Tape.

Many happy returns kids!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Putting thoughts out of one's mind

I got a phone call late yesterday afternoon.
"How did you get my number?" I asked the man
"It was on your CV which you sent me."
"Oh yes! It's the wrong address though! I moved, I don't live there anymore! Told you it was an old one...."

I have an interview this afternoon.

"What's it for?" asked Gardening Mum at the school gates.
"I don't know!" I giggled.
"Well you better find out then," she said, with no exclamation mark because she sounded quite serious.
I stopped giggling, she may have a point.

I shall ask him. I know it's something about a website.

I blog at a later date, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps Friday, what I wanted to post about the pub job.

I met this man in the pub!

I can't tell him I've been fired can I? Or shall I? You know, be honest...

Do I mention my insecure, expensive housing situation and any money he pays me will make me worse off financially?


I must empty my mind. Empty it, empty, shake out all that stuff.

I need to close my eyes and make a dash for the other side of the river.

If I fall in, I fall in

best not think about that either.

Eeek! It is quite exciting!!

Sending thoughts to who knows who?

September 7th
To the Defend Council Housing folk, in reponse to their email:

What can I do to help with your campaign? I've given up on mine because it's so flipping hard. Joining with you guys might help me take up my arms again. Here's the link to a letter the CNJ published last year... I didn't get a council flat and was told I would never get one.

I want to go to the Housing Emergency Meeting next Tuesday and am trying to find someone who can pick up my son from his Kung Fu lesson so I can go. I wrote to Boris Johnson asking him to meet me. I wrote to Nick Clegg and I shake my head at the response from that camp. I met Clegg before the election. He may have forgotten but I haven't. I've met the Reverend a couple of times and have attended quite a few of the daytime emergency meetings in the past.

(Ken Livingstone will be at the meeting and Simon Hughes Libdem MP)

I want to give up to be honest with you. Not think about housing anymore because it depresses the f out of me but it would be wrong to give up because thousands, millions of people are in a situation very similar to mine.
Well you know that; you defend people's rights to council housing. You are defending council housing.

Please get back to me. Like I said, I'd like to help.

Kind regards
Sue de Nim

Putting thoughts in emails

Hi [Support Worker],
I got your letter. Indeed a long time!
I'd like to meet you but I can't next Monday as I have to take [my son] swimming. Because we're much further away from the pool now I take him straight from school by bus.
For some reason I thought the meeting was last Monday and I waited for you! Alternate Mondays [my son's] dad is supposed to take him and pick him up from the flat but he didn't show. Not the first time so I've said he can't take him anymore. He's blasting me with texts and emails that I do not read because I've had enough.

You say my case is going to be closed. I don't understand.
You are part of the homeless household support service aren't you?
I'm still a homeless household aren't I?

If I am managing [Support Worker] it's because I do not bid. A few weeks ago a friend got a council flat [down the road] and I fell into that now familiar abyss where I didn't want to be alive anymore. She had way more points than me and a child who hasn't started school yet. If that was me, I wouldn't have to worry about my son's education anymore. People are already asking me where he'll go for secondary and how can I know? My lease runs out the year I have to go to open days. I'm hoping for [the local boys school] or [the local mixed school] because that's what I want for him. He's doing so well at school. Enough turbulence. Like I said, I manage if I don't think about these things. I drown if I do. I CANNOT BID. When in "desperate need" I didn't get a place so I'm hardly going to get one now.

So yes, I'd like to see you. Is there a day other than Monday you can do? Or earlier in the day that Monday? I have to go to the job centre on Friday to be moved over to job seekers. A barrel of laughs I think not. I've just lost a pub job I had. At £6 an hour though, it was never going to pay the rent.

I hope you're well and look forward to seeing you

Sue de Nim

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Joining a housing campaign

Wouldn't you know, yesterday after posting that I was abandoning my cause, I got an email from Defend Council Housing asking if people could join their campaign.

I've been tidying up my house today, in preparation for a fantastic job.

I shall email them back tomorrow.

I like coincidences, they are always full of promise.

A pity there's no payment for I'm not looking foward to signing on every two weeks.

With any luck I won't have to!

Something will come up and come up soon!

Wrong days

Nitwit that I am, I read the letter from the housing support worker wrong. Next week he's coming.

Next week doesn't suit - I have to take my boy swimming.

I didn't think I had to take my boy swimming yesterday, his dad takes him the weekends they don't see each other, but guess what? He didn't turn up.


You don't know it's 'again', you don't know the texts I have sent him in the past asking him to let me know if he's not going to make it. You don't know that the last time he didn't show I said 'that's it, Monday's are over' and a big row ensued so I said one more chance.

Yesterday I sent a text and said that unless a cab was outside my door, he wasn't taking our boy swimming on Mondays again. I would confirm in an email. I sent the text at 5, the email half an hour later.

At 10.15 I yawn thinking I shall take myself to bed with the book I'm reading (Red Queen by Philippa Gregory) when my phone goes, and goes again, and tells me I have too many messages and to delete. It's the Foca. I start to read but there's so much of it, I delete it and more comes and more I have to delete so I text him and say"I've no space 4 your texts so I delete them" then more comes about me ignoring or deleting and my phone again tells me to delete (because it's got low memory and I've got pictures on it) so I make some space and text:

" I've told you again and again my phone can't take long messages but again and again you send them. Just leave me alone. It's late."

The fucking gall of what he sends next:
"If I could leave you alone I would - we have a son - and you choose to act in a manner to drive us apart - then choose to delete or ignore my response due to the time of day - forgive me if I set my priorities differently and put my son above my need for sleep or ability to scroll through messages on a phone"

Er..who's messages? missed the summer. The night he bombarded me with texts about how it was his weekend with our son (who'd seen him the weekend before) and how I was "a liar who doesn't co-operate". I forwarded that text back to him at the end of that 'text row'.

Then he didn't bring our son back from Ireland on the Monday as promised. When did he let me know my son wasn't coming back? 9.30 at night. Said he'd just got home. I texted 'That's no excuse' (for not letting me know) I emailed him because my phone couldn't take it and shit flew back. I wanted to ignore it but took umbrage at the word "bully" - that I am a bully - and told the foca that our son had told me that his dad had called him a bully and didn't want me to tell the foca that I knew because he was scared he'd get into trouble. "Are you going to tell your mother [I called you a bully]?" his dad apparently said to which my son had replied "No"

"Sticks and stones can break my bones
Your words will just bounce back at you"

The final line of my email.

Silence, until last night. I'd share his patronising message with you - I have it, he sent it to my email. That's flash phones for you.

How many characters in a text? 140? Like a tweet?
His text to me (you know how when they are too big they cut half way through a word or cut on the first letter of the next word..) Anyway, his text was (fuck, this is going to take me ages)

672 characters but I've only counted 3 out of the 8 paragraphs that copied in as email.

I have not, will not respond. He accuses me of ranting (not in this one, the reply to my text asking why he couldn't tell me sooner my son was coming home) yet rants himself.

I've ranted to you. I am sorry but going to bed last night without him dominating my thoughts and my anger and fury at him, well, thank goodness that the Red Queen is a good yarn.

I was a victim when I was with him. I told you that. I told you that funny (ha ha ha) day the council came round to see if it was true that the landlord was evicting his son and I cried and the foca said 'you're such a victim' and I said 'if I'm a victim, you're a bully' 'victim' 'bully' back and forth for endless minutes.

A few years ago I decided I wouldn't be a victim anymore and bizarrely that's when he started accusing me of bullying.

Do you think his wife was sitting next to him when he was sending me his 2000 odd word text?

In truth I don't care, I just want to end this post now. I've enough of him, really, lots.

Oh, our son wasn't disappointed his dad didn't show. Indeed, he was so scared about what his dad would do or say about him telling me about the bullying accusations that he cried and begged me to take him swimming myself. I said no, the support worker was coming (doh) and it would be good for him to see his dad, talk to him about what happened.

The foca sends me untruths about myself. He's not listened to me since the day our son was born. I've stopped listening to him now. He can talk all he likes, text, email. If it gets too much I'll go to one of the women's centres and get some advice.

What you should do if you're going through similar or of course, worse.

Legal Aid's been cut for families.

Sound Off For Justice(.org)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Abandoning my cause

I was all prepared to write "I'm sorry everybody"

I'm sorry because I'm going to abandon my fight for housing

I'm going to abandon all the work I put in, the letters I sent, the articles I wrote, the companies I contacted.

I can't do it anymore. It's easier to fight for others while I'm fighting for myself but I can't fight for myself. Anymore.

I have to let it go.

Support worker will come this afternoon to close my file, whatever that means and I'll get depressed tonight because I always do when reminded of the futility of my situation.

However, while I thought how guilty I felt and how sorry I was for abandoning all I've put in so far, I thought that if an opportunity regarding housing, presents itself, I will take it.

Even if I'm scared, I'll pretend I'm not and I'll just do what's asked of me.

Guardian Housing are discussing welfare reform and how it will affect housing providers from midday today. I'll log on and comment perhaps.

Perhaps I should change my username on the Guardian Housing boards.

First step in shrugging off the fear of personal consequences.

I'm not going to apologise for abandoning my cause because I'm not convinced I'm going to abandon it just as I'm not convinced I can abandon it.

I should strive to be that woman, whoever she is, immortalised in the university town of Coimbra in Portugal.

I should tell myself I am her.

I should feel that I am her.

As you should if there is something you must fight for.

(and yay stiggers, we've uploaded our very first photo!!)

Fresh Starts

"I can't remember what to do on the first day back at school mamma," says my boy as we walk the walk to school.

"Oh just keep your head down and don't annoy the teacher. You don't want her remembering your name for the wrong reason on your first day.." (although have just remembered he's already singled himself out for talking while she was when they visited the class last term. Whoops - he's one that gets caught my boy, just like I used to..the apple indeed never falls far from the tree)

"No, I mean in the playground before the bell goes,"

"Oh, just stand by me until you spot one of your friends then go and play!"

"Then I won't see you for 80 hours mamma,"

Then the bell goes and I can't believe we didn't make it in before it because we were up so early and left in good time.

Last night I asked the arch angels to look after my boy, look after him, look out for him.

OK, I admit, I asked the arch angels to look after me too.

I have to present myself to the job centre on Friday to be taken off income support and placed on job seekers. The actions I am taking for work now I shall keep in my pocket for when I have to "prove" I'm looking. Failure to "prove" and I lose my benefits don't I?

Support worker is coming round this afternoon, he I have not seen for yonky donkey years, to "close [my] case"

I'm still in the same situation though; statutorily homeless and he is still part of the homeless households support team.

What does it mean exactly, my case being closed? Am I not eligible for social housing anymore?

I shall have to ask.

That's the thing with fresh starts. You can want them, you can chase them but there's always the reminder, for one such as myself, that it's just an illusion. The foundations are so insecure, like walking over floating blocks to get to the other side of the river.

Not for my son though. Year 4!! New teacher!! Same school, same friends, I thank the Universe for that, for him. His foundations are secure for all the new things that he is to experience and learn.

I understand within myself what I have to do - make a dash for it - and if I can just stop being frightened of falling in, I may just fly.

You know?

I don't know.

I Don't Know but I Want To.