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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Operation Independence Update #2

"Nature never said to me: Do not be poor; still less did she say: Be rich; her cry to me was always: Be independent." 
Nicolas Chamfort

So guys, I started doodling a little picture to go along with this post but I got bored halfway through and scrapped it. So imagine there is a little drawing of a house with a cat in one window, a dog in another and Home Sweet Home written above it. Got that visual in your head? Good. Let's continue.

Today's post is an update on Operation Independence. If you want to see some of the background to this journey and how it came about please read my previous posts, Guilt Of Independence, Family Matters and Operation Independence. I can hardly believe that I first wrote about this two years ago, just after I'd started blogging. The first post linked above was actually the forth blog post I ever posted. It feels like forever ago that I got the ball rolling but at the same time it feels like just yesterday. Funny how time does that, right?

In two years we've had a few twists and turns. For those of you that don't know the story and don't want to read the posts I linked above because you're not about that life, I will give you a quick summary. Two years ago I broke it to my parents I wanted to fly the nest. My sister and I were originally supposed to be rehoused together because where one goes so must the other. It soon became apparent it was going to be difficult to find social housing that would meet my needs. We had broached the idea at the beginning that my parents move out since our bungalow is already wheelchair accessible, however we were told that was simply not how things worked. Despite the fact my parents would most likely be moved on so another wheelchair user could have our bungalow, I had to go on the waiting list like everybody else. After almost two years had passed and everything had come to something of a standstill my mum decided to run the idea by someone else. By all accounts it was agreed it would be better for me to stay put and my parents to move. That was at the end of last year.

In the mean time I had also tried to have a care package put in place so I could get used to paid carers as I've never had anybody but family care for me. I mean you can imagine having a stranger seeing you naked and helping with the most personal of things is going to take getting used to. However it was basically impossible to get funding while living with three capable adults. So that was put on hold for a while.

In January of this year our bungalow was officially signed over to me and my parents were declared homeless. Obviously they continued living with me but being declared homeless was to help them find housing sooner. With them still living with me it put a hold on my care package as well as work I need done to make things more accessible for me and also for the carers. The last update I gave was having the house signed over and now for the developments!

My parents finally found a place!

Yes, I know that's not a complete surprise as I mentioned it in the last edition of My Week In Words but I thought I'd expand on what I said a bit. So anyway, they ended up going private as waiting to be rehoused was holding things up for me. They got the keys to their new place a couple of weeks ago and can officially move in on the 6th of June. It's a big ground floor apartment around five minutes away so during the transition period while I'm waiting for my care package to be sorted it will be great as my mum can't drive. The only downside to the whole thing is that pets aren't allowed and my parents had originally planned to take my chocolate Labrador, Baby, with them. Not because I don't want her or anything but because despite being my dog she favours my dad. Right now she's one of my biggest concerns about this whole thing because I'm not sure how well she's going to take my dad being around a lot less. They do say divorces hurt the kids the most.

Last week I phoned Kevin - my Care Manager - to update him on the developments and tell him my parents have a date for moving out and to kick start getting my care package in place. As usual he was a bit clueless on who I was, what I was calling about and how we'd left things but he came out that day to discuss things. Thankfully it doesn't seem like I'm going to have to go through being assessed for a forth time. We discussed what times I would like the carers to come out but they aren't set in stone yet as they have to fit me around existing clients. I requested four half hour visits by two carers at 10am, 1pm, 5.30pm and 10:30pm. I may see if I can have the 1pm one closer to 2pm depending on what time the morning and dinner time visit ends up being. He was only at my house for around ten minutes and then he was on his way. This was on a Friday and he asked me to phone him on Monday to remind him to request funding. It didn't exactly inspire confidence in him but eh, what can you do?

I rang on Monday as he said and he asked me why I was ringing him. He soon remembered he had to request funding but said he couldn't do it until Wednesday but that he'd remind himself. Let's hope he has. I plan to ring him on Monday to see how things are going. While getting the care package put in place is still going to take time he said he would put a rush on it because my parents are moving so soon.

Lastly, yesterday I had my Housing Officer out to help me fill in my Housing Benefit application. I was really nervous about it so my anxiety was working over time. Not because of her or the application but because we had to come clean about something. When the house was being signed over she asked did I have any pets and my mum answered for me and said, "Two Chihuahuas." When I had noticed the question on her page and knew it was coming I almost had a panic attack. Throughout this whole process the pets have been one of my biggest sources of anxiety. To be honest we didn't really know where we stood with them. We've treated this bungalow like our own and kind of forgot we had someone to answer to. Or I did at least. When I decided to move I knew there was a risk the place wouldn't allow animals and then when I found out I was staying I was still worried there was some rule we'd missed because I was reminded we didn't own the place. My mum had said two Chihuahuas, I froze and my housing officer said that's fine and that's how it was left. For those of you that don't know what is wrong with that well... at the time I also had a Labrador, two cats, a hamster and three snails. My sister had a further three snails and a hamster. So you can see the problem. Since then I've been racked with anxiety that they'd find out we had lied and a) tell me I had to get rid of some of them and b) my housing officer would be disappointed in me because she has been so lovely and helpful. It all just felt wrong. I had checked the tenant's handbook and it did say we could have pets but it didn't specify what pets or how many etc.

So today we came clean. I say we came clean but I mean I got my mum to tell her while I hid in my room until it was over. Mature. I know. I felt like if I was there I might burst into tears or have a panic attack. You have no idea how worried I've been. My pets are my babies. They are integral to my mental health and well being. I couldn't give them up

Well, I needn't have worried. My mum told her and she said it was fine. It was a non-issue. Months of anxiety for no reason. Basically Choice - who own my house - used to be four different housing associations that merged so because we lived in the bungalow and owned the pets before they were Choice their new policies don't affect us unless we want any more pets in the future. The new policy being you have to apply to get an animal but even then she said there's never usually an issue. It was a complete load of my mind and then we got on to filling out my Housing Benefit form. It was done in no time and she was on her way.

So that's the latest. Next week we have to get some documents for the Housing Benefit but the ball is rolling. My parents are going on holiday to Greece next week and Eva is off work to care for me so we'll have plenty of time to get things done. Providing we don't spent all week playing Star Stable. My parents are planning to move into their new place the day after they get back.

Eva and I are looking forward to going shopping and getting new things to make this house our own a little but we feel like it would be better to wait until after the work gets done to the house. My parents are planning to get rid of a lot of their stuff so have agreed to let us keep it until we don't want it anymore. They've also been super generous in the fact they're letting us keep all their appliances and they've bought new ones. So we don't need to buy a new washing machine, fridge, cooker or television etc. This eases the load a lot too as I was worried about affording everything. I had planned to save up but with things moving so slow for so long I got complacent and then things just happened all of a sudden. This way it means I don't have to dig into my savings too much and have a nice cushion for adjusting to paying bills. Speaking of which, those will be transferred over to my name this week. The electric, heating, phone, internet etc. So that will be new but it's also exciting. Is that weird? I'm sure the novelty won't last long.

And that's pretty much where we are. I feel like I might have forgotten to mention something but whatever it is - if it's anything - has escaped me right now so I guess there's not much I can do about that. So yeah. This is happening. I'm finally flying the nest and bringing my little sister with me along for the ride. And what a ride it's going to be!

1 comment:

  1. Ah wow, I'm so glad things are moving along nicely for you Sara and I hope they continue along nice and smoothly for you and Eva now too and that your parents get settled nicely as well. I can imagine how anxious you must have been but I'm glad your pets can stay with you too. Sound exciting! - Tasha

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