Friday, 15 November 2013

A very Thankful Friday

Today is Thankful Friday.

So what am I thankful for?

Good advice that's what.

It's been a trying week for several reasons and I've had to deal with most of it by myself. Except I wasn't really by myself because I had some great advice to guide me through. 

London Aunt told me to only look at what was right in front of me and deal with that, rather than look too far into the future and worry about the stuff I have no control over.

I have done that.

HannahBanana told me to remember why I made previous decisions and trust they were the right ones for now. And I've done that.

And today, my new hairdresser, told me I had a gorgeous natural hair colour and I was colouring it unnecessarily. Before sorting it out and giving me what turned out to be a long bob.

All the above was good advice.

Sometimes, when I'm faced with situations or realisations that I don't want to deal with, it's easy to feel completely alone. I mean, technically I am. I am completely in charge of my life, of the decisions I make. But then one look in the background reveals the most amazing people who support me and care about me and give me amazing advice.

I'm not alone. And for that, and them, I am very thankful.

Happy Friday peeps



Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Deaf Girly and the phone call

Yesterday my phone rang. 

My phone almost never rings, and when it does, I rarely answer it.

But, now I'm a landlord and whatnot, I thought I'd better answer it as it was a London number.

At the other end of the phone was a man with an accent. I have no idea what kind of accent, I just know that none of the words he was saying made any sense at all.

I heard two things: policy and ignoring my calls.

Now being a landlord this worried me. I told him I couldn't hear him very well and he continued to say the same sentence over and over again.

Like it was scripted.

I then told him I was going to pass the phone over to someone who could hear and walked through to the kitchen where London Cousins 1 and 2 were chatting. Neither of them were particularly keen on talking to a strange person on the phone, so we stood there discussing it for a moment to work out who would take the call.

The caller hung up.

Confused about what was so urgent that he accused me of ignoring his calls but then hung up, I Googled the number. Turns out it was a known telepest. One that tells you your life insurance policy was expiring and you'd been ignoring their calls about it…

So I had heard two bits right. And I don't have a life insurance policy.

Thanks to iOs7 I have now blocked this number but what made me grin, just a little bit, was that he hung up on me. 

A known telepest found a phone call to me so annoying he had to hang up the phone.


Obviously I'm going back to not answering my phone for numbers I don't recognise but if I ever am dumb enough to pick up the phone again, I think I am going to try this tactic on purpose. Tell them I cannot hear them. Remind them that if I was known to them, they would know I was deaf, and then maybe go off on one about deaf awareness and…

Yes, I would hang up on me, too.

And this isn't just for those of us that can't hear. Hearing peeps why not go for it, too?

Or as one person helpfully suggested online yesterday as I was googling, to simply say to the person at the other end of the line, 'I've done what you asked, but there's blood everywhere.'

Obviously I'm not so keen on that option incase a SWAT team descend on my house via helicopter and cart me off somewhere, but whatever option I choose, the war on random phone calls to Deaf Girly starts here.

Happy Wednesday peeps.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I'm hearing in my dreams

I dream a lot. Most mornings I will wake up and remember my dream from the night before. Sometimes they're mundane dreams about everyday life and sometimes they're nightmares  but the one thing they all have in common is that in my dreams I can hear. 

I am never deaf in my dreams.

In my dreams I do things like hold hushed conversations or hear people whispering to me. I make phone calls, people yell stuff from upstairs and I can understand and I've even heard a mobile phone ring before.

I'm not sure why I'm not deaf when I go to sleep at night. Sometimes I wonder if it's my memories of being less deaf as a child coming through. I mean, I do remember being able to hear stuff being said from another room and I'm sure I used to be able to hear the phone ring at my rents' house. It was one of those big retro phones with the dial of numbers you turned.

But the one thing I have never been able to do is hear whispers. And I know this because of that incredibly popular children's game from the eighties, Chinese Whispers. I remember being utterly confused by this game from about the age of 5 upwards, and that's taking into consideration the fact that no one knew I was deaf until I was 10.

I remember sitting in a circle with my friends and thinking that no one could hear whispers and the whole point was to be creative and make something up from your own imagination. So that's what I did.

I remember everyone being utterly confused at how the start and finish whisper had become so different. But thankfully, I don't remember anyone ever pinning it on me.

I honestly didn't know you were meant to hear whispers.

But it wasn't just whispers I thought you weren't meant to hear.

There were song words – I thought you were meant to make up your own. And dictation at school – I thought the hard thing about dictation was working out what the story was not getting the words down spelt correctly. I could never understand why I got bad marks for being creative. 

Then there was French listening. I thought the difficult thing was being able to tell what words were being said, not translating them. I used to do so badly in French listening until my amazing teacher at GCSE – post discovering my deafness – read the whole thing to me. I got 100% for the first time ever.

Anyway, back to the dreams. Last night, I dreamt I met up with a colleague from one of my first jobs. She was asking me what I was doing with my life at the moment and all I could tell her was that I was taking a year out. 

But because I'm not deaf in my dreams, it was as though Deafinitely Girly didn't exist. It was really odd. In my dream, I couldn't help feel like I was forgetting something, like I couldn't quite justify why I was not working and taking a year out.

And to be quite honest, I was relieved to wake up. Relieved that on waking, I was back to me. Back to being Deafinitely Girly.

Because you see, I like being DG. She's a part of me. And I'm a part of her. And right now, I'm quite happy to leave being hearing in my dreams. After all, with hearing, there'd be no Deafinitely Girly. And that would make my life a much less interesting place.

Monday, 11 November 2013

DG and the no-show scones

This weekend I bombed down the A3 to visit the very fabulous Cocktail Queen and The Prince. It was marvellous.

Knowing my love of afternoon tea, The Cocktail Queen had done her research and decided that we would go to Goodwood for tea and scones in The Kennels, which appears to be the golf course club house. 

This made me VERY happy. We got there and sat down on a comfy sofa. Ordered tea and were handed menus. The scones were there. My stomach rumbled.

About 20 minutes later, no one had come to take our order. We beckoned a waitress and were all left slightly confused as to what her reply was as she scuttled off to towards the kitchen. 'She'll come back,' we said to each other. 'This is a nice establishment. They must know about customer service here.'

My stomach rumbled.

We drank more tea.

20 minutes later, we beckoned over a different waitress. 'Can we order scones?' we asked her. 'They just making them at the moment,' she replied and scuttled off in much the same way.

'Oooh warm scones with cream and jam,' I thought as my stomach rumbled again. 'That's well worth the wait.'

To take our minds off the hunger pangs, The Prince requested a backgammon board - as advertised on the menu. The waitress bought us a chequers board. Same, same but no, very different.

My stomach rumbled.

After eventually getting hold of the backgammon board, The Cocktail Queen disappeared while The Prince taught me the rules of this highly addictive game and we set off around the board in different directions with me getting awfully offended every time he took one of my pieces off the board. 

My stomach rumbled.

Three glasses of champagne arrived. The Cocktail Queen had ordered them after discovering that the kitchen was no closed and there would be no scones.

My stomach rumbled.

Turns out there were never any scones. Even though they were on the menu. Even though the menu of sweet stuff was simply two lines long - scones or cake. They didn't have either. On a Saturday afternoon. In Goodwood.

It was a shambles. 

I tweeted my displeasure and felt bad for The Cocktail Queen. She'd planned the afternoon of tea, and so far we'd had chequers not backgammon, a promise of scones twice, and nothing. 

Scones are not rocket science. It's not hard to make scones, and serve them with some jam in a bowl and some cream in another bowl.


The next day as we wandered around Chichester after brunch at Bill's, we noticed signs for cream tea at every turn in the city. Bill's did it, the Cathedral did it, even the tiny little cafĂ© that sat three people did it. 

The Kennels at Goodwood don't. No matter what it says on their menu. Or they didn't that Saturday. Despite The Cocktail Queen calling in advance to check they did.

But what we didn't have in scones, we more than made up for in cocktails on Saturday night. But that's a whole other story. 

Happy Monday peeps.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Deaf Girly's Thankful Friday

Today is Thankful Friday, and as I sit here with my laptop out and a cup of tea, the cat purring beside me – lets not talk about the fact she just tried to bite me – I can't help but feel thankful for the curious set of events that got me to this exact spot.

Last week, a very good friend asked me a question that only very good friends can ask. 'Do you think your deafness stops you getting where you want to be?' While that would be a whole other blog post of deliberation, I have to admit it is something that I often think about.

I think that's why it took me so long to do something a little bit daring. Rather than the straight path I had previously chosen of school, uni, post grad, job, new job, another new job. I was afraid that somehow it wouldn't be possible to go off route. 

On this new path, of landlord, writer and general day-time tea drinker and library lurker, there are a whole load of challenges that if I sat down and thought about them, would probably have caused me to sit tight and carry on as I had been.

Things like the phone calls I have to struggle with now as there are no co-workers to help. To Thames Water, British Gas, the council, to insurance, electricians and inventory people. The list goes on. And it's not been fun. The other day, what should have been a quick phone call to my insurance company turned into a 20 minute farce of me repeating back what I thought I'd heard so the man at the other end could either say yes or no. He was incredibly patient with me. But I was still terrified I'd got something wrong and the £178 premium I'd just agreed to pay would somehow be invalid.

I've discovered something though, during this enforced phone call making, that people can surprise you. Like the man from British Gas who emailed me after I hung up on him in tears, or the bloke from my car insurance company who took of his headset and used the phone normally so that the sound quality would improve. All of them, when I tell them I struggle on the phone, have done whatever they can to help make things easier. And when I say struggle, I actually mean, hear virtually nothing.

I'm less afraid of trying now. Obviously it's not always a good outcome. I've hung up on a few conversations in the last couple of weeks, and I'm putting off a phone call I know I have to make soon as I know it'll involve conversation I simply can't predict the words in, meaning I really will have no clue about what's going on, but I'm OK with that. 

The last months has felt like one small step for mankind but one huge step for Deafinitely Girly.

I'm doing it.

I'm actually doing it.

And so far, touch everything wooden in the world, it's going OK.

Which makes this a very thankful Friday.

Have a good one peeps.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The hunt for Deaf Girly's October

The last day of October is my birthday and this year I spent it in Clogland turning 33. Actually, I spent my birthday evening on a boat in the middle of the sea, but only after an amazing birthday tea with Big Bro, Maxi-, Mini- and MicroClog… and The Rents of course.

Since I moved to London, 10 years ago in October, the tenth month of the year has always been a strange one for me. It's the month full of anniversaries. Some happy, some less so.

It's the month I usually change jobs, or move companies. It's the month I bought my first flat, four years ago. That October I was also told the great news was I didn't have cancer, and the bad news was I had Crohn's. And the October I declared to the entire 7th floor of the hospital at the top of my voice that I was a horse, while high on morphine, and asked out a very gorgeous doctor while coming around from the anaesthetic. I absolutely pretended not to recognise him when I went back for my check-up appointment. October four years ago was one of the more bonkers ones... But as a result of that October, October is now the month where I celebrate the fabulous fact that – touch every wooden thing in the entire house – my Crohn's is still in remission.

October is the month I got hearing aids – one year ago. It's the month I first fell in love – 14 years ago – and it's the month I usually buy about 100 coats – every year – as I'm always so flipping freezing. This year, I bought one. Gotta be restrained in my gap yah after all.

October is also the month where we let off balloons with messages to a place where texts, social media and emails don't exist. To a person who, if he knew what I was doing now, would probably pass me a beer and want to hear all about it. I wish he was still here. He was one of the first people who made me realise I could live in London – that it wasn't that scary after growing up in the Wild West erm… Country.

As a result of all of the above, October is normally a blog-tastic month. But this October, the month I chose to leave my job and embark on my 'retirement', as Whiskey Cousin calls it, memories of all the previous London Octobers came flooding back.

It felt as though, if I began writing about October, I'd never stop. So I didn't start.

But last night, talking to London Aunt, she pointed out that this blog is part of the reason why I'm taking a year out. And why the hell wasn't I updating it?

And just like that, the floodgates opened. The ideas, the rants, the experiences I wanted to write about suddenly seemed more accessible.

So the blog is back.

With a few retrospective posts to start with... after all, I can't miss out October, can I? It's the most important month of all!