ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for May, 2011

Crash in the Attic

I have never been up in my attic in my entire life, only as far as to poke stuff through the hatch, but I decided whilst Luis was here it would be a good idea to convert it. I wish I’d never bothered. I should have left well alone.

Our first step was to invest in a loft ladder, but with my vertigo and ‘dizzy head’ I could only surmount the first two rungs so I had to leave Luis up to his own devices. Being a macho Spanish man he had his own ideas on how to go about it, which involved, of course, not listening to me (nothing new there) although I did try to warn him about the wiring. Maybe he didn’t understand my Spanish – technical terms are beyond me tending to take the form of hand movements – and he thought I meant hammer through the wires.

He was grouchy and short tempered to start with on having to vacate the sofa in favour of the dark and dusty attic, but once he’d started he seemed to get into it and the banging and crashing over our heads went on all afternoon. His dusty bottom finally emerged back down the ladder as dusk was falling, pleased with the days labour (that sounds like his bottom was pleased, which it may well have been, however I didn’t stop to ask it). But when he turned on the bathroom light to have a shower there was no light.

“Adriana porque no hay luz?” he growled menacingly, as it if was my fault. I directed him to the fuse box and pointed at the trip switch, but when he clicked it back into position a huge blue flash lit up his grimy jowls. He was right we didn’t have any luz and on top of that the smell of burning rubber was now pervading the air. I immediately started to panic. Would we all die in our beds that night because of an electrical short causing the house to catch fire whilst we slept?

Luis wandered up and down in his dressing gown muttering in Spanish and clutching the torch, his toothless jaws lit up like Wooky hole. For those who don’t know what that is it’s a mysterious cave with an unfathomable blue lake down south somewhere.

What next I asked myself. First there was the saga of the new dishwasher, which finally after having every conceivable part repaired by a selection of hairy bottomed Comet engineers was finally condemned and replaced. Then there was the bloody boiler which was declared at risk by the National Grid and although it has now been supposedly fixed at huge expense by a gas safe engineer is making all kinds of whooshing, whirring clanging noises (even when its off) which is most unsettling. Now all the upstairs lights have fused and I will have to find an electrician at yet more expense – out comes the credit card again.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough my Tefyl Actifry conked out, so no more chips. I can just about cope with the clonking boiler and showering by torchlight – but no chips? A chip free zone – what to do in unnatural disasters such as these. Keep calm of course and meditate or lose myself in my crossword. I have taken to doing the Daily Mirror crossword to exercise my brain – not exactly the Times or the Guardian I know, but I derive a huge sense of satisfaction if I can complete it. Trouble is there are always a couple of words which completely defy me, which means I have to keep on buying the scandal filled rag to find out the answers. Occasionally there are articles of interest within however, such as Dr Miriam Stopper’s ‘Health Focus’ where by coincidence she has been focusing on the benefits of meditation. What’s more she mentioned HIV not once but twice. Unlike HIV which is hell bent on killing you off, meditation can apparently help you live longer and the practice can add years to your life.

“Reported effects of meditation include lowering blood pressure, healing psoriasis, boosting immunity in those who are vaccinated or have cancer, preventing relapse into recurrent depression, plus slowing down the progression of HIV.”

Well I never – does that mean we no longer have to take medication? Meditate instead of medicate?

“The two kinds of meditation that have been studied are mindfulness medication where you become acutely aware of your thoughts and surroundings and compassion meditation where you focus on feelings of love and affection for others. Both of these cut down on the stress hormone cortisol.”

Well, I can hardly focus on my surroundings can I with everything conking out all around me – and as for focusing on feelings of love and affection for others, to be honest I’m not really keen on others as in the men folk currently residing in my household, i.e. Luis and my son, they are both grump pots. So that just leaves the dog, Lady Doodle so I will have to focus on her.

“Just doing something we enjoy and love – be it meditating, gardening, listening to music or painting – will go a long way to protect us from stress and even help us live longer. Writing an emotional diary can help patients delay the progress of HIV.”

Does writing this blog count as an emotional diary I wonder Dr Miriam? As I stood there gazing sorrowfully at my defunct Tefyl Actifry and wondering if I should hit the credit card yet again, there was a loud banging on the door.

“Bugger off whoever you are,” I cursed bad temperedly. But the knocking persisted so uncharacteristically I opened the door, usually I just ignore it in case it’s the bailiffs!! A delivery man was standing there with a big cardboard box from Amazon at his feet.

“I didn’t order anything from Amazon,” I told him, about to shut the door in his face.

“Are you Adrienne Seed, residing at this address?” he asked, “because if you are, it’s definitely for you.”

Still thinking it was some kind of mistake I signed for the box and took it inside. “What could it be?” I asked Lady Doodle who was excitedly sniffing the cardboard hoping no doubt it was a giant box of pigs ears. I carefully slit open the lid with the kitchen knife and there it sat gleaming before my eyes – a brand spanking new Tefyl Actifry. There was a note slipped inside the packaging – love from Doodle the chip fairy.

So you see never stop believing in fairies, especially if you have a sister like mine. I may have had a crash followed by a flash (opposed to finding some cash) in my attic, but at least I’ve got a chip fairy – not a lot of people can say that.

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Nun and Void!

Will I be voted in as Chair of Thrivine at our annual AGM tomorrow night for the third year running – or will the vote be nun and void! Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Beep Beep’n Beep Beep Yeah!

“Beep beep and beep beep yeah – Doody you can drive my car…..yes you’re gonna be a star….. and Doody we love you,” as the Beatles once sang!

However, I’m starting to think Lady Doodle is a bit of a tart as in she tends to act up or play up to (flirt?) more with the men folk in the pack. Mind you, its not surprising with all the love and adoration she receives, especially from Luis. The other thing of course is that she has come on heat for the first time, so she is now a fully fledged woman and no longer a puppy, so that might have something to do with it.

“Buenas dias whoppy,” are the first words that come out of Luis’s mouth when we both emerge from our dormitorios in our dressing gowns to greet the Doodleday and they are addressed to Doody not to me. “Doody whoppy Doody whoppy.”

“Huh! What about Adrianna whoppy?” I demand sulkily, “Am I not a whoppy too?”

Whoppy is Luis’s English adaption of the Spanish word guapa meaning beautiful. He briefly drags his attentions away from Lady Doodle to offer me a cursory good morning hug, but there is no competition.

“Mirror mirror on the wall who is the whoppiest of us all?” – maybe I should feed Doody a poisoned apple? Only joking – I adore her too even if she is a bit of a tart.

I don’t envy her one bit though, especially now she’s on heat and likely to be pursued by every randy dog in the hood, although I can still remember how that felt (ha!). Those days are long gone, thank God. I couldn’t be doing with any of that sort of thing now, although as I’ve said before, chance would be a fine thing in my condition.

We decide to risk prospective suitors sniffing after Doody (not me!) and take her for a morning stroll along the canal, securely tied to her lead of course for safety’s sake.

“Google Doody, google,” Luis keeps repeating as she walks sedately between us – that is until she sights the ducks. “Bagel Doody, bagel, leavin Dutch alone.”

“Ducks not Dutch,” I patiently correct his English, “Dutch means people who come from Holland.”

“Mira Doody, mucho Hollandaises swimming in canal.” Luis chuckles to self.

“Oh look…how sweet,” I grab his arm and point, “Baby ducklings.”

“Baby Dutchlings, baby Hollandaises,” Luis finds this extremely funny and laughs at his own joke until Doody nearly yanks him in the canal.

This brings back a distant memory of when I was an erstwhile flamenco dancer and Luis was watching me (or at least I thought he was) performing with a flamenco troupe outside a bar in the marina in Ibiza town. When my bit was over I scanned the crowds looking for him to come and congratulate me, but it turned out he’d fallen into the marina and missed my star performance. One of the audience who’d fished him out, being a thoughtful person, had jokingly offered him a cigarette laughing that his were surely wet. Luis standing there in his dripping clothes had not been amused.

On the way home we stop off at the Co-op to buy some bread. I leave Doody outside with Luis. There is an old man also waiting outside for his wife with a very snappy Pekinese and being from Blackburn where everyone is very friendly/nosy, he tries to start up a conversation with Luis about Doody. I can see Luis looking confused so I shout out the door, “He’s a Spaniard. He doesn’t understand much English.”

When I come back out the old man and his silver haired wife are having a heated debate. “He’s definitely not a Spaniel – he’s a Labrador,” the old lady who knows her breeds is insisting.

“Actually, he’s a Labradoodle,” I correct her “And he’s a girl.”

The old man and the old lady, not to mention Luis, all look totally befuddled. Luis may as well be a Labradoodle as far as I’m concerned as he identifies with Lady Doody far more than he does with me, but as for being labelled a girl – well, he didn’t take too kindly to that.

Maybe I should have said a google.

Old Boiler, Moi?

My central heating boiler packed in whilst I was away, mind you, like me it is getting on in years although heaven forefend that I should be likened to an old boiler, which is derogatory slang for an unattractive and less feminine older woman, or in blunter terms, a tarty woman past her prime.

I got someone in to fix it but because we were enjoying that sunny spell we had no need to put the central heating on – so why then was there the overpowering smell of gas issuing from my back passage (no rude comments please).

It steadily got worse to the point where Luis, who was in and out of the back passage (don’t even go there!) clearing up the debris Doody had created in the garden, nearly passed out. I thought he’d just gone all Latino on me and was suffering from the likes of Spanish man flu which it was in a sense because that’s where the fumes were issuing from – my Flu.

I don’t know why but every time Luis comes to stay we suffer a ‘creeeesis’ of some kind and this time was no different.

“Adriana, call the urgencias,” he croaked when he had finally stopped swooning – so I did.

A member of the Gas emergency team came within the hour looking like a character out of Star Wars with all his beeping buzzing probes and yes there was a leak and quite a significant one at that. My boiler was declared at risk and immediately turned off. That meant either a new boiler or finding a suitably qualified Gas Safe engineer to come and try to fix it, although Darth Vader didn’t hold much hope. Apparently, you can go to jail for five years for not using a Gas Safe engineer – I didn’t know that, but I do now.

As soon as he’d gone I googled Gas Safe engineers in the Blackburn area and you should have seen their photos – with their shaved heads, piercings and tattoos, they all looked like they’d just come out of jail themselves. Not impressed by this line-up of mug shots, I made an appointment for a nice respectable British Gas representative to come and give me a quote. He arrived all clean cut in his nice uniform and we spent a very pleasant afternoon, where I learnt more about boilers than I ever thought possible. We discovered we had quite a lot in common having both led interesting lives and also experiencing the joys/horrors of coping with a new puppy. I would have dearly loved to take up his proposed offer, (dear being the appropriate word and not the old joke although he didn’t tell it, that a good engineer could get any old boiler, including me, going!) but the quote was well out of my range, unless I signed my life away for the next five years. So now we’ve got a hot water crisis, as in we haven’t got any, although B.G. man did suggest we take advantage of our local swimming baths. Instead we’re having to trail to Willo’s bathroom, my neighbour three doors down, where she has very kindly erected a temporary higher shower rail to accommodate dirty tall geezers.

Anyway, I suppose in some ways it was a good thing that ‘dirty geezer’ Luis nearly gassed himself, although luckily he didn’t have the obligatory Habanos cigarrillo stuck in the corner of his gob or he could have blown the whole street up.

I wonder if that’s why I’ve been suffering from a dizzy head? It can’t be because I still had it whilst I was away. It’s no doubt a result of the HIV medication which is known to cause vertigo – as well as everything else!

In retrospect, as far as the leaking gas was concerned, we had noticed that Lady Doody was refusing to go out in the garden, especially at nights, to perform her ablutions. She’d just stood there with her nose haughtily sniffing the air, but we’d thought she was, as usual, being a madam. She’d obviously been sniffing the gas and maybe in her way trying to warn us.

Chewing up my new blue cashmere cardigan my sister bought me in Paris was perhaps another way to warn me that the heating was about to be turned off – but somehow I don’t think so.